I nearly forgot to post my faves from this year's Epcot Food and Wine Festival. All in all, I think the food was just slightly better in 2009 than it was in the last two years.
My top picks:
New Orleans – Crawfish Etouffee
By far the best you can get in Orlando. Same recipe as in 2008, although I do wish they would bring back the small Tabasco bottles to compliment this great etouffee. (If you ask, they do have hot sauce behind the counter, just not Tabasco brand.)
Melbourne, Australia – Grilled Lamp Chop with Red Wine Sauce and Murray River Sea Salt
The chop could have been trimmed better. It's almost as if they left the fat intact to impress you with the portion size. That said, this was a very well executed, hand-seasoned lamb chop with great balance between the wine & sea salt. Delicious!
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Grilled Pork Skewer with Farifa
No wonder the USA lost the Olympic bid to Rio. Something so simple as a pork on a stick… and it absolutely rocked. Perfectly balanced tastes.
A couple of other notables:
– The Chicken Urumqi (Grilled chicken with cumin and traditional Chinese spices) in Bejing was really tasty, especially with sriracha sauce to compliment the cumin.
– The maple glazed salmon in Montreal was good, but not nearly as tasty as last year. I thought they were a little overboard with the maple this year and the choice to serve the salmon over cold lentils wasn't nearly the presentation or taste of last year's dish. Bring back the arugula & roasted corn and this dish makes the "best" list.
– Stop by Cape Town, South Africa and order the Seared Beef Tenderloin, but don't focus too much on the meat. The star of this dish is the amazing sweet potato puree. A bite of sweet potato with the beef and mango barbecue is really tasty!
– I don't care what anyone says, the Nuernberger sausage in Munich is fantastic. Yes, the presentation sucks… but it's a sausage… on a pretzel roll! It's so simple and the the pretzel rolls were really soft this year. Just a really great snack – perfect way to sneak a beer into the mix at a "wine" festival.
– Last but not least, the sushi rolls at Tokyo. I don't understand how they can make and refrigerate rolls without them turning into mush, but they have got it down pat. The sushi rolls aren't legendary, but they are crispy and fresh!