My Belly Fits The World… What’s Your Specialty?

November 3, 2009

Today was the day I tested the extreme limits of my stomach… more specifically, my stomachs stretch-ability to fit abnormal amounts of food into it. Before exiting my apartment this morning, I had a one-on-one chat with my tummy informing it that it had to be on its best behaviour today when un-human-like portions of food would be sent over for acidic break-down. My belly seemed to obey these orders and for this, I am extremely grateful and proud. More so grateful that I was able to make it back to my apartment at the end of the day without getting sick from the over-consumption of delectable delicacies.

What on earth am I talking about? I hear you ask. Well, today, Countess ChiChi and myself headed to the 2009 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival to eat the world one last time before it comes to a sad and untimely ending on November 8.  Today was indeed a magical culinary adventure which involved myself, my mouth and my stomach… Oh, and how could I forget, the wonderful Countess ChiChi.

EPCOT Food & Wine Festival 2009

I’d reveal Countess ChiChi’s identity but I have been threatened by the Countess herself, that if, and I quote… “post that picture of me looking like a disheveled mess in that red Fez then it’s on like Donkey Kong. Not a threat that would hold up in a court of law, just saying ;)”.  As eager as you all are to have me reveal the Countess’ identity, I’d rather survive and continue blogging for you all. Apoligies go out to my thousands of adoring fans, I can undestand your disappointment with me right now.

Beef Empanada from Rio de Janeiro

First stop Argentina. Beaunos Aires to be precise. I ordered the Beef Empanada with Tomato Salsa. Under normal circumstances (ie. Back in Australia), I would never even consider sampling this sort of culinary treat, but having encountered the amazingness that is an Empanada at Bongo’s Cafe (Downtown Disney – Westside) previously, I knew that my tastebuds were in for a celebration. Tastebud party in my mouth, everyone’s invited! Mmmm delicious. At this moment, my stomach felt like it was at one of those coin-operated window strip shows; it was only just getting teased… I had yet to pay more for the deliciousness to continue.

Next up; Ni hao Zhong Guo… “Lynda, dude, what the hell, it’s like you’re speaking a completely different language!?!” It’s because I am, fool! Hello, China! Shanghai, if I recall correctly. Again, not extremely big on Chinese food and I’m not one to sample foods I am not familiar with, but when Countess ChiChi informed me that the Pork Pot Stickers at the Shanghai kiosk were similar to that of dim sims, I was all over those babies like a fat kid on cake.

Pork Pot Stickers from Shanghai

Pork Pot Stickers from Shanghai, China

Considering I am pretty much one of the fussiest people ever to grace the planet Earth, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed my Pork Pot Sticker. I’d never consumed one before so I really had nothing to compare these too, but they were delicious none the less. Note: The chop sticks were strategically placed there by Countess ChiChi to enhance the quality of the image. I used my fingers to eat. So lady like, I know.

Grilled Lamb Chop, Red Wine Sauce & Murray River Sea Salt from Melbourne

Now, I know I’ve blogged about this bloody lamp chop at least two times before, but I can’t help but spread the word on how amazing it is, seriously, do yourself a favour and head to the Melbourne, Australia kiosk! Lamb is rare here in the USA, so to be able to visit EPCOT and easily purchase something I love so dearly and have come to appreciate so much more now that it’s so hard for me to find is a nice privilege. I’ve said it once and I will say it again, the Grilled Lamb Chop with Red Wine Sauce and Murrary River Sea Salt goes down a treat and is absolutely delectable. It gets the two thumbs up from me, mate!

By this point, my belly was starting to feel quite the bit full, but it remembered that deal we made prior to departing for EPCOT. It was going to be true to its word. Good belly. With this being said, off we went to England to sample some English cuisine. Walking towards England I couldn’t help but dart my eyes toward the “Traditional Fish & Chips” sign hanging by the English Pub. I had been craving Aussie style fish and chips for some time now, and knew the Brits did fish and chips pretty similar to how we do it Downunder, so the Countess and I stopped and shared a serving of Traditional Fish and Chips.

Traditional Fish & Chips in England

Now, the fish was no Aussie flake, but it was rather tasty, the best I’ve sampled so far in the USA. The chips, well, the chips were AMAZING. They were actual thick cut chips, none of this french fries crap. Hot, salty, thick cut chips. Can you please pass me a napkin so I can mop up my drool. Thank you. Scrumptious and rather filling. My belly was feeling quite content at this point in time. You’d think by now that I’d maybe be full, well, yes, I was semi-full, but was I about to stop eating? Hell no! The world is my oyster. Om nom nom nom.

epcotWe made a quick stop by Mexico to pick up a Churro, which, let me tell you, is like sex on a stick. Absolutely scrumptious in every way possible. Crispy, sugary and cinnamony on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside; heaven. From Italy I picked myself up a Primavera. I’ve blogged about this slushy drink before, but to refresh your memory, it is an ice mix of strawberry, banana and peach. It is so full of flavour and extremely refreshing in the Florida heat. I gulped that baby down like it was going out of fashion! Ahhh, brain freeze!

Chocolate dipped strawberries from Goofy's Candy Company

It was time to give my poor, helpless belly a deserving yet short break. The Countess and I had successfully eaten our way around the world at EPCOT so we decided to depart and hit up Downtown Disney. ChiChi had never been to Downtown Disney before so I was excited to show her around and let her indulge in my 40% merchandise discount which she was quick to accept and take advantage of. After a short stint of shopping, we treated our taste buds to chocolate dipped strawberries from Goofy’s Candy Company and a wonderfully pleasant dinner at Portobello Restaurant at Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island.

I’m retiring my tummy for the day, it deserves it.

Disney’s Cast Member Sneak Peak…

September 26, 2009

of the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival was on yesterday, Thursday, September 24; one day before opening to the public for its six week run. Although all the seminars were not available, we had access to all the International food kiosks which consisted of: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Mexico City, Mexico; Barcelona, Spain; Krakow, Poland; Shanghai, China;  New Delhi, India; Cape Town, South Africa; Bangkok, Thailand; Melbourne, Australia; Munich, Germany; Bologna, Italy; Vienna, Austria; New Orleans, U.S.A.; Tokyo, Japan; Marrakesh, Morocco; Paris, France; Cork, Ireland; Wellington, New Zealand; Montreal, Canada; Athens, Greece; Santiago, Chile and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

2009 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival

Walt Disney's 2009 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival

It was much to my delight that one of the feature International kiosks was from my home town of Melbourne, Australia A bunch of Aussie’s went down together and we were all super pumped for Lamp Chops and Lamingtons, but first, we had to represent, Aussie style!

Melbourne, Australia kiosk @ EPCOT

Melbourne, Australia kiosk @ EPCOT

I took it upon myself to indecently touch the Melbourne sign. You totally know that sign loved every minute of me holding that pose… I know I did 😉 Enough touching, more eating! Off we went to place our orders…

I ordered a Grilled Lamb Chop With Red Wine Sauce and Murray River Sea Salt. The single chop alone set me back $5.50 US, but boy, was it worth it; it was bloody delicious! This country seems to lack lamb so I have missed it dearly so the $5.50 price tag was little in comparison to what wonders it would do for my taste buds! It was like there was a party in my mouth and everybody was invited; that’s how good it was! Next up was the Lamington. I had been looking so forward to this, but, in all honesty, it was a major FAIL. I guess those who sample it and aren’t from Australia aren’t going to know any better, but for us Aussie’s, it was nothing like the real thing. The Lamington slice cost $3 US… I would have much prefered picking up an entire packet of Lamingtons from Woolies for $2.50!

Lamp Chop & Lamington from the Melbourne, Australia kiosk

Lamp Chop & Lamington from the Melbourne, Australia kiosk

Another major FAIL was the fact that they had absolutely no Australian cast members working the Aussie kiosk! What the heck is that? Oh, and that one of the dudes behind the counter, an American bloke, said “Good day” to me… Ummm, mate, I’m pretty sure it’s G’day. Ugh. Get some Aussie’s behind there already! This was seriously a major disappointment for me as most of the other International kiosks seemed to have cast members representing their respectful countries, plus, it’s always fun having a chat to a random fellow Aussie!

Primavera from Bologna, Italy
Primavera from Bologna, Italy

So after I’d successfully ate Australia, I felt the need to frolic over and drink Italy (over at the Bologna, Italy kiosk). It took a whole three minutes to get there; crazy, I know! I coughed up the $3 US to purchase a Primavera This is a strawberry, banana and peach style slushi drink which, let me tell you, was absolutely bloody AMAZING! It was soooo full of flavour and its iciness was so refreshing and welcoming in the 90 degree heat. I downed this baby within minutes. Could this be the best $3 I’ve ever spent? Quite possibly…

We checked out all the other International kiosks and found many things that tickled our taste buds (Mental note: Must head back to Athens, Greece for Chicken Souvlaki and Baklava!), however, we had dinner plans so decided to save the other samplings for another day. After all, there is still six weeks left of the Food & Wine Festival and we can visit EPCOT for free when ever our heart desires! Ah, the joys of being a Disney Cast Member


Ciao, Italia!

August 10, 2008

Ciao, buongiorno! Che c e di nuovo?

Hello, good morning! What’s new?

Plenty is new with me. I am in ITALY and it is beyond amazing. Well, it was amazing until I got attacked by mosquitoes and was left with no less than 20 bites all over my legs… but then Canada (Amy) came to the rescue and let me borrow her magic anti-itch stick thing. It was a life saver. Stung like hell, but boy, did it stop me from scratching. This made my Italian trip enjoyable again 🙂

In anti-itch stick thing we trust. Hooray!

WARNING: This is going to be long. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

We’ve been in Italy for roughly seven days. On our bus ride in from Monaco, we visited Verona. This is where the balcony of Juliet from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is situated. There is a golden statue of Juliet outside the balcony on the ground. It is believed that if you clasp Juliet’s breast it will bring you good luck for life; so that is exactly what we did.

Our first main stop in Italy was Venice. Relatives of mine whom had visited Venice told me negative things about this city, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. It was so old and beautiful. I appreciate a city that is well aged, and Venice certainly did not let me down; rather impressive if I may say so myself. We frolicked amidst 40 degree celcius heat (104 degrees fahrenheit) in St. Marks Square. We allowed ourselves to get lost in all the back streets and amongst the canals and alley ways as we explored the rich cultures of the city of love. We window shopped and fed the huge gathering of pigeons at St. Marks Square while enjoying lunch on the steps in the shade.

Next up was our gondola ride. I had been looking forward to this for so long. It was definitely a highlight of my time in Italy. Our gondola guy was a wealth of knowledge, often pointing out interesting tid bits and things to look at. He let us wear his red gondola-man hat while we took photos and tried to take in the scenery. This was really happening. I was really sitting in a gondola and being paddled throughout the canals of Venice. No words, really. No words.

Our gondola guy pointing the real Venice out to us on board

That night when we approached our tables for dinner, we were told we were being given something traditional to Italy before our dinner was served. We were each presented with a shot glass filled with a lemon-scented alcoholic beverage; Limoncello was its name. Limoncello is a lemon liqueur produced in Southern Italy. It is made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar and because it contains no actual lemon juice, it is not meant to be sour… not meant to be being the key words here. We counted to three and all downed our shots together. YUCK! It was sour and burned as it went down. I could feel it leaving a burning, stinging sensation trail as it made its way down my esophagus. I quickly washed it down with some water and welcomed dinner to eliminate the taste from my mouth.

Me kissing and hugging the Leaning Tower of PisaNext stop was Pisa. No points for guessing what we were eager to see there. Uh, OK, for those who need to refer to their ‘Idiots Guide to Italy’ it begins with Leaning and ends in Tower of Pisa. There! Happy now?

The Leaning Tower of Pisa was much smaller than I imaged it to be. I really did picture it to stand a lot taller than it did. It was time to get our creative juices flowing. We quickly got started on lining up quirky poses with the Tower. My personal favorite is one my mate shot for me; it appears as though I am hugging and kissing the Tower.

Love at first sight, baby!

Rome was where we called home for the next few days. I like Rome, not as much as Venice, but I did like Rome. We were able to catch up a little bit on Australia’s participation in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I am such an Olympic nerd when I’m at home so it is killing me not being able to watch the swimming and the velodrome cycling… although, I guess the fun and experiences I am having pretty much made up for me missing out.

Today’s first outing consisted of a visit and guided tour of the Collesium. Again, it was another day of sweltering heat. I don’t mind the sun, though, plus, I was in dire need of a deep, chocolate tan. The Collesium was spectacular. It’s so amazing that even way back then, with such little technology and machinery no where near as advanced as it is today, the Romans were able to build such works as the Collesium. I stood there for a while, just gazing upon what was before me, making sure I took it all in. Every last bit.

Me standing inside the Collesium in Rome, Italy

We soon moved on to the Trevi Foutain. A traditional legend holds that if a visitor throws a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return trip to Rome. Approximately 3000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day! 3000 Euros! That is unreal. I made sure to contribute to this 3000 Euros. I turned my back to the fountain and flipped the coin over my shoulder into the water. Kodak moment right there, only I don’t own a Kodak, I own a Fuji. Fuji moment right there. Please, no copyright infringements.

From the Trevi Fountain, we walked our way over to the Spanish Steps. The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base of the Piazza Trinita dei Monti. They are, without a doubt, the longest and widest staircase in all of Europe. We climbed them for a bit, but without a bottle of water handy, I was pretty sure that I’d pass out if I continued to climb to the top. We decided to retire from our climb and to get some photos sitting on the steps.

That night we had a huge party out at the camp site we were staying at. Again, we didn’t have tents, but were put in threes in really cute cabins. The alcohol flowed freely, the music was awesome, and we danced the night away, without a single care in the world.

The morning saw us wake to yet another beautiful summers day. Today we were paying a visit to the Pope’s home and the smallest country in the world; The Vatican City. Interesting tid bit: The city has its own independent postal system and service which is recognised as the fastest and best in the world. Mailing a letter out while within the boundaries of the Vatican City will often see it reach its destination before that of the Roman postal system. Neat stuff! We walked around and admired the architecture and history of the Vatican. The city itself, is only 44 hectares in size with a population of appoximately 900 so it didn’t take a huge portion of our day to get through. We made our own way back to camp using the public transport system.

Jade and myself, proud of our Malibu and pineapple guzzling efforts!Florence was our last major stop in Italy. Ah, lovely Florence. We definitely partied hard in Florence. Our first night there we went to do karaoke. It was so much fun! Just when I thought life could not get any better, I found out this karaoke place we were at served alcohol by the 2 liter jug! 2 LITERS (half a gallon)!!! Malibu and pineapple, it was, a whole jug of it, then another, and another. I was so proud with my guzzling achievements so we took a photo!

The next night we hit up the Space Electronic Disco in Florence. I remember drinking, lots; dancing, lots; kissing a cute boy who was also from Australia; dancing some more; drinking some more; then some where along the lines, we some how got back to our cabins (which were so damn cute by the way) and danced on the tables back at the cafe. There are all sorts of weird photos of us frolicking around that I have no recollection of, pretty funny. That night I some how ripped my cute Winnie the Pooh pajama pants on my suit case. Booo.

We woke bright and early, and luckily for me, hang-over free. Hooray! Too bad the same couldn’t be said for the rest of the group. Despite several peoples’ major head and tummy aches, we continued to smile. We were in Italy, we had no reason to frown. Before departing Italy today, we were going to stop by the ancient ruins of Pompeii for a guided tour.  Our guide, a very wise and knowledgeable old man took us through what used to be the Pompeii brothel. There were pictures of all sorts of sexual positions up on the walls. Our guide told us that the men used to walk in, pick their prostitute and point to the image on the wall that they desired. The prostitute would then perform the sexual position on the male. It was all a bit amusing actually.

Doggy style!

Off we went to board our ferry to take us to Greece. I’m so excited to go to Greece, especially Mykonos. It will be like a vacation within a vacation.

Missing everyone back home, not enough to make me want to come back, though 😉