October 2014 Trip Report – HHN Nights And Food & Wine Days – Day 8
This was our last day to spend together at the food and wine festival. Eating and more eating along with drinking and more drinking as we finished off the Food & Wine festival booths and VIP locations.
We entered the park at 11am as the festival began and made our way to the Odyssey building where we would enjoy our first couple of rounds of debauchery. It was nice to see in the past year or so them use that building for something, and it was one of the locations for the festival in my own opinion. They offered a snack or trail mix with every purchase and it was so good. It was fresh made and it included wasabi peas for a nice zing. Another fine option here was the spicy pimento cheese dip and crackers. This was so good, we got some extra to take back to the room for a snack. There were also some delicious muffilletta pinwheels with house made pickles. Not sure what it was but those pickles were so worth it. We of course needed some beverages to wash down all that spicy food with. Being the craft beers location there was an easy solution to that problem. There were two different flights available, each having four beers. I happen to have a soft spot for the Purple Haze offered here and my other favorite was the Wild Hare Pale ale, both were fantastic. From this location we were also able to order from a couple of other booths. From Australia we ordered the Garlic Shrimp and an Original Pale Ale. Both were very good, but on the weaker side of the festival options this year we thought. My parents had also tried a Riesling, Chateau Tanuda Grand Barossa, which wasn’t sweet enough for their taste. From Mexico we got a tequila flight since the food options weren’t tempting us.
As we moved on to the next location the sky just opened up on us, much like the rest of the vacation unfortunately. After we ordered from the next location, they told us to go back into the Odysee and they would bring our food there for us. This was so nice of them to do that for us, it was so worth the wait. From the Farm Fresh booth we ordered the peppered bacon hash with sweet corn and a beer flight. The hash had a nice bite to it and really impressed me. It was like nothing I had ever had before and really tasty. The beer flight, not to anyone’s surprise, we loved as well. The Florida Cracker, Belgian-style White Ale was a stand out. Not sure what it is about Pot Stickers I like so much but I always get those from the China booth along with a Kung Fu Punch, a fruity vodka and triple sec blend. I find myself impressed with the South Korean booth every year. Something about those kimichi dogs and pork lettuce wraps that is so different from pretty much everything else. I wish I had the fortune to have a local place where I could eat that sort of food more often. It has a hot mustard bite to it that I find just right. If you find yourself at the festival, do yourself a favor and give both those options a try. Hope they continue to bring them back every year.
Being in the vicinity of Maelstrom and given it was two days before its closing we pulled up the Disney World app and were able to secure fast passes for ten minutes ahead. If anyone still really wonders why Maelstrom had to close, that is why. Yes it may have been busy on the final day of operation with everyone there to see it, but any other day, including two days before its demise, the attraction just didn’t get the attendance it needed to fight off a frozen overlay. It was nice to be able to take a final voyage, it will be missed.
At our next premium location we had already eaten quite a bit so took it easy here on the food. A Brat in a pretzel road from Germany was the only food item we ordered. Of course we made up for it in beverages. Two flights from the brewers collection were fantastic. Shofferhofer Grapefruit and the Altenmunster Oktoberfest were stand outs for me, but there are no losers here. The Shofferhofer can actually be had all year round, but it is so good you need to get it at the festival as well. From Singapore we enjoyed a Singapore Sling. It is a fruity gin beverage that could easily get you in trouble. One of those drinks you are not tasting the alcohol at all.
Our next and final stop on our whirlwind tour around the International Food & Wine Festival was upon us. To some degree a disappointing way to rap it up as the food items just weren’t up to par here. The Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi from Poland was just ok as was its beer sharing the name Okocim O.K. Beer. Advertisers everywhere pay attention. Don’t name your product O.K. The Italian options were also disappointing, but I find them to be every year so no shock there. We had the ravioli and the cannoli and the latter was actually disappointing rather than mediocre. Fortunately the Hops & Barley booth saved the location with its Sam Adams beers. I am fortunate to be a local to these fine beverages and there is no reason to not enjoy them on vacation either. They also had a Rogue chocolate stout that was pretty good as well. Drink up me hearties yo ho. My dad did go ahead and try the lobster tail which he did enjoy, but I was done, I needed to save room for our final dinner.
After a much needed rest, we took a stroll over for a late dinner to the Swan hotel at a truly hidden gem of the WDW resort. Il Mulino is by far the best Italian restaurant on property and why it never gets the recognition it deserves is fine by me, because it makes it that much easier for me to enjoy it at my leisure rather than scheduling it 6 months ahead of time. More importantly I was going to be able to show my parents this place where they have never had the great fortune to have a meal at.
Once seated we began looking the menus over and I assured my dad I knew what he should have for his beverage. Il Mulino’s Italian Margarita is perfection in a glass. I taste Desarrno in there but not sure what else makes it different from a normal margarita but it is so much more flavor and no after taste associated with cheap tequila. While ordering our drinks we also put in for an order of the Insaccati Mistiil which is a fancy name for a meat and cheese plate. It was wonderful along with our beverages and really hit the spot as we awaited our main entrees. My dad only eats veal parm at any restaurant, but I knew at least here it would be incredible. The veal is tender and pounded to the size of the full dinner plate, covered in mozzarella and marinara and it definitely got my dads approval. I also ordered veal, but something a little more exotic. The Costoletta Di Vitello Milanese (Thinly Pounded Veal Chop, Lightly Breaded and Pan Fried, topped with Arugula, Tomatoes and Red Onion) was absolutely amazing and the perfect way to wrap up my final WDW day with my folks. I wish I could remember what my mom had but I know she loved it. We were all to full for dessert but not too full to enjoy the complimentary home made Limoncello aperitif. The only thing better than limoncello, home made limoncello.
With that, we called it a night after a long and wonderful day. Tomorrow was another long day where I would head back to Universal property for one last solo hurrah for a couple of tours and a night at Halloween Horror Nights.
|Day 10 – Summary|