All posts filed under: Event Coverage

2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Menu Preview. 35 New Food Items!

The 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is coming up very soon and starts on September 19 and goes until November 10. The festival celebrates its 19th year and runs for a record of 53 days this year. With 25-plus international marketplaces to experience in Epcot’s world showcase, 35 new food items have been added, along with many new wines, craft beers, and beverages. That is a lot of new food and beverages to try!   (click image to enlarge) I recently attended a media event that let us sample some of the new food and drink items for this year’s festival. With the addition of Patagonia marketplace and the return of Puerto Rico, there’s more flavors to experience in Latin cuisine. Farm Fresh replaces last year’s Florida Local marketplace and the Hops & Barley marketplace gets all new food items. The food we tasted are just a few of the 35 new items for this year. Check out the following dishes that are all worth stopping for on your Epcot Food & Wine …

Revisit To Taste of the Nation Orlando 2012

Taste of The Nation Orlando is back again this weekend on Saturday, August 9 and I wanted to share my experience from back in 2012. Consider this a Throwback Thursday post on my first Taste of the Nation from two years ago. The event is a culinary celebration and fundraising event, with ticket sales and silent auctions supporting Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger. There are a number of restaurants who participate from around Central Florida and their chefs are on hand plating dishes. It’s fun to watch them in action as you wait in line to get a taste of their dish for the evening. An array of appetizers, entrees and desserts are available to sample, along with craft beers and wines.   (click image to enlarge) Since Taste of The Nation 2012 was my first event, I was not sure of what to expect. So I am sharing some photos here of what I have experienced for food and these are some of the returning restaurants serving at this year’s event. …

Shake Shack In Winter Park Opens With A Feast

Shake Shack has officially opened its first Orlando location today in Winter Park, FL at 11 a.m. The iconic NYC eatery brings its Shack Burgers, hot dogs, fries, shakes, desserts and more to Central Florida and kicked it all off with a housewarming preview party last night. I’ve been posting photos and writing about Shake Shack for a while now and I am very happy they are finally here.   (click image to enlarge) The first-ever “Orlando Shack” is located at 119 N Orlando Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789. This location seats around 100 people inside and has a beautiful outdoor patio overlooking a lake. Sunsets with some wine or beer and a burger would make a great date night location.   (click image to enlarge) Speaking of wine and beer, Shake Shack kicked off the housewarming party by serving their ShackMeister Ale and Shack Wine. The ShackMeister Ale is brewed exclusively by Brooklyn Brewery in New York. Shack Red or White wine is bottled exclusively for Shake Shack by Frog’s Leap in Napa Valley, …

2014 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchens Food Guide

The 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is still going strong until May 18, 2014. This is the 21st year for the Flower & Garden Festival which started back on March 5th. The festival has a number of Topiaries around Epcot and the Outdoor Kitchens around World Showcase feature seasonal dishes, sweets, craft beers, wines and more. This post is a food guide to the Outdoor Kitchens complete with menus and photos of dishes and beverages.   (click image to enlarge) This is the second year for Outdoor Kitchens at the annual Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. It is important to note this is not a food and wine festival and it is different from the Epcot Food & Wine festival held in the Fall, with completely different food and beverage offerings. The Flower & Garden Festival is to celebrate the Spring time, being outdoors, and enjoying the food and beverages in a laid back atmosphere. “It’s a great fit because Flower & Garden is all about outdoor living and being outside, family and …

2014 James Beard Awards Semifinalists Announced At Live Event In Orlando [Photos & Recap]

The James Beard Foundation announced the 2014 semifinalists at a first time live event in Orlando, FL. The live event was broadcasted online and took place at the East End Market with an audience of media, chefs, and James Beard Foundation representatives. The category of Best Chef South revealed a number of chefs from around Florida, with four local Central Florida semifinalist nominations. Congratulations to James & Julie Petrakis of The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder, Henry Salgado of Spanish River Grill and Txokos Basque Kitchen, and Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant. The full list of semifinalists is at the end of this post.   (click image to enlarge)   This was the first time the James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists outside of their New York headquarters. The live press event came to Central Florida through Visit Orlando, the official tourism association who presented the opportunity to host the event. It came at a great time as Orlando is currently experiencing a food renaissance, with local chefs focusing on local ingredients and really …

Typhoon Relief Dinner for the Philippines by Kadence Hospitality at Sushi Katana

Earlier this month a special dinner was held in Orlando, FL to raise funds for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Three chefs, all friends who recently relocated back to Central Florida, combined their talents to create a special dinner highlighting Filipino cuisine with a more refined approach. The charity dinner was held at Sushi Katana, where one of the chef’s friends is a co-owner and offered to host the event. The menu featured a 7 course pre-fixe meal for a minimum donation of $40.   (click image to enlarge) As you can see in the photo above, there were a few options offered to guests on selecting their courses. Each guest was offered a Kalamansi Mimosa to start. I attended this dinner with a friend, both of us being Filipino and raised on Filipino food. The dishes we chose had the heart and soul of traditional Filipino food, but they were elevated and more refined than what our moms (or dads) cooked growing up. The plating was beautiful and flavors were on …

Droolius Travels – Las Vegas: Restaurants, SEMA, World Food Championships, Bars, & Anthony Bourdain

It’s been four years since I’ve traveled to Las Vegas. While I found a lot of the city to be the same, much has been added on the Vegas strip as far as signs, resorts and casinos. The food is ever changing in this city, as chefs come in with their restaurant concepts and more locally owned restaurants continue to pop up. I spent one week in Las Vegas, attending the SEMA auto show, working as a photographer for the World Food Championships, and eating in restaurants in between. Towards the end of the trip, I found out that Anthony Bourdain was in town filming a live segment called Last Bite for the season finale of his CNN show, Parts Unknown. I stopped by that too and took some behind the scenes photos. You will find those at the end of this post.    Prior to having a food blog, I used to travel to Las Vegas a few times a year and had a few favorites for food in the area. Coming back this …

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Heats Things Up With Spicy Dishes

I’ve been attending the Epcot Food and Wine for 10 years now and there has been a progressive shift towards bolder flavors and a few more spicy dishes at the marketplaces in the World Showcase. Years ago, the festival’s food seemed to play it safe with any strong flavors from spices or any level of spicy heat. However now, you can find a number of dishes that have a spicy kick to wake up your senses.   (click image to enlarge) It’s great to taste the different spices used in dishes from around the world. While the use of certain spices doesn’t always mean spicy, there are a few international marketplaces in the festival that have more of a kick of heat than others. While no dish will set your mouth on fire, there are a few that have more of a spicy bite. If you like to eat spicy food, here’s a list of dishes you might enjoy. *The order of the dishes are according to heat level, from spiciest dish to least.   …

Food & Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria Orlando – Bull & Bear and Bar du Chocolat

The 3rd Annual Food & Wine Weekends is currently being celebrated at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek through November 9, 2013. For seven weekends, guests can indulge in food, wine, and desserts at both luxury resorts and it coincides with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival taking place nearby. The special menus and events are offered on Friday and Saturday evenings, with a Royal Tea event on Sunday. I was invited to experience the Food & Wine Weekends and spent the weekend at the Bonnet Creek resort with my food partner, OD. On Friday evening we started off at Bull & Bear for “A Taste of Waldorf Astoria”, a multi-course menu that takes you around the world in flavors. We then walked over to Peacock Alley (just a few steps away from Bull & Bear) to get a taste of Bar du Chocolat. Both food experiences and photos are in this post, with more from the weekend coming up.   (click image to enlarge) Bull & Bear is located on …

Chef Carla Hall Interview at 2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Video

During the opening weekend of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Chef Carla Hall (from ABC’s The Chew and Bravo’s Top Chef) joined the festival for some cooking demos and cooking an appetizer and a few desserts for the Sweet Sundays event. Her energetic personality and dancing was a special treat during a media brunch, where she shared her latest news and answered a few questions from the crowd.   (click image to enlarge) Carla told us about being a big Mickey fan and having an interview with Chef Mickey. She also announced that she will be doing something in January with Newsies, a Disney musical on Broadway. A question from the audience asking about some of Carla’s favorite dishes from Epcot Food & Wine festival reveals that she really enjoyed the Pork Belly Dish (Brazil marketplace) and also Kimchi Dog (South Korea marketplace). Another favorite was the Escargot en Brioche (France marketplace) and she calls it “a popper” — you pop the entire thing into your mouth to get all of the flavors …

Experiencing the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog at 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

The Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog Exhibit has returned once again to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. To celebrate the Cranberry Bog, Ocean Spray hosted a private event for media, giving us a taste of dishes created with Ocean Spray Craisins and an opportunity for us to get into the bog. This was the only chance to actually get into the cranberry bog during the festival, so here’s my experience to share with you all.   (click image to enlarge) The Ocean Spray Cranberry bog is located near the entrance of Epcot’s World Showcase.   (click image to enlarge) A rack of waders are hanging, waiting for us to put them on and wade through the cranberry bog.   (click image to enlarge) Keeping with the theme of Epcot Food & Wine Festival, Ocean Spray presented a passport of flavors with tables representing cuisines inspired by different countries and using the Craisin in dishes. The Disney chefs got really creative and found some very unique ways to cook with the Craisins.   (click image …

2013 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Intro & Droolius’ Top 5 Picks

This past weekend, the 18th Annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival started its culinary celebration and will continue until November 11, 2013. That’s about seven and a half weeks of experiencing food from different countries from around the world, with wine and craft beers to consume as well. It’s certainly one of my favorite times to visit Epcot and there are always new dishes and beverages added every year to keep things fresh.   (click image to enlarge) Epcot admission is required to attend the festival and marketplace dishes/drinks have individual pricing. The general admission does include the Eat to the Beat Concert series and the events at the Festival Center may include culinary demonstrations, wine & beverage seminars, and more. There are specialty events that are offered and require additional purchase. You can find details at the official website: Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival website New Dishes For 2013, the festival introduces a few new dishes, with 25 international marketplaces in total and adding Scotland to the lineup. A few of the …

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