Friday, March 14, 2014

Sound Bites 19.0: Central Florida

The last time I was in Central Florida was about 20 years ago.  A lot has changed over the years (hello Wizarding World of Harry Potter!), but some things stayed the same (like my unwavering love for Epcot).  Revisiting the places I went to as a teenager was even more fun as an adult, and part of the fun was discovering new food and drinks.  Here are some of my favorites. 

Food:
  • mug of Clam Chowder, Oyster Roll (Celebration Town Tavern) - the restaurant is located in Celebration, a town that thinks it's in New England and is so perfect and clean it's no surprise that it was developed by The Walt Disney Company.  Now I've seen cups of chowder on menus before, but I've never had the soup come out in an actual cup.  I have to say, I liked it.  Having a handle made it easier to pick it up and scoop every last bit of clam chowder.  It was creamy and hearty.  I don't usually eat oyster crackers, but I really loved the saltine cracker flavored ones served here.  The Oyster Roll was overflowing with delicious fried oysters on a delicate split top hot dog bun. 
  • Chicken Filet Sandwich, Chili Tots (Moonlight Drive-In) - eating a somewhat disappointing burger the night before turned me off to burgers that day (even though Moonlight's burgers sounded great).  The better-than-Chic-fil-A sandwich was ideal with its perfectly crispy and moist chicken.  And how have I never had chili tots before?  Loved it!   
  • Braised Pork (Be Our Guest Restaurant, Magic Kingdom) - since we were unable to get dinner reservations, the quick service lunch was the next best thing.  We ordered our dishes on a touchscreen, and our food magically (well by a homing beacon rose) found us.  The 8-hour Braised Pork, chef's favorite, was extremely tender and the gravy was good on everything.  The dishes were a bit inconsistent with one out of three having hardly any gravy, but the server was nice enough to bring out a whole bowl of gravy (yes, I was jealous!) just for Jennio.  I was glad she shared some of it with us.  With three elaborate dining rooms based on Beast's Castle, we couldn't stop ourselves from taking photos of everything.  
  • Pineapple Float with Orange Vanilla Dole Whip Swirl (Aloha Isle, Magic Kingdom) - pretty much an Orange Julius Dole Whip in pineapple juice.  Drool....  Wish Disneyland had this.  Oddly, you're not allowed to bring in Dole Whips, or any food for that matter, into the Enchanted Tiki Room, which is one of my favorite pastimes at Disneyland. 
    Jennio holding Dole Whip float
  • Italian Chili Cheese Fries with Granma's Classic meatballs (Jimmy Meatballs Truck) - I feel like meatballs are the drunk food of the moment, so having them on top of fries with our Cigar City beers was perfection. 

Drinks: 
  • Butterbeer (Butterbeer Cart, Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure) - tastes like butterscotch whipped cream atop cream soda.  It was so good, I had to have a second one before the night was over, regardless of the high sugar content.  Worth it.  
  • Real Pineapple Milkshake (Moonlight Drive-In) - like having an Orange Julius milkshake, but with pineapple and pineapple pieces.  Mmmmmmm....
  • Sch√∂fferhofer Grapefruit Beer (Sommerfest, Epcot) - refreshing for the warm Florida weather.
  • Cookie Dough brown ale (Cigar City Brewing) - if Disneyland was a beer it would be this.  It smelled and tasted like whatever they pump through the air on Main Street.  I regret not bringing a growler of this home.  
Song Pairing: 
Believer by American Authors

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Trinidad Senolia @ Riviera 31 Lounge, Sofitel

Xperiment USA presents HDG (House Disco Garage) every Friday night at Riviera 31 Lounge in the Sofitel Hotel.  I don't often hear this type of music at lounges, so I was curious when HC and I were invited to check out the residency of Trinidad Senolia.  Unfortunately, Mateo Senolia, the other half of the DJ-duo, was unable to make it that night, so we only heard the sounds of Garth Trinidad.  I don't listen to much EDM, but I did enjoy his set and their past mixes on SoundCloud, especially the one at Moonshadows. 

Riviera 31 has changed my mind about lounges.  In the past, I thought of them as places where the music is terrible, but not as terrible as the drinks.  At the stylish Riviera 31, I couldn't stop myself from bobbing to the music, and who could resist ordering from a list of cocktails designed by famed Cocktail Chef Matthew Biancaniello?  My most memorable drink of the night was the Byblos (Plymouth gin, local wild arugula, pressed lime juice, agave).  The arugula was noticeable, but in a good way.  HC's tagline for the cocktail:  Detox while you tox.