The 3rd annual Epcot International Festival of the Holidays kicked off last week and I was over the moon when I saw that we’d be treated to the food of my people this year. Because it’s not every day a girl gets to eat some matzo ball soup with a view of Spaceship Earth.
L’Chaim is a Hebrew toast that means, “to life!”, and you can find the Holiday Kitchen by this name between France and Morocco in World Showcase.
The booth offers 3 savory items and one sweet, along with a few drink options.
- Pastrami on Rye with House-made Pickles and Deli Mustard ($4.75)
This thing is a straight up properly done pile of pastrami on marble rye with spiced mustard and a crisp kosher pickle. In the land of no-decent-delis (how is this possible in Florida??) I can’t tell you how good this sandwich does my heart. Epcot’s festivals so often try to get creative to the point that the traditional food gets lost in translation. So not an issue here. The pastrami is generous enough and perfect. The marble rye is thin cut and not too fluffy. The mustard is spicy. And the pickle is crisp and garlicky. It’s just a well done pastrami on rye and it’s just what the doctor ordered.
- Potato Knish with Herb Sour Cream ($4.25) (Vegetarian, Kid Friendly)
Hold. Onto. Your. Hats. This thing is THE great value of the Festival of the Holidays this year. I actually went back and double checked the price twice. It’s only $4.25 – and it’s huge and amazing.
Truth told: This is not like any traditional potato knish I’ve ever had. It’s more like a mound of perfectly chunky mashed potatoes wrapped in chewy dough. Like…if really really good pizza crust was stuffed with mounds of your grandma’s mashed potatoes and then flash fried. But I don’t even care. It tastes AMAZING. And the herbed sour cream that’s generously poured on top makes it so much better. Please, please don’t miss this thing. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.
- Chicken and Matzo Ball Soup ($4.25)
You guys. It’s matzo ball soup. IN EPCOT.
Full disclosure: This isn’t as good as my mom’s. But come on. It’s still really good. The broth is perfect and loaded with chicken and carrots and onions. In the batch that I had the matzo balls were good sized and firm, as they should be, but the slightest bit chalky. I’m going to assume that in the mass production of matzo balls, you are going to get some perfect ones and you’re going to get some imperfect ones. It was still good and I’m sure I’m going to be getting it again. That second picture alone has me wanting more.
- Black and White Cookie ($2.00) (Vegetarian, Cookie Stroll)
Oh sadness. This one was a fail. Unless you need it to complete your cookie stroll, I’d skip it altogether. It’s dry. And lemony. Why is it lemony?? And instead of that solid vanilla and chocolate icing that firms up and melds with the cookie, it’s just sort of dipped in this wet chocolate and vanilla icing. My kids ate it – but they’d eat a box if it was covered in vanilla and chocolate. And I guess if I was hurting enough for dessert it would be fine. But it’s not a black and white cookie. It’s more of a…weird, iced lemon scone.
- Egg Cream (Non-Alcoholic) – Milk, Chocolate Syrup, and Seltzer ($3.50)
So. Good. And it was so pretty and foamy like 5 minutes before I remembered to take a picture of it. It’s like an old fashioned spritzy chocolate cream soda. It’s indulgent as heck and my kids loved it as much as I did. Which is good because it meant I didn’t end up sucking down the whole thing alone.
- Blue Cosmo Cocktail ($9.25)
I guess this tastes good? It’s cold and full of vodka and blue curacao. It’s also $9.25, which is freaking ridiculous.
All in all, you can feed a few people a great sandwich, a to-die-for knish, and some matzo ball soup at this booth for pretty cheap and then wash it down with an egg cream that will make you feel like you’re at an old school soda fountain. And you’ll still have plenty of money left to go elsewhere for a grown up drink and dessert.
But before you leave make sure to catch storyteller Zachary for the legends, tales, and songs of the Hanukkah season.
I can’t even tell you how amazing it was to see and hear some Jewish nosh and storytelling in World Showcase this year.
L’Chaim? Check!! And we’ll be back (again)!!