The Daily City’s Orlando Food Truck Bazaar keeps growing and growing. This month’s gathering of gourmet food trucks was rumored to be the biggest one yet, and it did not disappoint. For every truck we had a chance to try, I probably added three more trucks to my “to-eat list.” Even the chilly weather–the coolest evening of the season so far–didn’t stop people from coming out and enjoying the feast on the go.
We got our first taste of Central Florida’s growing mobile food scene a few weeks ago at the Daily City’s Orlando Food Truck Bazaar. It turned out to be a great meal, and a great time, so we’ll definitely be back in the future.
We’ve been hearing the buzz about the food truck community for a while but hadn’t had a chance to track down most of the popular trucks for ourselves. That’s where the Bazaar comes in. It’s a convenient way to sample several trucks at once to get to know what’s out there and to choose your favorites. We ate at about half a dozen trucks at the event and still barely scratched the surface of what was there.
Below are photos and reviews of the foods we tried. Come along with us for a stroll through the bazaar.
For all my readers who live in Central Florida (or visit here often), I’d like to alert you to two outstanding events going on here in September: Magical Dining Month and Miracle Miles.
I tend to be a pretty frugal person, always looking for ways to do more with less. However, I firmly believe that saving money and living within one’s means doesn’t have to be a joyless endeavor. You simply have to choose carefully to splurge on the things that matter and save on the things that don’t. This list is by no means comprehensive, but here are just a few treats that I think are worth the splurge.
I haven’t actually invested in professional photos very often. Most of the time, we rely heavily on our little point and shoot camera. However, the two times I have hired a photographer–my wedding and, more recently, my son’s newborn portraits–the resulting images were so wonderful they’re truly priceless to me now. Almost three years after my wedding, I still look at the pictures all the time, and I’m sure that will be even more true of baby photos.
The good news is that professional photos can be affordable for any budget. The increasing popularity and affordability of digital photography means that customers have more choices than ever before when selecting a photographer. While packages of prints and albums is still the norm for many higher-end photographers and chain photo studios, many independent photographers are beginning to offer the option of purchasing the digital images on a CD, an affordable and convenient option for many families.
A Great Hair-Cut
For years, I refused to spend much, if anything, on hair styling, feeling it was an indulgence I couldn’t afford, but ever since I found a great, reliable hair stylist, I realize that the price of a good hair cut is well worth the money. For one, there’s no more tears over a botched hair-cut, like I used to get at the discount chain salons. Also, there’s so much more included in the experience: a shampoo and scalp massage, a relaxing spa-like environment, good quality hair products. A well-done cut also seems to grow out more nicely, helping me go longer between cuts without looking too shabby.
Finally and most importantly, the power of a haircut to change one’s image and increase one’s confidence is amazing. It’s no coincidence that on make-over shows, the haircut is one of the last steps in the makeover before the “big reveal.” The power of hair to change one’s image is so powerful that revealing the new hair for the first time really ups the “wow” factor. Putting that “wow” into your own life on a regular basis is a totally “worth-it” splurge.
A Good Beer
A bottle of Dom Perignon may set you back a Benjamin, but you can celebrate with a six-pack or 750 of high-quality craft beer for less than $20. The diverse and vibrant craft brewing community ensures that enjoying beer can be every bit as rich and rewarding as being an oenophile … all at an affordable price.
Readers, what is your favorite splurge item? What tips do you have for making your favorite indulgences more affordable?
We visited the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3. For an overview of the Festival, as well as my top tips, check out my post from last week. If you’re ready to sink your teeth into some photos and reviews, then this post is for you.
Our visit on Saturday began with lunch at Le Cellier. I know it sounds odd to visit a table-service restaurant when there are so many great things to taste at the Festival, but Le Cellier is one of the most difficult advance dining reservations to get at any of the Disney parks, so when we were able to snag a lunch spot, we jumped on it.
We failed to take any photos at lunch, but I can tell you everything we ordered was delicious and nicely presented. My husband enjoyed their signature dish, the filet mignon, and I had the chicken crepe. (Yes, I was the girl who goes to a steakhouse and orders chicken! ::dies of shame::) Both entrees were excellent. I especially liked how the crepe was light, yet savory, and was paired with a light, slightly spicy potato salad. We also had a side of poutine with our meal, a traditional Canadian comfort food that mixes french fries with cheese and rich gravy. Sadly, we barely ate a third of it between the two of us because it was so rich. The poutine would definitely be better for a larger party to share. All-in-all it was a fun experience and I can definitely recommend Le Cellier (if not, perhaps, the six month wait to get a reservation).
The Brewmaster’s Collection
Our first stop after lunch was to pick up a cold beverage. Even though, being pregnant, I can’t currently drink any wine or beer, I was delighted to find out Disney had me covered. The Brewmaster’s Collection booth had my favorite non-alcoholic beer, Clausthaler, on tap. It was a nice treat to be able to safely enjoy a cold, tasty beer. My husband enjoyed one of the alt beers the booth had to offer.
Champagne and Desserts
Our next stop was at the champagne and dessert booth. This year’s dessert booth featured a trio of mini-desserts that could be purchased individually or as a group. We tried all three, and while all of them were good, I don’t think they were quite as outstanding as the desserts the booth featured last year. My favorite was the strawberry dish, which was light and refreshing.
Hops & Barley
This seems to be one of the most popular kiosks at the festival. We’re not sure what draws so many people in–the Sam Adams beer selection or the ever-popular lobster roll and crab cakes–but whatever it is, be prepared for a long wait.
For our last taste of the day on Saturday, we were actually waiting to try the pecan bread pudding. Living in the South, my husband and I have become bread pudding snobs. This one was pleasant, but didn’t quite live up to our standards, mostly due to consistency rather than flavor. We prefer our bread puddings more solid and bread-like than soft and custard-like. This one was decidedly in the custard camp.
WDW Foodie Fest
We headed back to the park on Sunday, and our first stop was to check in at the WDW Foodie Fest. The Foodie Fest was a very cool, free open-house event, hosted by the Disney Food Blog. The event offered refreshments, plenty of opportunities to mingle with other Disney fans and Disney bloggers, and our personal favorite, a scavenger hunt. My husband and I completed the scavenger hunt while enjoying the Food and Wine Festival and were very excited to successfully complete the “master clue.” We were even more excited to learn this week that we were selected as the winning entry. What a nice treat!
Ireland’s booth is a perennial favorite of festival-goers and for good reason. The booth’s offerings include Guiness on draft, mead, a decadent chocolate dessert and an excellent cheese assortment. This year we only had room to sample one item, the lobster and scallop fisherman’s pie. The pie is a warm and hearty dish with lots of tender chunks of seafood. While it wasn’t our top pick at this year’s festival, it’s a dish we’re likely to return for again.
Charcuterie & Cheese
The Chartuterie & Cheese booth was a fun, new addition at this year’s festival. We sampled the charcuterie plate, which featured applewood smoked beef, duck and ham. All the meats were pleasantly smoky, and it was a filling portion.
France is another outstanding booth at the festival. It took a lot of willpower to pass up the escargots and creme brulee this year, but we couldn’t say no to the short ribs. Incredibly tender, flavorful meat, layered beneath light, fluffy potatoes makes this one of the most filling and most delicious dishes at the festival.
The Belgium booth was another new addition to this year’s festival, and it was our personal favorite this year. We enjoyed both the mussels and the Belgian waffle. The mussels were in a creamy, savory sauce, with a side of toast to soak up every delicious drop. The mussels could have been served a bit warmer, but the excellent taste wasn’t compromised by the temperature. The Belgian waffle was a standout, light and fluffy waffle topped with pleasantly tart fruit compote and whipped cream. The booth also featured several Belgian beers, and my husband chose Leffe, a delicious golden ale.
The United States booth featured a couple of interesting selections. We sampled the bison chili and heirloom tomatoes. The chili was rich and flavorful, although in all honesty, I was surprised that the bison was almost a mild as beef, not gamey at all. The refreshing tomatoes were paired with blue cheese and slivers of red onion for a pleasant contrast.
We had to pay a visit to one of the park’s newest permanent addition’s, Werther’s Karamell Kuche (Caramel Kitchen) in the Germany pavilion. We were so delighted with the treats we purchased that we utterly failed to take any photos, but if you’re curious, Disney Food Blog recently featured photos of the kitchen’s many delicious offerings. Don’t walk in here with an empty stomach or you may take home everything in the shop; the treats inside all look truly amazing. We selected a traditional caramel apple and a vanilla fudge/caramel sandwich. Both were heavenly, and I’m willing to bet this shop will soon be a favorite dessert stop for many.
Our last stop before leaving the park was at Morocco’s Tangierine Cafe. This is a regular quick-service establishment and not part of the Festival, but the cool, shady patio and tasty platters beckoned to us. We had the chicken and lamb platter on this visit, which paired the meat with bread, hummus, tabouleh and couscous. It was a large portion, even shared among both of us, and was very satisfying. I must admit the hummus was very mild compared to some more spicy or more garlic-y recipes I’ve had, but I suppose that’s to be expected in an establishment that serves the tastes of so many different people. In the past, I’ve had the vegetarian platter, and although the lamb and chicken were tasty, I think the side dishes are the stars here, so I’ll probably go vegetarian again on my next visit.
Overall, the Food and Wine Festival was a great way to spend a weekend. If you’ve been to the Festival, please tell us in the comments which dishes were your favorites this year. If you’re planning to go later, which dishes are you most eager to try?