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Rate and Review
Food & Wine Festival
Party for the Senses
FOR THE SENSES
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2004
Rumpler , Le Cellier Steakhouse, Epcot
-- Seared Beef Medallion on Autumn Vegetable Hash with a Mushroom Foam
John Toulze and Sondra Bernstein, the girl and the fig, Sonoma County, California
--Sonoma County Liberty Duck Cassoulet
Andrew Worrall, ESPN Club, Disney's BoardWalk Resort
--Shellfish Escaheche Summer Rolls with Green Tea-Wasabi Cream and Chipotle Ponzu Sauce
Kent, Liberty Tree Tavern, Magic Kingdom
--Sauteed Veal Scalloppine with Boursin Cheese Grits, Truffle Mushroom Ragout and a Port Glaze
Mark Dollard, Concourse Steakhouse, Contemporary Resort
--Polenta Timbale with Grilled Mushrooms and Maytag Blue, Fennel Salad, and Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
Alan Wong, Alan Wong's Restaurant, Hawaii
--Soy Braised Short Ribs with Gingered Shrimp, Ko Choo Jang Sauce
Stephen Gower, Brown Derby Restaurant, Disney-MGM Studios
--Java Braised Short Ribs with Autumn Vegetables and Gremolata
Alan Peters, Banquets, Contemporary Resort
--Seared Tuna on Sour Cream Polenta with Tomato Fondue
Randy Zweiban, Nacional 27, Chicago, Illinois
--Spice Seared Ahi Tuna and Watermelon Ceviche with Spicy Rice Wine Vinaigrette
Art Smith, Auther of "Kitchen Life: Real Food for Real Families -- Even Yours!"
--Roasted Pork Loin with Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Joe Rowland, Catering Operations, Epcot
--International Cheese Selection
Peter Stefani, The Island Room Restaurant at Cedar Cove, Cedar Key, Florida
--Baked Cedar Littleneck Clams Stuffed with Tasso and Leeks, topped with Blue Cheese Bearnaise
Harry McLaughlin and Tom Massey, Disney's Port Orleans - Riverside
--Grilled Paillard of Duck, Chicken Sausage, Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potato with Duck Jus Lie
Seth Kondor, Polynesian Resort
--Chinese Spiced Duck Breast, White Bean Puree, Dried Cherry and Watercress Salad
Mike Reitzler, Yacht Club Galley, Yacht and Beach Club Resort
--Lobster and Potato Pierogi with Lobster Sauce and White Truffle Oil
Cat Cora, Host of Food Network's Kitchen Essentials
--Smoked Salmon Rillettes with Tohiko Caviar Bread Crumbs and Wasabi Creme Fraiche
Martin Rios, The Old House, Santa Fe, New Mexico
--Japanese Mushroom Crusted Diver Sea Scallop, Smoked Onion-Meyer Lemon Polenta, Chanterelle and Serrano Ham Stew
Wade Camerer, Cinderella's Royal Table, Magic Kingdom
--Pan-Seared Lamb Medallions with Zinfandel Tomato Jam, Mint and Herb Salad tossed with Gorgonzola Cheese and Roasted Hazelnuts
LaDuke, Executive Chef, Epcot
-- Curried Rock Shrimp with Chili Spiced Oil and Lemon Balm
Monti, Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples, Florida
--Orange Blossom Marshmallow and Passion Cream with Warm Chocolate Sauce and Rice Krispy
Venetian Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada
--Ginger Green Tea Mousse and Poached Pear Sushi
-- Deep Chocolate Sabayon Torte, Agasajo Cordial, Orange Espresso Biscotti, Pomegranate Glaze and Cumin Banana Cream
Mark Williams, Brown Foreman Corporation
--Dolce D'Amarula Fantasia Cheesecake
Culinard: The Culinary Institute of Virginia College, Birmingham, Alabama
--Fine Champagne Jelly, White Chocolate and Black Truffle Ice Cream, Dark Chocolate Escoffier Biscuit
|The Little Penguin||Casa Lapostolle|
|Cape Classics||Laetitia Vineyard & Winery|
|Niebaum - Coppola||Domaine Carneros|
|Robert Mondavi||Domaine Chandon|
|Graham Beck Wines||Champagne Pommery|
|Matanzas Creek Winery||Lindemans|
|Rosemount Estate||Sapphire Hill Vineyards and Winery|
|Remy Martin Cognac||General Bilimoria|
|Highland Distillers (Macallan)||Concha y Toro|
|Zaca Mesa Winery||Penfolds|
|Sam Adams||Inbev (Stella Artois, Bass, Labatt)|
Debra Martin Koma
Senior Editor, ALL EARS®
Although my friend and colleague, Dotti Saroufim, has already reviewed this year's Party for the Senses event (click HERE to read her report), I thought I'd offer a few additional comments on the Party I attended, just a week after her.
On October 9, 2004, we attended the Party for the Senses, which featured an almost completely different slate of chefs, foods, desserts and wines, from that of the previous week.
We arrived at the World Showplace early, around 6 p.m., foregoing our private seating area for the evening's Eat to the Beat Concert at the America Gardens Theatre. (Starship was performing and we didn't particularly care to see them -- but we managed to catch them the following day instead.) Shortly after our arrival, we were allowed to enter the lobby area of the Showplace, where our names were checked off and we were given a card for our plate and souvenir wine glass. My son, Alex, who is only 12, was not given a glass, though -- we were told he could pick one up at the end of the event (as if we were going to allow him to drink!).
party of nine included a few guests who had attended the Party a week
earlier, as well as my husband and son, who were first-timers to the Food
& Wine Festival in general. (This was my third consecutive year --
do you think I'm hooked?) We were able to snag a large enough table to
accommodate all of us, but unfortunately it was situated right in front
of the band, Rock of Asia. While we all agreed
that we enjoyed their music very much, we found it really too loud to
hold much conversation. Luckily, there was plenty to eat and drink, so
that we didn't have to talk too much!
As in the past two years, we were able to wander around the Showplace to sample whatever foods and wines intrigued us, as often as we wanted. After surveying the new color-coded programs, I was able to hit most of the areas that interested me, and I was happy to see my son doing the same. In fact, he had a fabulous time at the Party for the Senses, trying foods I never thought he'd be interested in. In fact, I'm sure if I had made some of these same dishes, he would have turned up his nose.
food was just as amazing as last year, I'm happy to report. And surprisingly,
many of my favorites were prepared not by the chefs who came from farflung
lands (there were chefs from New Mexico, California, even Hawaii). No,
some of the most interesting tastes were created by some of Disney's own
chefs. Among my favorites:
-- The Seared Beef Medallion on Autumn Vegetable Hash with a Mushroom Foam by Christian Rumpler of Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot. The beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a slightly horse-radishy sauce that was outstanding.
-- The Lobster and Potato Pierogi with Lobster Sauce and White Truffle Oil by Mike Reitzler, of the Yacht Club Galley. It was good on our first taste, it was better on the second, and by the time we went back for thirds we were calling it superb! As I joked with Chef Mike, it sure wasn't the pierogi my Polish grandmother made for me! (And that is one of the most wonderful things about the Party for the Senses -- the chance to chat with the chefs and watch them up close as they work. It's a very relaxed atmosphere, very conducive to interchange.)
-- The Polenta Timbale with Grilled Mushrooms and Maytag Blue, Fennel Salad, and Roasted Red Pepper Aioli by Mark Dollard, Concourse Steakhouse, Contemporary Resort. I had three servings of this, too, and I must admit it was my favorite dish of the night. The sharpness of the blue cheese was mellowed by the earthiness of the mushrooms, and it was all perfectly accented with the crunchy fennel that accompanied it -- completely vegetarian, too, Chef Mark assured me. I haven't been to the Concourse Steakhouse for a while, but if I hear they've put this on the regular menu I'll give that restaurant another try.
one outstanding dish I tried that was from a non-Disney chef was the Japanese
Mushroom Crusted Diver Sea Scallop, Smoked Onion-Meyer Lemon Polenta,
Chanterelle and Serrano Ham Stew by Martin Rios from The Old House in
Santa Fe, New Mexico. The plump scallop was bursting with flavor, resting
on a bed of creamy polenta -- I wish I had the recipe.
All of this is not to say that the other dishes were less wonderful. In fact, according to my husband, the shellfish lover, the clams -- Baked Cedar Littleneck Clams Stuffed with Tasso and Leeks, topped with Blue Cheese Bearnaise by Peter Stefani, The Island Room Restaurant at Cedar Cove, Cedar Key, Florida, to be precise -- were to die for. The flavor of the tasso ham combined with the ocean freshness of the clams and, as he put it, "exploded in your head." And my son raved, not only about the lobster pierogi, but both of the Ahi Tuna dishes served. We also did some serious damage to the cheese table, discovering several new and interesting (to us, at least) brands, most notably the very runny, and very good, Brillat Savarin Affinee.
Not surprisingly, there were some standout wines, and other adult beverages, to go along with the outstanding cuisine. There were representative labels from all over the globe. The newly introduced Little Penguin wines from Australia were real winners, as were the wines from General Bilimoria in South Africa, whose representative told us this evening was the first time the wines were being poured in Florida. It was worth the wait -- their Shiraz-Pinotage was terrific, with the shiraz lending just the right amount of mellowness to the smoky pinotage. California wines were there in abundance, too, with the new Laetitia Vineyard showcasing some exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and the always reliable Niebaum-Coppola presenting a just so-so syrah, but a truly memorable Diamond Claret. Beyond that, there were champagnes (Domaine Chandon and Domaine Carneros), beer (Sam Adams), cognac (Remy Martin even had Red Strawberry Kiwi and Red Grape Infusion varieties!) and single malt scotch (I couldn't tear my husband away from the Macallan's 15-year-old Fine Oak).
course, one can't neglect the desserts, always an eye-popping table at
this event. There was the
unusual (Chef Antony Osborne's Champagne Jelly, White Chocolate and Black
Truffle Ice Cream and Las Vegas Chef Long Nguyen's Ginger Green Tea Mousse
and Poached Pear Sushi), as well as spruced up versions of cheesecake
and biscotti, and a range of sweet treats in between.
All of this was accompanied by the dreamy World Music stylings of the aforementioned Rock of Asia, and intermittent performances by artists from Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba, who also strolled (or bicycled!) through the crowd, posing for photos. (I missed the Living Fountain, though, who performed at this event two years ago -- she was truly awesome, and I'd love to see her again!)
The only negative of the whole evening came as we were about to exit the
Party. When we inquired about my son's souvenir wine glass (remember,
they wouldn't give it to us when we entered since he is a minor), they
told us they were out of glasses! I was a little annoyed -- after all,
we'd paid full price for his admission, surely they should have had enough
glasses for every paying customer... but really, that was the ONLY negative
of the whole evening.
So, did we all feel that the Party for the Senses was worth $95 each? Absolutely. For the variety of food, drink and entertainment, all squeezed in to 2 1/2 hours, it's one of the best values I've experienced at a Disney event. Will we go again? Well, my son has already lobbied for a seat at next year's Party for the Senses, so I guess the answer is YES!
Author's Postscript Note: Upon returning home, I wrote a letter to Walt Disney World management, expressing my disappointment at not receiving the souvenir wine glass. Epcot's Food & Beverage Manager called me the other day to discuss what had happened and assured me that I would be receiving a package with the glass very soon. Very nice customer service!
by Alex Koma
ALL EARS® Guest Columnist
(This is an excerpt of an article that ran in
ALL EARS® on October 19, 2004 Issue #265)
Out of the three special Food & Wine Festival events that I did this year, this was the best one. I think even younger kids would enjoy it -- in fact, I saw lots of kids there who were much younger than me. The best part of this event is that it is not structured -- you could get up from your table to get more food whenever you wanted.
And the food was wonderful! I chose to try almost everything, but even for little kids or picky eaters, there was a lot to try. There was some simpler stuff, like pork with apple and beef medallions that weren't so fancy, plus a huge bread and cheese table. And there were LOTS of desserts. I think most kids could find something to eat there.
This was not boring at all, either, like some of the other events. It was totally fun! There was plenty of entertainment -- a band and performers from Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba. It was a very cool atmosphere.
The servers at the Party for the Senses were happy to accommodate me, too. They gave me soda, and refilled it often, even more than I needed. The only bad thing, and it was just a very little thing, is you would not believe how unaccustomed some chefs were to seeing a kid! Most were very nice, like the chef at the lobster pierogie station who said, "Hi, you're back again!" Others just said, "Here you go, sir -- Enjoy!" But some gave me funny looks and made me feel uncomfortable, like they were surprised to see someone young there.
I enjoyed the Party for the Senses a lot. I hope my mom and dad take me
there again next year!