We continue from Flavor Full.
The Honey Bee-stro (get it…like a French bistro…I am dying of laughter here…) takes over in the space that Disney typically uses for the sponsored Festival kiosk.
You’ll find it on the walk into World Showcase on the Imagination side and it’s also accessible from the promenade either before or after the Canada Pavilion depending on which way you’re walking.
I’ve been saying it for years, but the best way to get into honey is through Buckwheat Honey Carrot Puree, so it’s no surprise to see that leading the menu.
Roasted Cauliflower with Buckwheat Honey Carrot Purée, Wild Rice Pilaf, Asparagus, Honey-blistered Grapes, Sunflower Brittle, and Coriander Flowers – $4.50
This is an intelligently composed dish and quite a bit of food for the money with the hefty cauliflower florets sitting on a sizable bed of fragrant rice pilaf. You’ll also find a few short pieces of asparagus, some sweet roasted grapes, and crunchy sunflower brittle on top of the buckwheat honey carrot puree that adds a subtly sweet, earthy flavor to some of the more savory ingredients. It’s an interesting combination of flavors and a dish that I would never put together myself, which is part of what makes Festival items fun and interesting. Those with similar appreciations should enjoy the dish, but it’s not going to do much for the meat and potatoes crowd.
Honey Tandoori Chicken Flatbread with White Cheddar Cheese, Charred Vegetables, Clover Honey Sour Cream, and Micro Citrus Greens – $5.50
This seemed promising – it’s the sort of description that you’d see on the menu at Jiko, but the Outdoor Kitchen wasn’t quite up to snuff.
First off, it’s not the most attractive-looking dish – the orange color of the chicken would pop if it wasn’t haphazardly placed on top of the bland yellow naan bread. Second, it’s sparsely topped with just two pieces of overcooked, stringy chicken – there’s nothing on the middle piece other than some red pepper, the watercress, and a drizzle of the mildly sweet sauce. There’s also little contrast in texture with the soft chicken on top of the soft bread. Very little cheese is involved. Overall, the overwhelming flavor was the dull spice of the red pepper and a little bit of sugar from the honey. This might improve over the course of the Festival – shredded chicken would work better along with a sprinkle of cheese on top. The portion isn’t terrible for the money and it’s easily shared, so three people are only eating $1.83 worth. As it stands:
Local Wildflower Honey-Mascarpone Cheesecake with Orange Blossom Honey Ice Cream garnished with Fennel Pollen Meringue Kisses and Petite Lavender Shoots – $5
I don’t think anybody else caught it, but this dessert was Le Cellier’s entry into 2017’s “Orlando’s Signature Dish Competition.” You might be surprised to find out that honey is a 25+ million dollar industry here in Florida with more than 15 million pounds produced each year. You’ve now learned more about honey than you will at the Bee-stro. Wow, I can barely type that without laughing hysterically. So clever.
I actually ordered this dessert at Le Cellier back in December of 2017 when it was $11. So here at the Bee-stro (tears running down my face), you’re basically getting a signature restaurant dessert for less than half the price of what everyone else paid. And I’m totally not bitter about that because I got three meringue dollops and you’re only getting two. NEENER NEENER.
Anyway, don’t expect Cheesecake Factory here as the Honey-Mascarpone Cake is incredibly light and airy with a fluffy, whipped texture and a mildly sweet, radiant honey flavor. The orange-scented waffle cookie serves as a sweet mechanism to scoop up some of the delicious cake and carry it to your mouth, so go straight for that while everyone is positioning themselves to take a selfie with it as the monorail goes by. The ice cream is refreshing and delicious – as it begins to melt in the picture, you can see the honey laced in with the cream. The crispy meringues are fun, especially when you throw them at other passing bloggers. If they get upset, just tell them you’re trying to give them free stuff in exchange for a positive review of your life. It’s why you hear so many good things about me. This is a top three dish at the Festival in terms of taste and innovation. Very good.
Florida Orange Groves Winery Orange Blossom Honey Wine – $5.50
That’s it in the back right. This is sort of a mead situation, at least if mead was a lot thinner and a lot grosser tasting. It had a really unpleasant aftertaste, almost like we had thrown up in our own mouths. Considering the $20 retail bottle price, it’s not a a bad value on cost alone and you may well like it more than we did. You won’t. But you might.
Goodwood Brewing Company Brandy Barrel Honey Ale – $4.50
At 8.7% ABV, this ranks up there as one of the strongest beers ever served at the Festival. It’s also one of the most interesting with a nice sweet honey flavor up front followed by a little bit of a burn in the back of the throat from the warm, oak-y brandy. Anyone that appreciates beer should give this a try, but it’s a little bit outside of the mainstream. At least at 8.7%, your 6-ounce cup comes with more alcohol than a full 12-ounce can of Bud Light.
Honey-Peach Cobbler Freeze with Blueberry Vodka – $10
Grab a straw for this one or you’ll be wearing the same pie crumb mustache that I’ve been sporting since the Festival opened on March 6th. This is thicker and denser than the other frozen drinks we’ll see and it requires considerable suckage. You could experience a similar sensation standing in front of the Italy booth for a couple of minutes. This one is better with the vodka, which thins out the viscous freeze and adds a fruitier berry element to the hint of peach and heavy honey presence.
Overall, the Cheesecake is worth going out of your way to order and I’d probably select one of the other two items to go with it – the cauliflower is more interesting. The Freeze is basically another dessert in a cup and while it’s not quite as refreshing as some of the easier-to-drink cocktails, it’s quite tasty and should last a while. The beer is a much more interesting choice than last year’s Orange Blossom Pilsner. Some good stuff here.