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Monday Mouse Watch : Why all the dough that “The Simpsons Movie” is earning is making Disney & Pixar executives say “D’oh !”

Jim Hill shares some interesting comments from this past Wednesday’s quarterly earnings conference call. Which suggest that Mouse House officials have finally accepted the fact that “Ratatouille” won’t actually do as well domestically as “Cars” did last year



Let’s start with the news that may confuse some of you. In that there are folks at Walt Disney Animation Studios who are downright giddy that “The Simpsons Movie” has done as well as it has over the past 10 days.

“And why would WDAS employees be excited by the success of a 20th Century Fox film ?,” you ask. Well, the huge grosses that “The Simpsons Movie” has been racking up since its July 27th release are now being seen as proof positive that there is actually an audience out there that’s hungry for traditional animation. Which really bodes well for Disney’s “Enchanted” ‘s release this Thanksgiving as well as for “The Princess and the Frog” come 2009.

Mind you, not everyone at the Mouse House has been thrilled by how well Bart & his buddies have been doing at your local multiplex. I am referring — of course — to the people over at Pixar Animation Studios. Who are said to be rather depressed that “The Simpsons Movie” has already earned $128.5 million during its initial domestic release. Which puts this David Silverman film on track to blow right past the $188.2 million that “Ratatouille” has earned to date during its stateside run sometime over the next three weeks.

Copyright 2007 20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved

“And what’s so bad about that?,” you query. Well, to be honest, the folks at Pixar already have their nose out of joint over the fact that — while this new Brad Bird film may be the best reviewed movie of the year — “Ratatouille” ‘s box office still lags behind that of “Shrek the Third.” Which — to date — has hauled in over $320 million during its initial domestic run.

Okay. So maybe it’s not exactly fair to compare “Ratatouille” ‘s box office to that of “Shrek the Third” and “The Simpsons Movie.” Given that only one of these animated features is actually an entirely new entity. Whereas these other two films are basically extensions of already well-established brands.

But nobody said that life is fair. More importantly, this is Hollywood we’re talking about here, people. Where perception is reality. Which is why its going be difficult for the folks who work at what is arguably the No. 1 animation studio in the world to have their latest feature length cartoon coming in third at the Summer 2007 box office race once Labor Day arrives.

Copyright 2007 20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved

Certainly the investment community has had trouble wrapping its head around this intriguing new development. Don’t believe me? Okay. Then check on this excerpt from this past Wednesday’s third quarter earnings conference call. Where Disney CEO Bob Iger and Chief Financial Officer Tom Staggs found themselves fielding questions about “Ratatouille” and Pixar. Take — for example — this exchange with Doug Mitchelson, who’s an analyst for Deutsche Bank.

Doug Mitchelson: I wanted to see if you felt the Pixar deal is tracking in-line with your acquisition budgets given “Ratatouille,” which despite its critical success, is performing domestically a bit below the prior Pixar films. Thanks.

Bob Iger: Your question about Pixar. First of all, when we evaluated the acquisition, we looked at their titles on a global basis, not just on a domestic basis, and we think “Ratatouille” is going to be an extremely successful global property.

We also believe that these are long-term products, meaning they will deliver value for the company, for a long period of time. What we have learned, when you put the Pixar name or the Disney name on a high quality animated feature, it delivers results or shareholder value for decades to come. Witness how we did recently with bringing “Peter Pan” out in the marketplace or “Little Mermaid.” We think “Ratatouille,” because it is the best reviewed film of the year, and it is as good as it is, will drive that type of long-term value.

Copyright 2007 Pixar Animation Studios / Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

We also bought Pixar for multiple reasons. We clearly knew that we wanted to bolster our animation efforts, which are critical to the company, but they also brought to the company quality and creativity and a significant amount of technological innovation. So when we valued it, we clearly looked at the potential at the box office for their upcoming titles, and we also looked at the potential at the box office for the Disney titles that Pixar management and creativity would deliver. And we looked at all the other variables, like the long-term impact on the high quality of the company, creativity and bringing their great technological experience to us.

So we really believe that if “Ratatouille” ends up hitting the 200 million plus number that I mentioned in my remarks domestically, and it does well internationally, which we are optimistic about, we have got a good solid title for The Walt Disney Company from a value perspective for many, many years to come.

Now please note that “if ‘Ratatouille’ ends up hitting the 200 million plus number” comment. This is in reference to a statement that Iger made earlier in this same conference call, where he said that …

Copyright 2007 Pixar Animation Studios / Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

… “Ratatouille,” the best reviewed movie of the year, is on track to see over $200 million domestic box office, and is just now beginning its broad international rollout.”

Now what’s significant about Bob’s comments is that they’re the first real acknowledgment from senior Disney officials that “Ratatouille” is no longer expected to earn as much as “Cars” did last summer. Which (let’s remember) was perceived as something of a disappointment, given that this John Lasseter film only earned $244 million during its initial domestic run.

Of course, what wound up redeeming this particular Pixar production was the fact that Disney Consumer Products was able to move a ridiculously large amount of “Cars” -related merchandise over the past 15 months. As Tom Staggs recounted in last Wednesday’s earnings conference call:

 Copyright 2007 Pixar Animation Studios / Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Consumer Products revenue from “Cars” is really kind of a phenomenon. It is our most successful new film, new animated film franchise, since “The Lion King.” And so any film that we would release in the last 10 years would pale in comparison to where “Cars” has been. We are obviously thrilled with that, and hope to see “Cars” continue. “Ratatouille” has a more limited Consumer Products program, as you might imagine.

That ” … ‘Ratatouille’ has a more limited Consumer Products program” comment is significant as well. Given that this is Mouse House management’s way of acknowledging that the Cavalry will not be coming over the hill this time around. That — at least when it comes to this particular Pixar production — what you see (i.e. box office totals) is what you get.

And — yes — I know. “Ratatouille” has yet to released in a number of significant markets overseas. As Dave Miller of SMH Capital pointed out in his question to Bob Iger last Wednesday:

Copyright 2007 Pixar Animation Studios / Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Dave Miller: We noticed that for the European release of “Ratatouille,” the release by country is somewhat staggered. I don’t think the film is set to be even released in some of the Top 5 markets, in terms of screen counts, until the fall. I think you have got Italy on October 19th, the U.K. on October 5th. I think Germany is on October 3rd. Those are all top five markets in terms of screen count. Other than the overall competitive situation with flows of product out of the U.S. into the European market place, is there any other reason for that?

Bob Iger: No, you hit it on the head Dave. We are staying out of the way of some significant competition. You wouldn’t want to compete against “Harry Potter,” as a for instance in the U.K. We have stayed out of the way of “Shrek” and some of those other really big titles. We do open in a number of key markets this coming week. It is opening in France as a for instance. But the rollout is what I will call staggered for the reason that you cited – to basically create a competitive environment that we feel is healthy for the film.

So obviously the jury’s still out as to how “Ratatouille” will do during its overseas run. Indeed, we may be well into the late Fall of 2007 before we finally get some definitive numbers on how this new Brad Bird film did in its foreign box office run. But given that Pixar’s latest is now only being shown in 1940 theaters in the U.S. (Down from the 3940 that “Ratatouille” debuted in back on June 29th), it’s fairly safe to say that the stateside portion of this new CG feature’s theatrical run is officially winding down.

Copyright 2007 20th Century Fox. All Rights Reserved

Oh, sure. Given that this Pixar film will continue to play in U.S. theaters ’til at least Labor Day, it’s virtually guaranteed at this point that “Ratatouille” will earn $200 million domestic (Thereby granting this new animated feature really-for-real blockbuster status, at least by Hollywood-of-2007 standards). That said, this new Brad Bird film is still going to wind up earning around $40 million less than “Cars” did. Which (As Doug Mitchelson’s question last week proved) is going to get Wall Street talking.

Particularly since — as part of this past Wednesday’s third quarter earnings conference call — Iger & Staggs had to admit that …

… At domestic theatrical distribution, the strong performance of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” was offset by higher distribution costs driven by marketing expenses for Disney/Pixar’s “Ratatouille,” which was released later in the same quarter.

Translation: Walt Disney Studios had to spend so much on the proper promotion/launch of “Ratatouille” that these expenditures actually began eating into the profits that “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” was generating for the company. And then when you consider that — in spite of all the extra dough that the Mouse spent on marketing this new CG movie — “Ratatouille” still managed to miss the investment community’s opening weekend expectations by a very wide margin … Well, is it any wonder that many Disney & Pixar officials then began channeling for Homer Simpson and said “D’oh !”

Your thoughts?

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Jens Dahlmann back during his Disney World days

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

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

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

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

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

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

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

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