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Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia – Guest Blog Post

What does this land “Down Under” have in store for us in 2013?  Kingdom Magic Vacations‘ own Rick Howard had the answer to that question way back in 2012.

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Guest Blog Post

Rewind your clock and take a listen to last year’s Australia-focused episode of the Travel with Rick video-cast.  When referring to that marketplace’s Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies, Rick described them as “nibble-to-the-bone good”.  If that’s not a glowing endorsement, then I don’t know food or wine.

Check out the  Australia video from Travel with Rick at last year’s Food and Wine Festival:

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Lamb Chop

The Lamb Chop from last year’s Australia Marketplace

As I go about preparing my plan for “attacking” Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, I reach out to a number of resources, but I’ve told Rick that his video-cast, in past years, has played the biggest role in the construction of my “menus”.  Now that I have the honor of being included in Kingdom Magic Vacations’ and Travel with Rick’s efforts to bring Food & Wine to you before it even arrives, it’s a whole new (and VERY fun) ballgame for me.

But, back to Australia.  I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of lamb.  In spite of that, I did sample Australia’s lamb chop last year.  Rick’s right.  It IS outstanding.  And, it’s back for an encore in 2013.  Way to go, Australia!

One of the things that pleases me most about Australia’s offering this year is that they’ve kicked their shrimp up a notch.  For the past few years, we’ve seen a simple “Shrimp-on-the-Barbie”.  However, in 2013, we get a Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle (a lemon herb native to Australia), and Rapini (broccoli rabe).  An outstanding improvement, in my opinion!

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Garlic Shrimp

Way to “step it up”, Australia!

Australia’s upcoming menu is rounded out by Pavlova (Crispy Meringue Shell with Fresh Driscoll’s Berries and Vanilla Custard) and several choices of wine:

  • Rosemount Estate Merlot
  • Rosemount Estate Pinot Grigio
  • Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay
  • Penfolds Bin 8 Cabernet Shiraz
Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Pavlova

Is this what we have to look forward to?

With the Pavlova, we should expect a crisp crust with a soft, light inside.  It seems to be a step up from the coconut-covered Lamington of the past few years.  However, it is the newly “jacked up” shrimp and the lamb chop’s repeat engagement that highlights Australia’s offering this festival season.

My Pre-Festival Grade?  I’m really optimistic.  Sight unseen and samples un-tasted, I’m going to give the Aussies an “A”!


Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at allinwdw.com.

 

Dining Recon: Beaches and Cream Soda Shop – Guest Blog Post

One thing you learn when you start writing Disney dining reviews is that you better move quickly. For example, a few months ago, my wife and I enjoyed Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort for the first time. Not too long after that, we learned that the soda shop had made changes to their menu. What?!

The second thing you learn is that, when Disney menus are altered, the actual changes get a bit less press than you might think. Having said that, I thought it would be interesting to compare “then” and “now” in the context of recounting our burger and ice cream feast.

Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney's Beach Club Resort

Prior to our visit, I honestly felt that the best burger in Walt Disney World lived at The Fountain in the Walt Disney World Dolphin or at Pecos Bill in the Magic Kingdom. In fact, each time I saw the question, “What’s the best burger in Walt Disney World?” on a chat board, my thoughts went to “Bill” or the Fountain. Naturally, they got my votes. Then, I would watch other Disney fans rave about Beaches. What was I missing?

Here’s the view back “then”. You have to love a menu that refers to one of its sections as “Burger Heaven”, don’t you?

Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney's Beach Club Resort

Here it is now…

Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney's Beach Club Resort

First of all, my wife’s selection of the Beaches Rachel Sandwich lives on at its former price of $11.49. That’s a good start.

Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney's Beach Club Resort

“My” Bacon Angus Beef Burger, however, survived the menu upheaval but with a bit of a disappointing recipe adjustment. Formerly topped with smoked bacon and cheddar, it’s now served with bacon, blue cheese, BBQ sauce, and onions.

I just “crowned” it the TRUE ‘best burger’ in Walt Disney World, and now they change it altogether?! Even its price – a hefty but worthwhile $13.99 – got “revised” to $14.49. As it was, it looked great and WAS phenomenal. Now, the jury is out again.

Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney's Beach Club Resort

On the other hand, the Angus Beef Burger flip-flopped its toppings (and its price) with the Bacon Angus. Now at $13.99 (as opposed to $14.49), it has dropped the blue cheese and BBQ sauce in favor of cheddar. Wouldn’t that make it an Angus Cheese Burger? Clearly, another research trip is in order.

Other notable menu changes include:

The price of the Chicken Caesar Sandwich increased $1.00 to $12.99

The Classic Turkey Club, Grilled Cheese and Tomato Bisque, and Pot Roast Sandwiches are all served on Brioche Bread instead of Sourdough.

The Grilled Vegetable Sandwich was dropped in favor of a Vegetarian Falafel.

The Chicken Caesar Salad’s price increased $0.50 to $13.49.

And, finally, the price of the infamous Kitchen Sink sundae has increased $2.00 to $28.99.

For the most part, the menu was “tweaked” more than it was changed. If you can swallow the prices, I would highly recommend at least one visit to Beaches and Cream in your WDW guest “career”. The soda shop atmosphere is quaint and entertaining, and the food tastes great! Especially the “No Way Jose” sundae! Yum!

Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney's Beach Club Resort

 


Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at allinwdw.com.

 

Epcot News: New Eatery Coming to Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase

Look for a new waterfront eatery by the end of this year at the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot. Spice Road Table will feature various small plates and refreshments inspired by the cuisine of the Mediterranean. With seating both indoors and out, it’s a welcome addition to the line-up along World Showcase Lagoon.

Look for a new waterfront eatery by the end of this year at the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot.

Stay tuned for other “enhancements” to the pavilion and more news on Spice Road Table as menus are finalized.

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