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Old 11-05-2006, 12:10 PM   #16
zweihund
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No holds barred in France.

When last we were here, half of our crew had fallen victim to the smell of freshly fried fish an entire pavillion away.....

We passed by the Great Beers of the World booth in an effort to find our fallen friends, who were smacking their lips and licking their fingers at the Fish and Chips stand. Again, I sighed. We were here to pay ridiculous amounts to sample tiny amounts of food, and there they were cheating and getting a whole plate for the bargain price of $7! BLASPHEMY!

We all just agreed to disagree and met up at Ireland for the finest working man’s stews this side of the pond. I’m not sure if trifle counts as a working man’s food, in all honesty, but we don’t have to dwell on that.

An aside: I spent three years of my young adulthood living in Edinburgh, Scotland and if there is one thing I miss the most, it is the soups. They have a hearty, wonderful soup for all occasions and I was forever surprised at how the same base ingredients (carrots, potatoes and celery) could combine with an additional one or two items to create completely different flavors. Plus, seeing how it is almost always miserably cold and rainy, they were always great comfort foods. In fact, I have a fond memory of almost all of the foods I had there – excluding haggis and black pudding, of course. NO ONE should have to be subjected to THAT.

By the grace of God, there was no black pudding to be found at the Ireland booth, but I did scarf down some fantastic potato leek soup, a trifle, and a generous sample of O’Mara’s Irish Cream. I am a HUGE fan of Irish Cream and I have to say that this particular one was even better than Bailey’s.
Lionel had the lamb, bacon and cabbage stew with a sample of authentic Guiness. When in Ireland….well, you can try the beer that resembles the depths of a boggy creek but chances are you won’t ask for a second helping. In truth, I do like true Guiness, but I find the stateside version to be far more bitter.

All of the geeks found something they liked in Ireland. Geeky eyes were smiling. There we were, all 14 of us - only 6 booths in, and all steaming drunk. Well, except for the pregnant one.

By the time we stumbled to France I was announcing loudly to strangers that there was Chocolate Crème Brulee. CHOCOLATE! CRÈME! BRULEE! Can you imagine a better combination of decadence? I’m fairly certain that I paired this dessert that embodies all of my worldly desires with a sparkling wine but I’ll be darned if I can’t remember what it was. I do know this: in France, they are not stingy with the portions. In fact, my little tin of creamy goodness was approximately the same size as the soup I had in Ireland, if not a smidge larger. And the wine? FULL SIZE FLUTES.

We all gathered around a trash can, for these make perfect tables for the drunk and disorderly, and we shared our goods. I tried the escargot, which I think tasted pretty good. My only recollection at this point is that it resembled chewy garlic. I tried sips of various wines. I wolfed down my crème brulee AND the remainder of someone else’s (who I am pretty sure was one of our 14, but I was steadily losing track at this point) and managed to summon up enough will power not to demand that Lionel go and buy me another one.

For…….it was FAST PASS TIME.

Ever tried to round up 13 drunken geeks and one pregnant one? Epcot really needs to rent out herding dogs. We made it as a collective drunken crowd alllllll the way from the France pavilion to THE BRIDGE. Which is all of maybe, oh, I don’t know…..100 feet? Then it was picture time. So now would be a good time to scroll back to the original post of this thread and look a little closer.

See how squinty my eyes are? Yep. That’s a sure sign of my tipsiness, along with the rosy cheeks. See the gal with the chicken? See how happy she is? See how big that glass of sparkly wine is? In fact, do you see anyone who doesn’t look totally smashed? Now, see if you can find the pregnant lady. Hint: she’s the only girl who isn’t me, or isn’t holding an alcoholic beverage. And one more thing…..see that big guy right in the middle? There is something I discovered while hanging out with him, and that is this: apparently when you are 7 feet tall, EVERYONE wants to talk to you. More on that later.

On the way from the bridge to Soarin, we stopped approximately 187 times. Between bathroom breaks and general drunken distraction, I do believe it took us nearly an hour to arrive at our destination. But there was stuff! And over here, there’s more neat stuff! And ooh, there’s some stuff you can BUY! Hey look, a McDonald’s! Wow, topiaries! A boat! Fellow humans!

The intent behind the mid-afternoon Soarin fast passes was that we would take a nice leisurely break from the rich food and beverage and allow our stomachs time to recover. This way, we could pick up again where we left off and start fresh.

Yeah. Whatever.

Soarin itself is a wonderful ride but I do not understand why one would wait for upwards of 90 minutes to experience it. To be honest, I don’t understand why anyone would wait that long for ANY ride. I will admit that I am a jaded Floridian with an annual pass who can come back at any time and ride whatever she wants in the down season, but even back in the day before fast passes I was never a fan of wasting so much time in line. There are only so many phrases you can fit into the tune of “Rock the Boat” (believe me) and then what do you do for the other 45 minutes?

Ok, back to Soarin. This is only the second time I have been on it, but I noticed the scents much more this time. There was something incredibly refreshing about the citrus and the pine that almost fooled me into believing my stomach was not already stretched to maximum capacity.
ALMOST.
We left our breezy hang gliding experience feeling refreshed and chipper, but still very full and markedly sloshed. Ah, well. It was a good idea anyhow.

Next: we go back to France, and I totally pass right by the Spanish Marcone Almonds.
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:57 PM   #17
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Erica you never disappoint!

Some day I will share with you our newest creation: Plankton takes on Disney World. We took over 100 pictures of Plankton trying to take over the world.

Dorks and Geeks - we rule!!

PS. I think France was my favorite this year. Did you try the Pomegranite Kir? Oh my...so good we came home and ordered the pomegranite liquor so that we could start making them here.
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Old 11-05-2006, 10:35 PM   #18
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Pumpkin

Erica
I just had some pumpkin creme brulee last night at a local place. I must say it was quite tasty.

Very much enjoying the trippie. I will live vicariously through you and Brenda as I eat another bowl of Cheerios.
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Old 11-06-2006, 05:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oybolshoi
Erica you never disappoint!

Some day I will share with you our newest creation: Plankton takes on Disney World. We took over 100 pictures of Plankton trying to take over the world.

Dorks and Geeks - we rule!!

PS. I think France was my favorite this year. Did you try the Pomegranite Kir? Oh my...so good we came home and ordered the pomegranite liquor so that we could start making them here.
I didn't try the pomegranate Kir....I have a love hate relationship with the fruit so I tend to steer clear of it. It DID look interesting though. I don't think any others in our bunch tried it either, but I think from what you have read so far you understand that my crew were not exactly adventerous when it comes to the palate.

Can't wait to see Plankton.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpydude
Erica
I just had some pumpkin creme brulee last night at a local place. I must say it was quite tasty.

Very much enjoying the trippie. I will live vicariously through you and Brenda as I eat another bowl of Cheerios.
Mmmmm, cheerios.
Creme brulee is one of my obsessive desserts, along with tiramasu. If a restaurant offers either of the two, I HAVE to have it. I fear one day that I will be forced to make a decision between the two. The horrors.
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Old 11-06-2006, 09:06 AM   #20
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Last time we did the F&WF ( waaaay back in 03. Sniff), the Ireland booth had Guiness CAKE!
GUINESS CAKE!

Oh-my-feakin'-god ( lower case ), that was incredible.

I have vowed that our next WDW trip will be during the F&WF and that we'll stay at the Beach Club so we can just run over and grab something different every day.

Rock on with your bad-self.
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:39 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatherForce
Last time we did the F&WF ( waaaay back in 03. Sniff), the Ireland booth had Guiness CAKE!
GUINESS CAKE!

Oh-my-feakin'-god ( lower case ), that was incredible.

I have vowed that our next WDW trip will be during the F&WF and that we'll stay at the Beach Club so we can just run over and grab something different every day.

Rock on with your bad-self.
Drooling!!!
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:40 PM   #22
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We rock the boat!

Where did I leave off? Oh yeah. The almonds.

I should call this year’s Food and Wine fest excursion what it REALLY was: a chance for me to completely miss out on tons of food that I would have loved even though I read through my brochure every chance I got. I think next year we will either have to get there earlier and take a sloooooooow walk around, or we will have to go in stages.
I digress.

After the Crème Brulee, the next thing I was bouncing up and down about was the booth with nothing but Champagne and Truffles.
Now we’re talking.

After Soarin we headed back towards France to pick up where we left off. We took the Friendship boat! Awww, how appropriate. Ever seen the eyes of passengers on a nearly-full Friendship boat when a 7 foot man gets onboard? SAUCERS. Our beloved giant sat next to this lovely unsuspecting couple from England. As the boat started, he led us in an impromptu chorus of “Rock the Boat” (always funny) and then turned to the poor couple next to him. “Hi, I’m Brian. I’m from Ohio. Do you know where that is? OHIO.”

Oh, Lord, thank you for making this boat ride short. There was an audible sigh of relief as the geek squad departed at our destination.

We skipped Turkey and Spain as we were still fairly full. I was also starting to get that “too much alcohol and sweets and not enough real food” feeling in my stomach (you know the one, right?) so I didn’t even bother peeking in my brochure to remind myself what we were passing up.

Spanish. Marcone. Almonds.
They are a thing of beauty, and I generally avoid them at all costs every time I go to Wholefoods because I KNOW that if I buy them I will eat the entire carton in one sitting. Here was my chance to get a single serving of them, and what did I do? I walked right past the stinkin’ booth.
*sigh*

One of our party stopped at Morocco to get a pistachio baklava, which I tasted despite the feeling described above. In fact, you are about to read more things I did to my stomach despite the feeling I described above, so just get ready to roll your eyes.
The baklava was lovely. I have a love-hate relationship with baklava. While it tastes wonderful, it is almost always far too sweet for me to enjoy more than a small bite. This was nicely balanced with the pistachio. Yum yum.

It was on to India. As we were dealing with minor stomach issues, I consulted the brochure and discovered not only that I had totally skipped my beloved almonds but also that there was a vegetable curry to be sampled in two different styles: Indian and Thai. Well, I absolutely adore Thai food so I opted to instead get a sample of the coconut rice pudding.
I know, I know, the stomach feeling. At least I didn’t get any wine. Plus, the rice pudding was totally worth it. Creamy ricey goodness.

I was very excited about the next stop, because I am a self-confessed sake-holic. I love sampling sake. I love it hot, cold, flavored, whatever. As I made my way to the booth I noticed that everyone else was wandering off. Apparently there were a few in the crowd that were desperate to get to Oktoberfest, and the others who wanted sake chose instead to go inside the Japanese pavilion to the sake bar.
Again, there was no love for the booths. Boys, you can get that any time!

After trying to figure out what everyone else was doing, I demanded sake. Lionel pointed me in the direction of the booth which had a line approximately 800 people long. I decided that I could get sake anytime at the saki bar in the Japanese pavilion. My stomach thanked me.

Next: German pretzels and Gloria Gaynor!
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Old 11-06-2006, 05:06 PM   #23
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I loved the champagne and truffle booth but talk about price gouging!! I think we encountered the shortest line of the entire F&W Festival at this booth.
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Old 11-08-2006, 07:31 PM   #24
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Pretzels ahoy!

Ok, where was I?
Oh right. Pretzel today, sake tomorrow.

When we left, your faithful geek girl was stranded between cobbler and a crab cake. That is to say we were wandering between the USA pavilion and the Hops and Barley Market. Tempted as I was by the blackberry cobbler, I kept moving. Tempted as I was by the assorted ales, I kept moving. For I was on a mission: a mission of the truffle kind.

Fellow geek Jen and I made a desperate run for the Champagne booth. It was expensive, but delightfully bubbly and choc lately. I chose the Nectar Imperial, having never been much of a fan of anything Rose. While the truffles were scrumptious, I was a bit disappointed in their marketing. For in the brochure is CLEARLY stated that we would receive a TRIO of truffles, and last time I checked a trio did not mean two measly little truffles in a tiny white box. Fortunately I was tipsy enough to be thrilled with my measly little DUO so I did not complain.

All chocolated and fizzied up, Jen and I rejoined the group. Well, a much smaller group. “Where were the rest THIS time?” you may ask, and I think by now you know what the answer is:
They were in another stupid restaurant. In a line a mile long. Getting pretzels.
At this point you might think “a pretzel sounds great right about now” and while I feel that is total blasphemy at the Food and Wine fest, I was totally on board with that. Lionel and I found a much shorter line at a little kiosk to the side of the restaurant and commenced to drool over the case in which our destiny lied. Oh, sweet bready pretzel, you will be drizzled with hot mustard and greedily eaten. You will soak up the ridiculous amount of alcohol in my belly and make me feel anew. You will…..
For the love of all that is mighty, why is this line moving so slow???

Oh, right. That would be the family in front of us who, when faced with the choice of beer or pretzel, CANNOT DECIDE WHAT THEY WANT.

The good news is, we still made it back to geek central (read: bench in front of the Germany pavilion) long before our comrades made it out of the restaurant.
Oh wait, that isn’t such good news.

After thirty minutes of waiting, the rest of us geeks were getting very restless, for if you sit too long then the alcohol starts to make you sleepy and then you start acknowledging crazy ideas like maybe we don’t really need to eat or drink anything else because we’re tired. Yeah, like that’s logical.
Lionel ran into the restaurant like a trooper and informed our fellow chickens that we were moving on and they were either with us, or would have to find us in the drunken crowd.

Now here’s something funny that will instantly brand us as Floridians: as night was falling, we started to look at one another and say silly things like “it’s kind of chilly, don’t you think?” Maybe it was just the alcohol shivers talking, but I was starting to regret not having packed a sweater. I excused myself on a little side trip to what I will call SILLY INTERNATIONAL BOOTH. What kind of sweatshirts do they sell at silly international booth? I had my choice of Italia, or Norway.
Wow. Way to latch on to the cold Floridian market, Epcot. I think I can find something better to spend $60 on, thank you very much. Plus, shivering is designed to warm you up.

So is booze! Woohoo!

Next: Australia, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, and I finally explain the Gloria Gaynor reference.
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Old 11-08-2006, 07:59 PM   #25
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Bring me your tired, your cold, your tipsy geeks.

Next stop: Australia!
It was shrimp on the Barbie for Lionel, nothing for me. I was, however, tempted by the Macadamia Nut Tartlet but that was mostly because I like saying “tartlet”. Anything instantly sounds smaller if you add “let” to the end. Try it!

South Africa was next, and this is where we finally met up with our fellow travelers. I was excited to see that they were offering a Melktert! Here is the story of the Melktart. Yes, in case it is not painfully obvious by now I will let you in on a little secret: I have a story for everything.

It was a cold November, 1997-ish, and I was in Edinburgh feeling homesick. What do Americans do when they feel homesick? They force everyone to celebrate their national holidays! I decided I was going to make a turkey for my flatmates, to which they added “oh yeah, well we’re making mulled wine then” to which a few other friends added “oh yeah, well we’re bringing something native to our own countries” to which my diabolical mind rubbed it’s hands together and hissed “eeeeeexcellent”.

My South African friend brought what I thought was called a Milk Tart. I could not accurately call it a tartlet as it was in a giant pan the size of our living area. I gorged myself on the tart and mulled wine and had a terrible hangover the next morning. Sound familiar, or have you not been reading?

What I ended up with at the South African booth could definitely been called a melktert-let, because it was roughly the size of a half-dollar. But it was full of rich milky goodness and I think it was well worth the asking price of $1.50.
One could say it was the bargain of the F&W.

Lionel got the Durban Spiced Chicken on Sugarcane at the recommendation of a couple we met way back in France (I love going to Epcot, my stories sound so much more fascinating….”oh, this couple we met one year in FRANCE blah blah blah) and he said that while it was indeed tasty it did not live up to the hype.

Onward.

What do I see but the Thailand booth? Oooh, oooh, remember a few chapters back when I had to decide between curries? Well here was the winner! Sweet! I was drooling at the sound of the accompanying jasmine rice with lemongrass when I heard the words that still break my heart:
“I’m sorry ma’am, we are out of curry.”

Did he just call me ma’am?
Worse, how does a booth just RUN OUT of food? At Disney? Inconceivable!

I sulked away from the booth and did what anyone would have done: grab some ice cream and drow my sorrows in a frou frou drink.
Yep. I went to China.

Thailand, you can just step off, because I’m going to the mainland. Yes, I know they don’t have any curry either, but they do have a drink I still have a hard time saying without rolling my eyes. Let me try again.
GREEN TEA PLUM WINE COOLER.
Dude. I’m at the Food and Wine Fest, and I’m drinking a wine cooler. Awesome.

The caramel ginger ice cream was lovely, and the drink was certainly interesting, but they lacked a certain quality I was seeking on that brisk Florida evening, and that it a quality that I like to call “warm.” I managed about half of each before I was unable to shove the spoon between my rapidly clacking teeth.

Our party was growing weary as we rounded the corner and headed in the direction of the five remaining booths. Nothing sounded good anymore. Ligonberry mousse? No. Semolina Con Leche? Gross. Conga Juice? What?
We passed the booths one at a time and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the fatigue talking, or if everything was just completely unappealing on this side of the park.

The last booth we passed made us all snort:
WILD AND WONDERFUL FLORIDA SHRIMP.
This is a booth?

Yes, indeed, you could have your Florida shrimp with one of two wild and wonderful toppings: mango salsa (which always makes me think of that Geico commercial with the cavemen), or ginger and lime.
Whoa, there. Don’t get too wild on me!

The geeks silently piled out of the park, full and sleepy, and drove back to casa del Erica and Lionel where you would THINK they would not want any more food or drink.
You, dear reader, underestimate the power of the geek.

Out came the beer and leftover pizza.

Last edited by zweihund; 11-09-2006 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:17 PM   #26
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One last thing.

You would think that Gloria Gaynor would make for some fascinating story follder but apparently not, for I have not been able to work her in anywhere. Truth be told, we never heard nor saw her, as we passed the American pavillion before she went on.

While I had high hopes of rocking out to "I Will Survive" while scarfing down some blackberry cobbler, the USA side of me was not feeling it for neither of those things actually happened.

I was however inspired to look at the list of all of the other acts who would be gracing the same stage that Bjorn Again had played on a few months back (and really.....how could you follow an act like that?). Here are a few, with commentary.

Survivor
Wow. Eye of the Tiger. Not much else to say about that.

Starship, featuring Mickey Thomas
Who the h-e-double hockeysticks is Mickey Thomas? I wondered if Grace Slick was kicking herself for losing the opportunity to one day get free admission to Epcot.

Loverboy
This just gets better and better.

Little Richard
He's still alive?

The Beach Boys
This one fascinated me the most. I mean, everyone else you can put on the has-been list but the Beach Boys? I thought they were an eternal beachy classic. Maybe they were there for the cool weather.

The list goes on, but it makes me sad. Not as sad as the time I went to a local bar on 80's night and someone suddenly announced that we should "give it up" for FLOCK OF SEAGULLS.
Only then did I notice all of the synthesizers. There was nothing left to do but shake our heads and leave.

I guess Gloria provided good fodder after all?

Hope you enjoyed the review!
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:54 PM   #27
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Quote:
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It was a cold November, 2007-ish,
Cool, you just went back to the future.
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Old 11-09-2006, 12:42 PM   #28
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Cool, you just went back to the future.


That should, uh, read 1997.
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Old 11-09-2006, 12:45 PM   #29
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By the way, you forgot to mention Three Dog Night (who I wanted to see) and the Four Tops. Do you think the event planners pick artists who have easily recognizable names but a small fan base?

You should try that Plum Tea Wine Cooler on a warm day - it's a fine drink.

And although I can see a hazy resemblance between your hubby and mine, I don't think either one needs to worry about being mistaken for the other. What it proves is that you and I have great taste in food, booze, vacations, and men.

Thanks for sharing - it was highly enjoyable, as always.

B.
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Old 02-15-2007, 05:29 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by zweihund View Post
I didn't try the pomegranate Kir....I have a love hate relationship with the fruit so I tend to steer clear of it. It DID look interesting though. I don't think any others in our bunch tried it either, but I think from what you have read so far you understand that my crew were not exactly adventerous when it comes to the palate.
Only because i feel the need to defend myself several months later... i DID try the pomegranate Kir....in fact i stole it from Sarg....then Jen and i went back to get a second one. BEST drink ever that trip!
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