At this point I’ve tried 65 different items from this year’s Food & Wine Festival, so I feel it’s time to rank the year’s best and worst dishes. There are still a handful of items that I’m still planning on trying for the first time. But most of these items are things I’ve been waiting for cooler weather before trying… and who knows if the weather will ever get cooler. I really don’t want to wait until November to publish these lists, as then they will be of no use to anybody.
I’ve decided to list 9 items in the worst category. I’ve settled on this number because I feel that is how many items separated themselves in terms of their offensiveness.
I’ll try to point out any instances where I feel like the item is objectively good, and just not meant for my palate.
Let’s start with the Worst, starting at #8 (8th worst).
#9 – Guinness Baileys Shake (Ireland)
This is one of those items that a huge Guinness fan would probably enjoy. To me it carries over the worst aspects of Guinness, without any of the good. I don’t taste the Guinness at all when it goes down, but I still get the unpleasant bitter aftertaste.
#8 – Fast Lane (Joffrey’s Future World East)
This seemed like a no-brainer. Take a delicous frozen cappuccino and add Brown Jug Bourbon Cream, which I know to be a tasty spirit. Well, they forgot the “delicious” frozen cappuccino part. The cappuccino is very bland, and in a strange twist, isn’t very cold. How something frozen can be lacking in the cold department, I have no clue.
#7 – New Brunswick Slider (Hops & Barley)
This is one of the items that will probably vary wildly. The one I got had brisket that was bone dry… almost jerky-like. It was quite the ordeal just to chew and swallow it. If you get one that has tender, juicy brisket, it will probably be quite tasty.
#6 – Apple Strudel (Germany)
How do you mess up apple strudel? Cook up some apples with absolutely nothing added to them. Put them inside of a hard, dry crust. Top with completely bland “vanilla” sauce. Voila! You’ve made apple strudel taste bad!
#5 – Beef Brisket Poutine (Refreshment Port)
I absolutely love real poutine. I even quite like the version served up at Daily Poutine at Disney Springs. I also love beef brisket. But this “poutine” was foul. The fries were okay. But the “cheese” sauce was disgusting and gelatinous, and the brisket was 90% fat.
#4 – Lump Crab Cake (Coastal Eats)
Right up front I will admit that I’m a crab cake snob. I go to Baltimore fairly often on business, and have sampled some of the finest crab cakes known to man. But this crab cake is worse than one you would get somewhere like Ruby Tuesday’s. It certainly isn’t made with lump crab. Avoid at all costs.
#2 (Tie) – Phosphorescent Phreeze (Light Lab)
#2 (Tie) – Phosphorescent Phlight (Light Lab)
Both of these items are basically the same. I mean, they are supposedly different flavors, but to me they are all the same flavor: Sickeningly sweet. The beaker and glow cubes are cool I guess, but the drinks are certainly not.
#1 – Teriyaki Chicken Bun (Japan)
One of the most highly reviewed items of the Festival from the internet in general is this bun from Japan. So I freely admit this is an issue with my palate, and not necessarily an issue with this dish. But I took one bite of this and was done. It tasted overwhelmingly of ginger. I don’t mind ginger as an accent flavor, but this tasted like I was chewing raw ginger root. If you like ginger, go ahead and get this. If you lean towards being ginger-averse, this may end up being your least favorite item of the festival as well.
There you have it, the items I most recommend avoiding (in most cases) at this year’s festival. Stay tuned tomorrow for a much tastier list: the best items of the festival.