We continue from Honey Bee-stro.
Flavor Full returns for another year along the path that connects World Showcase with Future World next to the Imagination Pavilion. Of course, just about everything around the Outdoor Kitchen looks different than last year with all of the construction going on nearby. Since the skyline today, we’ll leave a little of what’s no longer standing there by using a picture from a couple of years ago. And I also don’t have to paste in a new photo.
The important part, assuming you’re interested in one of the items, is its location. I just tend to pass it before it opens, which doesn’t make it look like a very exciting operation. You get what you pay for. Later in the day, the area is a lot more alive with cast members actively grilling the vegetables and putting everything together. The Honey Bee-stro is ahead on the left. That’s where you’ll find many of the tables in this area, so consider walking your food and drink a little ways ahead for a more comfortable experience than the top of a trash can might offer. On the other hand, there’s something to say for the traditional glossy brown “table top.”
While I’ve campaigned heavily for The Macallan to take over sponsorship, we’re still stuck with a hospital tie-in, so I’m guessing our barley won’t come with an ABV attached.
Grilled Baby Vegetables with Hummus Cream and Red Pepper Coulis – $4.75
This is more carefully prepared than it probably looks on the plate, as the dish is put together in the Outdoor Kitchen from scratch by skilled…vegetable placers. The tiny vegetables are freshly-grilled with just a bit of char, each retaining a nice little crunch or a burst of juice where applicable. I wish that the Red Pepper Coulis was more than just a colorful garnish, with just a little bit of the creamy, mildly spicy sauce spooned on top of the hummus on the right, and then to the left of the vegetables, almost all of which are cut in half. The amount of hummus was also a little on the chintzy side, but it added even more of a creamy, garlicky element to a couple of bites. The dish is on the simpler side at first glance, but the execution is perfect, with a simple sprinkle of salt and pepper bringing everything together. It’s two pieces of vegetable short of coming away with a strong recommendation on value, but for less than five bucks, this is a tasty, relatively healthy way to get your visit to the Flower and Garden Festival started. It’s also a nice precursor/side to the salmon, which is coming up next, and a good option for vegetarians.
Seared Verlasso Salmon with Farro Risotto and Micro-herbs -$6.25
Disney has served high quality Salmon at its panoply of Festivals for a number of years, and Flavor Full’s most recent entry continues that tradition. The flaky, buttery-smooth salmon is accented by a delicate, fresh citrus flavor and topped with pickled red onions that add an unexpectedly perky tang and a pretty pink splash of color on top.
While it may not look like it zoomed in, the portion is substantial for the money, particularly as it’s perched on top of a hefty portion of hearty, creamy farro risotto that retains a satisfying chew to each bite. The dish is surprisingly light, but still on the filling side. It would be near the top of my “best of” list that I will probably never actually put together. Very impressive.
Strawberry Mousse with Chocolate Crisp Pearls – $4.75
We enjoyed this one too, with the light strawberry mousse encased in a thin layer of bright red sugar. This might sound like it would make it incredibly sweet, but it’s far less overwhelming than it sounds, and instead provides a little bit of a crispiness to each bite of the dessert. I’m not sure why we have a gummy worm laid on top, or if the sugar on top is intended to spell out some word with a secret meaning, but it remains a vibrant, fresh-tasting dessert, particularly when it’s paired with the juicy strawberry slices and little pile of crunchy chocolate cookie “dirt.” Like the other dishes served at Flavor Full, this one is plated while you watch, making for a better overall experience than watching someone pull an already-made dish out of an industrial heater for more money. It’s never too early to start worrying about Italy. We appreciated the extra effort, particularly at a price point lower than we’d see for a similar dish at the Festival of the Arts.
Blood Orange Agua Fresca — $4.25
This super-cloying drink is as vividly-red as it is sugary-sweet. Imagine adding a scoop of sugar to a cup of Hawaiian Punch and you’ve basically made this at home. If you’re AdventHealth, and potentially in the business of acquiring new patients, then serving them this attractively-shaped cup of sugar water may be a smart play, but it’s best skipped for those who aren’t looking to put on a backwards hospital gown anytime soon.
Cookie Butter Worms and Dirt — $4.50
While the cup, which is the same as what they used to serve at the Food and Wine Festival’s Light Lab (RIP), gave me some uncomfortable flashbacks, the Worm(s) and Dirt is a better proposition. The Cookie Butter is nice and creamy, to the point where you can actually hold the cup up to your mouth and take a sip of the cookie-flavored deliciousness that carries a little bit of cinnamon-y spicy. There’s probably just as much sugar here as with the Fruit Punch above, but it might actually be worth contracting Diabeetus over. Anyone expecting something thicker will be disappointed, but I’m not sure how many Worms and Dirt enthusiasts there are out there, at least on the culinary side, but we were impressed by the pleasant caramel flavor and chunky cookie bits, along with a single gummy worm for good measure. It is incredibly rich and best shared.
This is one of the better overall Outdoor Kitchens at the Festival, and certainly one with a great mixture of dishes. Unless something changes with the Agua Fresca, I think going in that direction is a mistake, unless you don’t like somebody in your party, but really want to get them riled up on sugar so they have the opportunity to bug you even more. I would probably knock the drink right out of their hand, and if they gave me any gruffness about it, throw a thousand dollars on the ground and leave.
Considering how good Flavor Full is, it’s too bad that it doesn’t sport a more prominent location. On the other hand, those who naturally head up this way are in for a treat, hospital tie-in or not.