Epcot Food & Wine Take 3

This morning we had reservations to go para-sailing!  This would knock off one of the items on my 50-by-50 list.  This past summer, someone let me know that there was a groupon deal for parasailing with the outfit that operates at Bay Lake in WDW.  It was practically half price!  Awesome.

Once we arrived – there was another couple who had walked up that morning to go para-sailing – so the four of us got on the boat together.  It was a relatively windy day, but nice and sunny.  The other couple went first and we got to enjoy motor-boating around Bay Lake.  Then it was our turn.

It was pretty cool – and because Florida is so flat – you could see for a good distance.  Unfortunately, the direction the wind was blowing in put all of the fun Disney sites behind us and you had to turn your head to see them.  Which was challenging – because with the high winds, you had to be careful your sunglasses didn’t get blown off as you turned your head and the winds made the ride a bit bumpy – so turning your head could make you motion sick.

Apparently the winds were strong enough that the guys running it decided to close up after our ride.  We were the last ride of the day (and the first) – and it turns out, the last ride of that week.  Yes – if you’re putting two-and-two together, these winds were the first impacts of Hurricane Sandy in the area.  Hurricane Sandy didn’t really affect us that much in Orlando – but would wreak havoc later on the Northeast.

I think the afternoon was spent chilling at the lodge – hot tubbing or what not.  In the evening – we had reservations for a wine dinner at Citrico’s.  Citrico’s is a Mediterranean restaurant at the Grand Floridian.  We had never been to Citrico’s and we always like to try out new restaurants (because there are so many good ones down there) on each trip.  

Cool wine dispenser that allows them to offer more wines by the glass.

This wine dinner was a special meal prepared by the chef and paired with wines from Spain from the Grupo Matarromera.  The private room seats just ten and the chef came out several times to talk with us about each course.

The amuse bouche was delicious – I don’t remember each piece of it, but it had a little blue cheese, which I normally don’t like – but this blue cheese was delicious.

The opening wine was a rose (Valdelosfrailes Rose) – and the rose was probably my favorite rose that I’ve ever tasted.

1st course was a seafood paella paired with a 2010 Emina Verdejo.  My picture of the paella came out blurry – so no food pic.  Both wine and paella were good – I don’t recall gushing over either.

2nd course was a wood-grilled rabbit loin with roasted kuri squash, pedro ximenez drizzle, and parsley puree and it was paired with a 2008 Matarromera Crianza.

This was delicious and the parsley puree was surprisingly yummy.

3rd course was a Berkshire pork belly with apricot butter, wilted escarole, and rosemary fingerling potatoes paired with a 2005 Cyan la Calera.

Again the dish was very tasty – but I have to admit, the pork belly is just too much fat for me – so I shaved most of the fat off.  I know, I know, it’s the best part, yada yada.

4th course was a veal osso bucco, white bean puree, and roasted vegetables paired with a 2009 Matarromera Melior.  You’ll notice that my comments on both food and wine are fairly sparse now – I honestly can’t remember anything distinctive about each of the wines.  We thought that their wines were quite good on the whole – although the Rose was the standout (relative to other wines of that type).

All of the food was tasty – I’m quite sure I finished it all off.  Yup – others were more careful and didn’t eat everything – not me 🙂

The final course was a Tres Leche with Caramel Gelato paired with an Emina Oxto dessert wine.  The plating of the dessert was incredible:

Yes – that big fancy, curlicue thing was like a meringue and totally edible.  Dessert was my least favorite course and I didn’t eat all of it (which just tells you how much I didn’t like it as I always eat dessert).  The tres leches had rum in it and I thought it was way too strong a taste and ruined the sweetness of the tres leches.  The ice cream flavor was also a bit off for me (even though caramel sounds like it should taste great).  They finished off the evening with some chocolates (yes – very much like the Monty Python movie where the overstuffed guy gets offered a mint).  Despite being crazy full, I managed to squeeze in one chocolate (because they were hand made by the dessert chef) and it was incredibly good.  Wish I had saved room for the chocolates and skipped the dessert.

Overall – it was a really enjoyable evening.

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