Thursday, January 18, 2018
Restaurants

Dining Planner: What you need to know for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Epcot: 62 days of food & wine

We're just around the corner from the 21st Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Sept. 14 to Nov. 14. It has become one of the country's top food festivals and features Instagram-worthy sips and bites at more than 30 marketplaces. And for the second consecutive year, ABC's Emmy Award-winning lifestyle series The Chew will produce a full week of programs from the festival. Hosts Mario Batali, Carla Hall, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly and Daphne Oz will share their Disney culinary adventures and tasty recipes before Epcot audiences Oct. 5-7 in shows scheduled to air Oct. 10-14.

Here are some of the highlights from this year's festival:

Iron Chefs Geoffrey Zakarian and Masaharu Morimoto: Chopped judge Maneet Chauhan and other celebrated chefs including Elliott Farmer and Graham Elliot will fire up the burners to host their first festival special events. Other chef icons like Robert Irvine, Cat Cora, Norman Van Aken, Elizabeth Falkner, Buddy Valastro and Jamie Deen will return to entertain guests at premium events that include Party for the Senses grand tastings featuring new entertainment.

New or reimagined dishes: Nearly half of the global marketplace food items are fresh recipes. Some of the new flavors include hard soda floats at Desserts & Champagne; savory vegan "nachos," above, at the Greece marketplace; sweet quesitos with guava sauce at the new Islands of the Caribbean kiosk; and peanut butter and white chocolate mousse at the Chew Collective. Festival guests can pair food with wines, beers, cocktails and ciders as they stroll the promenade.

First-time festival resort experiences: These include Brunch with a Twist at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa; Culinary Adventures with a Master Chef for a hands-on chef's table experience in a professional working kitchen; the Secret of Flavor three-course lunch that gives guests a "sensory-food connection" at Yachtsman Steakhouse; and a tropical "Zombie" encounter during Behind the Scenes at Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.

"Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It!": Hands-on workshops at the Festival Center will offer guests a chance to learn a variety of culinary skills from chefs, bakers, mixologists and other pros.

Eat to the Beat concert acts debut: Fan favorites return to play 186 festival concerts in all. Wang Chung will open the Eat to the Beat concert series Sept. 14-15, with seven other newcomers in the lineup including Plain White T's, above, Delta Rae and Toad the Wet Sprocket. Other popular acts, including Wilson Phillips, Boyz II Men and Jeffrey Osborne will return.

Included with Epcot admission ($97-$102) are the Back to Basics series, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Festival Passport and all attractions and park entertainment. Special programming by reservation includes the Party for the Senses and Rockin' Burger Block Party grand tasting events, signature dinners and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call (407) 939-3378 for reservations and get details at epcotfoodfestival.com.

Take it up a notch: Waldorf

As a complement to Epcot's festival, Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek are hosting the sixth annual Food & Wine Weekends with culinary-focused programming for guests of all ages from Sept. 16 to Nov. 13. Highlights include Bar du Chocolat, the Art of Sushi Pairing, interactive cocktail classes, culinary-themed spa treatments, an eight-flavored macaron bar, royal tea and wine pairing dinner specials in the restaurants La Luce and Bull & Bear. The hotel offers complimentary transportation to Epcot and all Disney theme parks. For more information and pricing, call (407) 597-5500.

     
   
Comments
Shake Shack, Momofuku and more: Please come to Tampa Bay

Shake Shack, Momofuku and more: Please come to Tampa Bay

Fabio is coming! Not the Fabio on your romance novel, with the billowing hair and large quantities of artificial butter. This Fabio, in all likelihood, uses real butter. And olive oil. Fabio Viviani, the charming Top Chef alum known for appearances...
Published: 01/17/18
Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

LA SEGUNDAA Tampa Bay giant has stirred and is on the move. La Segunda Central Bakery, a family-owned Ybor City institution for nearly 103 years (they celebrated that birthday Jan. 15) and the largest producer of Cuban bread in the world, will open a...
Published: 01/17/18
Restaurant review: Byblos Cafe has busted out of its mold with a broader Mediterranean menu, and that’s good

Restaurant review: Byblos Cafe has busted out of its mold with a broader Mediterranean menu, and that’s good

TAMPASeldom have I paid such close attention to a restaurant closure, remodeling and reopening. Byblos Cafe began a major renovation last year, keeping the restaurant open as long as possible during the summer with some nifty temporary walls to shiel...
Published: 01/16/18
Restaurant review: Ichicoro Ane brings ramen, Japanese small plates and a whole lot of fun to St. Petersburg

Restaurant review: Ichicoro Ane brings ramen, Japanese small plates and a whole lot of fun to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURGWhen Station House restaurant opened on Christmas Eve 2014 it was a totally reinvented space, Steve Gianfilippo’s vision for the basement level of a 104-year-old, five-story, 30,000-square-foot building he’d bought for $3 million. For y...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/13/18
Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani will open a restaurant in downtown Tampa

Top Chef’s Fabio Viviani will open a restaurant in downtown Tampa

The Tampa Bay restaurant scene has hit a certain kind of critical mass. For several years, rumors have swirled that the nation’s celebrity chefs were considering this part of the Florida peninsula as "the next big thing," a place to colonize and set ...
Published: 01/12/18
The future of food includes insect cuisine, edible packaging, sea vegetables and more

The future of food includes insect cuisine, edible packaging, sea vegetables and more

Insect cuisine. Edible packaging. High-tech rooftop gardens. The future of food is around the corner. With a current world population of 7.2 billion, the United Nations is projecting an increase of 1 billion people over the next 12 years, and 9.6 bi...
Published: 01/10/18
La Segunda Bakery to open new South Tampa location — with seats

La Segunda Bakery to open new South Tampa location — with seats

A Tampa Bay giant has stirred and is on the move. La Segunda Central Bakery, a family-owned Ybor City institution for nearly 103 years (they celebrate that birthday Jan. 15) and the largest producer of Cuban bread in the world, will open a second loc...
Published: 01/09/18
Tijuana Flats now sells a ‘take-home burrito meal kit’ and Rattle N Hum offers BOGO shots

Tijuana Flats now sells a ‘take-home burrito meal kit’ and Rattle N Hum offers BOGO shots

THE TWO B’S: BEER AND BACONFor the second year, Patrick Green is putting on the St. Pete Beer and Bacon Festival at Vinoy Park from 1 to 6 p.m. Jan. 20. Last year more than 5,000 people showed up to celebrate both B’s. Why this particular dynamic duo...
Published: 01/04/18
Updated: 01/10/18
Our food critic’s tips for eating out and not gaining weight in 2018

Our food critic’s tips for eating out and not gaining weight in 2018

There’s a three-panel comic circulating on social media right now. In the first panel is a stick figure with a Santa hat, the caption, "festive." In the second panel a pudgier stick figure is wandering, confused, with a wedge of cheese in his hand. I...
Updated one month ago
Restaurant review: Pin Wok and Bowl in St. Petersburg blends Thai and Japanese for familiar but solid fare

Restaurant review: Pin Wok and Bowl in St. Petersburg blends Thai and Japanese for familiar but solid fare

The name is a riff on rock 'n' roll (I hope not with a gesture at a bad Asian accent), the Pin part a reference to a lute-like stringed instrument in Thailand, the instrument a subtle decorating motif in the new restaurant.
Updated one month ago