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Old 01-13-2009, 06:11 PM   #1
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Sans Friends - International Food & Wine Festival

Preamble
Flight and first evening at the BoardWalk
Mall at Millenia and International Food & Wine Festival
Magic Kingdom, The Wave, Epcot and ESPN Club
Hollywood Studios and Tommy Bahama's Tropical Cafe

Thursday, 6th November

The original plan for today was to head for Future World for rope drop before moving on to World Showcase for the Food & Wine Festival. Now we’re actually here in Orlando, though, it seems more sensible to have a slow start and conserve energy for the main event – we don’t want to risk running out of steam before we’ve done justice to everything the festival has to offer.

Although it’s still dark when we rise, it’s apparent that it’s a clear morning. Matt is keen to take some photos as the sun rises over the BoardWalk and whilst he’s off doing his Ansel Adams impersonation, I potter [(pŏt'ər) verb do random, unplanned work or activities or spend time idly].



















Matt returns from his excursion predicting a glorious day and suggests that we spend some time sitting on the BoardWalk with a coffee and a pastry. It sounds like a plan, but by the time we get down there at around 9:45am, we’re concerned that we may spoil our appetites for what’s to come.

The intention today is to circumnavigate the Lagoon in a clockwise direction starting at World Showcase Plaza. There’s no point rushing to Epcot as it’s over an hour until the event gets underway and our lingering pace turns to loitering as we enter via the International Gateway and proceed through UK and Canada.











Number 1 on the map is Reims, Champagne (designated as being in Continental Europe, albeit last time I looked it was confined entirely within a very small region of France). Still, I can think of no better place to begin our culinary adventure than with a glass of champers, so I’m not about to become overly pedantic. Whoever planned this affair clearly knows what makes a party, even if they’re more than a bit vague in defining the location. [Of course I jest, but I am completely baffled that Reims, Champagne is represented by Moët et Chandon which is in the Épernay region of Champagne. I would genuinely love to know how that gaffe came about.]



Despite our dilly-dallying, we still have half an hour to kill before it all kicks off. We sit and people watch, although unsurprisingly that’s a bit of a redundant sport as most people haven't made it past Soarin' at this time of the morning, and the time does start to drag a bit. To relieve the boredom, I recklessly purchase the “Fall Special” coffee from the cart nearby. As I watch the sickly sounding Monin apple caramel flavouring being poured in, I can’t help feeling I should have paid more attention to the description rather than being sucked in by the pictorial representation. I experience a momentary pang of disappointment as I realise that my whipped cream isn’t going to be drizzled with lashings of caramel and adorned with a slice of apple as depicted in the photo. In spite of my reservations, though, it’s surprisingly nice. Even Matt likes it.

Continued below.
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:13 PM   #2
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We try, unconvincingly, not to appear too eager as the CM prepares to open the Moët et Chandon booth. [WARNING! Pompous git alert. Those of a nervous dispostion should look away now. Moët, contrary to popular misconception, is pronounced mo-wett, not mow-ay.] I opt for the Nectar Impérial, whilst Matt goes for the Nectar Impérial Rosé. They’re both demi-sec, so quite sweet and, as the name suggests, very smooth.









We forego the offerings of Santiago, Chile, but succumb to the Argentinian meat-fest of Buenos Aires and order both the Beef and Corn Pie and the Grilled Beef with Chimichurri Sauce. The first is two lumps of beef (a tad tough, but okay) in a sweetcorn omelette. I prefer the second dish which is basically medium rare beef and mash.







We disregard The Mouse Catch (cheese selections), Mexico City, Mexico and Barcelona, Spain, stopping next at Vienna, Austria for two more beef dishes.









The Goulash is tasty and the beef in the Tafelspitz is beautifully soft, but they’ve been a bit too conservative with the horseradish in the sauce and it’s barely discernable.





We’ve both worked up a thirst now and next up is China where the Mango-Gingerita is calling. It’s packed with fresh mango and ginger and quite delicious. Matt orders the Chicken Sha Cha in the style of Craig Revel-Horwood. I’m guessing it’s probably thigh meat and it’s very tasty, but I’m not keen on the slimy skin. The glaze has a familiar taste, but I can’t put my finger on precisely what it is. We find a spot in the shade and Matt procures a Kingfisher whilst I finish the cocktail.







Continued below.
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:14 PM   #3
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We eventually force ourselves to press on. The offerings of New Dehli, India sound nice enough, if a little provincial, and we move on to Cape Town, South Africa and the Bobitie. It doesn’t really resemble the dish of the same name at Boma, but it’s very nice nonetheless and, actually, I think I may prefer it. This is bound with egg, which I don’t remember being in the Boma version, at least not in such quantity, but it is a while since we ate there. And I seem to remember potato being a feature, but this doesn’t have any. I make a mental note to try making it at home.











Again we spend some time here just chilling out. We’re beginning to feel we’ve had our fill now, which is a shame because we’ve not even reached the half way point and we know it’s unlikely we’ll get back here before the festival ends. To try everything we like the sound of, I'm guessing we'd need around four visits. We saunter on, taking note of the fayre we could be sampling.









Upon reaching Italy, I decide I’d like to look around the pavilion. Matt hands me his wallet lest I should see anything I can’t live without and swiftly departs in the direction of Cork, gift card at the ready, for a Guinness. I return to discover that he hasn’t been able to use the card due to problems with the cash register.



Luckily I’ve only been gone moments, so he hasn’t been drinkless for long and we’re soon upon Hops and Barley where he has the Sam Adams Anniversary Special.








Continued below.
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October 1992 ~ Enclave Suites, I-Drive May 1996 ~ Omni Rosen, I-Drive October 1998 ~ Villa-Clear Creek August 2000 ~ Beach Club/Villa-Sunset Lakes July 2001 ~ Animal Kingdom Lodge/Hard Rock Hotel/Villa-Formosa Gdns Christmas 2001 ~ Villa-Formosa Gardens October 2002 ~ Hard Rock Hotel/Villa-Formosa Gdns May 2003 ~ Portofino Bay/Villa-Cumbrian Lakes January 2004 ~ Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes/Villa-Formosa Gardens July 2004 ~ Grand Floridian/Portofino Bay/Villa-Formosa Gardens December 2004 ~ Villa-Rolling Hills/Disney Wonder Cruise/BoardWalk Grand Villa/Contemporary April 2005 ~ Washington DC, Shenandoah, Blue Ridge Parkway, Charleston, Savannah, Royal Pacific Resort/Villa-Acadia Estates January 2006 ~ Reunion Resort/Royal Pacific Resort April 2006 ~ Celebration Hotel/NCL Jewel Cruise/Hotel Victor, Miami/Beach Cottage-Disney's Vero Beach October 2006 ~ Reunion Resort/BoardWalk Villa/Rosen Shingle Creek August 2007 ~ Saratoga Springs//Reunion Grande January 2008 ~ Saratoga Springs/Beach Club Villas/Reunion Resort November 2008 ~ BoardWalk Villas/Royal Pacific Resort/Saratoga Springs March 2011 ~ Celebrity Cruise/Veness Towers, a stone's throw from the Magic Kingdom November 2012 ~ Bay Lake Tower/Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota/Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, Jupiter/Saratoga Springs September 2013 ~ Kidani Village/Saratoga Springs May 2014 ~ Beach Club Villas/Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek/Bay Lake Tower

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Old 01-13-2009, 06:15 PM   #4
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At San Francisco, USA, I sample the Rosenblum Cellars Kathy’s Cuvee Viognier. We share a table with a couple from Winter Gardens and spend a very pleasant 15 minutes or so putting the world to rights.





According to my notes, Tokyo, Japan sees us partaking of the Hana Raspberry Sake and a Kirin Inchiban, although I don't seem to have any photographic evidence.





By the time we reach Louisiana, having meandered on past Welington, New Zealand and Marrakesh, Morocco, we’re feeling sufficiently peckish to re-visit our favourite pairing from Monday evening – the Crayfish Etouffee and Abita Purple Haze beer.















Having been pleasantly quiet thus far, it suddenly gets very busy in this area. The crowd soon disperses, though, and the status quo is resumed.

Feeling that we need to find some shade, we make our way through France and into the square at the rear of the United Kingdom pavilion. The group of ebullient college kids disappears in the time it takes Matt to acquire a Guinness and a glass of Imagine Chardonnay from the Rose & Crown and, as British Invasion isn’t performing today, very few people pass this way. We rest here for a good half hour, chatting about our day.







Even though we’re now totally satiated, we want to complete the circuit, so move on to Canada where we make the snap decision to see the re-vamped O Canada show. It’s definitely worth an outing, but the most moving part is still the end with its familiar music.









As we exit the show, Off Kilter are belting out the Bare Naked Ladies classic, If I Had A Million Dollars (Jellyrolls staple and theme song of many a trip) so we stop for a few minutes to watch.



Feeling tired but happy, we take a slow stroll back to the BoardWalk.





We kick back in the room with the intention of heading out later for a quiet evening at Crew’s Cup Lounge. Days 3 through 6 of any trip, though, invariably see me suffering from bloating. I always put it down to a combination of the flight, the sun and an over-indulgence in food and drink. Tonight it’s particularly bad and I take a couple of PhayZene which normally do the trick, but it gets progressively worse. We end up spending the evening in front of the TV. Had we made the decision to stay in, it wouldn’t be so bad, but I squander several hours intermittently getting ready to go out thinking it will improve. A disappointing end to a wonderful day.

Postscript: Today has been glorious – sun, clear blue skies and temperatures hitting the 80s.

[Festival Booth Menus are taken from the Disboards photo gallery]
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Last edited by UKDEB; 01-14-2009 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:10 PM   #5
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Deb - Matt has done a wonderful job capturing the beauty and stillness of the Boardwalk in the early morning hours "a la Ansel Adams". Give him a big pat on the back from us Dis folks.

What a super day you had. Hope you feel better tomorrow.

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Old 01-14-2009, 12:42 AM   #6
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Another beautifully illustrated, thorough, and yes, pedantic, report. I know you used that word in a self deprecating way, but I don't see it as a pejorative--the teacher in me, I'm sure.

Though the quality of Matt's early morning ambient shots and the close ups of the dishes tried on your food quest are certainly worthy of praise, it's the portraits you took of each other and of the two of you together that I really love. Because most of your readers have seen the places you visited and probably have pictures in their own photo albums taken is the same places as yours, what makes yours so special is that rather than the standard postcard style shot most of us take, you've chosen to show us what a good time you had by placing yourselves in the foreground in lots of your snaps while keeping the World in the background. I think this could be a hallmark of your report style and I like it very much.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SusanEllen View Post
Though the quality of Matt's early morning ambient shots and the close ups of the dishes tried on your food quest are certainly worthy of praise, it's the portraits you took of each other and of the two of you together that I really love. Because most of your readers have seen the places you visited and probably have pictures in their own photo albums taken is the same places as yours, what makes yours so special is that rather than the standard postcard style shot most of us take, you've chosen to show us what a good time you had by placing yourselves in the foreground in lots of your snaps while keeping the World in the background. I think this could be a hallmark of your report style and I like it very much.
It was the fixed focal length lens on the camera that day which dictated the style of shots. For the avoidance of doubt, I took almost all the photos at the event, including those of the food.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nora03 View Post
Deb - Matt has done a wonderful job capturing the beauty and stillness of the Boardwalk in the early morning hours "a la Ansel Adams". Give him a big pat on the back from us Dis folks.
They really are fabulous shots, aren't they? As he says, once the Friendship Boats begin their rounds, those perfect reflections are impossible to achieve.
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:17 AM   #9
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A culinary delight and pictorial master piece.
What lens/ camera settings did you us for the epcot shots?
I love the boardwalk pictures as well.
Some great photo comp. pictures in the making.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:25 AM   #10
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I absolutely love those early morning pictures

And thanks for the detailed Food and Wine festival report, it brings back so many memories

Disappointed to see now Beef Empanada yet though.....
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:27 AM   #11
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Fantastic pics Deb. It sounds like my perfect day - Epcot, food and wine - bliss !!
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:18 AM   #12
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WOW Deb,the pictures Matt took are stunning .The food sounds lovely,such a shame you ended up feeling unwell.x.
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:46 AM   #13
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What lens/ camera settings did you us for the epcot shots?
It's a Sigma 70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro AF and we've been really pleased with the quality of the depth-of-field shots it's turned out. ISO 200 and shutter speeds varying from 1/125 to 1/4000.
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:18 AM   #14
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Great pics
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:12 AM   #15
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For the avoidance of doubt, I took almost all the photos at the event, including those of the food.
Funny thing, I remember a friend, who as recently as a year ago, forbade anyone in our group to take a photo in a restaurant at WDW. Rather clear in her instructions as I recall. Looked a lot like you. I didn't mind much as my MO has always only been to shoot an exceptionally lovely dessert here and there, not like those who get carried away and snap every morsel that goes into their . . . oh, sorry. Your food photos are ALL fabulous, of course, and I'm enjoying every one--on so many levels.
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