A generically titled “Islands of the Caribbean” takes over for the sponsored Dominican Republic Marketplace from last year. This is a particularly pleasant area with some shade and several high-top tables, so you might want to take a hard look at the items available and spend some time relaxing a bit.
The Seared Grouper and Presidente Pilsner return from last year’s Dominican while the three other food items are new.
Jamaican Beef Patty – $4.75
Having walked by the Spicy Jamaican Beef Patty box in the freezer section of the grocery store a couple times a month for years, I thought I had an idea about what to expect from the version offered at the Islands of the Caribbean. But these two bright yellowish green Tamagotchi-shaped pucks were not it. Nonetheless, I thought they had a nice chewy exterior that gave way to some curry notes in the densely packed beef inside. They are pretty shareable with two individual pieces and a reasonable value for the money, though I don’t think I would wait in a long line specifically to order them.
Mojo Pork with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice, and Pickled Red Onions – $4.25
Some context on sizing of the Pork, Quesito, and Mojito.
I’m not sure the Mojo Pork does enough to differentiate itself from other options and those in the mood for pig are probably better served with the far-more-popular Kalua Pork Slider at nearby Hawaii. This is more food for the money, but the flavors are a lot blander with just a hint of cilantro in the rice and little spice to the beans. The red onions were just about it and that’s probably not the dominant flavor most people are going to want to taste in their pork dish. It’s a safe skip, but pretty hefty overall, making it a somewhat reasonable value.
Pescado con Coco: Seared Grouper, Pigeon Peas and Rice with Coconut Sauce – $4.75
Disney typically does a nice job preparing their seafood at the various Festivals and this Pescado con Coco is no different. The fish is a bit on the small side, but it’s expertly seared with a nice flaky texture. The creaminess of the slightly-sweet coconut sauce complemented the subtle flavor of the fish and the spiciness of the peppers nicely. This dish is potentially a little out there for some people, but I think that’s what the Festival is all about and the price isn’t half bad for what you receive.
Quesito: Puff Pastry with Sweetened Cream Cheese and Guava Sauce – $3.75
There are purportedly only three ingredients in the Quesito:
- 1 sheet (9-10 inch square) puff pastry, thawed
- 4 ounces softened cream cheese
- 8 teaspoons sugar, divided
And that’s what you get. The exterior does have a nice flaky texture and the cream cheese inside is sweetened up enough by the sugar, but this one is going to be a one-note offering for most people. The guava sauce did add a fruity component that helped elevate the flavor profile, but I’m not sure most people are going to be raving about it. Like the Mojo Pork, the portion is decent for the money though, which might mean you want to share this among a couple of people just to try it.
Presidente Pilsner – $3.75
This is the Budweiser of the Dominican Republic with a 12-pack running $10 at the local Total Wine. There’s very little value with the 6-ounce price coming in higher than four 12-ounce bottles at the store, but it’s here if you need a beer and can’t make it anywhere smarter.
Caribbean Sangria – $4.50
This is about three ounces of what is probably just white Beso del Sol Sangria, which costs $20 for a 3-liter box at the store. It has an off-putting medicinal flavor to it that I think is best skipped. Sangria is something that you want to drink by the trough rather than by the thimble.
Frozen Mojito with Bacari Rum – $9.50
This is a strange cocktail with a very prominent, very artificial mint flavor and a complete lack of any flavor from the rum. If it was boozier it might come with a stronger recommendation just so you can see how weird things can get, but $9.50 is pretty rough for what is a largely non-alcoholic, artificial-tasting drink.