Connect with us

General

Europe’s newest theme park — Space Center Bremen — is a blast!

Guest columnist Alain Littaye returns with an in-depth report on Germany’s brand new tourist attraction: Space Center Bremen, Europe’s largest indoor theme park.

Published

on

Last month saw the opening of a new European theme park in Bremen, a town on the north Germany (where some of Europe’s space industry is located). Called “Space Center Bremen”, this brand new attraction is Europe’s largest indoor theme park — 70,000 square feet!

And guess who is the show-producer of Space Center Bremen? Bill Gorgensen. “And who is Bill Gorgensen?” you ask. Bill worked for many years for the Walt Disney Company in their Imagineering division. Gorgensen was co-show producer with Chris Tietz on the Adventureland section of the Disneyland Paris theme park. He supervised the creation of DLP’s “Pirates of Caribbean.” And — outside the theme park — Bill helped created the resort’s Disney village area (I.E. The “Downtown Disney” of Disneyland Paris). So — obviously — Bill Gorgensen is a man who is well known in themed entertainment circles for delivering a top quality product.

“So what’s the back story on Space Center Bremen?” you query. Well, the original idea for the park came from a German nuclear physician, Dr Wilke. Which is perhaps why he entrance area of the theme park is played very straight. With a 200 foot high mock-up of the Ariane rocket towering overhead and replicas of Sputnik on display nearby.

But don’t let those displays of old spacesuits fool you. Space Center Bremen is a real theme park. One that’s loaded with thrill rides, a 4D movie, simulators, an interactive dark ride as well as a brand new roller coaster featuring state-of-the-art technology! Plus licensed attractions like “Star Trek: Borg Encounter” and “Star Gate SG 3000.”

But — before we get to all of that stuff — let’s start at the beginning: The exterior of the building. At first glance, Space Center Bremen seems like a fairly standard structure. Until you notice that the shape of the building’s walls look very much like the exterior of a spaceship.

This seemingly insignificant detail actually has some importance. For it’s all part of Space Center Bremen’s “inside story.” In fact, the “back story” of SCB is that the building that the theme park is housed in is actually supposed to be this giant space ship in which “windows” are open to various different time periods: For example, the “Star Gate” window is supposed to allow you to “enter” the year 3000, the “Star Trek” window allows you access to 2400, etc.

Getting back to the theme park’s entrance: As soon as you see this, you just know that Space Center Bremen is going to be great. Giant boosters welcome you with light and sound to the Futuristic Corridor — a kind of “Main Street U.S.A.” — which leads to the Quantum Turbine and the giant Cosmosphere, the icon of Space Center Bremen.

All along the Futuristic Corridor, the theming, music and lightning is all “Disney quality-like” and the use of this interior space is wonderful. This part of Space Center Bremen, leading up to the park’s giant hub and the Cosmosphere is so well done, it could easily fit in Epcot. No, I take that back.

This part of Space Center Bremen is actually better than Epcot. Particularly on the half hour, when the space ship’s giant computer presents an elaborate laser light and sound show. This whole park of the theme park is a real E Ticket.

But — before you get to the Cosmosphere — you have to go through the Quantum Turbine, a place where images from the conquest of space that have taken place over the past few centuries can be seen. This is the section of the theme park that supposedly “transports” guests into the space time continuum of the Cosmosphere.


Click on any image to see a larger version.

Also along the Futuristic Corridor, you’ll find the entrance to “Mission Control,” a place where you can watch — live — the launch of the next Ariane rocket or locate the exact position of the International Space station (which is orbiting high above the Earth). From here, you can enter the theme park’s IMAX theatre. Where you can watch an edited down version of the recent IMAX film that was shot on the space station (which was narrated by Tom Cruise). This film — which was shot in 3D — features some wonderful effects as well as some just plain amazing views of the Earth.

Then you arrive at Space Center Bremen’s “Hub,” where the theme park’s guests have the choice of visiting four different time periods. Let’s start with the first one on the right, “Moon Base One.” After entering a replica of the Space Station corridor, you arrive on the moon base where there are four attractions to chose from.

“Moon Base One’s” main attraction is “Galaxy Express,” an indoor roller coaster that featuresnew technology. On this unique virtual reality adventure, guests take a high-speed ride along a track that travels through the entire Space Center. As they journey through this attraction, guests — as they are well seated in their train — wear a kind of a helmet. Which allows them to see CGI movie that visually propels the guest through the infinite vastness of the universe. This clever combination of real coaster movement synchronized to computer generated imagery really plays tricks on your body and your mind. It makes regular roller-coaster speed seem like the speed of light, every curve becomes a desperate, last minute, planet-evasion maneuver. “Galaxy Express” may be a bit short in length, but it’s still a great new coaster experience.

On “Moon Base One,” younger members of the family can experience what it’s like to be space travelers by visiting the “Moon Playground.” for kids. At the “Destination Moon” attraction, you can see what the Earth looks like from the Moon through a beautiful and emotional 6-minute-long film. On the interactive “Robot Rescue” ride, guests travel in lunar vehicles through a deuterium-3 mine. Your mission is to reboot all the robots that you see in the mine (which have been stricken with a mysterious virus) by firing at them with your laser beam. Cute but fun.

Space Center Bremen’s next “land” …. Oops! I mean next “stop” is “Planet Quest”. This is a dark ride that’s loaded with 3D screens. Its storyline supposedly recreates a trip into an unknown world. What I liked best about this ride is that it had a kind-of “Adventure through Inner Space” feeling, that old beloved Disneyland attraction.

Not that “Planet Quest” looks or feels “old,” mind you. Far from it. Here you have a ride that is supposed to be this pseudo-serious scientific exploration of extra-terrestrial worlds, similar to “JTIS”‘s somewhat serious trip through inner space. But here you have perfect 3D effects that “follow” the movement of your vehicle (Similar to what happens when you’re riding through “The Amazing Spiderman” attraction at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure). Admittedly, the show’s story is a bit jumbled and somewhat hard to understand. But — what with “Planet Quest”‘s excellent 3D sequences as well as the ride’s great post-show are — this Space Center Bremen area is still well worth a look see.

Okay, now it’s time to talk about the theme park’s two licensed attractions. First up is “Star Gate SG 3000.” Making its world premiere here at the Space Center Bremen park, “Stargate SG-3000” is inspired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios’ TV-series, “Stargate SG-1.” After a pre-show in a room which features the famous “Star Gate”, guests then walk in one of the three high-tech simulators. 35 guests at a time experience what happens when a gateway opens to various different dimensions.

The realization of this attraction is not based merely on various visual themes. But — rather — the visitors are completely immersed in the world of “Stargate SG-1.” So Space Center Bremen visitors are caught up in a race to get the Stargate key from the low-down Satra, a character specially created for the “Stargate SG-3000” experience.

Need to sit down and grab a quick snack before your next out-of-this-world adventure. Then why not grab a bite to eat at Bistro 3000, a themed restaurant that seats over 450 and features various show kitchens. A variety of good and not-very-expensive fare is offered here — everything from hamburgers to pasta to oriental food. The futuristic theming decor of Bistro 3000 is really great. And — given that this restaurant is right next door to the Cosmosphere — you often get a laser light show (featuring “liquid architecture” and changing light projections) while you dine.


Click on any image to see a larger version.

Next up is the “Star Trek: Borg Encounter” attraction. This one is Space Station Bremen’s real good E-ticket. Your journey starts aboard the U.S.S. Voyager (a pretty impressive pre-show unto itself). The next thing you know, the starship that you’re on is under attack by the Borg. So it’s time to board one of Voyager’s large shuttle craft in an effort to escape.

This 250 seat theatre is absolutely wonderfully designed. And — because you’re supposed to be inside a shuttle — some of the members of Voyager’s crew actually participate in the show. This “4D” movie is great for any “Star Trek” lover. The attraction’s 3D effects works well and the in-theatre special effects (mainly in your seat) are just as good as any you find at a Disney or Universal theme park. (FYI: Space Center Bremen’s “Star Trek: Borg Encounter” film is being produced by Paramount Pictures. This attraction is an exact copy of the ride film that’s just recently debuted at the Las Vegas Hilton. It was designed by Herman Zimmerman, the well-known production designer for “Star Trek”.)

Space Center Bremen sounds pretty impressive so far, doesn’t it? Well, wait. I’m not finished yet. There’s still one attraction that you have yet to experience at this theme park. One that’s actually located outside of this highly themed indoor attraction. (Yes, I know. Space Center Bremen was supposed to be an indoor theme park. But this last ride was just too big to fit inside the building!)

Close (just 5 meters away) from the giant Ariane rocket near the building’s entrance, the “Space Shot” ride catapults theme park guests 65 meters straight up, exposing them to a force of four G’s. Then — suddenly — “Space Shot” stops. Which is when the guests experience free fall. Weightlessness for just under two seconds. Then your “space capsule” glides safely back down back to Earth. (You can stop holding your breath now. Wow, what an experience!)

Although it’s located in Germany, Space Center Bremen is actually under the management of Pro Fun, a corporation that’s based out of California. “And how much did this indoor theme park cost?” you ask. $250 Million. No kidding. Of which at least $120 million was spent in the building itself.

All in all, Space Center Bremen is a great way to spend a day … particularly if you’re looking for some out-of-this-world fun the next time you’re in Europe.


Click on any image to see a larger version.

Space Center Bremen is located in Bremen and is open every day except Mondays. For further information on this brand new indoor attraction, visit their web site.

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

General

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

Published

on

Listen to the Article

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

Continue Reading

General

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

Published

on

Listen to the Article

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

Continue Reading

General

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

Published

on

Listen to the Article

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

Continue Reading

Trending