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When it comes to Disney, when is “good enough” good enough?

Jim Hill gives JHM readers a look at concept art for the original version of Epcot’s “Space” pavilion, then wonders: Should Walt Disney Imagineering change its corporate motto from “We Make the Magic” to “We Settle for Less”?



As you read this, 2000 journalists are in the process of being wined and dined at Walt Disney World. The Mouse has really rolled out the red carpet for these reporters. Treating them to after-hours parties at the Florida theme parks, which feature live performances by top name entertainers. (This year, Tori Amos, Sugar Ray and the B52s are all slated to make appearances.) Not to mention giving these same writers private previews of WDW’s latest rides, shows and attractions.

Why does Disney do this? With the hope that — once these entertainment reporters and traveler writers get their fill of free shrimp — they’ll schlep their goodie bags back home to Dayton or Scranton or wherever … and then write articles that say very nice things about the Disney World resort. Which will (hopefully) compel the people who actually read this coverage to think “Gee, maybe it’s time that I finally took the family back to Orlando.”

It’s all part of the great circle of schmooze, people. And — in the spirit of full disclosure — I guess I should mention here that I’ve actually attended several of these events in the past. Though — because I have this awful tendency to ask awkward questions at press conferences (I.E. “Is it true that you guys cut the budget on this attraction twice while it was still under construction?”) — Disney tends to only invite me to every other press event.

Which is why (I guess) that maybe it’s a good thing that the Mouse opted not to invite me (or any other JHM reps) to this year’s WDW press event. That way, they got to avoid the embarrassment that I would have undoubtedly caused at “Mission: Space”‘s grand opening. Which is being held at Epcot tomorrow night, by the way. When I would have felt the need to stand up at the press conference and say:

“Look, I know that ‘Mission: Space’ already has a legion of hardcore fans. But wouldn’t it have been smarter in the long run to just build the version of Epcot’s ‘Space’ pavilion that WDI originally proposed?”

Now — following a question like that — I’m sure that there would have been an awkward pause at the press conference. But — given the way the PR reps at Disney World usually work — I’m sure they would have quickly tried to brush aside my somewhat rude sounding question. Swiftly change the subject. Try to refocus the press conference back on more positive things … like how Epcot visitors just seem to love, love, LOVE “Mission: Space” !!

You see, this is why the guys at WDW Media Relations really don’t like me. The Mouse likes reporters who are polite. More importantly, who have very short memories.

Whereas I — unfortunately — have a very L-O-O-O-N-G memory. And — because I don’t really care for free shrimp and/or goodie bags — I don’t always feel the need to be polite.

Which is why — if I were down in Orlando right now — I’d probably still continue to press this point: “You know, the version of Epcot’s ‘Space’ attraction that the Imagineers originally wanted to build? That Future World pavilion that WDI initially proposed as a companion to ‘Horizons,’ rather than as a replacement for that GE-sponsored ride.”

Once again, Disney’s PR reps would probably have tried to change the subject. Which is why I’d probably have been forced to pull out these photos … which — ironically enough — I was given back in October 1991 while I was attending WDW’s 20th anniversary press event.

Concept art for Epcot’s proposed Space pavilion.
Click image to view full size.

This is it, folks. The officially sanctioned photograph of what the interior of Epcot’s “Space” pavilion was originally supposed to look like. Which WDW press staffers happily handed out to reporters back then because they wanted us reporters to get all excited about what WDI had in the works.

Now some of you may recall the story that I wrote for MousePlanet back in October 2000 (and now is archived over at which went into great detail about this version of Epcot’s “Space” pavilion. Back when Future World visitors were supposed to be transported — via a “Star Tours”-like simulator ride — to a space station far off in deep space. (In fact, if you look closely on the right side of the drawing, you can actually see four simulators — stacked one right on top of the other — full of WDW guests. Who are supposed in the middle of their journey to this fabulous deep space outpost.)

And — of course — once you got to this space station, Epcot visitors would have been able to do all sorts of amazing things. Like — for example — walk in space …

Concept art for Epcot’s proposed Space spacewalk.
Click image to view full size.

So why did the Imagineers initially design “Space” to be such an ambitious addition to Epcot’s Future World? Because they were looking to top the “Living Seas” pavilion. Which — back when it opened in January 1986 — was considered the absolute height when it came to theming.

But that was back in the day when the Walt Disney Company felt that it always had to top itself. Back when the Mouse felt that it was its duty to make sure that every single new ride, show or attractions topped the ones that had come before.

But then Euro Disneyland opened in April of 1992. And — as that innovative and ambitious project quickly became awash in red ink — well … that’s when Disney Company officials lost their taste for innovation. That’s when “ambitious” became a dirty word in Burbank.

This is when the era of “Less is More” at the stateside Disney theme parks began. When attractions like “Kitchen Kabaret” (which was loaded with Audio-Animatronic figures) began to be replaced by obviously lesser shows like “Food Rocks” (which featured minimatronic figures … which were much cheaper to build and maintain).

Which was why the Imagineers’ ambitious initial plans for Epcot’s “Space” pavilion were descoped (translation: nickeled and dimed to death) to the point that all that eventually remained was the trip out into outer space. That magnificent recreation of a space station that WDW visitors were supposed to find at the end of their journey? It disappeared into a budgetary black hole, never to be seen again.

Now some might argue (particularly you “Mission: Space” fans out there) that what we’ve got now is good enough. Well … I remember a time when the Walt Disney Company just didn’t settle for “good enough.”

Take for example, this quote that I found while reading a 1980 Tokyo Disneyland presentation book. Which was prepared in order to woo Japanese firms to become sponsors on the project:

“Tokyo Disneyland will include the most popular attractions from Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as unique new attractions and facilities of its own. Just as Walt Disney World was not a carbon copy of Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland will not be an exact duplication of its predecessors in America. At Walt Disney Productions, we pride ourselves on improving each new project – learning from our past experience and applying it to new products.”

That spirit is still alive at WDI. You only have look at the innovative and ambitious attractions that the Imagineers created for Tokyo Disney Sea to realize that these guys are still capable of creating absolute wonders. But — sadly — when it comes to creating rides and shows like this for Disney’s stateside theme parks, WDI is hobbled by a management team that’s far more interested these days in meeting the expectations of some Wall Street analysts than it is in pleasing and surprising the public.

Okay, I know. Not everything that the Walt Disney Company has built for Disneyland and Walt Disney World in the past few years is total crap. Just look at Disneyland’s incredibly popular “Haunted Mansion Holiday” or WDW’s “Wishes” fireworks extravaganza (which has its official world premiere at the Magic Kingdom tonight at 10:15 pm). And — as I mentioned earlier — “Mission: Space” does already have its fans. As does “Mickey’s PhilharMagic.”

But then I look at those beautiful conceptual paintings for the original version of Epcot’s “Space” pavilion. Where WDW guests would have found dozens of intriguing exhibits to explore and interact with inside of a five story tall mock-up of the interior of a space station … and I compare that to “Mission: Space.” Where — after they’ve been spun by the centrifuge and played a few computer games — Epcot visitors are usually heading for the exits after just 15 – 20 minutes, looking for something new to entertain them now.

Of course, there are some Imagineers who will insist that this is actually a good thing. That Disney’s own market surveys show that theme park visitors no longer like long shows in the park. That they actually prefer rides that are shorter and intenser.

Me personally? *Sigh* … I don’t know. I just can’t see how the Walt Disney Company can continue to do this. Continue to cut corners, delivering just okay attractions when it’s still capable to producing extraordinary rides and shows. Settling for less because it thinks that the public doesn’t notice.

But here’s Disney’s problem: The public does notice. And we do remember when Disney announces initially ambitious projects — like the original version of Epcot’s “Space” pavilion, or the first version of DCA’s “Hollywood Studio Backlot” area (which initially was supposed to feature elaborate recreations of an 1930s movie palace as well as the LA theme building) and DAK’s Beastly Kingdom — only to substitute lesser quality products … like Epcot’s “Mission: Space” pavilion, DCA’s bare bones backlot and DAK’s Camp MinnieMickey.

Mind you, I still have hope that the Walt Disney Company can eventually turn this situation around. I mean, when I look at the concept painting for “Expedition Everest” for Disney’s Animal Kingdom …

Concept art for Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest.
Click image to view full size.

… I can’t help but think that maybe Disney’s “Less is More” era really is coming to an end.

But then I have visions of standing up at some other WDW press event in the not-so-distant future, waving that photo around, as I say “Remember when they said they were going to build this ambitious attraction? And what did we get instead? Gadget’s Go Coaster Goes Himalayan?!”

Sorry to rant and rave here. But again … in advance of what I’m sure will be a veritable tidal wave of positive press for Epcot’s “Mission: Space” attraction, I just wanted to remind you guys of what we almost got. What the Imagineers had originally wanted to build in Future Word … before Disney Company management decided that the bottom line was now their top priority.

So I ask you … when it comes to the Walt Disney Company, when is “good enough” good enough? Or do you — like me — long for the days when “We Make the Magic” used to be the words that Disney’s Imagineers lived by. Rather than that division’s new unofficial slogan: “We Settle for Less.”

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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