In the days leading up to my first visit to each Food and Wine Festival, I pore over the marketplace menus, deciding which dishes are first day must-dos. Every year, my eyes are bigger than my stomach, and I end up with a list of about 20 items to try that first day. Then I begin the extremely difficult process of culling the list down to about 10-12 items, which is usually doable between the wife and I. So what you’ll see below are the items I was most excited about. Some are exciting new dishes. Some are returning favorites. Do they all live up to my expectations? Read on to find out!
We pretty much always make a clockwise lap around the World Showcase on day 1 of the Festival, and today was no exception. This means that Islands of the Caribbean would be our first booth of 2018!
Initially, I had planned on ordering just the Quesito today. I’m a sucker for guava, and the other items seemed uninspired. I usually skip the empanada every year, and have never had reason to regret it. However, coming out of day 1 of this year’s festival(I attended day 2), the empanada was getting some good reviews. So I added that to my order.
Ropa Vieja Empanada
I am SOOO glad I listened to the first day feedback, as this was delicious! Hot, flaky, and filled with delicious beef. This ended up being one of my favorite items of the festival!
Score: 8.5 out of 10
This was pretty tasty, but I wish the guava flavor was stronger.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Next on the agenda was Greece. This has been one of my least favorite booths ever since they got rid of the Griddled Cheese with pistachios. Bring it back Disney!
Am I the only one that thinks the Greece booth looks kinda like an igloo? Anyway, we were here for another dessert, as the Bougatsa got rave reviews on day 1.
This was quite possibly the hottest thing I have ever put in my mouth. The menu says it’s filled with vanilla custard, but I’m pretty sure it was filled with molten lava.
After waiting approximately 40 minutes for it to cool, I dug in. It was impossibly flaky, but kind of bland. I didn’t taste any of the lemon honey syrup, and that flavor was sorely missing. It was still decent, and the texture was perfect.
Score: 7.0 out of 10
Next up was Mexico. This is usually one of my favorite booths, and one of my wife’s least favorite.
Two items here caught my eye, and much to my surprise, my wife wanted a third item!
Short Rib Tostada
This was another home run. That salsa verde was delicious! If you typically like salsa verde you may want to ask for extra.
Score: 9.0 out of 10!
This quesadilla tastes as boring as it looks. It has very little cheese flavor. It tastes like a limp tortilla with a few microwaved shrimp in it. Not bad necessarily, but it should cost about $1.99!
Score: 6.0 out of 10
Coconut Rice Pudding
This rice pudding has a nice sweet flavor, but not even a hint of coconut. The rice probably should have been cooked longer, as well.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
Thus concludes Part 1 (of 3) of our first day at this year’s International Food & Wine Festival. Part 2 will include items from Thailand, China, Almond Orchard, and Flavors from Fire.