Fooding and Wining 2019

This past weekend kicked off the 2019 edition of the Food & Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure.  As with every year, there is a large selection of specialty foods across a variety of booths comprising the "Festival Marketplace," and it's a treat to sample the different items season.  This year's Food & Wine seemed to take a bit of a step back, with more repeats and slight variation repeats than in past years, and less overall oomph than in prior festivals.  But there were still some hits among the various items that I sampled.  Take a culinary tour through just a small part of this year's Food & Wine Festival offerings, and try the Disney tapas yourself on your next visit!  The event runs now through Tuesday, April 23!

The Food & Wine Festival is back at DCA this year, and as usual, there are a lot of foods to try!

At Citrus Grove, the Citrus-brined Pork Roast with tangy Barbecue Sauce and Lemon Pepper Slaw was one of my favorites.  Great flavor (I love coleslaw; those who don't won't be as high on this) and tender pork roast with a tangy citrus taste made for a winner.

Also at Citrus Grove, the Meyer Lemon Ginger Mule with Lemon Garnish is back and delicious as ever!

At the California Craft Brews booth, the Pepperoni Pizza Egg Rolls with Marinara and Pesto Sauce takes a page out of a similar dish from Tokyo Disneyland's Toontown.  It's almost as good as the inspiration, which means it's still pretty darn good, and a top five for me.

At Peppers Cali-Ente, the Ghost Pepper Mac and Cheese with Chili Cheese Corn Chip Dust was not spicy at all (should be called the Hot Fritos Mac and Cheese), but as a mac 'n' cheese dish, it was very flavorful and actually one of the better such dishes Food & Wine has produced over recent years!

I really enjoyed the Petite Impossible™ Burger with Guac and Pepper Jack Cheese at the Avocado Time booth.  This has been hit or miss among friends, and I think it depends on whether it's relatively freshly made and warm when you get it, or if it's been sitting a while.  I got it pretty warm and though the patty did taste and feel pretty much like meat, even though it's plant-based!

One of last year's favorite, the Fried Artichokes with Blue Diamond® Almond Lemon Aïoli, has a different sauce pairing vs last year's marinara combo, and it suffers greatly.  The artichokes themselves were bland in addition to their sauce, and this was the most disappointing dish for me.

At the Garlic Kissed booth, the Black Garlic Soy-braised Pork Belly Banh Mi is back for another year, and it is just as scrumptious as last year.  This was my overall favorite of the day, and its deep umami flavor and tender pork meat are balanced perfectly with the picked daikon and carrots.  The jalapeño brings just a touch of heat to the whole selection.

Off the Cob features another favorite from last year, the Esquites Sweet Corn Nuggets with Bacon Lardons.  I liked it better with the chili topping last year, and the breading seemed less crispy this year and more hard doughy, so this proved to be a bit of a letdown as well.  It's still good--the sweet corn gives it a nice taste, and the bacon balances a nice saltiness.  But it wasn't as good as last year's version.

The Golden Dreams booth has a  Deconstructed Teriyaki Chicken Musubi with Pineapple Relish that I really enjoyed.  It's not really anything too fancy, and one could probably get something similar any any establishment that serves teriyaki.  But all together, the flavors were a nice balance of savory and tangy, with the pineapple relish being not too tart.  The serving was also larger than I expected.

I didn't try the Yippee! Mickey's Cotton Candy Soda (Non-Alcoholic with Sprite®, Cotton Candy Premium Syrup, half-rimmed Butter Cream with Mickey Sprinkles and Pineapple Cotton Candy Garnish) at the Golden Dreams booth, but it definitely looked pretty interesting and a little exotic!

At L.A. Style, the  Asian-style Beef Barbacoa Taco with Pickled Ginger was a little dry where the meat was concerned but salvaged by the picked ginger.  I do wish more of the barbacoa drippings made their way into the taco, but flavor-wise, this was pretty fantastic!

                The BLT Chicharrón Duro with Ranch Crema, also at L.A. Style, was unfortunately not my cup of tea.  The flavors kind of worked together, but as a cold dish, this felt odd.  I also wish the lettuce hadn't been plain iceberg lettuce and instead something with a little more flavor.  Even Romaine would have done the trick, or perhaps arugula for a fusion blend.

The Paradise Garden Grill has a full size menu of specialty eats, but guests can get smaller, tapas-sized portions as well.  The Impossible™ No "Meat" Ball Submarine with Marinara Sauce topped with Soy Cheese and served with Kettle Chips can be found here.

There's also a Beer-battered Cod with Steak Fries and Spiced Rémoulade at the Garden Grill.

The full-sized version of the Buffalo-style Roasted Turkey Leg with Celery Slaw and Crumbled Blue Cheese is absolutely massive, and I question what type of genetically modified or radioactively grown turkeys were used to make this dish!


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