Another addition to my Food & Wine series. One this week’s podcast, I spoke about my experience at last year’s Food & Wine Festival. As first timers, my sister and I wanted to try as many dishes as possible. As you can imagine, that led to full stomachs and empty wallets.
Regardless, it was a great time and we got to sample some pretty spectacular food. However, some dishes didn’t quite meet the mark. Here are some dishes that I felt were overrated:
Brazilian Cheese Bread, Brazil Booth
Here’s something that has a bit of a cult following. The Brazilian Cheese Bread sounds like something that would be outstanding, right? It’s cheese… and bread. What could go wrong?
It seems like fans across the Disney blogosphere tend to agree. The dish sounds fantastic and along with the crispy pork belly, the Brazil Booth is one of the more popular spots at the Food & Wine Festival.
So I was obviously excited to try the dish and had it high up on my list. It was good, but I don’t think it was what I expected. Going into the festival, many warned that it wasn’t “filled” with cheese, but rather the cheese was baked into the bread. Fine by me. Just a few months before heading to Disney I dined at BLT Steak in Washington DC. BLT Steak serves complimentary Gruyére Popover bread to each table. The bread is airy and warm, with the consistency of a Yorkshire pudding. The cheese is also baked into the bread, giving it a creamy but salty taste. The Brazilian cheese bread was nowhere as good as the popovers.
So maybe they’d be similar to a cheddar cheese muffin. That’d also be pretty good. Wrong again. The bread was similar to a cheesy bread you’d get from Domino’s. Dense, with very little cheese taste, they left a lot to be desired.
I’m not saying to skip the dish. At $3.75 it’s a fantastic value and can easily be split between two or three people. I’m just saying to tailor your expectations. These are not as good as people make them out to be.
Beijing Roasted Duck in a Steamed Bun with Hoisin Sauce, China Booth
This was such a complete and utter disappointment. I went in with such high hopes. Many will rave about this dish, and maybe they had a better experience, but mine was terrible. Steamed Buns had their 15 seconds of fame up here in New York City. There were a few restaurants that served the bun taco style, filled with tons of Asian-inspired meats and vegetables. So when I heard that the Food & Wine Festival featured a steamed bun with duck (one of my favorites) I just had to get it.
To start, the dish wasn’t overly hot. However, beggers can’t be choosers at a giant food festival. What really turned me off was that it wasn’t overly hot and didn’t taste fresh. In fact, the bun had a gummy texture and had started to harden at the bottom. On top of this, the bun-to-duck ratio was far too overwhelming and the hoisin sauce completely killed any taste of the duck. It was overly salty, which combined with the gummy texture of the bun, made it unappetizing.
It was the only dish I threw away without finishing. I proceeded to order myself a Tipsy Duck in Love to make up for the poor decision.
Pimento Cheese Dip with Pretzel Crisps, Craft Beer Booth
The Craft Beer Booth was immensely popular for two reasons: the beer and its location. Bringing in craft beer from all over Florida, The booth is a beer-lover’s dream. Plus, it’s in the Odyssey Center. If you’ve never been to the Odyssey Center, are feeling nostalgic or like us, have been out in 95+ degree heat all day, this could be a nice way to cool off and enjoy a few beers.
After ordering our beers we saw the Pimento Cheese Dip with Pretzel Crisps on the menu. Okay, we though, this could be fun. We’ll grab a sampler, grab a table and we’ll hang out a little and enjoy some pretzel crisps with pimento cheese dip.
File this under “not what we expected.” With so many culturally infused dishes prepared by fantastic chefs, this pimento cheese was reminiscent of the jarred cheese you receive in gift baskets. On top of this, the pretzel crisps, which appeared to be soft pieces of pretzel bread, were so stale that they were inedible. I get it—they’re pretzel crisps—they’re meant to be crispy, but these were rock hard. Another pet peeve was that they gave you way too much dip for the pretzels. Even if you were going knuckle deep into the dip, you’d still be stuck with leftovers. Give us more stale pretzels!
I doubt anyone is going to be seeking out the pimento dip, nor do I think this will be the reason anyone goes to the Craft Beer Booth, but don’t fall for the trap. After you’ve had a few beers you’ll want something to munch on. Go with the Piggy Wings instead—I’ve heard rave reviews.
Disagree with any of these? Did you have a disappointing dish at Food and Wine? Tell me about it in the comment section below!