We continue from Refreshment Port.
Northern Bloom takes up residence in the cabin either just before arriving at the Canada Pavilion or just after passing through depending on which way you’re walking.
Two of the Unibroue selections are new this year, while everything else returns.
Seared Scallops with French Green Beans, Butter Potatoes, Brown Butter Vinaigrette, and Apple-wood Smoked Bacon — $7
This picture may be a little misleading, as the scallops appear larger in the tray on the railing than they actually are in “real life.” But the two small scallops equal at least as much as one of Disney’s larger Festival scallops and this year, ours were prepared perfectly with a nice crispy sear giving way to a soft, fluffy, fork-tender interior. The vegetables were prepared well too and added considerable heft to the dish and the salty, meaty bacon contrasted really nicely with the earthy acidity of the vinaigrette, which is made by cooking unsalted butter until it’s brown and then pureeing it with what is likely mustard, shallots, and a sherry or cider vinegar. The vinaigrette also helps the bacon adhere more easily to the scallop, adding an even more satisfying crispiness. It’s a well thought out dish with a nice variety of complex flavors – almost like a miniature meal.
Beef Tenderloin Tips, Mushroom Bordelaise Sauce, Whipped Potatoes with Garden Vegetables — $6.75
You can barely even see the small amount of sauce in the bottom of the tray, which is too bad because the bland, overcooked, chewy beef sure could have used it. And with three small pieces making up about six bites, the portion doesn’t impress even if it was Food and Wine’s best Le Cellier Filet Mignon. Which this is not. The potatoes are fine – whipped up nicely with butter and enhanced by the onions. The carrots are fork tender, but retain a bit of their crunch despite rolling around in some butter. It’s a “safe” choice, but there are more flavorful dishes around.
Griddled Maple Pound Cake with Warm Peach Compote and Sweet Corn Gelato featuring Burton’s Maple Syrup — $4.50
This was a little out there – I thought the pound cake itself was overcooked with an almost-tough exterior layer and a too-dense interior. The maple flavor also tasted like everything else on the plate with the maple popcorn, cinnamon and sugar in the compote, and all of the sugar in the gelato. I think the Sweet Corn Gelato would have worked if everything else was a little less sweet and a little less heavy, but this didn’t do much for anybody. It’s an interesting item though and they may improve upon it over the coming days. At least in this instance, it’s a mercifully small portion, but I would try it again. As it stands:
Maple Popcorn Shake – $4.50 or with Crown Royal Maple Whisky – $11.75
The Shake has a really pleasant, cold, creamy texture with distant flavors of sweet maple syrup and in the alcoholic version, rye malts from the whiskey. It’s my favorite cocktail at the Festival, though the portion is unfortunately small for the money. So are most of the others.
Unibroue Flight with Éphémère Apple Wheat Ale, Blanche de Chambly Belgian White Ale, and Lune de Miel Amber Ale – $11
The Éphémère, at 5.5%, is dominated by a sour green candy apple flavor that is arguably the worst of the bunch, but is still quite pleasant and drinkable in its own right. The Blanche de Chambly is a pleasant witbier that’s available most of the year from Canada Cart in a larger size. As is typical with this style, the wheat beer is crisp and citrus-forward spiced up with pineapple. The Lune de Miel is an 8% Belgian Strong Pale Ale with honey and clove notes with a well-carbonated body. Very good. At eleven dollars, the Flight is $1.50 more than most others, but the quality of the beer justifies the price. The Lune de Miel is particularly special and is worth seeking out, even if you opt for a 6-ounce pour of it versus the three 4-ounce pours that you’ll receive as part of the Flight.
Overall, the Seared Scallops dish is one of my favorites and I’d add one of the Popcorn Shakes to the order. On quality, this is arguably the best beer flight at the Festival, though all three selections are more ubiquitous compared to a lot of the “local” options. The Tenderloin Tips didn’t impress this year, but there aren’t a lot of other better options. The cake is interesting, but perhaps trying to do too much in this setting. They may well get it figured out.
Most people want to consider a stop.