We continue from the Chocolate Studio.
Flavors From Fire returns for its second year, situating itself in Future World behind what used to be Innoventions West. The Imagination and Land Pavilions are on the left out of frame.
The Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak replaces last year’s Sweet Pancake with Spicy Chipotle Chicken Sausage, there’s a new version of the Chocolate Picante, the Zinfandel is new, and the Swine Brine is served with Jim Beam Bourbon instead of Evan Williams. Because if you were Jim Beam, why would you not want to get in on that.
- Piggy Wings: Roasted Pork Wings with Korean BBQ Sauce and Sesame Seeds – $4.75
- Smoked Corned Beef with Warm Crispy Potatoes, Pickled Onions, and Blonde Ale Beer Fondue featuring BelGioioso Romano and American Grana Cheeses – $5
- Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake with Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Cilantro Aïoli – $6.75
- Chocolate Picante: Dark Chocolate Mousse with Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder and Mango – $3.75
- Orlando Brewery Smokin’ Blackwater Porter – $4.25
- Michael David Winery 7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel – $5
- Swine Brine featuring Jim Beam Bourbon – $8.25
Piggy Wings: Roasted Pork Wings with Korean BBQ Sauce and Sesame Seeds – $4.75
The wings offer a surprising amount of tender, tangy, satisfying roasted pork topped with a generous sprinkle of crunchy, nutrient-rich sesame seeds. Relatively speaking, I think these are at least a dollar overpriced – if the dish arrived with three wings it would be a no-brainer. But as is, they’re worth picking up if you have plans on ordering another item or two. I’m not sure I’d specifically seek these out if the wait to order was 10+ minutes.
Smoked Corned Beef with Warm Crispy Potatoes, Pickled Onions, and Blonde Ale Beer Fondue featuring BelGioioso Romano and American Grana Cheeses – $5
I guess we’re calling potato chips, “warm crispy potatoes” these days. This is otherwise another flavorful, comforting dish – the chips do a nice job of holding up against the lean, smoky corned beef. The American Grana cheese, which is turned by hand twice per week over the course of at least 18 months, offers a nutty subtlety to the creamy sauce and helps it stand out against the bold barbecue flavor of the beef. There’s just a little bit of onion on top that provides additional crunch and a little bit of a piquant quality that contrasts nicely with the tangy barbecue flavors. Very good overall.
Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake with Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Cilantro Aïoli – $6.75
I really liked the Sweet Pancake with Spicy Chipotle Chicken Sausage that this item is replacing, but with Patagonia leaving us this year and taking its popular Chimichurri Beef Skewer with it, the steak moves here. The good news is that this is very good in its own right, with several thick slices of tender beef marinated in a delicious sauce with garlic, cilantro, oregano, and olive oil. That’s placed on top of the corn cake that has a surprisingly crispy exterior that gives way to a really creamy, sweet center. Then there’s quite a bit of crunchy, piquant vegetable slaw on top and then that’s finished with a creamy, herb-heavy aioli. There’s a lot going on here and it all works really nicely in tandem, creating one of the better dishes that would be hard to pull off at home.
Here was last year’s Sausage dish. We’ll miss you.
Chocolate Picante: Dark Chocolate Mousse with Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder and Mango – $3.75
This was quite a bit different than last year’s dish, which had a very similar name. This one is almost like there’s a very thin layer of cocoa coating a light, pudding-like mousse with an incredibly rich dark chocolate flavor. The Cayenne Pepper is much more present than you would expect given other “spicy” dishes served at the Festival, adding a concentrated, acute spiciness that’s tempered by the sweet tropical flavors of the mango that’s now served on the side. It’s a really interesting dessert and unlike anything I’ve tried elsewhere. It’s also dirt cheap compared to other items and should be attached to any other order here.
Here was last year’s version where a layer of cake separated layers of similarly rich mousse. The Cayenne is a lot more obvious as well. I preferred this year’s, but be ready for that kick of spice.
Orlando Brewery Smokin’ Blackwater Porter – $4.25
The Blackwater Porter is one of Orlando Brewing’s better offerings. That’s not really saying much, but the typical coffee, caramel, and roasted malt flavors pair nicely with the tang and spice of the items offered here. It’s not worth going out of your way to order, but you’re probably not going to find the beer outside of the Orlando area, which may make it attractive to aficionados. The beer made its appearance at the 2k12 Flower and Garden Festival as part of the flight pictured above.
Michael David Winery 7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel – $5
This is an easy to drink, prevalent zin that you can assuredly pick up at your local grocery store for about $15 a bottle. The flavor here is more concentrated than most of the cabs and pinot noirs we’ve seen with lots of black cherry and spice with plenty of smoke and a rounded finish. It’s a great buy at the store, but probably a below average one at the Festival. Still, it pairs nicely with the spicy dishes served here.
Swine Brine featuring Jim Beam Bourbon – $8.25
I was initially unsure why Disney would be so ambiguous with the menu description. Most of us know what to expect if we saw a Manhattan, Martini, Bloody Mary, etc. on the menu. “Swine Brine” is somewhat less obvious, even if it mentions the bourbon that’s supposedly used. But after being served one of the murkiest drinks I’ve ever seen, complete with a rib on top, it was a bit clearer why they wouldn’t tell you straight up that this is mixed with lemon juice, mustard, and apple juice.
Fortunately, whatever’s in here works, tasting largely like apple cider with a hint of brown sugar from the bourbon and a lot of citrus mixing in with the spicy mustard for a surprisingly cool, refreshing drink.
The chicken wing that’s served on top is also sizable and meaty and like the other meats here, served almost right from the grill. It probably doesn’t pack much of a punch ABV wise, but it’s surprisingly satisfying if you enjoy bourbon, apples, and wings.
Overall, Flavors from Fire is a well-rounded stop offering some of the best dishes at this year’s Festival. Vegetarians are probably going to have less luck as even the Chocolate Picante, which you would think is vegetarian, doesn’t arrive with that designation.
We’ll move over to Earth Eats next with the review here.