We continue from El Artista Hambriento in Mexico.
Pop Eats is the last Food Studio that you’ll run into, perhaps with the exception of The Painter’s Palette in the Odyssey Building, if you start with the Canada side of World Showcase. It’s also the first Food Studio that you’ll happen upon if you start on the Mexico side.
All of the food items return from last year along with the Popping Bubbles Cocktail. The #RainbowSherbertGlitterDreamAle is new along with the Blue Sky Black Cherry Boba Freeze.
Sous Vide Poulet Rouge Chicken Roulade served with Apples and Sage, Warm Brie Fondue, Blueberry and Beet Gel and garnished with Apple and Beet Chips – $6.75
A lot goes into this Roulade – just plating the thing consists of what must be 15 steps per individual plate, almost all of which are executed inside the booth.
Pictured is a piece of chicken that amounts to two small bites and then there’s another slice of roulade on the opposite side of about the same size. The chicken is incredibly flavorful and retains a lot of its natural juice in each of the few bites thanks to the sous vide method. The sweetness of the apples contrasts really nicely with the herbs for one of the most complex flavor profiles that we’ve seen so far, at least when it combines with the creamy cheese sauce. The blueberry and beet gel brings a surprising eruption of fruit in each small, fluffy bite that surrounds the chicken. It’s not an overwhelming amount of food for the money, but I would love to see a larger portion served at a table service restaurant.
Shrimp Ceviche with Lime Mint Foam – $6
I appreciated the burst of color, which also carried over to the flavor profile, with the snappy marinated shrimp combining nicely with what ended up being a spicier-than-I-was-expecting dish. The foam on top, which is perhaps a little passé at this point, didn’t seem to add much to the texture or flavor of the shrimp, but what was likely supposed to be a touch of citrus may have been overwhelmed by the peppers. This was another winner that is easily shared – you’ll get your money’s worth given the eight shrimp loaded into the cup.
Almond Frangipane Cake layered with Raspberry Jam and Callebaut Belgian Chocolate – $4.50
This is probably a dish that you recognize if you’ve caught any of Disney’s marketing for Festival of the Arts over the last couple of years. Reminiscent of Piet Mondrian’s work as early as 1919, the cake is rich and velvety in between the sweet raspberry jam and decadent chocolate ganache icing. “Literally” everyone that I’ve encountered raves about this thing. It’s not a personal favorite with the strong flavor of almond and the dense texture, but it’s still worth trying one of the least expensive items at the Festival. You might share the first slice.
Pop’t Art: Modern-design Sugar Cookie with Strawberry Filling – $4.25
This is more of a sugar cookie situation than your typical “Pop Tart” toaster strudel. It’s also incredibly sweet given the thin layer of cookie and all the icing on top. This year’s artificial-tasting strawberry jam ratchets things up even further. There are far more complex desserts at the Festival, but this is a good choice if you’re after the sweetest thing possible that isn’t this review.
Blue Sky Black Cherry Boba Freeze – $4.25
I think we should all agree that we’re not going to order any frozen beverages if the Violet Lemonade isn’t found on a Festival menu somewhere. This is an inadequate substitution with a very light, very distant, very artificial-tasting black cherry flavor and not much else. I suppose it would be refreshing if there was more of it, but at this price point, you’re basically paying for water and air. Not recommended.
#RainbowSherbertGlitterDreamAle by Playalinda Brewing Co.– $4.50
This should be free to anyone willing to say the name of it out loud. I ordered it using its proper name and after repeating myself a second time, the cast member said, “Oh, THE BEER?” I said, “Yes, the hash tag rain bow sher bert glit er dream ale by play uh linda brew ing company.”
There is quite a bit of glitter involved here, which I’m guessing is just about as good for the environment as our collective digestive system. Otherwise, it’s a very thin, very watery beer with a slight fruit presence and a lingering, tart aftertaste. I honestly have no idea if drinking it is going to kill me or if a couple fabulous trips to the bathroom are in my future. Either way, the glitter is the gimmick and I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. You might consult your doctor before proceeding.
Popping Bubbles Cocktail – $10
Yet again, there’s no information on the menu about what this is, which seems a little strange considering it could probably be just about anything. What you’ll receive is a strong pour of Iron Horse’s Fairy Tale Celebration Cuvée, which runs about $40 and is typically exclusive to the Walt Disney World Resort. The popping bubbles are reminiscent of boba or tapioca pearls, but are actually little balls of cranberry juice that have undergone “spherification,” which is a process that I won’t bore you with unless you really want to get into powdered sodium alginate. But while the bubbles are fun and the sparkly tastes good, it’s awkward to combine the two. Sparkling wine sipped through a straw “just feels wrong” and the sweet and sour flavor of all the popping cranberry balls overwhelms the subtle complexity of the wine.
Overall, this is a smart, convenient stop for most people with some solid food choices. The drinks are bit iffier, but the Popping Bubbles Cocktail is inexpensive enough that it’s worth a shot and you might get a kick out of the beer.