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Getting Ready to Hit the “Reset” Button

Before Jim officially relaunches his “Star Tours” stories, Hill shares a few Disney-related stories that he came across while doing some research this week.



Okay, where the hell is Hill? I’ve been coming to JHM for the past four days, looking for the last few installments of his “Star Tours” series. Only to find that has become a Jim-free zone.

So okay, Roy. Tell the truth. You’ve got Hill locked in a closet somewhere, right? And you’re not letting Jim out until he finally finishes his “Star Tours” series AND his “Light Magic” series AND his “Tower of Terror” series …

Er … You forgot about my “When You Wish Upon a Frog” series …

Let’s set the record straight, folks. I’m not locked in a closet somewhere. Nor is it Roy Mitchner (AKA JHM’s new managing editor)’s fault that the “Star Tours” series stalled out this week. It’s my fault and mine alone.

So what’s going on? Well … To be honest, the “Star Tours” series is the reason that I haven’t actually posted anything of size on the site this past week. Why For? Because — for the past five or six days — I’ve spent virtually every waking hour doing research on this epic length article.

The good news is … All this extra effort will finally begin paying off come Monday morning. When the brand-new, radically-improved version of this series debuts on JHM.

The bad news is … You can expect the original first five installments of my “Star Wars” saga to disappear off of the site sometime later this weekend.

“Why are you pulling those stories down, Jim?,” you ask. Because — in the tradition of my old “Jim, You Ignorant ***” column — I have to admit that I got it wrong.

Well, not wrong exactly. It’s more that I left important parts of the story out. I inadvertantly forgot to mention people who played significant roles in the creation of Disney’s first simulator-based attraction. I also skipped over key events in Disney Company history which had a direct impact on this project. Plus I left out lots of colorful little side stories that really add to the fun & enjoyment of this saga.

So, as I got deeper & deeper into the research phase of my “Star Tours” saga, I realized that — in order to tell this long-form story properly — I was going to have to go back to the beginning. To basically hit the “Reset” button on this entire series. So that’s what I’m going to do come Monday.

I realize that this news is probably going to upset and/or offend some JHM readers. I know that some of you are really going to resent the fact that I’m basically forcing you to go back to the beginning of a story. That you really don’t have any say in the matter.

But — trust me, folks — that extra bit of effort is really going to pay off. For the new version of my “Star Tours” saga is so much more ambitious. It covers so much more ground, giving you a better understanding of what was going on in Hollywood and/or Walt Disney Productions at the time.

So — please — come back on Monday and experience the newly enhanced version of my “Star Tours” saga. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

And — speaking of disappointment — I know a lot of you out there look forward to Friday’s “Why For” columns. Which we’ll be starting up at JHM again soon. But — for now — why don’t I share some stories that I came across this week while doing research for my “Star Tours” series?

From Scott Eyman’s “Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer” (Simon & Shuster, April 2005), here’s a story about how the MGM lion let a money-making mouse just slip through his fingers:

While Mayer’s instincts were excellent, they weren’t infallible. Frances Marion enjoyed telling the story of a time in mid-1928 when she summoned Mayer to a projection room with Margret Booth, Victor Fleming and George Hill to watch a cartoon on offer from a young animator. A squeaking mouse ran across the screen, and Mayer immediately shouted, “God damn it! Stop that film! Stop it at once.” He launched into a tirade about something so obviously offensive to at least half the audience. “Every woman is scared of a mouse, admit it. And here you are thinking they’re going to laugh at a mouse on the screen that’s ten feet tall, admit it. I’m nobody’s fool.”

He exited the screening room with a slammed door as punctuation. Leaning against the back wall of the projection room, Walt Disney realized he’d have to look for distribution someplace else.

Next up, as part of Sam Weller’s “The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury” (William Morrow, April 2005), Ray Bradbury talks about how enjoyable it was to work on the “Spaceship Earth” project:

As the Disney company was moving toward bringing to life Walt Disney’s vision of an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, one of the names that was first bandied about as a possible creative contributor was Ray Bradbury. Executives John Hench and Marty Sklar could think of no other person who better reflected the ideals of the past in harmony with the concepts of the future. Ray’s fond attachment to the small-town Americana of yesteryear, combined with the hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow, was a perfect match for Disney. Walt Disney created “Main Street U.S.A.” as well as “Tomorrowland.” But even before that, Ray had authored “Dandelion Wine” and “The Martian Chronicles,” odes to these very two concepts.

Ray was hired by Disney Imagineering in 1976 — the year of the American Bicentennial — to consult on EPCOT Center. Just as he had done with the United States Pavilion at the (1964-1965 New York) World’s Fair, he was asked to conceptualize and write the script for the interior of EPCOT’s centerpiece, the geodesic sphere known as “Spaceship Earth.” Ray worked at the Imagineering offices for a period of weeks late in 1976, four or five days a week. His hours were flexible. “They didn’t care when I got there or when I left,” said Ray. “It was very relaxed.”

Cartoon from February 17, 1977 WED-WAY newsletter

Were that Ray’s trip down to Orlando in October of 1982 (to attend EPCOT Center’s grand opening) was as pleasant as working at WED was:

In October of 1982, Ray traveled to Orlando, Florida for the opening of EPCOT Center. He took the train, of course. From the start, his voyage was a traveler’s nightmare. Ray first stopped in New Orleans to give a lecture at a local college. While there, he learned that he couldn’t get continuing rail service to Orlando, and so he hired a limousine driver to take him on the five-hundred-mile trek. The driver was a courtly southern African-American gentleman in his midseventies with whom Ray enjoyed talking as they headed across swamp and ‘gator country toward the city that Disney built.

Somewhere outside of Tallahassee, Florida, the limousine blew a tire. “We’re out on the highway,” said Ray,”repairing a ruptured tire, with cars going by us at eighty miles an hour. Of course, the spare was no good, and could barely run on a rim of rubber.” So Ray and the driver went to buy a new spare. “It took us two hours to find one going all around Tallahassee,” Ray recalled. “All the while, God was whispering to me, “Fly, dummy! Fly!”

A hundred and fifty miles farther down the Florida interstate, the limousine engine blew. “The limousine was going to hell!” Ray said. The old car drifted off the highway, coasting slower and slower, finally lurching into a parking lot of a Howard Johnson motor lodge. Ray and the old driver both got rooms and called it a day. The next morning, Ray called a taxi company to take him the remaining distance to Orlando. “Smokey and the Bandit showed up,” said Ray, referencing the 1977 film starring Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason. When the taxi rolled up, Ray noted that the driver was a dead ringer for Gleason. To top it off, Ray learned that the driver was the town sheriff, who moonlighted as the town cabbie. The sheriff-cabbie drove Ray the remaining distance to Orlando, pontificating the entire way, acting as tour director, pointing out various Sunshine State sights. “The taxi trip must have cost me two hundred dollars,” said Ray. “But it was a great trip because he was a great guy.”

However, once Bradbury finally got on property, things began running smoothly again. Thanks to that Disney magic. Take — for instance — what happened on EPCOT’s opening night:

Ray’s twenty-seven-year-old daughter Bettina joined her father for the grand opening of EPCOT, a three-day multimillion-dollar extravaganza … One evening, as father and daughter were strolling through the park’s World Showcase — a series of recreated international streets and buildings — it stormed. Ray recalled with awe that the EPCOT staff appeared almost instanteously with complimentary umbrellas for the thousands of guests.

Speaking of Disney Magic, I just came across Morris Walker’s “Steve Martin: The Magic Years” (S.P.I. Books, February 2001). Which — to be honest — isn’t really much of a book. Though — that said — it still has some fairly interesting tales to tell about the years Steve Martin spent at Disneyland. According to Walker, Martin actually started working at the Anaheim theme park back in 1956 when the writer & comedian was only 10.

Steve supposedly started out by selling balloons & souvenir programs, but eventually found work at the Magic Shop on Main Street U.S.A. Once there, Martin — under the guidance of the store’s manager James A. Hume AKA the Great Aldini — honed his craft. Continually practicing the many tricks that were sold in the shop until Steve’s obvious talent came to the attention of the Magic Kingdom’s main comic-magician, Wally Boag.

In “The Magic Years,” Walker recalls how Boag gave Martin his first big break in show business:

I flashed back to the many hours Steve and I spent in the Golden Horseshoe Theater in Frontierland watching Wally Boag. Wally would do his vaudeville act almost the same everyday, but that wouldn’t lessen our enthusiasm for the progra. He was a master with balloon animals and other vaudeville craziness. Of course, his balloon animals actually looked like animals. Steve would also create adorable little balloon animals, but in his act in the late seventies, he preferred to create a large, obscene monstrosity and call in an interuterine device for an elephant. After Steve had perfected many magic tricks at the Magic Shoppe in Disneyland, Wally Boag featured Steve in a show at the Golden Horseshoe that was supposed to be called “YOUTH AND MAGIC.” Fate must have grabbed the painter’s brush, because when finished, the sign accidentally read: “MOUTH AND MAGIC.”

Speaking of “Mouth,” I think I’ll shut up now and get back to working on Monday’s “Star Tours” story. You folks have a great weekend, okay?

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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