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

As excited as I am about Brazil’s return to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and the menu it brings with it, I’m equally disappointed by its “sister” South American nation – Argentina.

If you’re a veteran of Food & Wine, I’m sure you’ve just reacted to that sentiment with complete disbelief.  After all, Argentina’s Beef Empanada and Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce (a brightly colored green sauce with parsley, herbs, garlic, and tangy vinegar) and Boniato (a Cuban sweet potato or white yam) Purée are generally recognized as festival highlights!  Aren’t they?

Argentina's Beef Empanada

Argentina's Beef Skewer

Frankly, I was so disappointed after sampling both of them in 2011 that I completely passed them by in 2012.  The empanada was the best of the two but pretty ordinary, in my opinion, and the beef skewer was tough and way overdone.

But, then, this is where my wife spilled a valuable “pearl of wisdom” on me … on any given day with any particular meal or any cut of meat, any chef could have a really bad day.  Or, in this case, make even one bad serving.  The morale of the story?  I should give Argentina another shot.  So, in 2013, I will.

Like Brazil, Argentina won’t be serving a dessert this year, so their menu ends with a collection of beverages:

Pascual Toso Sparkling Brut – bright green and yellow in color, this sparkling wine presents with the essential characteristics of Chardonnay

Terrazas Reserva Malbec – an Argentine Malbec wine characterized by its deep color, intense fruity flavors, and a velvety texture

Terrazas Reserva Torrontes – a white Argentine wine with moderate acidity, smooth texture and mouthfeel, as well as distinctive peach and apricot aromas

Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon – with a deep ruby red color, this wine provides pleasant blackcurrant and cherry notes with a full body and long after-taste

When it comes down to it, Kingdom Magic Vacations‘ own Rick Howard might do better justice to describing the virtues of Argentina’s menu than I can.  For me, I can only grade them as an “Incomplete”.  So, step back and listen to last year’s Argentina-focused episode of the Travel with Rick video-cast.

He’ll tell you just how much you should like their Chimichurri Sauce!

It’s not too late to book your trip to experience
Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival!
Contact Kingdom Magic Vacations Today!


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.

Imagineering Food & Wine: Singapore – Guest Blog Post

Singapore is SO misunderstood.

I have to admit, I know very little about Singapore.  For example, did you know that it is just off the southern tip of Malaysia and is an island country made up of 63 islands?!

When it comes to Food & Wine, in spite of the culinary genius of Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann and his team, Singapore annually receives criticism as THE marketplace desperately in need of “stepping its game up”.

However, consider this … a Singapore “hawker center” is a building housing rows and rows of small food stalls – all serving a variety of foods and desserts.  Sound a bit familiar?

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

Is it Food & Wine every day in Singapore?

Or, how about this?  When it comes to cuisine, diversity is THE word.  Malaysia, China, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the Philippines, the Middle East and many other countries can claim influence on Singapore’s culinary landscape.

To be honest, if ever there was a country MADE for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, it is Singapore!

Let’s take a look back at recent history.  In 2011, Chef Jens offered us a shrimp cake on a sugar cane skewer.  In addition, his entrees included an Indonesian-inspired coconut-braised beef rendang.  Last year, the beef rendang returned to be accompanied by a seared mahi-mahi.

As I recall, the shrimp cake and mahi-mahi were quite tasty.  I have to admit, however, that I couldn’t scrape up the desire to try the rendang.  I mean, the pictures that I saw of that spicy meat dish didn’t look appetizing at all.

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

Step your game up, Singapore!

So, if we were given the chance to write Chef’s menu, what could we offer?

Well, first, I would suggest replacing the beef rendang.  It has had its day, and, as I researched the multitude of options we could choose for Singapore, I found the perfect replacement.  Chef Jens won’t have to travel far to find a slam-dunk recipe.  Have you ever had Sanaa’s butter chicken?  You should.  It’s an incredible Indian-influenced dish.  Sanaa can be found in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village.

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

If you give us butter chicken, Chef, we’ll flock to Singapore!

For Singapore’s second entree, I could make a strong argument to keep their seared mahi-mahi.  It WAS pretty tasty, but, since this marketplace is going to get a complete “refurb”, I’m going to suggest a popular seafood dish with Malaysian overtones – chili crab.

Imagine crab stir-fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savory tomato and chili-based sauce.  Despite its name, it is not a very spicy dish.  It was, however, listed by CNN as one of the “World’s 50 most delicious foods” in 2011.  Some rendition of this has got to be worth a taste.

Imagineering Food & Wine – Singapore

If not crab, then I could imagine Chef presenting some kind of “chili seafood” dish.

There you have it.  If Singapore is in need of an upgrade, I would say its old entrees need to be completely erased in favor of brand new choices.  In my mind, the butter chicken is a sure winner.  The crab is a wild card.


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.

 

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