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Jim Hill’s back with even more answers to your Disney-related questions. This time around, Jim talks about attractions that didn’t get built on Sunset Boulevard, how “Expedition Everest” almost got an over-sized yeti and why Wade Sampson doesn’t write for JHM anymore



First up, Ravi T. writes in to ask about Sunset Boulevard at Disney-MGM Studios. To be specific, something that he noticed was embedded in the asphalt on Sunset.

Jim —

Last week, my family and I were down at Walt Disney World. And while we were walking through MGM to get to the Tower of Terror, I noticed what appeared to be old trolley tracks sticking up through the asphalt on Sunset Boulevard.

Now I have been going to MGM ever since this theme park first opened in 1989. But in all that time (Other than seeing that one souvenir cart that’s deliberately modeled after Los Angeles’ infamous Red Cars), I don’t ever recall seeing an actual trolley running on Sunset or Hollywood Boulevard.

So is this embedded piece of trolley track just a bit of theming that the Imagineers stuck into the ground over on Sunset to give the area a sense of authenticity? Or is this piece of track actually a leftover from some attraction that was originally supposed to be built along Sunset that never made it off the drawing board?

Dear Ravi T.

Actually, the answer to both of your questions is … Yes. Yes, that section of trolley track that you see poking up through the asphalt along Sunset Boulevard is supposed to be part of the theming for this section of the studio theme park. The Imagineers had hoped that — by allowing guests to get a glimpse of that small section of track sticking up through the asphalt — they’d then be able to give these WDW visitors a better sense of the time period in Tinsel Town history that they were now experiencing.

I mean, when you see something like that, you know that you’re not back in Hollywood of the early 1920s. After all, that was a time when cars will still something of a luxury. Which meant that people actually needed a working trolley line in order to get back & forth to work.

No, when you see that partially paved-over section of trolley track (Along with those few spots along Sunset where bricks & cobblestones poke through the tar too), you know that you’re in Hollywood on the mid-to-late 1940s. Those years just after World War II, to be precise. A time when paving over all of the city’s brick & cobblestone streets with asphalt actually made some sense. Given that this practice then made all of these old inner-city roads seem that much smoother to people who were traveling in their own cars.

So, yes, Ravi. That piece of trolley track that you saw sticking up through the asphalt along Sunset Boulevard was actually a piece of that theme park’s theming. But — at the same time — it is also supposed to be a nod to the Sunset Boulevard that Disney-MGM almost got. Which was to have been a much grander, much more elaborate version of that historic Hollywood street.

Don’t believe me? Then okay. Take a look at the rough drawing below. Which I believe was done in the Summer of 1989. Right after MGM first opened to the public and was immediately overwhelmed by crowds. Which is what prompted Michael Eisner to turn to the Imagineers and say: “We need to double the size of this theme park as soon as possible. You guys got any ideas for new rides, show & attractions?”  

Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC

Indeed the Imagineers did. And — as you look over this somewhat crude drawing — you’ll see that a number of their ideas did in fact make it off the drawing board and were eventually built as part of the studio theme park’s expansion. Among the easier MGM additions to spot are the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, the “Theater of the Stars” (Where “Beauty & the Beast — Live on Stage” is still presented daily) plus that gift shop that’s modeled after the Carthay Circle Theater (You know? The Hollywood movie palace where “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” had its world premiere back in December of 1937?)  

But then — if you look closer at this drawing — you’ll notice that there are some things that didn’t actually make it off the drawing board. Like — for example — an MGM version on that beloved Hollywood hotdog stand, the Tail O’ the Pup.

Or — better yet — take a look at that spot along Sunset Boulevard where the Sunset Market Ranch was eventually built. Do you notice the orange grove? Or — better yet — the date shack (Though — truth be told — the Imagineers would eventually get around to resurrecting this particular concept for a quick service food location.  Have you ever bought yourself a beverage at DCA’s San Andreas Shakes?” Well, now you know what the MGM version of this not-so-elegant eatery was supposed to look like.)

 But you know the part of this drawing that really breaks my heart. Take a look to the left of that orange grove. What do you see? The Red Car terminal from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” Which was supposed to have featured a faithful recreation of the Terminal Bar (You know? Where Eddie Valiant’s girl-friend, Dolores, worked?).

And right next door to the Red Car terminal, there was supposed to be a recreation of Maroon Studios. Where Disney-MGM visitors were supposed to be able to serve as stand-ins for Baby Herman on the “Runaway Baby Buggy Ride.”

And right next door to that would have been … Ah, it’s too depressing to go on. Let’s just say that — when some of us see those trolley tracks sticking up through the asphalt — we still feel a twinge of sadness for the Sunset Boulevard that we almost got.

And speaking of things that we almost got, GG writes in with some comments about Disney’s Animal Kingdom‘s “Expedition Everest.” In particular, GG doesn’t seem all that impressed with the size of this new thrill ride’s central character. Which is why she writes:

Why is everyone making such a big deal about the Yeti in “Expedition Everest”? To read some of the notes on the Disney discussion boards around the Web, you’d think that this thing was big as a house and was supposed to move as fast as a jet.

What I saw on “Expedition Everest” last week really wasn’t worth the hype. That AA figure barely moved. And given how dark the cave was, I couldn’t see those huge teeth & sharp claws that people keep talking about.

Am I the only person who was disappointed with this new DAK attraction?

Dear GG —

To be honest, no. Over the past few months, a number of Disneyana fans have written to me with complaints about “Expedition Everest.” Some people have griped that — at just four minutes long — this new DAK thrill ride was far too short. While still other folks have complaining that the way Disney has been advertising “Expedition Everest” is somewhat mis-leading. That the TV commercials make “EE” look a lot like a roller coaster, when what this new DAK attraction actually is more like “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.” As in: a runaway train ride.

But the way I see it … When you take into consideration what could have happened, how far track the “Expedition Everest” project really could have gone … You should thank your lucky stars that Animal Kingdom’s newest thrill ride turned out as well as it did.

Dont believe me? Then — the next time you’re at Walt Disney World — be sure and pick yourself a copy of this book ….

Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC

This “Premiere Souvenir” is worth picking up just for so you can read the excerpts from Joe Rohde’s journal. Which describes all the research that he did in order to get “Forbidden Mountain” ‘s details just right.

But — as an extra added bonus — this limited edition collectable book includes numerous sketches that the Imagineers did as they tried to get a handle on the Yeti. What color the creature’s fur should be. What shape his skull should be. More importantly, how big the Beast should be.

And — as you can see by the illustration below — at least for a while there, the guys at WDI were toying with building a pretty enormous Yeti …

Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC

… One that was obviously inspired by the enormous King Kong figure that Bob Gurr built for Universal Studios Hollywood back in the 1980s.

Copyright Universal Studios Hollywood

And then there was the version of the over-sized Yeti …

Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC

… that seemed to borrow an awful lot of ideas from the final earthquake-cave-in sequence on Disney’s “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad” ride.

Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC

So when you take into consideration how poorly “Expedition Everest” could have turned out … Well, you should thank your lucky stars, GG, that DAK’s new thrill ride turned out as well as it did.

Speaking of things turning out well, I just can’t say enough nice things about this “Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain: The Journey Begins.” It’s beautifully illustrated and a quick read. If I have to have one complaint about this book, it’s that Disney Editions went with far too small a print run.

To explain: Disney Editions has only printed 10,000 copies of “Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain: The Journey Begins.” And when those books are sold out … That’s it, my friend. There won’t be a reprint.

And — to add to your difficulties — this limited edition collectable is only being sold at Walt Disney World. So if you’re a completist and really need a copy of “Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain: The Journey Begins” for your Disneyana collection … You’d best get on a place and head down to WDW ASAP. For I hear that these things are flying off the shelf. And when they’re gone, they’re gone. 

And speaking of things that are gone, in our final letter for this week, Paul A. writes in to ask an AWOL JHM columnist:

What happened to this week’s “Wednesdays with Wade” column? I have always enjoyed Wade’s writings and was really looking forward to reading this week’s story. But when I opened the site yesterday, all I found was your “Wouldn’t it be cool if … ” article and that Bonnie Arnold interview.

Can you please tell me what’s become of Wade? Is he on vacation? Have you shifted his column to another day?

I’m afraid I have some bad news, Paul A. Wade Sampson no longer writes for JHM.

I don’t want to get into the particulars here. Other than to say that there was a personality conflict. Which is why — last week — Mr. Sampson suddenly decided that it was time to move on.

The good news is … It appears that Wade has already found a new home on the Net. While I’m not yet at liberty to say which website it is that’s agreed to take Sampson on … What I can tell you is that I used to work with these guys. More importantly, if this deal actually goes through … Well, this new site should prove to be a great showcase for Wade Sampson & his stories.

Beyond that, I & the rest of the staff here at JHM wish to thank Wade for the nearly-three-years of hard work that he poured into this site. Here’s hoping that Sampson will be a whole lot happier once he sets up shop at this yet-to-be-named website.

And that — my friends — is it for this week. Here’s hoping that you have a great weekend and that we’ll see you all again bright & early come Monday morning.

Til then, you folks take care, okay?

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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