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Traditional Reanimation

Could traditional animation be poised for a comeback at Walt Disney Studios? Jim Hill shares the scuttlebutt that he’s been hearing coming out of the Team Disney Burbank building lately. Which suggests that Disney studio execs are now very concerned about how the last three computer animated features that Hollywood has released have performed at the domestic box office.

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Little Orphan Annie-mator sent me this e-mail late Saturday night:

Jim —

I just got back from today’s screening of “Dream On Silly Dreamer” at the Orange County Museum of Art. God, what a great little movie that is. Dan Lund & Tony West did a superb job of summing up what a truly special place Disney Feature Animation was to work. How thrilling & exhausting it was to work on movies like “Aladdin” and “Beauty & the Beast.” And how sad it was when we all lost our jobs because of sh*theads like Schneider & Schumacher. Who thought that traditional was too old fashioned & that computer animation was the way Disney ought to go.

When are those boobs in Burbank finally going to acknowledge that they made a colossal mistake? Admit that Disney NEVER should have gotten out of the traditional animation business and get back to making the sorts of movies that the studio used to make? Is that day ever going to arrive?

Well, Little Orphan Annie-mator … If the whispers that I’ve been hearing coming out of the Team Disney Burbank building lately turn out to be true, that fateful day may actually be a lot closer than you think.

“What’s up?,” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you what’s NOT up. The domestic grosses of the last three big Hollywood computer animated releases.

Dreamworks’ latest — “Shark Tale” — bowed in theaters back on October 1st. It pulled in a somewhat respectable $160 million. But — that said — “Shark Tale” was nowhere near as good a draw as “Shrek II.” Which pulled down an astounding $441 million during its May 2004 domestic release.

Pixar’s latest picture — “The Incredibles” — had a somewhat similar problem at the box office. Following its release back on November 5th, this Brad Bird film earned $261 million during its domestic release. Which is (admittedly) a very impressive sum … Until you compare that amount to the $339 million that “Finding Nemo” grossed during the Summer of 2003.

“Now wait, Jim,” I can hear all you industry experts out there starting to sputter. “It’s really not fair to compare the grosses of an animated film that’s released in the Fall to one that’s released during the Summer months. Summer releases always earn more money.”

Well, that may be true. But then how do you explain what’s going on with 20th Century Fox’s latest CG release, “Robots”? That Chris Wedge film got great reviews, had huge promotion. But — to date — “Robots” (which was released back on March 11th) has only earned $120 million during its domestic release.

Now compare that to what “Ice Age” (I.E. 20th Century Fox’s 1st CG release. Which was also directed by Wedge) earned back in March of 2002. That film was domestically released on virtually the same weekend as “Robots.” Yet it earned $171 million.

You picking up on a pattern yet, folks? How the box office numbers for these CG films suddenly seems to be sagging? Could it be that American movie-goers are now starting to get a wee bit tired with computer animation?

I’ll tell you this much. Hollywood execs were truly surprised & disheartened last year when U.S. audiences didn’t embrace expensive CG extravaganzas as “Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow” (Which only earned $37 million during its domestic release) and “The Polar Express” (Which — admittedly — earned $162 million. Which would have been great … Except that “Polar Express” cost $165 million to make & an additional $60 million to market. Which is why this Robert Zemekis picture is still very much in the red).

And Disney executives … To be honest, these guys are starting to get a little panicky. Here, they’ve just spent hundreds of millions of dollars to convert the Mouse Factory from a studio that turned out top quality traditional animation to a state-of-the-art operation that will soon start spitting out cutting edge computer animation … Only to have audiences’ interest in CG begin to wane before Disney’s first full-on computer animated feature actually rolls into theaters.

That’s why all eyes right now are on Dreamworks’ next CG release, “Madagascar.” To see if this computer animated feature actually bucks the trend. As in: Will this Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath film do significantly better at the domestic box office than “Shark Tale” just did?

If that doesn’t happen … Well, you can look for people in power all over Hollywood to start hitting the panic button. As the new financial reality sinks in that not every CG release is going to automatically become a “Shrek” sized box office smash.

Given the cost of producing these films (Which has been steadily creeping up over the past five years), you’re going to see some computer animated films that are still in preproduction suddenly getting their budgets slashed. And other projects being canceled entirely. 

As for the Mouse … While Disney has clearly no confidence in “Valiant” (Why do you think the studio suddenly chose  to release this Vanguard Film during the dog days of August?), I’ve honestly been hearing some really good things about “Chicken Little” lately.

Mind you, this Mark Dindal film DID have some pretty significant production problems in the past. Mainly that the front half of the film didn’t actually match the look & tone of the rest of the picture. But “Chicken Little” ‘s production crew has been steadily hammering away at all the movie’s little imperfections. And somewhere over the past six months, this Randy Fullmer production went from being just good to DAMN good.

But — in Disney execs eyes — none of that is going to matter if “Chicken Little” doesn’t pull down truly huge numbers on its opening weekend. The Walt Disney Company has so much riding on this picture (I.E. “Chicken Little” has to prove to Wall Street that Disney made the right decision in shutting down traditional animation. More importantly, that the Mouse can continue as a studio that produces popular animated features even if it doesn’t renew its co-production & distribution deal with Pixar) that just strong ticket sales won’t cut it.

According to some studio insiders that I’ve spoken with, if “Chicken Little” only makes as much as “Shark Tale” did during  its opening weekend (I.E. $47 million), execs will start commiting seppuku right there in the Rotunda (I.E. Disney’s oh-so-exclusive executive dining room). The only opening weekend gross that will be acceptable is something that falls between $62.5 million (Which is what “Monsters, Inc.” earned on its opening weekend back in November of 2001) and $70 million (Which is what “The Incredibles” earned on its opening weekend last November).

“If ‘Chicken Little’ isn’t a Pixar-sized hit, what happens then?,” you query. Well, nothing immediately. After all, Disney already has four other computer animated features in the production pipeline: “A Day with Wilbur Robinson” (Which is due out in 2006), “America Dog,” “Rapunzel Unbraided” & “Fraidy Cat.”

But I can tell you this much. From that point forward, Mickey will be paying very close attention to “Curious George,” that traditionally animated feature that Universal is releasing in February of 2006. And if that Matt O’Callaghan film does particularly well during its domestic release … Well, you’ll probably see a couple of things happen fairly quickly:

  • Some very senior executives at Disney Feature Animation will be asked to clean out their desks.
  • And then the word will go out to a very small, select group of traditional animators. As in: “All is forgiven. Please come home.”

Mind you, you’re never going to be able to get anyone in Mouse House management to admit that they actually made a mistake. That it was wrong for Disney to get out of the traditional animation business. After all, even current WDFA president David Stainton gave himself an out by saying — back in January of 2004 — that if the right project came along, Disney might make another traditionally animated feature.

But the next 9 months or so are crucial, Little Orphan Annie-mator. Or so say my sources inside the Team Disney Burbank building.

Sooooo … If “Madagascar” under-performs domestically AND then “Chicken Little” doesn’t do as well as Disney execs had hoped AND then “Curious George” kicks butt when it’s released to theaters next February … THEN traditional animation at Walt Disney Studios could be poised for a comeback.

But — for now — we’re just dealing with the first few dominos that have fallen. A trio of computer animated features that didn’t do quite as well as Hollywood had expected. Plus the fall-out from expensive CG projects like “Sky Captain” & “The Polar Express” under-performing.

Just be aware that there are a number of very bright people in the entertainment industry who are closely monitoring this situation. Not just at Disney, but at Dreamworks, Pixar & Sony too. All of these executives are wondering what these sagging domestic grosses for computer animated features actually mean. Is this just a temporary aberration? Or are these lower ticket sales really an early indication that American audiences may be growing weary of CG?

Either way, I can tell you that there are already execs within the Walt Disney Company who are saying (very quietly, mind you) “Maybe we should put together a study that tells us how much it would cost to revive traditional animation.” Mind you, no one’s saying this very loudly because A) Eisner & Stainton are still there and B) no one knows for sure what Iger’s true feelings about animation — either traditional or CG — are yet.

So all I can tell you folks is to keep an eye on “Madagascar.” If that Dreamworks film doesn’t earn at least as much as “Shark Tale” (I.E. $160 million) during its domestic release … Well, that’s the next domino to fall.

And — if enough of these dominos  fall — Well, who knows? … Maybe Dan & Tony will eventually be forced to change the end of “Dream On Silly Dreamer.” Now wouldn’t that be cool?

Anyway … That’s the current scuttlebutt coming out of Team Disney Burbank. Soooo … What do you folks think of the scenario that I just laid out?

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  ExpertGriller.com prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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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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