We continue from La Isla Fresca.
Arbor is located inside the Odyssey Building, which Disney is calling the Gardeners Terrace during the 2019 Flower and Garden Festival.
Even if the positive reviews of most of the items offered here don’t sway you into making a serious stop, the Odyssey does provide a shortcut for those that would otherwise have to walk around the outside of the building. What a life.
Nothing on the menu is a substantial move away from dishes that we’ve seen during past Festivals, but each is a fresh take.
Fried Green Tomatoes with Blue Crab-fennel Salad, Remoulade, and Smoked Paprika Oil – $6
These were easily better than Italy’s Fried Tomato offering with each slice of juicy, ripe tomato encased in a crispy layer of cornmeal and breadcrumbs with just a pinch of salt and pepper.
The creamy Remoulade sauce was the star of the show, adding a tang to the Blue Crab and adding a ton of flavor to the crunchy Fennel Salad, which has plenty of celery mixed in to help cut a little bit of the lingering, sweet anise flavor of the herb. The Paprika Oil is largely an afterthought, circling the dish and adding a bit of color along with a little bit of smoke. It ends up being a delicious, table-service-quality appetizer and one of the best dishes we’ve tried in some time. The elements really come together here.
Smoked Salmon Stack with Avocados, Tomatoes, Sour Cream, Caviar and Focaccia Crostino – $5.50
If I knew these dishes were going to taste so good, I would have taken them outside to photograph in front of a prettier background. I’m typically adverse to cold Smoked Salmon, but it worked really nicely blended into the earthy avocado, which was in turn brightened up by the tomato. The herb-y Sour Cream adds some tang and then there’s a big punch of sea salt from the Caviar. The traditional egg and caper accompaniments arrive alongside some light and crispy Crostino. Grab a knife and spread a little of the Salmon Stack on the Focaccia. Really delicious and a good value for the money. We typically see a similar dish at Festival of the Arts for three or four more dollars.
Mixed Berry Buttermilk Cake, served with Apple Cider Sorbet – $5
While I lamented the loss of the Berry Buckle, this gets close to being a worthy replacement. The Buttermilk Cake is nice and dense and packs a delicious buttery richness that’s sweetened up considerably by the generous amount of fresh berries spooned on top. The Apple Cider Sorbet brings just enough cinnamon spice, along with a refreshingly cold temperature, to make the dish all the more appealing. Really delicious, though we’ve seen larger portions for the money.
Beer Flight with Karbach Brewing Lemon and Ginger, Seadog Brewing Company Sunfish Ale, and Shipyard Brewing Company Grind the Rind Watermelon IPA – $9.50
This may be the worst picture of a beer flight of all time, but I can assure you that all three selections look like beer.
- The Karbach tastes like ginger ale mixed with a little bit of tart, artificial-tasting lemon juice. It tastes more like a carbonated soda than your typical beer at an ABV of 3.5%, isn’t far off.
- Seadog Sunfish has been served around property for a few years and like most Seadog beers, isn’t to my personal tastes. The overwhelming flavor is tart grapefruit with some muted malts and peach on the back end.
- The Grind the Rind Watermelon IPA may be exclusive to the Festival, which is probably okay given its thin mouthfeel and overwhelming, artificial candy watermelon flavor that’s somehow bitter.
Overall, big fans of fruity beers may enjoy this, but I think the flavors are a little outside of the mainstream with none of the selections being top tier examples of their respective styles.
Cider Flight with Original Sin Brewery Black Widow Hard Cider, Florida Beer Company Caribé Strawberry Rose Hard Cider, 3 Daughters Brewing Key Lime Apple Hard Cider – $9.50
We’ll follow the worst beer flight pictures of all time with the worst picture of a cider flight of all time.
- It’s hard to pull off a Cherry Cider, but Original Sin’s is sweet up front with a tart berry flavor following. It’s a little too sour and a little too medicinal for me to want much more than a four- or six-ounce pour, but it’s interesting as part of the flight. Drink it when it’s cold or it’s going to taste more and more like ‘Tussin.
- The Rose Hard Cider is sweeter with more of a floral flavor followed by a mild tartness. It’s better than most of what we’ve seen from Florida Beer in the past.
- The Key Lime Apple Cider is the most apple-forward of the selections with just a hint of crisp lime.
If you’re after cider, then these three are decent selections, but I don’t think I’d pick up a batch if your goal is to get into this variety of sweet alcoholic drink. You may not be able to after trying them.
Overall, Arbor’s weak link is arguably the beer and cider; the food selections were some of our favorites. You might instead walk a margarita from Mexico over and enjoy that along with the Fried Green Tomatoes, Salmon Stack, and Buttermilk Cake.