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Tube Thursday: Why “CSI” doesn’t air on ABC



Given that CSI kicks off its 11th season on CBS
tonight and given that Michael Eisner’s new book, “Working Together: Why Great
Partnerships Succeed,” was released to stores earlier this month, it’s almost
inevitable that some entertainment reporter out there is going to connect the
dots. Use tonight’s premiere (which features an appearance by tween heartthrob
Justin Bieber ) as an excuse to trot out that tired old saw. You know, how
Eisner supposedly said “No” to “CSI” ? Which is how The Walt Disney Company
missed out on cashing in on what is allegedly the most lucrative TV property in

The only problem with this story is that it isn’t entirely
true. Oh, sure. Michael did play a part in Mickey passing on “CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation.” But as it happens, there were a number of other people who
worked for the Mouse at this same time who also had a hand in this huge missed

So how did this all go down? 
As James B. Stewart revealed in his terrific 2005 tome, “DisneyWar,” the
Summer of 1999 wasn’t a particularly happy time for those who worked in
television at Disney.
You see, Mickey had just merged Walt Disney Television Studio with ABC
Entertainment. And to be honest, the executives who had previously been in
charge of these business units (i.e. Lloyd Braun, formerly the Chairman of Walt
Disney Television Studio, and Stuart Bloomberg, formerly the Chairman of ABC
Entertainment) were now jockeying for power to see who might emerge as top dog of
the newly formed ABC Entertainment Television Group.

Copyright 2006  Simon & Shuster
All rights reserved

So …

A few weeks after the merger of ABC and (WDTS), Steve McPherson, Braun’s former
deputy, now head of Touchstone (Television), set up a meeting with (Jamie) Tarses
 (the president of ABC Television) and
executives in ABC’s drama department to pitch a new crime drama that producer
Jerry Bruckheimer, with Joe Roth’s encouragement, had developed for Touchstone.
The idea was a fresh spin on the tried-and-true police drama: a series about a forensic
team in Las Vegas that gathers evidence for police forces and prosecutors … called
“CSI: Crime Scene Investigators.”

Now you have to understand that Bruckheimer was (and is)
Walt Disney Studio’s most successful producer. More to the point, that “CSI”
had the backing of Roth, Braun and McPherson. Which should have made this show
a shoo-in for ABC’s Fall 2000 line-up. But then inexplicably Tarses and the
head of Drama at the Alphabet Network passed on this program.

So what went wrong? There are two schools of thought here.
One is that Anthony Zuiker, the longtime Las Vegas resident who created “CSI:
Crime Scene Investigation,” just came on too strong during his pitch to Tarses
& the network’s Head of Drama. That Jamie et al were put off by Anthony’s
hyper-kinetic behavior in that meeting.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
creator Anthony Zuiker

The other school of thought is that Bloomberg told Tarses to
pass on “CSI” so that he could then send a message to Braun. Make him realize
that they wouldn’t be bowing to corporate pressure. That – as the Heads of ABC
Entertainment – Stuart & Jamie would be deciding which shows should air on
the Alphabet Network. Not Lloyd.

Contrast this with what happened when Bruckheimer &
Zuiker took “CSI” to CBS. Executives there were so enthusiastic about Anthony’s
pitch that – even though CBS had already closed its development slate for the
2000 – 2001 television season – they still ordered up a pilot for “CSI: Crime
Scene Investigation.”

Mind you, The Walt Disney Company could have still been the production
company behind CSI. Which would have eventually translated into huge profits
for the Mouse once this crime drama went into syndication. The only problem is
– given that TV dramas cost so much to produce – they rarely if ever turn a
profit during their initial network runs.                                                                                                         

Copyright CBS Entertainment. All rights reserved

And since Bloomberg, Tarses and their team at the ABC
Television Entertainment Group didn’t think enough of  “CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation” to order that pilot be made for this proposed crime drama,
Disney executives were having trouble wrapping their heads around the idea  that they were now expected to go into the hole
(production costs-wise) to help launch this same show on CBS.

In a Fall 1999 meeting with Steve McPherson, Bob Iger allegedly
asked “What’s the (projected production) deficit per episode on ‘CSI’ ?.”
McPherson explained it would be about a million dollars. “We can’t do that,”
Iger supposedly said. “Michael won’t understand how we can spend a million
dollars a show to (help) subsidize CBS.”

With Bob now insisting that – strictly for cost-savings
reasons – Disney pass up the opportunity to co-produce “CSI” with Bruckheimer,
Braun and McPherson demanded a meeting with Eisner. Arguing that – if Disney
pulled out of  this crime drama now that CBS
had committed to shooting a “CSI” pilot – this would then make it extremely
difficult for ABC Entertainment Television Group  to sell its TV shows to the  other networks. 

Copyright CBS Entertainment. All rights reserved

But as Stewart explained:

the “CSI” situation seemed to bring out his competitive instinct to inflict
failure on a rival. In the final meeting, Eisner said that he didn’t care if
“CSI” was a hit if it were on a network other than ABC. He also warned that
Bruckheimer was a profligate spender, and the deficits would probably be a lot
more than one million per episode. Besides, he didn’t think CBS would be
willing to pick up the production costs, and if Disney pulled out, the show
would die, creating a hole in the CBS line-up. Braun was ordered to call Bruckheimer
and pull the plug.

unflappable Bruckheimer took the news calmly. He was disappointed but gracious.
But Eisner and Iger underestimated his determination, and that of Les Moonves,
the head of CBS. Instead of dropping “CSI,” as they had anticipated, CBS lined
up another producer, Alliance Atlantis Communications, which presold some
foreign rights to raise $800,000 per episode, an amount that nearly covered the
projected deficit. CBS financed the rest, minimizing the potential loss. CBS placed
“CSI” as the centerpiece of its Friday night schedule for fall 2000.

Copyright CBS Entertainment. All rights reserved

So when you get right down to it, it wasn’t just one guy
(i.e. Michael Eisner) making a bad decision that ultimately caused The Walt
Disney Company to miss out on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” Truth be told,
Eisner, Bob Iger, Stuart Bloomberg  and
Jamie Tarses all share the blame. With each of them making smaller individual
decisions that eventually resulted in “CSI: Las Vegas” and its two spin-offs,
“CSI: NY” and “CSI: Miami” making bajillions of dollars for CBS.

But you have to ask yourself: if Disney had been smart
enough to hang onto “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” would the Imagineers have
then used this super-popular TV franchise as the inspiration for a theme park

Which – I know – sounds somewhat unlikely. Given “CSI” ‘s
grisly subject matter and all. But that wouldn’t necessarily have been a deal
breaker with Disney and WDI.

Copyright Dimension Films. All rights reserved

Seriously. Do you remember back in the mid-to-late 1990s
when Disney’s Dimension Films’ division was releasing those “Scream” movies?
While this trio of slasher films were making beaucoup bucks at the box office,
the Imagineers took a long and hard look at building a thrill ride for Disney’s
Hollywood Studios that was to have starred Ghostface. One that was to have
featured the same trackless ride system technology that’s used to such great
effect in Tokyo Disneyland’s Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. But in the end, Michael Eisner
just couldn’t see his way clear to okaying construction of a slasher-themed
attraction for a Disney theme park. So – in the end – the development budget
for DHS’s “Scream” ride was (ironically enough) slashed.

Getting back to “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” now: What
would a theme park attraction built around this popular TV franchise have been
like? Well, I’d have to imagine that it would have been a lot like “CSI: The
Experience!” which opened at the MGM
Grand back in September of 2009.

Now as you might expect, “CSI: The Experience!” deals with
some pretty graphic subject matter. Which is why this relatively new Las Vegas
attraction is recommended for ages 12 and up. But this interactive experience
places you right in the middle of the world of “CSI.” Just like the stars of
the TV show, you have to deal with multiple mysteries (to be specific, three
murders that involve 15 different suspects). And you then have to use the lab
stations within this exhibit to examine bullet casings and match DNA to
potential suspects. You’ll even be asked to identify the source of a single
strand of hair.

Copyright 2010 MGM Resorts International. All rights reserved

As you make your way through two state-of-the-art forensic
crime labs, you’ll be guided via video by the stars of the “CSI” TV show.
You’ll also hear from real-life forensic scientists, who’ll walk you through
the processes & procedures that you’ll need to master if you’re to become a
successful crime scene investigator.

It’s typically takes MGM Grand visitors an hour to 90
minutes to get  all the way through “CSI:
The Experience!” But given what you’ll see (plus that CSI diploma that you’ll
be awarded at the end of experience), I can guarantee that the time that you
spend in this faux forensic lab will stay with you for years yet to come.

“CSI: The Experience!” is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Tickets for the last tour are sold at 9 p.m., but “CSI: The Experience” always
stays open ’til 10 p.m. so that MGM Grand visitors can complete their

Photo courtesy of EMS Exhibits Inc.

And speaking of tickets … If you’d like to save on admission
for “CSI: The Experience!,” might I suggest that you drop by the Best of Vegas
website. Which is currently offered discounted tickets to this
MGM-Grand-in-the-Studio-Walk attraction.

For further information on this offer, please click this

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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