Review: United States American Holiday Kitchen at Epcot Festival of the Holidays 2017

The American Table returns to the far right side of the United States Pavilion.

From the Bavaria Kitchen review, you might remember my comments on portion size and pricing at the Festival of the Holidaus. Some food items return this year exactly the same as last year in every way other than that you’ll receive about 40% of last year’s serving for about 50% of the cost. That comes into play several times here at the American Holiday Table. Disney actually reuses their pictures from last year as well, which makes things even more convoluted. Exaggerated advertising? Shrinking package sizes? Increased costs? What’s more American than that?

Don’t worry though; since I don’t value money or my waistline, we still got one of everything this year.

Slow-Roasted Turkey with Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Cranberry Sauce – $5.25

Above is this year’s turkey entry – a pretty reasonable portion compared to something that you’d ordinarily find at the Food and Wine Festival.

Last year’s was so much more food, which may be difficult to ascertain from the pictures because last year’s trays were four or five times as big.

Anyway, this hits all of the high points of the traditional Thanksgiving meal and everything tastes wholesome and comforting. The cranberry has a nice tang to it and the turkey is juicy and flavorful. The pillow-y dressing stuffing does a nice job of soaking up all of the flavors, in addition to adding some onion and spices to the mix. You can flick the green beans at people and then blame them on the closest blogger. There’s one of us every 50 feet.

Taste: 9/10

Value: 8/10

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Holiday Accompaniments: Green Bean Casserole, Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges and a Champagne Demi-Glace – $5.50

This is another winner – the slices of pork are incredibly tender underneath the rich gravy, which I’m surprised is advertised as a “champagne demi-glace” since I don’t think any sparkling wine flavor is detectable. But it serves as an intense gravy alongside the sweet roasted potatoes, crispy onions, and green beans, which tasted like they were simmered in butter rather than baked into a casserole. But whatever is actually going on here tastes really good and it’s an approachable dish for anyone looking for traditional holiday flavors. Make sure to argue about something while digging in to both savory items. It really brings out the flavor.

Taste: 8/10

Value: 8/10

Chocolate Pecan Tart with Whipped Cream and Caramel Sauce – $4.50

The Chocolate Pecan Tart moves over here from the defunct Seasonal Southern Holiday Kitchen of yesteryear (2016). Disney did good in finding a new home for it as the tart is flavorful with a distinct nutty quality backed up with a crispy crust and topped with a decadent caramel sauce and a fluffy flurry of canned whipped cream. It’s not a make-it-or-break-it item by any stretch, but it’s more interesting than a lot of the cookies available and a decent size for the money, relatively speaking.

Taste: 7/10

Value: 8/10

Holiday Beer Flight – $9 with Orange Blossom Brewing Cranberry Kringle Pilsner, Shipyard Eggnog White Porter, and JDub’s Season’s Greetings Peppermint Milk Stout.

This flight actually brings some interesting flavors for once, which isn’t something that we often see from Epcot Festivals. The Shipyard Eggnog is a really creamy beer with a murky, milky mouthfeel. It’s not at all to my tastes, but in a 4-ounce sample cup, you don’t have a lot to lose. The Cranberry Pilsner is the most drinkable of the bunch with a bit of a fruity, sour flavor up front and a clean finish. The JDub’s Peppermint Stout has a robust coffee flavor backed up by a hint of peppermint, but has a really thin mouthfeel that may or may not be to your liking. Overall, this is one of the more obscure beer flights that Epcot has offered in a while and anyone interested in beer should give it a whirl. I didn’t love everything, but it’s nice to see something other than Sam Adams Winter Lager on the menu. Recommended.

Kurt Russell’s GoGi Wines “Goldie” Chardonnay – $10

Kurt Russell Gogi Goldie Chardonnay Epcot Food Wine Festival

A recycled image from last year, but wine is wine, right? This is easily the best white wine served at the Festival, though you are paying for the privilege of enjoying the complexity with pear, apple, and caramel notes.

Kurt Russell’s GoGi Wines Pinot Noir – $15

Kurt Russell Pinot Noir Gogi Wine Epcot Food Wine Fesitval

This is a heavy pinot with an oaky character – a lot of fruit up front with lingering spice. It’s the best wine at the Festival, but it may not be the best atmosphere to drop $15 on two or three ounces of wine.

Chocolate Apple Shake featuring Twinings Winter Spice Tea and Butterscotch Schnapps – $8.50

I neglected to take individual pictures of the drinks, so we’ll have to take a look at the back right cup from a great distance. Don’t strain your eyes.

Here’s last year’s version, which was served with Barenjager Honey Liqueur instead. This year’s Butterscotch is much more tempered and much less thick than last year’s, but you’re also getting about an ounce of “Dekuyper Buttershots,” which is a $10 750ml bottle at the store. I’d probably skip it unless you’re looking for a cold, refreshing, spicy drink with a little bit of a butterscotch kick that will be gone all too fast.

Cocoa Candy Cane: Nestlé Chocolate Delights Hot Cocoa with Peppermint Schnapps – $8

This tastes like it sounds – powdered hot cocoa mixed in with a very quick pour of cheap schnapps. It might get you through Thanksgiving with the in-laws, but it’s expensive here.

Firenog: TG Lee Eggnog with Fireball Cinnamon Whisky – $9.50

This tasted really good with the Fireball doing a nice job of thinning out the eggnog and adding an artificial cinnamon flavor that either screams Christmas Day or a Saturday tailgate in Tallahassee.

Overall, the food here tastes good and is a nice change of pace from what you’ll find at Liberty Inn. Not a bad stop for a drink either.

Comments

  1. Peggy Shoffner says

    Nice to see some positive reviews! Appreciate you throwing yourself on the sword, Josh, to point us to the best choices.

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