Thursday, May 11, 2017

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2017

In between photography sessions at Capture the Bite, we had time to explore the parks. Following our first session on food styling, we headed off to explore the 2017 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival (going on now through May 29).
I loved the topiary’s in 2017. I noticed a lot of faces (ahem Seven Dwarfs) added. I remember back when they didn’t have faces and how it freaked people out the year they first did Snow White’s face! Now nearly all the characters had a full painted on face.

Our group started off at the Urban Farm Eats outdoor kitchen. Although I didn’t order anything from this location, I took a ton of pics of the outdoor garden. We have very limited yard space and I would love to do this to the side of my house. I call this Disney DIY!


The first item I tried was the Spicy Hot Dog from Pineapple Promenade. I have always been a huge fan of the years past Kimchi hot dog and was very excited to give this updated version a try. The hot dog itself was spicy! I found out they are made local but not available to the public for purchase. BOO. Pineapple chutney isn't something that comes to mind as a topping on a dog, but it was surprisingly good. The plantain chips gave it an unexpected crunch. Overall, I liked the hot dog quite a bit.
Moving onto The Berry Basket kitchen, quite a few members from our group ordered the Lamb chop with Quinoa Salad and Blackberry Gastrique. They said it was equally delicious and beautiful.
photo rights: Droolius 
The Field Greens with fresh Strawberries, Blue Cheese, Strawberry Vinaigrette and Spiced Pecans was very popular with the group. A few of my friends said it was the best thing at the festival.
Next up for me was the Chile Relleno de Picadillo: Battered Poblano Pepper filled with Ground Beef covered with Tomato Sauce and Garnished with Queso Fresco and Toasted Almonds at Jardin de Fiestas in Mexico. This was my favorite item of the 2017 festival. The flavors were incredible and it was very filling for the price. I really hope they keep this item on the menu next year!
Time to head over to China! One of my favorite topiary's is the Dragon inside of the China pavilion.
While in China, my fiend Julie from The Little Kitchen made a bee-line for the Peach Bubble (Boba) Tea at Lotus House in China. Meanwhile I was sipping on a Margarita from La Cava – I couldn’t break my Epcot routine.
Going through World Showcase, you find yourself among so many topiary's. This is my favorite festival that Epcot puts on throughout the year. It's beautiful and full of delicious food and drink! Some of my favorite display's are from the Lion King! Hakuna Moscato anyone?

I couldn't wait to get over to The Smokehouse BBQ & Blues in America. The entire menu sounded amazing to me and the one thing that stuck out to me was Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled JalapeƱos. WOW. The day I got home from Capture the Bite, we made an overnight brisket on the Big Green Egg so I could have more burnt ends. This dish was my second favorite of the day. It had a great variety of flavors and textures.
Julius ordered additional items off the menu: The Smoked Pork Ribs with Black Bean and Corn Salad. I am still fascinated at how he made a rib look this beautiful!
photo rights: Droolius 
He also got a Warm Chocolate Cake with Bourbon-Salted Caramel Sauce and Spiced Pecans.
photo rights: Droolius 
Of course we couldn't pass through the world showcase without getting a shot with Beast and Belle. Best movie I've seen in 2017!  
You know how I mentioned how all the characters didn't always have faces? The photo below is from 2014 - Beast had a face yet Belle didn't. Check out the added detail on the 2017 dress, the structure of both of her faces and hair. What a difference 3 years makes (and so does my camera)!!!!
At this point, the time was around 3:30 and we had dinner reservations that night at Trattoria al Forno at Disney's Boardwalk. There was no way I could imagine eating anymore and then a full meal 2 hours later. Perfect chance to walk off food and take additional photo's of the topiary's!



Overall, it was a fantastic afternoon. This blog has helped me break out of my shell. If you were to tell me 5 years ago that I would spend 3 full days and nights at Disney with complete strangers (minus Julius of course), I would have laughed at you. By the end of this day, I knew we all were going to be friends for life!

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