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A special “What’s in a name” edition of Why For

Jim Hill’s back with even more answers to your Disney-related questions. This time around, Jim talk about yesterday’s Disney-MGM name change announcement as well as revealing how adding the word “Walt” to “Disney’s California Adventure” could profoundly change the story that that theme park tells

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First up, Michael R. writes in to ask:



I was wondering if there was any specific reason why there has not been a release of the “Disney-MGM Studios” version of (the “Imagineering Field Guide”) series? They’ve released books for the other three parks and I understand now they’re working on the CA parks. Is it because of the impending name changes at that park?


Thank you for your informative web site. I rely upon your daily postings for insight into the Disney company.


Dear Michael R.


To be honest, the folks over at Disney Editions opted not to release the “Imagineering Field Guide for Disney-MGM Studios” in 2008 for a number of reasons. For starters, a lot of Disneyland fans have been asking for an “Imagineering Field” that would cover their favorite theme park. And next year seemed as good a time as any to finally field that paperback.



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But then — of course — there was that whole “Is Disney-MGM really going to change its name? And — if so — what sort of impact would that decision then have on the Studios Field Guide?” question. Which is another reason that the people at Disney Publishing opted to push back publication of this particular “Imagineering Field Guide” for another year or so.


As to whether Disney-MGM would really be changing its name … This question was officially answered yesterday when Meg Crofton, president of the Walt Disney World Resort, issued the following statement:



The Disney-MGM Studios has always been “dedicated to Hollywood, not a place on a map, but a state of mind that exists wherever people dream and wonder and imagine.” As we continue to celebrate The Year of a Million Dreams, I am thrilled to share what’s ahead for 2008.


First, there will be new attractions and experiences for Guests of all ages to enjoy. This includes the interactive thrills of Toy Story Mania! and the incredible energy of the new Block Party Bash parade. We’ll also introduce new Disney Channel friends at Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage and add even more “Wildcat Fever” with the opening of Disney High School Musical 2: School’s Out! this fall.



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Second, effective January 2008, the Disney-MGM Studios will be renamed “Disney’s Hollywood Studios.” This change represents the park’s growth from the golden age of movies to the most exciting entertainment of today’s movies, television, music and theater. The name “Disney’s Hollywood Studios” more closely reflects the attractions and experiences offered today.


Disney’s Hollywood Studios will continue to showcase classic Hollywood through its art deco style of the 30s and 40s, as well as contemporary Hollywood through its exciting attractions such as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith, Lights, Motors, Action!™ Extreme Stunt Show and the new Toy Story Mania!


I hope you are excited about these changes and encourage you to share this great news with your team. You might even say that “Hollywood” is now our middle name!



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Now, what’s interesting about that “Disney’s Hollywood Studios” name is that it’s something of a compromise. To explain: The Walt Disney Company was contractually obligated to stop using the “MGM” name in association with its studio theme park by the end of 2007. And the Mouse’s marketing team was all gung-ho about the idea of renaming WDW’s third theme park “Disney-Pixar Studios” … Until they got back the results of a certain survey.


It seems that those that Disney polled about possibly changing “Disney-MGM” ‘s name to “Disney-Pixar” were initially quite positive about this idea. However, there were certain guest assumptions that then came attached with this proposed name change.


As in: When people who were taking this phone survey were then asked which theme park they’d expect to find “Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin,” “Turtle Talk with Crush” and “Finding Nemo — The Musical” in, they immediately answered “Disney-Pixar Studios.”



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Which (of course) was going to be a bit of a problem. Given that the “Buzz Lightyear” attraction that they’d mentioned was located in WDW’s Magic Kingdom, “Turtle Talk” was over at Epcot while that new “Nemo” musical was being presented in Animal Kingdom.


What this phone survey supposed showed WDW officials was that — if they chose to remain WDW’s studio theme park “Disney-Pixar” — Disney World visitors would then expect to find all of that resort’s Pixar-based attractions located within the walls of that one specific theme park. Which would make things rather difficult for the folks working at Guest Relations at the Studios. Given that they’d be ones who’d then have to explain to irate guests why the “Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor” show wasn’t located inside of Disney-Pixar Studios, but — rather — over at the Magic Kingdom.


So — in the end — it was decided that the safer choice would be to rename WDW’s third theme park “Disney’s Hollywood Studios.” However, recognizing the promotional value of the Pixar name, the Imagineers then opted to rename at least part of this theme park after this CG studio. Which is why — in 2008 — Mickey Avenue (i.e. Formerly where the soundstages that “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire — Play It!” were located. Now this area will be play host to the studio theme park’s “Toy Story Mania” attraction as well as the soon-to-be-announced stateside version of “Crush’s Coaster“) will officially become Pixar Place.



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Getting back to those “Imagineering Field Guides” now … My understanding is that we’ll see the Disneyland edition released in 2008, the Disney’s Hollywood Studios edition published in 2009, and the DCA edition in 2010.


And speaking of Disney’s California Adventure … Next up, Lillian C. writes in to ask:



Hi Jim.


Now that Disney plans on spending some money to fix DCA, do you think that they’ll rename the park to something else? Based on all the ideas bouncing around about the potential additions/changes, it seems like it will be less about celebrating California. Wouldn’t it make sense to rename it? Or is that something Disney wouldn’t do?


Best,

Lillian C.



 
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Dear Lillian C.


The Imagineers aren’t really looking to change the name of Disney’s California Adventure. In fact, the way I hear it, what WDI is actually thinking of adding a new word to the title of this particular theme park.


Ah, but what a difference that one word would make. What am I talking about? Well, how would you feel if they changed DCA’s name to “Walt Disney’s California Adventure” ?


The idea here is that all of DCA’s “districts” (Remember? Back when this theme park originally opened up back in February of 2001, the Imagineers were quite specific about this matter. Disneyland had “lands.” Whereas Disney’s California Adventure — because it was infinitely more adult & sophisticated than its boring, older sibling across the plaza — had “districts”) would eventually come to thematically represent various aspects of Walt’s journey from being this poor boy in Marceline, Missouri to becoming a genuine Hollywood legend.



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So (following along this design scheme) DCA’s “Sunshine Plaza” (i.e. The entrance area of that theme park) would be retooled to look like the Southern California that Walt encountered when he first stepped off the train back in 1923. As for the park’s Hollywood Pictures backlot section, the time period for this DCA district would then be dialed back to the mid-1930s. When Walt was initially taking Tinsel Town by storm.


Mind you, one of the more interesting ideas that the Imagineers are reportedly toying with is completely ripping out the Golden Vine Winery restaurant. And in its place building an approximation of the Disney family’s Holmby Hills estate. Inside the house itself would be “Walt’s Place,” a brand-new restaurant that would celebrate the man as well as his love of American comfort food. Meanwhile, out in the “backyard” of this estate would be a brand-new version of the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. Which guests could then board and — via an elaborate system of tressels — take a quick scenic trip around the Grizzly Peak Recreation Area. Where they could then view rafters splashing along Grizzly River Run and hikers exploring the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail before heading back to the Holmby Hills estate.


Please keep in mind that this particular DCA retheming idea still has to make it past Disney’s attorneys. Who aren’t going to be all that enthusiastic about the combination of brain-dead tourists, miniature trains and live steam. Which is why WDI already allegedly has a fall-back position for this particular retheming project. In that the Imagineers will then agree to upscale the train that would be used for this new DCA attraction so that it would resemble the one used in Disneyland’s old “Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland” attraction.



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Of course, by doing something like that … Well, it takes away a lot of the fun for Disney enthusiasts. Robbing them of the chance to experience what it might have been like to ride on Walt’s own miniature backyard railway. But on the other hand, an upscaled version of this train would then address all of the concerns that Disney’s attorneys (Not to mention DCA’s Ops staff. Which would really have their hands full dealing with the limited hourly ride capacity of this proposed attraction) would be sure to raise.


As for the Pacific Pier area … This part of the park would then be rethemed to feature elements that would suggest all of the Southern California amusement parks that Walt visited with his daughters while he was doing research prior to the construction of the original Disneyland.


You getting the idea yet, Lillian? The Imagineers want to shift DCA from being a theme park that tells these very broad stories about Southern California to becoming a place that tells very specific stories. All of the adventures that one man had while he was living in California. In short … Walt Disney’s California Adventure.



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“But how does the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, A Bug’s Land and/or Cars Land fit into that specific storyline?,” you ask. Well … The Imagineers haven’t actually figured that part out yet. Which is why they’re now trying to make the rethemed version of DCA loose enough so that it can then accommodate these storytelling anomalies. While — at the same time — keep the park specific enough that it then can support this “Walt Disney’s California Adventure” storyline.


Now please keep in mind that this is the Walt Disney Company that we’re talking about here. Consequently, over the coming years, plans will change. Projects will be announced and then never make it off the drawing boards. That’s just the way of the world when you’re dealing with WDI.


But that said … You gotta admit that “Walt Disney’s California Adventure” certainly sounds like it would be a much better theme park than plain-old DCA … Don’t you think?


Your thoughts?

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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Jens Dahlmann of LongHorn Steakhouse has lots of great tips when it comes to grilling

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Sure, for some folks, the Fourth of July is all about fireworks. But for the 75% of all Americans who own a grill or a smoker, the Fourth is our Nation’s No. 1 holiday when it comes to grilling. Which is why 3 out of 4 of those folks will spend some time outside today working over a fire.

But here’s the thing: Though 14 million Americans can cook a steak with confidence because they actually grill something every week, the rest of us – because we use our grill or smoker so infrequently … Well, let’s just say that we have no chops when it comes to dealing with chops (pork, veal or otherwise).

So what’s a backyard chef supposed to in a situation like this when there’s so much at steak … er … stake? Turn to someone who really knows their way around a grill for advice. People like Jens Dahlmann, the Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef for Darden Restaurant’s LongHorn Steakhouse brand.

Given that Jens’ father & grandfather were chefs, this is a guy who literally grew up in a kitchen. In his teens & twenties, Dahlmann worked in hotels & restaurants all over Switzerland & Germany. Once he was classically trained in the culinary arts, Jens then  jumped ship. Well, started working on cruise ships, I mean.

Anyway … While working on Cunard’s Sea Goddess, Dahlmann met Sirio Maccioni, the founder of Le Cirque 2000. Sirio was so impressed with Jens’ skills in the kitchen that he offered him the opportunity to become sous-chef at this New York landmark. After four years of working in Manhattan, Dahlmann then headed south to become executive chef at Palm Beach’s prestigious Café L’Europe.

Jens Dahlmann back during his Disney World days

And once Jens began wowing foodies in Florida, it wasn’t all that long ’til the Mouse came a-calling. Mickey wanted Dahlmann to shake things up in the kitchen over at WDW’s Flying Fish Café. And he did such a good job with that Disney’s Boardwalk eatery the next thing Jens knew, he was then being asked to work his magic with the menu at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill.

From there, Dahlmann had a relatively meteoric rise at the Mouse House. Once he became Epcot’s Food & Beverage general manager, it was only a matter of time before he wound up as the executive chef in charge of this theme park’s annual International Food & Wine Festival. Which – under Jens’ guidance – experienced some truly explosive growth.

“When I took on Food & Wine, that festival was only 35 days long and had gross revenues of just $5.5 million. When I left Disney in 2016, Food & Wine was now over 50 days long and that festival had gross revenues of $22 million,” Dahlmann admitted during a recent sit-down. “I honestly loved those 13 years I spent at Disney. When I was working there, I learned so much because I was really cooking for America.”

And it was exactly that sort of experience & expertise that Darden wanted to tap into when they lured Jens away from Mickey last year to become LongHorn Steakhouse’s new Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef. But today … Well, Dahlmann is offering tips to those of us who are thinking about cooking steak tips for the Fourth.

Photo by Jim Hill

“When you’re planning on grilling this holiday, if you’re looking for a successful result, the obvious place to start is with the quality of the meat you plan on cooking for your friends & family. If you want the best results here, don’t be cheap when you go shopping. Spend the money necessary for a fresh filet or a New York strip. Better yet a Ribeye, a nice thick one with good marbling. Because when you look at the marbling on a steak, that’s where all the flavor happens,” Jens explained. “That said, you always have to remember that — the higher you go with the quality of your meat — the less time you’re going to want that piece of meat to spend on the grill.”

And speaking of cooking … Before you even get started here, Jens suggests that you first take the time to check over all of your grilling equipment. Making sure that the grill itself is first scraped clean & then properly oiled before you then turn up the heat.

“If you’re working with a dirty grill, when you go to turn your meat, it may wind up sticking to the grill. Or maybe those spices that you’ve just so carefully coated your steak with will wind up sticking to the grill, rather than your meat,” Dahlmann continued. “Which is why it’s always worth it to spend a few minutes prior to firing up your grill properly cleaning & oiling it.”

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of heat … Again, before you officially get started grilling here, Jens says that it’s crucial to check your temperature gauges. Make sure that your char grill is set at 550 (so that it can then properly handle the thicker cuts of meat) and your flattop is set at 425 (so it can properly sear thinner pieces of meat).

Okay. Once you’ve bought the right cuts of quality meat, properly cleaned & oiled your grill, and then made sure that everything’s set at the right temperature (“If you can only stand to hold your hand directly over the grill for two or three seconds, that’s the right amount of heat,” Dahlmann said), it’s now time to season your steaks.

“Don’t be afraid to be bold here. You can’t be shy when it comes to seasoning your meat. You want to give it a nice coating. Largely because — if you’re using a char grill — a lot of that seasoning is just going to fall off anyway,” Jens stated. “It’s up to you to decide what sort of seasoning you want to use here. Even just some salt & pepper will enhance a steak’s flavor.”

Then – according to Dahlmann – comes the really tough part. Which is placing your meat on the grill and then fighting the urge to flip it too early or too often.

“The biggest mistake that a lot of amateur cooks make is that they flip the steak too many times. The real key to a well-cooked piece of meat is just let it be, “Jens insisted. “Of course, if you’re serving different cuts of meat at your Fourth of July feast, you always want to put your biggest thickest steak on the grill first. If you’re also cooking a New York Strip, you want to put that one on a few minutes later. But after that, just let the grill do its job and flip your meat a total of three or four times, once every three minutes or so.”

Of course, the last thing you want to do is overcook a quality piece of meat. Which is why Dahlmann suggests that – when it comes to grilling steaks – if you’re going to err, err on the side of undercooking.

“You can always put a piece of meat back on the grill if it’s slightly undercooked. When you over-cook something, all you can do then is start over with a brand-new piece of meat,” Jens said. “Just be sure that you’re using the correct cut of meat for the cooking result you’re aiming for. If someone wants a rare or medium rare steak, you should go with a thicker cut of steak. If one of your guests wants their steak cooked medium or well, it’s best to start with a thinner cut of meat.”

Photo by Jim Hill

As you can see, the folks at Longhorn take grilling steaks seriously. How seriously? Just last week at Darden Corporate Headquarters in Orlando, seven of these brand’s top grill masters (who – after weeks of regional competitions – had been culled from the 491 restaurants that make up this chain) competed for a $10,000 prize in the Company’s second annual Steak Master Series. And Dahlmann was one of the people who stood in Darden’s test kitchens, watching like a hawk as each of the contestants struggled to prepare six different dishes in just 20 minutes according to Longhorn Steakhouse’s exacting standards.

“I love that Darden does this. Recognizing the best of the best who work this restaurant,” Jens concluded. “We have a lot of people here who are incredibly knowledgeable & passionate when it comes to grilling.”

Speaking of which … If today’s story doesn’t include the exact piece of info that you need to properly grill that T-bone, just whip out your iPhone & text GRILL to 55702. Or – better yet – visit  ExpertGriller.com prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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Brattleboro’s Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont

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Some people travel halfway ‘around the planet so that they can then experience the excitement of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. If you’re more of a Slow Living enthusiast (as I am), then perhaps you should amble to Brattleboro, VT. Where – over the first weekend in June – you can then join a herd of cow enthusiasts at the annual Strolling of the Heifers.

Now in its 16th year, this three-day long event typically gets underway on Friday night in June with a combination block party / gallery walk. But then – come Saturday morning – Main Street in Brattleboro is lined with thousands of bovine fans.

Photo by Jim Hill

They’ve staked out primo viewing spots and set up camp chairs hours ahead of time. Just so these folks can then have a front row seat as this year’s crop of calves (which all come from local farms & 4-H clubs) are paraded through the streets.

Photo by Jim Hill

Viewed from curbside, Strolling of the Heifers is kind of this weird melding of a sincere small town celebration and Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade. Meaning that – for every entry that actually acknowledged this year’s theme (i.e. “Dance to the Moosic”) — …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something completely random, like this parade’s synchronized shopping cart unit.

Photo by Jim Hill

And for every piece of authentic Americana (EX: That collection of antique John Deere tractors that came chugging through the city) …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something silly. Like – say – a woman dressed as a Holstein pushing a baby stroller through the streets. And riding in that stroller was a pig dressed in a tutu.

Photo by Jim Hill

And given that this event was being staged in the Green Mountain State & all … Well, does it really surprise you to learn that — among the groups that marched in this year’s Strolling of the Heifers – was a group of eco-friendly folks who, with their  chants of “We’re Number One !,” tried to persuade people along the parade route not to flush the toilet after they pee. Because – as it turns out – urine can be turned into fertilizer.

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of fertilizer … At the tail end of the parade, there was a group of dedicated volunteers who were dealing with what came out of the tail end of all those cows.

Photo by Jim Hill

This year’s Strolling of the Heifers concluded at the Brattleboro town common. Where event attendees could then get a closer look at some of the featured units in this year’s parade…

Photo by Jim Hill

… or perhaps even pet a few of the participants.

Photo by Jim Hill

But as for the 90+ calves who took part in the 2017 edition of Strolling of the Heifers, once they reached the town common, it was now time for a nosh or a nap.

Photo by Jim Hill

Elsewhere on the common, keeping with this year’s “Dance to the Moosic” theme, various musical groups performed in & around the gazebo throughout the afternoon.

Photo by Jim Hill

While just across the way – keeping with Brattleboro’s tradition of showcasing the various artisans who live & work in the local community – some pretty funky pieces were on display at the Slow Living Exposition.

Photo by Jim Hill

All in all, attending Strolling of the Heifers is a somewhat surreal but still very pleasant way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont. And that’s no bull.

Photo by Jim Hill

Well, that could be a bull. To be honest, what with the wig & all, it’s kind of hard to tell. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Sunday, June 4, 2017

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Looking to make an authentic Irish meal for Saint Patrick’s Day? If so, then chef Kevin Dundon says not to cook corned beef & cabbage

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Let’s at least start on a positive note: Celebrated chef, author & TV personality Kevin Dundon – the man that Tourism Ireland has repeatedly chosen as the Face of Irish Food – loves a lot of what happens in the United States on March 17th.

“I mean, look at what they do in Chicago on Saint Patrick’s Day. They toss all of this vegetable-based dye into the Chicago River and then paint it green for a day. That’s terrific,” Kevin said.

But then when it comes to what many Americans eat & drink on St. Paddy’s Day (i.e., a big plate of corned beef and cabbage. Which is then washed down with a mug of green beer) … Well, that’s where Dundon has to draw the line.

Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon displays a traditional Irish loin of bacon with Colcannon potatoes and a Dunbrody Kiss chocolate dessert. Photo by Tom Burton. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Green beer? No real Irishman would be caught dead drinking that stuff,” Kevin insists. “And as for eating corned beef & cabbage … That’s not actually authentic Irish fare either. Bacon and cabbage? Sure. But corned beef & cabbage was something that the Irish only began eating after they’d come to the States to escape the Famine. And even then these Irish-Americans only began serving corned beef & cabbage to their friends & family because they had to make do with the ingredients that were available to them at that time.”

And thus begins the strange tale of how corned beef & cabbage came to be associated with the North American celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Because – according to Dundon – beef just wasn’t all that big a part of the Irish diet back in the 19th century.

To explain: Back in the Old Country, cattle – while they were obviously highly prized for the milk & cheese that they produced – were also beasts of burden. Meaning that they were often used for ploughing the fields or for hauling heavy loads. Which is why – back then — these animals were rarely slaughtered when they were still young & healthy. If anything, land owners liked to put a herd of cattle on display out in one of their pastures because that was then a sign to their neighbors that this farm was prosperous.

“Whereas pork … Well, everybody raised pigs back then. Which is why pork was a staple of the Irish diet rather than beef,” Dundon continued.

So if that’s what people actually ate back in the Old Country, how then did corned beef & cabbage come to be so strongly associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the States.? That largely had to do with where the Irish wound up living after they arrived in the New World.

“When the Irish first arrived in America following the Great Famine, a lot of them wound up living in the inner city right alongside the Germans & the Jews, who were also recent immigrants to the States. And while that farm-fresh pork that the Irish loved wasn’t readily available, there was brisket. Which the Irish could then cure by first covering this piece of meat with corn kernel-sized pieces of rock salt – that’s how it came to be called corned beef. Because of the sizes of the pieces of rock salt that were used in the curing process – and then placing all that in a pot of water with other spices to soak for a few days.”

And as for the cabbage portion of corned beef & cabbage … Well, according to Kevin, in addition to buying their meat from the kosher delis in their neighborhood, the Irish would also frequent the stores that the German community shopped in. Where – thanks to their love of sauerkraut (i.e., pickled cabbage) – there was always a ready supply of cabbage to be had.

“So when you get right down to it, it was the American melting pot that led to corned beef & cabbage being found in the Irish-American cooking pot,” Dundon continued. “Since they couldn’t find or didn’t have easy access to the exact same ingredients that they had back in Ireland, Irish-Americans made do with what they could find in the immediate vicinity. And what they made was admittedly tasty. But it’s not actually authentic Irish fare.”

Mind you, what Kevin serves at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs (which – FYI – Orlando Magazine voted as the area’s best restaurant back in 2014) is nothing if not authentic. Dundon and his team at this acclaimed gastropub pride themselves on making traditional Irish fare and then contemporized it.

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“Take – for example – what we serve here instead of corned beef & cabbage. Again, because it was pork – rather than beef – that was the true staple of the Irish diet back then, what we offer instead is a loin of bacon that has been glazed with Irish Mist. That then comes with colcannon potatoes. Which is this traditional Irish dish that’s made up of mashed potato that have had some cabbage & bacon mixed through it,” Kevin enthused. “This heavenly ham – that’s what we actually call this traditional Irish dish at Raglan Road, Kevin’s Heavenly Ham – also includes some savory cabbage with a parsley cream sauce as well as a raisin cider jus. It’s simple food. But because of the basic ingredients – and that’s the real secret of Irish cuisine. That our ingredients are so strong – the flavors just pop off the plate.”

Which brings us to the real challenge that Dundon and the Raglan Road team face every day. Making sure that they actually have all of the ingredients necessary to make this traditional-yet-contemporized Irish fare to those folks who frequent this Walt Disney World favorite.

“Take – for example – the fish we serve here. We only used cold water fish. Salmon, mussels and haddock that have been hauled out of the Atlantic, the ocean that America and Ireland share,” Kevin stated. “Not that there’s anything wrong with warm water fish. It’s just that … Well, it doesn’t have the same structure. It’s a softer fish, which doesn’t really fit the parameters of Irish cuisine. And if you’re going to serve authentic food, you have to be this dedicated when it comes to sourcing your ingredients.

Copyright Mitchell Beazley. All rights reserved

And if you’re thinking of perhaps trying to serve an authentic Irish meal this year, rather than once again serving corned beef & cabbage at your Saint Patrick’s Day Feast … Well, back in September of last year, Mitchell Beazley published “The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub.” This 296-page hardcover not only includes the recipe for Kevin’s Heavenly Ham but also it tells the tale of how this now-world-renown restaurant wound up being built in Orlando.

On the other hand, if you happen to have to the luck of the Irish and are actually down at The Walt Disney World Resort right now, it’s worth noting that Raglan Road is right in the middle of its Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This four day-long event – which includes Irish bands and professional dancers – stretches through Sunday night. And in addition to all that authentic Irish fare that Dundon and his team are cooking up, you also sample the fine selection of beers & cocktails that this establishment’s four distinct antique bars (each of which are more than 130 years old and were imported directly from Ireland) will be serving. Just – As ucht Dé (That’s “For God’s Sake” in Gaelic) – don’t make the mistake of asking the bartender there for a mug of green beer.

“Why would anyone willingly drink something like that?,” Dundon laughed. “I mean, just imagine what their washroom will look like the morning after.”

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Friday, March 17, 2017

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