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Don’t wear Green & Gold to Universal Orlando’s Jurassic Park unless you want the raptors there to see red



Just a bit of advice to all your Green Bay Packers fans out
there: On the heels of yesterday’s season opener (when the Packers traveled to Chicago’s
historic Soldier Field (and then beat the Bears 31 to 23), you’re probably
feeling pretty proud right about now. Which is why — most likely — you’re
wearing Green & Gold today.

Well, if that’s really the case and you’re currently on
vacation in Central Florida, you may want to steer clear
of the Jurassic Park
section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Because there’s a velociraptor
puppet inside of that theme park’s new Raptor Encounter who just hates the
Green Bay Packers. And if she sees you wearing Green & Gold, this 9
foot-tall faux raptor is sure to see red. And she’ll then definitely go off on

Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

Which — I know — sounds a trifle bizarre. But according to
Patrick Braillard — a Creative Development director & show writer at
Universal Orlando Resort — this particular puppet’s persona is all part of
making Islands of Adventure‘s Raptor Encounter the sort of experience that
theme park guests can then repeat.

“When it comes to the Team Members who are working with
these velociraptor puppets, we have actively encouraged them to develop
different personalities for each of these creatures. That way, whenever guests
visit  the Raptor Encounter, they can
never quite be certain how this creature which is barely contained inside of
its paddock is going to react,” explained Braillard. “So there are
certain things that each Team Member has chosen which — once they see them —
will then set their velociraptor off. Take — for example — the raptor puppet
that can not stand selfie sticks. She reacts violently and absolutely refuses
to have her picture taken with anyone who’s holding a selfie stick.”

And what’s ironic about that velociraptor puppet’s
particular quirk is that this new Islands of Adventure attraction was actually
created to help people be able to send their friends & family the ultimate
selifie. One that shows them smiling while this vicious predator looms in the
background, getting ready to bite their head off.

Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

Mind you, this isn’t the first time that Universal Orlando
has gotten its guests up-close with a prehistoric creature. Back in 1996,
Universal Creative hired Spar Aerospace — the Canadian company that built the
huge robotic arm which the Space Shuttle used to snatch satellites straight out
of the sky — to build Cera, Chris & Topper, this trio of 24 foot-long, 10
foot-tall animatronic dinosaurs. When these massive robotic beasts were
unveiled as the centerpiece of the Triceratops Encounter attraction back in the
Spring of 1999, guests marveled at how lifelike these three appeared.

“And what exactly made Cera, Chris & Topper seem
real?,” you ask. Thanks to all of the gizmos that Spar Aerospace crammed
into each of these 7.5 ton creations, the toes on these robotic dinosaurs
curled, their nostrils flared and their skin twitched. Their over-sized
buttocks even clenched & unclenched as the stars of the Triceratops
Encounter stomped their feet and shifted their weight.

Then when you factor in some of the more natural / somewhat
unseemly things that live animals do which Spar Aerospace then programmed Cera,
Chris & Topper to replicate (To quote Tom Williams at the ribbon cutting
for the Triceratops Encounter attraction: “It sneezes, it snorts, it
urinates, and goop comes out of its nostrils”), you had some of the most
lifelike robotic dinosaurs ever created.

Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

The only problem was that — while this opening day Islands
of Adventure attraction was impressive at first glance — it wasn’t exactly a
repeatable experience.

“And why was that?,” you query. To be honest, it
was because the folks at Spar Aerospace had done almost too much good of a job
of bringing one of these large, lumbering creatures from the Cretaceous period
back to life. Because the whole conceit behind 
the Triceratops Encounter  show
was that Cera, Chris & Topper had been sedated and brought into the paddock
for their annual physical … Well, that meant that these tourists were lining
up to get a close encounter with this drugged up, slow moving dinosaur.

Which — in that pre-cell phone / decade-before-the-selfie
era — was fun to do once. Which is why when guests returned to this theme park
on their next Central Florida vacation, they tended to
take a pass on watching Cera, Chris & Topper pass gas in their paddock yet
again. Which is why Triceratops Encounter closed in 2003. And why — after a
brief attempt at re-opening & rebranding this part of Jurassic
Park as the Triceratops Discovery
Trail — it shuttered for good in 2010.

Copyright Universal Orlando. All rights reserved

Now jump ahead to 2014. And Patrick Braillard — just like
every other Jurassic Park
fan on the planet — knows that Universal Pictures is producing “Jurassic
Which — it is hoped — will reboot the popular film franchise
based on Michael Crichton‘s 1990 best seller, “Jurassic

More to the point, Patrick is aware that both Universal
Studios Singapore & Universal Studios Japan have been entertaining their
guests with raptor puppets that Michael Curry Design has designed & built
for those theme parks. And that these USS & USJ visitors are then tweeting
out pictures of their terrifying-but-fun encounters with these prehistoric

Now Braillard knows that the primo piece of theme park real
estate that the Triceratops Encounter used to occupy is just standing empty.
Patrick also knows that Universal Orlando has been looking for a way to cash in
on the selfie craze. Combing these three bits of information, Braillard then
decides to use Curry’s velociraptor puppets as the inspiration for a possible
brand-new experience for Islands of Adventure’s Jurassic
Park section.

Copyright 2015 Universal Pictures. All rights reserved

Using the way Chris Pratt’s raptor whisperer character
interacts with his trio of terrors in “Jurassic World” as his
jumping-off point, Patrick then submitted a one page proposal for a Raptor
Encounter attraction to Mike Aiello, the director of Entertainment – Creative
Development at the Universal Orlando Resort.

“What I basically said was we already have these raptor
puppets that we use at Universal theme parks on the other side of the world.
And that if we were to bring those puppets here and then create a themed performance
space for them to appear within the old Triceratops Encounter paddock that our
guests could have this experience just as ‘Jurassic World’ was opening in
theaters … Well, that would then be this wonderful synergistic opportunity. A
way to take everything that people already knew about our version of Jurassic
Park and then make it new for them
again by tying it in to this new Universal Pictures release. Not to mention
giving our guests a place where they could then get a one-of-a-kind
selfie,” Braillard stated. “And to Mike’s credit, once he said ‘Yes,’
it was a very quick turnaround. We went from greenlight to our very first
rehearsal with our brand-new raptor puppets that Michael Curry’s crew built for
us in less than 4 months.”

Speaking of Michael Curry … Because these were the third
or fourth generation of raptor  puppets
Curry & Co. had built, they were outfitted with some pretty impressive
features like onboard audio.

“That’s why — when you see online videos of Guests
doing a selfie with one of our velociraptors and the creature suddenly screams
at them —  these people jump and often
run away. The sound that’s coming out of those raptor puppets is the exact same
roars & cries that these creatures make in the ‘Jurassic
Park’ movies and ‘Jurassic
World’,” Patrick continued. “The folks who work at Universal Pictures
were kind enough to get us all of the appropriate sound files. Just as John
Hammond might say, we’ve spared no expense to make this new Islands of
Adventure attraction seem just as authentic as we possibly could.”

And based on the number of YouTube videos, Vines, Tweets and
pictures that have been e-mailed and/or been popping up on Tumblr since the
Raptor Encounter officially opened back on May 22nd, it’s clear that all of
Braillard’s hard work & ingenuity has paid off. Though — that said —
Patrick is quick to credit the talented Universal Orlando Team Members who
actually operate these velociraptor puppets for making this new Jurassic
Park show the success that it is

Patrick Braillard shares a selfie he took with one of the velociraptors who’s
now on the prowl inside of Jurassic Park’s new Raptor Encounter
at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. 

“Anyway, these Team Members are the ones who have
really embraced the raptor mindset. They’re the ones who come onstage thinking
‘I’m an apex predator. And everyone else here is food.’ But what’s great is
that each & every one of these performers has their own personal take on
the proper way to portray a velociraptor. We have some raptors that are very
aggressive and very alpha and don’t take kindly to being told what to do. And
then we’ve got other ones that are more like a puppy. They just want to come out
and play.”

“Those sorts of behaviors are the kinds of things that
you’ll see on a daily basis if you’re dealing with real live animals. This wide
range of personality & emotion that can change in an instant based on how
that creature’s day is going or what’s happening in the environment around
them,” Braillard concluded. “That’s why we’ve encouraged the
performers who operate these velociraptor puppets in our Raptor Encounter
attraction to behave just like real animals. So that the guests never know
what’s going to set these prehistoric creatures off.”

Except for that Green Bay Packers thing. Seriously, folks.
Unless you really want to get on the wrong side of a velociraptor as you’re
trying to get that selfie, don’t wear Green & Gold when you go to experience
the Raptor Encounter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Photo by Priyanka Patel

This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post’s Entertainment page on Monday, September 14, 2015

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 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.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“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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