We continue from Festival Favorites, also in the World ShowPlace building.
Cider House squeezes its way in between the Festival Favorites and Farmers Feast kitchens in World ShowPlace. With the switchbacks heading just about every which way, you just sort of have to pick one and hope for the best. If you get to the front of the line and it turns out to be Electric Umbrella offering their standard day-old hamburgers, “for extra flavor and maybe more protein,” you can always fake some sort of injury and shuttle off to try again. In reality, it’s easy to find the correct line.
This is of course assuming you know the difference between World Showcase and World ShowPlace. I’ve had a number of entertaining conversations about the topic over the years:
The names are similar enough that some confusion isn’t surprising.
Unfortunately, this person deleted all of their tweets letting me know how stupid I was for not even knowing the name of about half of EPCOT, despite running a Disney blog for ten years, writing a Disney World guidebook, and being able to read a sign. Things took a quick turn for the worse for her before she blocked me, which I guess means she can safely log into Twitter without worrying that seeing my username will bring back that rush of memories of the time she couldn’t differentiate between a glamorized outdoor shopping mall/food court and the name of a large, usually pretty empty blue building. We all cope differently. We all make mistakes. But trying to make the other person feel stupid when you’re objectively and verifiably wrong should always take one final Google search to make sure you’re not making too big of a fool of yourself in front of seven billion potential people or the nine of my Twitter followers who are still around.
But the World ShowPlace it is, and you’ll find the building in between Canada and the UK as pictured in the previous review.
As you might expect, I have a few problems with Cider House. Granted, it was called Cider House when it was still outdoors and very much not a house, but it’s still not a house, ShowPlace roof or not this year. So you’re lying to me right off the bat, which isn’t the best first impression. Second, we’re coming off of “Festival Favorites.” It would ordinarily be safe to assume that these would be among the best items available
If you were sitting down to dinner at a restaurant and the menu read, “The Absolute Best Things on the Menu,” and the next section was titled, “Trowel and Trellis,” most people would probably hone in on the items under the Best of category rather than those having something to do with interwoven bamboo structures designed for hanging shrubs. On the other hand, if we have enough cider, inside of the house or not, we may only care about the number of shrubs we consume in a couple of weeks when the Visa bill comes.
Here’s this year’s menu:
The menu is similar to past years with the dessert moving over from Food and Wine. You don’t exactly paint yourself into a corner with the Cider thing, but it would be strange if their specialties were exotic sodas and hams from around the world.
House-made Potato and Cheddar Biscuit with Salmon Tartare – $5.50
The flaky biscuit arrives with a pronounced lemon flavor and some unadvertised capers for a little more unexpected saltiness. It remains a hearty, freshly baked roll with a generous scoop of salmon tartare from which I would have liked a little more of a smoky flavor. It’s close to being a bargain at this price point compared to other offerings. While I’m vaguely Jewish, which means salmon tartare runs through my veins, the texture of the salmon is very much not my thing. For those who do like it, you should enjoy this. I’m not sure I’ve heard many or any complaints.
Taste: 5/10 for me, potentially much higher for you
Value: 6 to 8/10
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Whipped Cream – $4.25
The chocolate layer is soft and thick as it covers the slightly tart raspberry filling. The raspberry sauce adds a bright fruitiness to each bite and helps cut some of the sweetness/bitterness of the chocolate. The whipped cream adds a needed creamy quality and the large ripe raspberry is a welcome addition, adding a natural berry flavor in between the cream and another layer of white chocolate. The chocolate is incredibly rich, so one should be enough for a couple of people to share. Or you wouldn’t be able to get it away from my mom if you tried. So it may depend on your group and their propensity for cacao.
I don’t replace the pictures every year, but here’s the same dessert inside the ShowPlace this year since it’s technically a dish from the Food and Wine Festival from a couple of years ago. Sorry I didn’t get a better shot of the lawnmowers on display behind it.
3 Daughters Brewing Pink Lemonade Hard Cider, Bold Rock Watermelon Hard Cider, Blake’s Hard Cider Co. Triple Jam Hard Cider – $9.50 as a Flight of three 4-ounce cups or individually at six ounces for $4.50 or eight ounces for $8.50
3 Daughters Brewing is going to have a bit of a predicament on their hands if they find themselves with a fourth daughter. In my experience, you never know when the call is going to come in that you’ve been blessed with the alimony of another child. The name actually comes from the brewery selling enough beer to put the family’s three daughters through college, which almost makes me feel bad that I’ve panned nearly every barrel they’ve sent our way over the years.
The ciders here are fruitier and jammier than usual, with less apple up front than your typical Angry Orchard. Expect a lot of bright, fruity red berries. You may commit to a flight before a larger pour or go big from the start. I’m not a big cider guy, but I liked the Triple Jam, which wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet. I’m not sure how the food and ciders specifically complement each other, but they do help cut the richness of the dishes – that Chocolate Tart in particular.
Samuel Smith Old Brewery Pure Brewed Organic Lager – $4.50 for six ounces or $8.50 for twelve ounces
The Samuel Smith has been on and off the UK beer cart’s menu for years. They may be best known for their oatmeal stout, but this is obviously not that. Although I’m sure there’s at least one person at EPCOT right now thinking they’re strolling around World ShowPlace in the Japan Pavilion while enjoying a roasty, dark malt beer. Instead, the rest of us will enjoy a crisp, creamy beer that’s soft on the palate with an easy malt presence with a bready finish and some lingering yeast. It gets lost in the shuffle since it’s not called the Cider and One Beer House, but I think it pairs nicely with the salmon. Less so with the rich, denseness of that chocolate tart.
Snakebite: Blake’s Hard Cider Co. Triple Jam Hard Cider and Samuel Smith Old Brewery. Pure Brewed Organic Lager – $8.50
Because you never know when the IRS is watching and how it may be unwise to both walk around with $175 worth of beer and claim that you’re technically homeless, we made what may or may not be the poor man’s version of this baby by simply mixing the cider and beer together. Since that’s what it sounds like it is. Or the IRS may know exactly why I’m broke as I walk 16 ounces of beer that cost $175 around the ShowPlace, or dare I say, Showcase. I suppose the drink would depend on the proportions, but we thought the sugar from the cider overwhelmed the malty quality of the beer more than we would have liked. It’s a common myth that the Snakebite is illegal in the UK, as it’s easy to drink and leads to brawls, particularly after Bill Clinton was refused one about 20 years ago with the excuse that serving him one would be illegal. On the other hand, I’d probably tell former president Clinton that whatever he tried to order was illegal. And everything leads to brawls in the UK, so banning the deliciousness of the Snakebite wouldn’t take you too far anyway.