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The ExtraTERRORestrial Files — Part 3

Jim Hill delves into the troubling story behind the creation of that controversial Tomorrowland attraction, “The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter.”



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It was going to be the next big franchise for the Disney theme parks. A terrifying sit-down show that would dazzle audiences worldwide with its amazing use of 3D sound and in-theater physical effects.

That was the plan, anyway. In reality, Disney’s “Alien Encounter” attraction was beset with problems from almost the moment it came off the drawing board. Chief among these was some senior Imagineers’ concerns that a scary show built around 20th Century Fox’s acid-drooling “Alien” monster really didn’t belong in the company’s theme parks.

At first, Disney CEO Michael Eisner refused to listen with these WED veterans. He initially sided with the young who’d dreamed up this scary new Tomorrowland attraction. That’s when these senior Imagineers decided to plead their case to someone with considerable clout in Tinseltown: the legend behind the mega-hit “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” film series, George Lucas.

These Imagineers talked to George. George talked to Michael. And suddenly 20th Century Fox’s movie monster was on the outside of the Magic Kingdom, looking in.

This left the Imagineers who’d cooked up “Alien Encounter” in a real quandary. Without a well-known movie monster to serve as the center of their show, would this proposed Tomorrowland attraction still even work? How much story exposition would WDI have to do to make sure that audiences knew exactly what they were dealing with as they sat — strapped in — in the dark?

As it turns out, a lot of exposition. Considerably more than the Imagineers had planned on. But we’ll get to that shortly, folks. First, Disney Company management has to decide which of its theme parks gets the honor and the privilege of opening the very first version of “Alien Encounter” …


Almost from the inception of the project, it had been assumed that the “Alien Encounter” show would open at Disneyland first as part of the “Tomorrowland 2055” project.

“Tomorrowland 2055.” Sigh. Just mentioning the name of this proposed Disneyland redo is enough to send some Imagineers into a spiraling depression. Championed by veteran Imagineers Bruce Gordon and Tony Baxter, “Tomorrowland 2055” wouldn’t have just been a simple retheming of this side of the park. But rather, a elaborate rethinking of the whole Tomorrowland concept.

Picture Disneyland in 2055. A time when a trip into the vast reaches of outer space is no big deal, like strolling ’round the block. An age when we take for granted that there’s intelligent life elsewhere in the universal. How do we know for sure? Because quite of a few of these extraterrestrials have made the star trek to Anaheim and have set up shop here right in Tomorrowland.

I mean, take a gander at what used to be the Carousel of Progress. No, that’s not a spinning electronics trade show. That, my friend, is a full-sized flying saucer that’s vaguely reminiscent of the Mother Ship from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Were you to wander up that gangplank, you could sample the out-of-this-world entertainment presented at “Plectu’s Fantastic Intergalactic Review.”

Overhead, shiny steel catwalks allow guests access to a whole new level of Tomorrowland shops and restaurants. On the ground, odd crystalline shapes that glowed brightly and weirdly shaped other-worldly plants would have given this side of the park a truly exotic feel.

“Tomorrowland 2055” would have become a real showplace at Disneyland. It could have set a whole new standard for theming and storytelling at the Anaheim park by taking guests on a fantastic trip to the future. But what do we get instead? An economy class ticket to “Imagination and Beyond” aboard Tomorrowland 1998.


Now do you understand why Imagineers get depressed when you bring up “Tomorrowland 2055?”

Don’t get me wrong, folks. Baxter and his “Imagination and Beyond” team did do the best they could with the money they had. And they did create a dazzling new entrance to Disneyland’s Tomorrowland by bringing Disneyland Paris’s Orbitron over to Anaheim, placing it just off the hub and framing it with that rockwork.

But the loss of “Tomorrowland 2055” still pains the Imagineers. Mostly, because this Disneyland redo seemed like a done deal. So much so that Disneyland actually closed its “Mission to Mars” attraction in November 1992 to make ready for the supposedly soon-to-begin radical revamp of this side of the park.

The Imagineers even designed a new art deco exterior for the show building that was to house the Anaheim version of “Alien Encounter.” (Those of you lucky enough to see “Theme Park Design: The Architecture of Reassurance” exhibit during its nationwide tour a year or so ago may recall the model for Disneyland’s “Alien Encounter” show building. Its chief design feature was the stylized sculptures of oppressed workers that served as support columns for the exterior of the attraction. Insert your own over-worked Disneyland employee joke here.)

Sadly, Disneyland’s long planned “Tomorrowland 2055” project hit an unexpected snag in early 1993 when the Euro Disneyland resort began hemorrhaging money. Suddenly concerned about containing cost in all corners of the Disney Company, Eisner reportedly balked at the estimated cost of the elaborate Anaheim redo. Though Michael really liked a lot of the concepts WDI had cooked up, he just couldn’t stomach “Tomorrowland 2055″‘s projected price tag. At least not then. So he ordered Tony’s team to scale back their plans until they came up with something more affordable for Anaheim. All that redesign work pushed the start of construction on Disneyland’s new Tomorrowland back from Fall 1994 to Spring 1997.

The loss of “Tomorrowland 2055” for Disneyland remains a real sore point with many Imagineers, particularly since Eisner came so close to actually greenlighting the project. How close? The next time you’re at Disneyland, go into the Tomorrowland Terrace and look up at the ceiling. Pretty cool, huh?

This ceiling was actually done as a test for “Tomorrowland 2055,” to see if the wild palette of colors and shapes WDI proposed using on this part of the park would work. A similar test was done on the old “Mission to Mars” show building, where one stylized window was retrofitted onto the exterior of the attraction.

Tests were also made for the atmospherics that would have been featured in “Tomorrowland 2055.” Bruce Gordon commissioned a new soundtrack for the proposed revamp of the park. This futuristic music wittily combined old Tomorrowland favorites like “Miracles and Molecules” and Buddy Baker’s “Monorail March” with memorable Epcot tunes like “It’s Fun to Be Free.” Bruce even got this recording played regularly in Disneyland in the mid-1990s. The downside was that the only place you could really hear the entire “Tomorrowland 2055” soundtrack was if you stood inside the Tomorrowland men’s room for an hour or so. Which made it kind of tough for female Disneyana fans to check out the new tunes. But I digress …

The ceiling, that window, and Bruce’s soundtrack music weren’t the only pieces of “Tomorrowland 2055” that actually made it into Disneyland. Take a look to the Moonliner. A recreation of that 1950s Tomorrowland icon also factored heavily into “2055”‘s design plans. But not as some dinky drink dispenser. Picture that slick looking retro-rocket being three times as high as it is now, towering over Tomorrowland.

The Imagineers were so certain that the Moonliner would make a cool icon for “Tomorrowland 2055” that they actually had a logo made up for this Disneyland redo project that prominently featured the sleek finned spaceship. This image was then slapped on “Tomorrowland 2055” production team jackets, t-shirts, and coffee mugs.

These in-house WDI promotional items for “Tomorrowland 2055” have now become highly prized items among Disneyana collectors. The Imagineers? They really don’t seem to like seeing this stuff. It just brings back too many painful memories of a great thing that almost happened.


Enough about the tomorrow that never came … let’s get back to the saga of “Alien Encounter,” shall we?

The delay of Disneyland’s Tomorrowland redo meant that — by default — “Alien Encounter” would open in Florida first. Disney’s sensory horror attraction would have its world premiere in the Fall of 1994 at WDW’s Magic Kingdom. The show would be the last thing to open as that park completed its own year-long rehab of its Tomorrowland section.

This change of plans also meant that it would be a year or more before serious work would continue on “Alien Encounter.” That’s why the team at WDI that originally dreamed up the project moved on to other assignments. In the interim, Eisner began to have real concerns about whether or not this proposed Tomorrowland show would be too scary for the typical Disney theme park guest to handle. So he ordered WDI to assign a new team of writers to the “Alien Encounter” project deliberately lighten the show up a bit, add a few laughs to the attraction.

This these Imagineers did. Which made Eisner happy. The downside is that these new gags significantly weakened the show’s story. But that wouldn’t become apparent ’til things were almost too far along at WDW’s Magic Kingdom.

Speaking of which … Walt Disney World senior staff was thrilled when they learned that the Florida park would get to premiere this ambitious new attraction. That’s why WDW’s publicity department pulled out all the stops to promote “Alien Encounter.” This office created a clever series of teaser ads that made the soon-to-open show sound like the scariest thing that had ever been staged in a Disney theme park. WDW management was so certain that the attraction would be a hit with the public that they ordered up a ton of “Alien Encounter” souvenir merchandise.

Exterior work on the old “Mission to Mars” show building was completed by August. WDI’s installation team had “Alien Encounter”‘s hardware loaded in by late October. All that was left for Imagineering to do was a few weeks of on-site “test and adjust” work on the attraction. Then they’d turn “Alien Encounter” over to the operations staff at WDW’s Magic Kingdom.

That was the plan, anyway. WDI spend the first part of November training the opening crew for “Alien Encounter.” They’d then run a few test audiences through the attraction … just to make sure that everything worked the way it was supposed to. With any amount of luck, “Alien Encounter” would be up and running by late November and the California-based Imagineering installation team could be back home in time for Thanksgiving.

Too bad it didn’t quite work on that way.

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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