Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Food Blog Forum Orlando {Part 1}


I'm back from my weekend in Orlando for Food Blog Forum {well, I've been back since Sunday. I've just been too paralyzed by an excess of things to share to actually post anything}, and I'm just going to warn you: I am on a sugar/Disney/learning/foodie high.

That's kind of what happens when you're surrounded by food blog superstars and spoiled rotten at The Happiest Place on Earth. And you know I'm going to tell you all.about.it.

What you will not see in this series of posts: Pictures of people posing with oversized Disney characters, small children watching the parade with a dreamy look in their eye, fanny packs.

What you WILL see: Obscene amounts of food, pictures of me posing with food bloggers with a dreamy look in my eye, the occasional Mickey-shaped dessert.

Warning given... now for the good stuff!

Sloane {from Life, Food, & Beer} and I headed up to Orlando bright and early on Friday in hopes of getting some park time in before the reception they were holding for us that evening to kick off the conference weekend.

We arrived at The Grand Floridian Resort and got settled in so we could spend some time at the park before the welcome reception that had been planned for us by the lovely folks who put together FBF.



The last time I stayed at the Grand Floridian, I was about 8 years old. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to be spending a few days in this Victorian-themed beauty.


In true Disney fashion, no detail is ever overlooked. From the verandas to the patterned wallpapers to chandeliers and the gingerbread trims, The Grand Floridian promptly takes you back to a time and place where elegance and luxury reigned supreme.




Sloane and I decided it would be best to visit Epcot that afternoon since we weren't sure if we'd have time to get back to the park throughout the rest of the weekend, so we hopped the monorail which is conveniently located on the second level of the hotel {erm, AFTER we waited 15 minutes for a bus that would never arrive. Oops.} and immediately made our way to the World Showcase for some snacks & drinks!

We happened to be there during one of the last weeks of their 20th Annual Flower & Garden Festival, so the park was even more expertly landscaped than usual. Because of the festival, we got to see some really beautiful floral masterpieces which, of course, all had Disney themes.




There were also special food kiosks set up where you could sample small plates of global fare, and we knew we definitely wanted to hit up a few of those. But first... cold drinks! Did I mention it was a sweltering 91 degrees that day?


Our first stop was the Mexico pavilion, and though we had only been at the park for a few minutes, we were already glad to go inside to get out of the heat and cool down with a cocktail.


In doing a little Disney digging on the internet before the conference, I discovered that the Mexico pavilion houses a hidden gem of a spot that serves some pretty spectacular drinks: La Cava del Tequila.



Did I say "hidden"? Because it was pretty packed when we stopped in for a visit. Sloane opted for a beer {sticking with the theme of her blog and all} but I had my eye on the Blood Orange Margarita with Berry Foam. It was a bit too sweet for my taste, but the interesting combination of blood orange, hibiscus syrup, and of course, tequila {and LOTS of it!} balanced with a Chili-Salt rim kept me coming back for another sip as we continued our stroll through the park.

About 3 sips later, I was already feeling kinda loopy! I am here to tell you that when you drink a margarita before you eat a solid lunch, you get pictures like this:



And let strangers convince you to have your picture taken like this:


And decide to "Gator Chomp" next to a landscaped crocodile: 


You also think it's cute to do the obligatory totem photo op in Canada:


And stop to pose with faux donkeys because.... well, why not?


Thank goodness for a nearby food kiosk in China selling Vegetable Buns... had I not started to get a little food in my belly, things could have gotten real ugly, real fast. We also tried some Lasagna Primavera {pictured over at Sloane's recap post} at the Italy kiosk, and of course, I asked to stop for dessert in France where we picked up a pretty Raspberry-Lemon Curd Macaron.


As much fun as we were having, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the evening's festivities because after a day spent walking "'round the world" in the hot Florida sunshine, freshening up was definitely necessary!


In my next post, I'll be sharing more about meeting some of my all-time favorite bloggers {and some new faves, too} and our adventures in some more of the parks.

Plus, I'll be sharing more pics of food. Always more food.

Meanwhile, here's a little easy to make snack, inspired by my {potent} margarita!


Juicy orange segments are dipped in dark chocolate, then sprinkled with a mixture of salt and chili for the perfect combination of sweet, salty, and spicy. And since it's fruit, there's no need to feel guilty about indulging in a few slices! {At least that's what I'm telling myself.}


Chocolate Dipped Orange Segments with Chili-Salt

1-2 oranges, peeled, segments carefully separated
3-4 ounces favorite dark chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon chili powder*
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt*

1. Prepare a sheet pan or plate by lining with a sheet of parchment paper.

2. Place peeled orange segments on a paper towel to soak up excess juiciness. This will help the melted chocolate adhere better to the slices.

3. In a small dish, mix together chili powder & salt.

4. Dip peeled orange segments in melted chocolate, then place on parchment paper.

5. While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle with a pinch of chili-salt.
*The measurements above are, of course, optional. You can put as much or as little chili and salt as you'd like. I found a pinch of the mixture to be just enough for a light dusting.

6. Allow chocolate to set {for faster setting, place in freezer for 6-8 minutes}.

Enjoy!



11 comments:

pictureperfectcooking.com said...

I so want to go to this next year! Neither my husband or I have ever been to Disney World so this would be an awesome adventure, plus I would get to met some wonderful bloggers.

Dianna M. said...

@pictureperfectcooking.com - You should definitely try to make in next year! Unfortunately, it will not be held at Disney. It'll be in Asheville, NC. I'm sure the event will be fabulous no matter where they have it!

Kasey Potts said...

Awesome recap! Loved meeting you and look forward to seeing you at IFBC!! xo

Alicia Carlson said...

Love all the photos!

Alissa Dragun said...

So jealous! I want to go next year!!!

Katerina said...

You had such a great time! I wish I could join you!

Angie Barrett said...

Your Epcot pictures are stunning! I love them! I didn't get to go to Epcot during the day this year (went for extra magic hours but it's not as pretty at night haha) oooo and that Raspberry-Lemon Curd Macaron! yum!!

Amanda said...

Oh my gosh, those oranges look fabulous!! Love your FBF recap!! :)

Girl with a Goal said...

Your pics are amazing!

Dianna M. said...

@Kasey - Thanks! Great meeting you, too! Can't wait for IFBC!

@Alicia - Thanks so much! That means a lot coming from a pro! ;)

@Alissa - Yes! Next year is in Asheville, NC. Counting down the days! :)

@Katerina - Aw! It was a fabulous time. :)

@Angie - Thank you! Epcot was gorgeous with all those floral displays. And yes, that Macaron... holy moly! Want to give it a try at home.

@Amanda- Thanks so much!

@Girl With a Goal - Thank you, that's so sweet! I had so much fun taking them. :)

Katie said...

yum! your snack looks awesome and it looks like you and Sloan had a great first day!

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