Jardin de Fiestas returns on the lagoon side of the promenade just before arriving at Mexico or just after leaving it depending on which way you’re walking. From this direction, The Berry Basket and La Isla Fresca are ahead on the right.
Much to the chagrin of my bank account, everything is new this year.
And since this may be the only Outdoor Kitchen where tax isn’t included, it means you’re looking at $60.92 worth. At least we’re not at Animal Kingdom where tax would be one percent higher. This year’s Party for the Planet is probably going to bankrupt me since I’ll have to spend $174.35 to order one of everything instead of the $172.73 that it would cost here. Maybe they’ll let me pick all the food up and I can ride the bus over to Epcot and pay for it there. One time, and this is actually a true story for once, I was on the bus from Animal Kingdom to Animal Kingdom Lodge and there was a gentleman with a tray of four Pulled Pork and Cheese Fries from Flame Tree Barbecue. I like fries too, but you have to wonder about someone walking said fries out of the Park only to wait for a bus and then ride it over to a resort to deliver the cold, mushy food to the family. They have fries at The Mara.
Pork Taco: Slow-braised Pork Taco served with Apple Relish, Goat Cheese and Chile de Árbol Sauce – $6.66
As is tradition, the taco is on the small side – $3.50 might be a fair price – this is three or four bites. I should have brought a banana for scale. But it’s well thought out. The little bit of sweet apple relish works nicely against the tang of the goat cheese and the spicy pepper quality of the flavorful sauce and the little bit of crunchy, piquant onion. The corn tortilla is soft and fresh and the pork has a nice tender quality to it.
But at the ominous $6.66 price point, it’s hard to find a whole lot of value here, despite high quality ingredients.
Chilaquiles: Chilaquiles served with Chorizo, Mexican Cream and Cotija Cheese – $6.34
Mexico has offered a variety of Chilaquiles over the years.
For a while, there was Breakfast Chilaquiles.
And at one time, Snack Chilaquiles.
And regardless of whether or not time is linear, Food and Wine Festival Chilaquiles.
That concludes our Brief History of Chilaquiles at Epcot since 2015. This is the first instance that we’ve seen chorizo used and I think it works well, adding some salt and some spice to the crunchy tortilla chips and the salty, crumbly cheese that adds a little bit of a springy quality to the cool Mexican cream. It’s more food than the taco and significantly easier to share. Probably the best item at the booth.
Capirotada: Bread Pudding served with Rompope – $4.53
Coincidentally, “Rompope Driveway” is the name of my industrial band. I was surprised by how well this dish worked – the bread pudding maintained a nice structure – dense, but soft and just a little chewy. The cinnamon and brown sugar did a nice job of spicing things up, but the flavor profile was a little too one-note for us, particularly when considering “authentic” recipes include melted cheese, nuts, and golden raisins, all of which are absent with this presentation. If you pick this up, mix it up a little so you soak the bread pudding in the velvety, egg-nog-like rompope sitting on the bottom. Otherwise, I’d add this to an order, but probably not seek it out specifically. It pairs nicely with the other two options.
Tiger Lily Sangria – $10.92
That’s it in the back on the far right, but it might as well have been either of the two drinks to the left of it as all three taste virtually the same.
This has a pleasant, refreshing, fruity flavor to it and there’s quite a bit of liquid in the cup compared to a lot of the other drinks we’ll see that are a lot closer to three or four ounces. It’s also the cheapest of the three mixed drinks, which makes it a smarter purchase. I doubt there’s much alcohol content here though.
Rose Margarita – $12.25
This was pretty forgettable – and not because it was packed with tequila. It tasted largely of generic rose water without any tequila presence whatsoever. That’s surprising given that most of the past entries here have carried a strong smell of tequila that’s usually cause for the scrunching of the face before and after each sip. You never know how heavy the pour is going to be considering the drinks are pre-made. Somebody may remember the tequila in the next batch. But I’d probably skip it in favor of a different margarita elsewhere.
Violet Cassis Punch – $13.04
While it says “punch,” this is basically another margarita. While a pretty color, the concoction is more syrupy than the Rose Margarita, which is a little off-putting, and also much sweeter with no flavor from the tequila whatsoever. I don’t think that’s a good thing. I’d again recommend picking up a margarita elsewhere – Choza de Margarita would be a better choice as would La Cantina or La Cava.
Daisy Spicy Beer – $7.19
I was not sure what to expect from the Daisy Spice Beer. Would it be the Hazy Miss Daisy from Ohio? The Daisy Cutter from Illinois? Something resembling a Daisy Cocktail served in a julep glass?
Nay, it’s Tacate Light with Ancho Reyes Ancho Chili Liqueur poured on top. I think a shot of the liqueur would be more interesting – I have a bottle sitting in a cabinet myself – the flavors are subtly fruity up front – sweet, tangy tamarind backed up with poblano pepper and coffee. But poured into the equivalent of watered-down Bud Light, all nuance is lost and the beer ends up tasting worse than it would on its own. Generic spice and skunk. Put your $7+ towards a bottle for the pantry.
Mexico is as Mexico has been – expensive, well-executed food and overpriced drinks. Though this year, the margaritas certainly disappointed on strength. And they could probably tell you what “Daisy Spicy Beer” is, though if they did, they’d probably sell far fewer cups. You might stop for the Chilaquiles and the Bread Pudding, and adding a drink wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it’s probably not a necessary stop on every tour through World Showcase.