Hello, DFB friends. We’re here at the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival!
But let’s get back to the food, shall we? Like FOOD is — literally — our middle name! We headed over to Magnolia Terrace, which is celebrating its second year with the festival. This is the official “America” booth of the fest, located in the American Adventure. This booth was…ehh…OK in its debut year last year. A couple hits and a couple of misses. How would it do this year?
The menu here is all about foods inspired by the Gulf Coast Region — we’re talking Cajun-inspired dishes, crawfish, Louisiana specialties, and more!
Let’s let the good times roll and see what the food is like!
We’re starting with a brand new dish here, the Crawfish Étouffée with Andouille Sausage and Dirty Rice for $7.25. This is a bowl FULL of flavor with a heavy thick gravy-like sauce that is really flavorful. There is also loads of meat here — crawfish and andouille sausage — making this almost a full entree! Etouffée is usually served over plain white rice, but the dirty rice here adds a bit of extra flavor. (Don’t worry, the “dirt” is really just the seasoning!)
If you’re a fan of oysters, you probably don’t come to EPCOT expecting to be served fresh oysters on the half shell, but here we are! Last year’s Oyster offering here was grilled, but this year is all about Cajun Style ROASTED Oysters for $7.50. We weren’t super wowed with the grilled oysters last year. They were fresh but just not that flavorful.
THIS YEAR, though, these roasted oysters are miles ahead of their predecessor. They had a wonderful Cajun flavor — not too spicy, but we could definitely taste some garlic (sorry, vampires!). They were cooked perfectly — the meat just slides right out of the shell.
There’s also House-made Boudin Two Ways with Spicy Mustard for $5.50. Boudin, for those not familiar, is a pork and rice-based sausage (it can have lots of other stuff in there too!) but it’s known for being quite flavorful when done right. We weren’t super impressed with the boudin sausage in link or ball form last year — it was pretty bland and dry — although we dug the spicy mustard.
Now let’s talk dessert! Gotta’ end a meal on a sweet note, right? When we ate the Pecan Cake with Maple Whipped Cream ($4.75) last year, we were blown away, and this easily made our Best of the Fest list! It IS super sweet, but it was right up our alley. It’s served with a puddle of praline-like sauce that soaks into the dense cake a bit. It’s like a praline in cake form. It’s delicious.
Speaking of pralines, there’s also the Pecan Praline for $4.25. Last year, the texture of this thing was grainy (like the sugar wasn’t fully dissolved in the candy), but the flavor was still great. Making good pralines is an art, so we can’t fault them too much. That said, if you’re torn here — get the cake.
We washed all that food down with the brand new Bayou Cocktail for $11. This baby is made with Bayou Spiced Rum, Coconut Rum, Fruit Punch, and Minute Maid Orange Juice. From the description, we were expecting an attempt at a hurricane. This tastes like an average rum punch, BUT it was like licking a raw sugar cube — it was SWEET. We could only handle a few sips of this. If you want a fruitier, hurricane-esque sip and don’t mind a punch of SWEET, this will be a great pick.
The Parish Brewing Co. Ghost in the Machine Double IPA returns to this booth from last year. But two new brews have arrived: 81Bay Brewing Co. Orange Coriander Wheat Ale and Wicked Weed Brewing Day Light American Light Ale. All are available for $4.50 for 6 oz. or $8.50 for 12 oz. 6oz. But we went for the full flight of all three for $9.50.
The 81Bay Orange Coriander is very refreshing. It has a nice light flavor, which totally made up for that super sweet cocktail. We also tasted the citrus flavor immediately. This one is a YUM.
The first thing we tasted with the Parish IP Ghost in the Machine was (not surprisingly) the hops. We thought this was pretty flavorful last year, but in the end, it tastes like a general IPA. But if super hoppy beers are your thing, you’re probably going to like it!
Finally, we sipped on the Wicked Weed Light Ale, and it’s exactly what its name says — it’s light, simple, and easy. We thought it was very similar to a Bud Light or Coors Light.
We were slightly more impressed by the offerings here this year. The etouffée was a surprisingly solid option and the oysters were dramatically improved. The beers and (if you love sweet) the drink here are all decent choices. And the dessert is worth stopping by to taste as well (remember, cake not actual praline!). This may be the closest we’ll get to Cajun-style cooking in Disney World for now!
Stay tuned because we’ve got even more food reviews from the festival on the way!