We pick up coverage of the 2017 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival with a look at the food and drink offered at the various “Outdoor Kitchens.”
Urban Farm Eats is the first Kitchen that you’ll run into as you head towards Canada.
The Crabless Cake replaces last year’s Quinoa Vegetable “Naanwich,” the Wildflower Pale Ale arrives in favor of last year’s Sierra Nevada Otra Vez, the Urban Mary is available in a non-alcoholic version, and the Urban Fairy Cocktail is a new addition.
$4 Watermelon Salad
Served with Pickled Onions, B&W Gourmet Farms Baby Arugula, Feta, and Balsamic Reduction. It’s very good and mirrors a lot of salads you’ll see at signature restaurants. It “just works” so to speak, with the sweetness of the watermelon contrasting perfectly with the tangy-ness of the vinaigrette. A healthy sprinkling of cheese helps carry the dish.
$6.25 Pork Tenderloin
Seared with Mushroom Ragoût, Spring Vegetables and Fingerling Potatoes. The pork was grilled to a nice medium well and nearly fork tender underneath the creamy mushroom ragoût that reminded me a lot of what Canada tops its Le Cellier Filet Mignon in the fall. With that said, this is at most five bites of meat and pork isn’t typically expensive. The potatoes served with our dish were under-cooked and nearly raw and what is basically a single thin spear of asparagus would not hold up well to The BOatHOUsE.
Taste: 8/10 (hopefully you’ll have more luck with the vegetables)
$6.25 Crabless Cake
With Crispy Vegetable Slaw, Lemon Vinaigrette and Old Bay Remoulade. I’ve enjoyed the majority of the vegan dishes over the last few years and this was no exception. The cake is made out of ground up Gardein Chick’n which is flaked, breaded, and griddled and then topped with a really flavorful, mildly spicy, creamy Old Bay remoulade that’s further enhanced by the lemony zest of the vinaigrette and what’s likely capers and dijon mustard in the sauce. The texture of the cake is a little crumbly compared to your typical crabbed version and you don’t get any of that authentic, salty sea flavor that may or may not be to your tastes. Vegetarians are going to want to put this on their short list – there are some fantastic flavors going on here and it’s quite different than the veggie items that are dominated by salads and desserts. Meat lovers will probably be surprised by how much they enjoy this, but with every item at the Festival on the table, may instead opt for something with animal protein. Otherwise, the vegetable slaw offers a nice, crunchy texture and a pleasing piquant flavor.
$9.50 Avive Sparkling Wine
In Natural Peach flavor. $9.50 is now 50 cents more than the entire bottle would cost you at your neighborhood World Market. At a very sad 7% ABV, the wine doesn’t taste bad at all and would be very pleasant accompanying a Sunday brunch when you don’t want to be hosed by the time the matinee at the theater starts, but it’s a tough price point to swallow here.
$5.25 King Estate Acrobat Pinot Noir
This is a better value compared to the $20 bottle price, plus it’s served from a tap which is still kind of novel. It’s probably the best wine value at the Festival, which is sort of like saying you’re the best McDonald’s in the eastern part of Modesto, but we’ll take what we can get.
$4.25 Wildflower Pale Ale
Hailing from Forbidden Root Brewery in Chicago and coming in at 5.6% ABV, the name of the Wildflower Pale Ale certainly fits the theme of the Festival and the flavor profile – flowery, sweet, and citrus-y with a nice crisp aftertaste laced with honey and herbs follows suit. It’s a good beer and a decent value in the grand scheme of things – recommended.
$10.75 Urban Mary
With House-made Pickled Green Bean. The drink was $7.75 two years ago…$9 last year…and now comes in at a whopping $10.75. It’s spicy – almost like sipping a thin, zesty cocktail sauce but it’s very light on the vodka with just a single, crunchy green bean sticking out the top. I would only recommend this if you really want to spend nearly eleven bucks on spicy tomato juice mix. I really did like the green bean though…it’s a shame you can’t get a container full. If you’ve got a thirst for tomato juice, order the non-alcoholic version. There’s almost as much alcohol in it.
$11 Urban Fairy Cocktail
Absinthe with Cucumber and Lime is pictured in the upper right of the frame.
Premixed and served out of this machine, the drink was complete and utter nonsense. I asked what brand of “Absinthe” they were using…nobody knew…as there was no bottle or anything in the booth. The flavor was otherwise artificial lime juice sweetened up with too much granulated sugar and cucumber syrup. It didn’t even arrive with the slice of cucumber that’s supposed to be attached to the rim of the plastic cup. A complete waste of money. No redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Overall, the Watermelon Salad and Crabless Cake are smart choices, the beer is above average, the wine is pretty good, and the non-alcoholic Urban Mary might make sense if you like tomato juice.