*You can find all of the F&W menu boards as well as links to the ones I've reviewed so far right HERE.
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Oops they did it again.
The winner and still champion of the world: Flavors from Fire.
Don't get me wrong – there's a ton of great stuff at the festival this year, but I think this continues to be the key do-not-miss-it booth. The food is creative and delicious. The portions are big. And the setting is too cool.
The one thing that's missing this year are the piggy wings (though they do make an appearance of sorts…stay tuned) – but what they're serving up still includes three savory items and one sweet, along with lots of drinks, and they all deliver.
- The Steakhouse Blended Burger: Blended Beef and Mushroom Slider with Brie Cheese Fondue, Arugula, and a Truffle and Blue Cheese Potato Chip on a Brioche Bun (DDP snack credit eligible) ($5.25)
This burger was at Earth Eats last year and makes its appearance this year at Flavors from Fire. It's still excellent – as anything that includes beef, brie, and a thick cut truffle and blue cheese potato chip should be. If that ingredient list sounds good to you (and if it doesn't we probably can't be friends) then you're going to dig this, even if it does end up overshadowed by the rest of the Flavors from Fire menu.
- Smoked Corned Beef with Crispy Potatoes, Cheese Curds, Pickled Onions, and Beer-Cheese Fondue (DDP snack credit eligible) ($5.25)
This has got to be the single best value at Food & Wine. I have no idea how this thing is only $5.25 and I hesitate even to mention that because I worry that someone at Disney is going to realize their mistake and double the price. But that said…damn this is good. It *is* really salty – between the chips and the corned beef and the beer cheese fondue those pickled onions have a big job to do in combatting the salt factor here. But just *look* at that pile of perfect smoked corned beef. I'll be back for this one often.
- Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake with Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Cilantro Aïoli (DDP snack credit eligible) ($7.00)
That said – this chimichurri skirt steak was my #1 dish at last year's Food & Wine Festival and it's going to be up there on the list again this year. It all boils down to personal preference, because everything at this booth is good, but this one is my favorite. The charred skirt steak, sweet smoked corn cake, pickled slaw, and cilantro aïoli are just the sort of smart, delicious combination that the International Food & Wine Festival is supposed to be about. Needless to say, I'll be back for this. And often.
- Chocolate Picante: Dark Chocolate Mousse with Cayenne Pepper, Paprika and Mango-Lime Compote (DDP snack credit eligible) ($4.00)
And speaking of winning repeat dishes and smart food combinations, say hello (again) to the chocolate picante. Another great value at $4. The cayenne packs more punch than anything else at the booth (or perhaps the entire Food and Wine Festival) and the paprika adds an awesome layer of complexity. The chocolate itself is dark and not overwhelmingly sweet and a tiny pool of heat sits on top and soaks into the dessert as you eat it. And the mango-lime compote on the side was ripe and fresh and worked wonders for cutting the heat with sweetness. I’m not even a big chocolate eater (or sweets at all to be honest) and I cleaned my plate.
- Swine Brine featuring Jim Beam Bourbon ($9.50)
Remember how I told you that the piggy wings do make a guest appearance even though they aren't on the menu anymore? Well here they are!! I don't know why in the world Disney didn't bring back that popular dish, but I welcomed the unexpected garnish on the swine brine. And the drink itself is great. Someone in our group likened it to a bourbon margarita and I think that was dead on. Like the smokey margarita in Mexico, this is definitely a drink worth revisiting.
I don't have to tell you that I'll be back for more. But as for now?
Flavors from Fire?? Check!!