What probably still doesn’t translate to “The Hungry Hamburger” returns to the Mexico Pavilion for this year’s Festival of the Arts at Epcot.
The menu is all-new, which is something the website never likes to see.
Unlike the majority of the other “Food Studios,” tax is not included here, which means you’re looking at $59.21 worth.
Mixiote de Cordero: Wrapped Slow Braised Lamb marinated in Tres Chiles Paste and Spices – $9.53
I typically hesitate to use the term “dirty diaper” to describe food, but I’m not sure this is the direction I would have gone with what we all thought was mole. Interestingly, my dad had a real problem with moles in the backyard for a time. I always thought the mole catcher released the furry little buggers in people’s yards so they could come back the next week and charge $200 each for their removal. That would be my business model, anyway.
What ends up being six-or-so bites of lamb tasted okay – just a little bit of a mild ancho chile spice cooled with some coffee. If it was presented differently and cost closer to $5, I think I would recommend it. The lamb is tender, but any nuance in the meat is quickly washed away by the sauce, which is probably why cheaper chicken is typically used. You can do worse at the Festival, but it’s hard to recommend at nine dollars plus tax.
Tacos de Puerco: Two Corn Tortillas with Slow-roasted Pork Shoulder marinated in Ancho Paste, served with Sweet Plantain Purée and garnished with Pea Tendrils – $10.60
These are very similar to the tacos served at Choza de Margarita, which I will review independently as soon as I feel like nobody cares anymore. Longtime readers are probably familiar with my love of pea tendrils – some things you just can’t get enough of. The flavor here is similar to the lamb with the same ancho chili spice, but this “feels” like quite a bit more food for similar money. The plantain puree has a pleasant sweetness to it and the tacos are topped with quite a bit of pork in the flavorful sauce. I would actually get them again, which is something I don’t typically type when “Mexico” and “Epcot” and “Festival” appear in the same sentence.
Atole de Fresa and Mexican Concha Bread: Warm Strawberry Drink served with Mexican Concha Bread – $4.21
This was a popular item with the group, I’m guessing because they’ve never tasted bread before. The texture is similar to sourdough with some spice from the cinnamon and a little bit of sweetness from some brown sugar. The “Warm Strawberry Drink” was similar to Nesquik, but the microwave helped produce an unpleasant film on the bottom of the cup. But Tom Corless loved it, so if you trust him, definitely pick one up. It’s relatively inexpensive, at least.
Frida Guava Margarita – $14.64
Nothing says homage quite like a disintegrating paper portrait of yourself floating in a pre-mixed margarita served in a plastic martini cup, I suppose. We should all be so lucky. This was actually pretty good as far as warm tequila-based drinks go – smooth and sweet. If you’re looking for a $15 drink served out of a jug, I would probably go inside to La Cava. I’m only sort of kidding.
Diego Passion Margarita on the Rocks – $14.25
Diego Rivera is another famous Mexican artist, this time with one of his less famous paintings paper clipped to an orange cocktail. I’d actually like to get my hands on a bottle of the Pierde Almas Ancestral Corn Whiskey that this is made with – a bit of the gin also shows through with a nice sweet flavor from the fruit juice that’s tempered with a little bit of a bitter orange flavor from the Aperol. It’s one of the better cocktails served at the Festival, but at more than 15 bucks, you’re paying for it.
Allende Craft Mexican Golden Ale – $5.06
You’ll receive six ounces of somebody else’s bottle of golden ale. There’s quite a bit of fruit here with a bitter, hoppy aftertaste. I can’t recall seeing this beer on a menu anywhere, so it may be a unique opportunity to give it a try if you’re interested.
Overall, the Hungry Artist is a decent, albeit expensive, stop at this year’s Festival of the Arts. My recommendations are the tacos and the Diego cocktail.