We continue from Le Marche de Noel in France.
L’Chaim is an all-new Holiday Kitchen that situates itself between France and Morocco for this year’s Festival of the Holidays at Epcot.
Much to my wallet’s chagrin and the joy that is writing all-new “reviews,” we have eight items to consider.
Pastrami on Rye with House-made Pickles and Deli Mustard — $4.75
This was the best of the bunch in my estimation with plenty of meaty, smokey cured beef layered on top of each other and placed in between the slightly-sour, crusty rye bread with a generous slathering of spicy brown mustard. The thick slice of pickle on top brings the appropriate amount of vinegar with a little bit of a sweet quality. Very good overall.
Potato Knish with Herb Sour Cream — $4.25
This is probably a lot more serious than it looks on the plate – the Knish is surprisingly heavy and stuffed with dense potato inside of the baked dough. I would have liked a lot more onion mixed in with the potato to liven up the flavor profile – it was rather bland inside with just the Herb Sour Cream adding much in the way of flavor and there wasn’t nearly enough of it to go around. You’ll want to get after this one quickly as the exterior becomes a lot less crispy and far more mushy with every artistic picture that you take. It’s very filling, though, and a lot of calories for just-north of four bucks.
Chicken and Matzo Ball Soup — $4.25
Growing up, I can’t remember anybody putting chicken in with our Matzo Ball Soup, but perhaps it’s more of a Chanukah thing than a Passover thing. Exactly one large, plump ball is served alongside some shredded chicken, a little bit of carrot, onion, and herbs. The soup is warm and comforting and the Matzo Ball is appropriately spiced, but it might be a little disappointing for anybody looking for what grandma used to make. It’s possible that you could say that about most Festival offerings, though. It ends up being pretty good.
Black and White Cookie — $2
This is another two-dollar cookie that’s perhaps the worst of the bunch with a surprisingly flavorless sugar cookie base covered in bland icing that isn’t as vanilla or chocolate as the colors might insinuate. For two bucks and for the sake of completing the “Cookie Stroll,” you might consider adding one to an order and it’s possible that the cookie will improve as the Festival matures. But I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way for this one.
Egg Cream: Milk, Chocolate Syrupm and Seltzer — $3.50
When served, there’s quite a bit of foam on top that has since settled given the 5,000 tilted photos that one must take of each Festival item. The flavor and mouthfeel of this is a bit odd – the seltzer adds carbonation and thins out all of the cream, but it also seems to water down the flavor of the chocolate syrup and what you’re left with is basically a glass that’s half chocolate milk and half seltzer water. You could give it a whirl, but I don’t think you’re missing anything by putting your money towards something a little more interesting.
Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager — $4.50
Brooklyn Lager is a pretty amber color, crisp and carbonated with a nice mix of malts and hops. It’s just fine, but it’s pricey at six ounces for $4.50. Total Wine would sell you a 6-pack for the cost of two 6-ounce pours.
Blue Cosmo Cocktail — $9.25
It doesn’t say what this is and frankly, I don’t want to know other than to avoid these ingredients for the rest of my natural life. It tasted like mouthwash mixed with Gatorade with the essence of Crest toothpaste sprinkled over the top. No human should consume a drink this bright.
Overall, L’Chaim’s offerings aren’t quite as strong as the Yukon or France Holiday Kitchens that came before it. The Pastrami Sandwich is a real winner and it’s probably worth adding a Matzo Ball Soup to the mix. Ask for extra Herb Cream Sauce if you go with the knish – it’s very dry without it. The drinks can safely be skipped.