Sunday, July 31, 2011

A delicious vacation recap

So don't get me wrong. I love you guys. But I'd much rather be here.

I just got back from eight wonderful days in the Sunshine State, and this whole back-to-work-real-life-still-exists thing is a rather unpleasant surprise. To distract myself from the inevitable post-vacay slump, I present to you: a recap of some of the culinary highlights of the trip!

It needs to be stated from the get-go that I was beyond excited for my first visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. I started reading the books back when I was a wee 'un, and I just saw the final chapter of the last movie a couple of weeks ago (it may or may not have been opening night. Don't judge). The whole series is something I associate really strongly with my childhood and growing up, and I couldn't wait to see it all built lifesize, right in front of my eyes.

The whole place completely surpassed my expectations. (I'll spare you the gushing here, but suffice it to say that if we are friends on Facebook there will be copious amounts of photos.) For one thing, I got to eat lunch in the Three Broomsticks. And I had Cornish pasties! They were actually quite good for theme park food--the ground beef mixture inside was spicy and flavorful, and the pastry crust was light and flaky. (For those of you who have actually had Cornish pasties in like...the actual United Kingdom, I apologize. I'm sure these make you chortle. But sitting in the big wooden booth under beveled glass windows eating "Cornish pasties" made me feel like Emma Watson was about to walk by in her Hogwarts robes or something.)
The Cornish pasties were made even more amazing, however, by the beverage they were serendipitously paired with:


Chances are, you can't be a food blogger or even food blog reader without having noticed the huge upswing in Harry Potter-themed desserts around mid-July (when the movie came out). There were butterbeer cupcakes, butterbeer ice cream, even butterbeer cookies. All wonderful. But I am fairly confident that they pale in comparison to the Real Thing. Behold:
The masterminds behind this delicious concoction wisely decided to offer two versions at Universal: the original (more akin to root beer in appearance, but with a frothy head similar to a stout) and the frozen (think butterscotchy milkshake) varieties. Now, I am a purist. However. It was so godawfully hot in Orlando the day we were there that I was ducking into the shadows of lampposts for relief. I think J.K. Rowling and her breathren will understand and excuse my deviation from the more beer-y butterbeer. Plus, the frozen butterbeer is just so tasty...its sweetness and creaminess and altogether-wonderfulness kind of negated any guilt I felt about its questionable authenticity. :)
Middle Chip and I also bought one of Hagrid's rock cakes from Honeydukes (the candy shop in the books). It was kind of a cinnamon raisin scone with turbinado sugar (thanks to Maris at In Good Taste for teaching me what that is!) sprinkled on the top. Definitely a yummy snack for midday--and definitely big enough to split!

Let's fast forward a few days and cross the English Channel, shall we?
One of my favorite parts of Epcot Center is visiting the World Showcase--mostly to sample all of the cuisines! Middle Chip and I always insist on taking a trip to the France pavilion to visit our favorite crepe stand. They can't hold a candle to the crepes au Nutella I got outside of Notre Dame during my semester abroad, but eating them in the shadow of [Disney's] "Eiffel Tower" is pretty fun! This time, I chose the strawberry crepe topped with sugar, and sis chose the chocolate.
Oh, and let's not forget my love of everything Spanish. There is (to my utter horror) no Spain pavilion in Epcot. There is, however, a Mexico! And y'know what they offer at the cantina in Epcot's Mexico?
Churros con chocolate was one of my absolute favorite guilty pleasure snacks when I lived in Spain, so these were a must-have in my wanderings around the World Showcase. Disney's version are rolled in cinnamon sugar in addition to being deep-fried (like I said, guilty pleasure), and they actually came with a dulce de leche dipping sauce rather than a chocolate one. A different taste experience than the almost-ganache-like dunking chocolate I got used to overseas, but still delicious!
To round out the Orlando leg of our vacation, Middle Chip and I decided to treat ourselves to some sweets from the Confectionary at the Magic Kingdom (this little gem can be found on Main Street--it's one of the first storefronts on your right-hand side when you start walking down the promenade).

We split an Oreo fudge-wich--aka a circular cut-out of chocolate fudge sandwiched between two oversized Oreo wafers--and Middle Chip got herself a Mickey cake pop as a belated birthday treat. (She had been wearing the "It's my Birthday!" Disney pin all week long, so she was totally the star of the show. Three different cast members sang to her. Loudly. In public.) Since we were leaving for Tampa the next morning, we didn't eat them that night--instead we saved them for a beachside treat during the latter half of our vacation. Totally the right call! The fudge-wich was as rich and decadent as you might expect (definitely my favorite of the two), and the cake pop wound up being s'mores style! Underneath the chocolate coating, the ears were marshmallow and the head was almost like a brownie. Yum yum.

Feel full yet? I do. I still do. I probably will continue to for at least another two weeks.

Will this stop me from eating? Heck no.

However, I apparently have to do laundry now, or something. Because I have no more clean clothes. Oops?

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  1. Looks like a blast! My husband and I are planning to go to Disney and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter later this year, I cannot wait.

  2. Glad you had such a fun vacation! I want all of those desserts.

  3. Looks like a great vacation! Thanks for the shout out :)

  4. ahhh so jealous of your wizarding feast! =D sounds like you had an awesome time - filled with sweets, that's my kind of vacation! ;)

  5. Thanks, all! :)
    @Mal-- I hope the two of you have a fantastic time!
    @Maris-- Of course! Thanks for being so knowledgeable!


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