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In a special all “Expedition Everest” edition of Why For, Jim Hill answers your questions about Animal Kingdom’s newest thrill ride. WARNING! This JHM article features spoiler photos. So reader beware!

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Photo by Robert Bish

First up, TenayaGirl. writes in to say:

Dear Jim:

In your February 1st edition of “Why For,” you talked about how bad the backside of “Expedition Everest” show building still looked. Given that I won’t be able to get down to Disney World until 2007, I was wondering if you could put up some pictures of this side of the structure. Just so I could then see what all the fuss is about.

Dear TenayaGirl,

Sure. Here’s a long shot of “Expedition Everest” taken from Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s parking lot. As you can see, this is really an enormous structure that just looms up out of the forest that surrounds this theme park.

Photo by Jeff Lange

Going in for a closer shot now, you can clearly see the squared-off backside of “EE” ‘s show building. Partially because the trees around DAK’s new thrill ride aren’t really tall enough to block WDW visitors’ views of this structure. More to the point, because the Imagineers chose to temporarily paint this portion of “Expedition Everest” brown.

Photo by Jeff Lange

And when I say ” temporarily,” folks, I mean temporarily. Since I first wrote about this somewhat unsightly aspect of Animal Kingdom’s newest attraction, I’ve received numerous e-mails and phone calls from Imagineers associated with this project. And — to a man — they’ve all assured me that once there’s actually money in that theme park’s budget to cover this work, the backside of Disney World’s newest mountain will be slathered with either Look-Away Gray or Go-Away Green (You know? That paint color that Disney always uses to make the backstage aspect of its theme parks become invisible to the paying customers?)

Now I know that the news that “Expedition Everest” ‘s backside is eventually supposed to be camouflaged will please a lot of you hardcore dweebs out there. Particularly those of you who insist that the Walt Disney Company must do things perfectly each and every time the Mouse comes up to bat.

But me? I always enjoy these times in an attraction’s life when a new Disney show is just getting up out of the ground. When a new ride is still kind of rough around the edges.

Besides — when the Imagineers finally do get around to properly camouflaging “EE” (So that the backstage aspects of this new DAK show building can no longer be clearly seen from the parking lot) … Does that mean that we’ll no longer be able to see the train tracks that the Yeti has supposedly torn up and/or that AA vulture that appears to hover over our ride vehicle? Or see where some of the show building’s fire escapes and emergency exits are located?

Photo by Jeff Lange

I mean, there are some of us hardcore Disney dweebs out there who actually enjoy seeing all of this backstage stuff. Just because it helps give us a real appreciation of all the hardwork and engineering that goes into the creation of a new Disney theme park attraction.

So if it actually takes the Imagineers a year or two to find the money necessary to paint “EE” ‘s backside, that’s A-Ok with me.

Next up, Staind Stan writes in to say:

What exactly is going on now with the Yeti in “Expedition Everest”?

I’m an Orlando-area local. Thanks to all of the friends that I have who work at the Disney World resort, I’ve already had numerous opportunities to experience Animal Kingdom’s newest thrill ride. To date, I’ve made 40 separate trips up Forbidden Mountain.

Which is why I’m pretty familar with how the huge AA figure at the center of this new attraction is supposed to look. Which is why I was surprised this past week to see the Yeti suddenly looking so shabby.

The last time I rode this DAK attraction, all of the show lighting in the ride’s finale sequence had been turned off and the huge new AA figure was barely moving at all. And Disney was using this blinking strobe light effect to try & light up the creature.

The end result was very disappointing. The finale sequence  was so poorly lit that you could barely see the Yeti at all.

Please tell me that this isn’t actually how the Imagineers intend to leave this attraction. Dropping all of that great theatrical lighting that they previously had on the Yeti in favor of this strobe lighting effect. Because if that’s what they’re really going to do, the Imagineers have effectively ruined the ending of “Expedition Everest.”

So can you please talk to your friends in Imagineering and find go what’s going on here, Jim? Because I’d really like my brightly-lit, fast-moving Yeti back.

Sincerely,

Staind Stan

Dear Staind Stan —

Calm down. You need to remember that “Expedition Everest’ hasn’t even officially opened yet. That this new DAK attraction is still in soft opening mode as the Imagineers attempt to get all of the bugs out.

And — given that (to date) there’s been only one day that Animal Kingdom’s new runaway train ride has actually been able to operate without interruption all the way from park opening through to park close … Well, obviously there are still a lot of bugs yet to be worked out.

Which is why it’s still a fairly common sight these days to see DAK’s train not running. More importantly, to see WDW cast members high up there walking the track …

Photo by Jeff Lange

… as they try & reset the attraction. So that “Expedition Everest” can then begin operation again.

And given that the huge AA figure at the very heart of $100 million attraction is one of the most powerful (I’m told that the amount of power that’s involved in getting theYeti to move so suddenly is the equivalent of what it takes to get a 747 off the ground) and most sophisticated that Walt Disney Imagineering has ever built … Well, obviously, something this powerful and/or technologically sophisticated is going to occasionally break down.

And that (According to WDI insiders) is what recently happened with the Yeti. This AA figure broke while the attraction was in operation. And — rather than entirely shut down “Expedition Everest” down for the day — the ride’s operation staff just shifted this AA figure from its A mode (A = Animated) to B mode (B = Broken).

Photo by Jeff Lange

This means that the computer automatically shifts the Yeti into a particularly frightening pose, then shuts down this Audio Animatronic figure entirely. The theatrical lighting in the attraction’s finale sequence is then turned off (So that “EE” riders won’t be able to see the Yeti from a distance and then realize that this AA figure isn’t actually moving). Then — through a combination of that strobe lighting effect and a series of fans that blow the Yeti’s fur — the Imagineers create the illusion that the Yeti is still moving, that this fearsome creature is about to attack your train.

Okay. Obviously this isn’t the effect that anyone really wants to see when they’re riding “Expedition Everest.” They want to see a brightly-lit, fast-moving Yeti that dramatically swipes at their car as they barrel through Forbidden Mountain.

But — on the other hand — by having a B mode for this Audio Animatronic figure … That at least allows Disney to continue to operate “Expedition Everest” on days when the Yet is being balky. Which means that thousands of WDW visitors then don’t have to go away disappointed because they weren’t allowed to experience DAK’s newest attraction. All because a single AA figure wasn’t working.

And — just so you know, folks — this particular Audio Animatronic figure is going to require a lot of regular maintenance. I’ve heard from several DAK staffers that there’s already a plan in place to shut “EE” down every three months. So that all the bolts on the Yeti can be tightened and all of the creature’s fur can then be combed out.

So please be aware that it’s now quite likely that a number of us — not just Staind Stan — will get to experience the Yeti’s B mode in the not-so-distant future.

And — finally — Debbie C. writes in to ask:

Jim,

I just got the chance to ride “Expedition Everest.” I absolutely love this attraction. That Yeti Audio Animatronic figure is totally awesome. Disney has really oudone itself with this new thrill ride.

There’s only one thing about this new Animal Kingdom attraction that bothers me. If the Yeti that we see inside of this ride has brown fur, then why does all the merchandise that’s on sale in the “Expedition Everest” gift shop feature Yetis with white fur?

Can any of your contacts within the Walt Disney Company please answer this question for me? Because the next time that I ride “Expedition Everest,” I’d like to bring home a toy Yeti that’s the exact same color as the monster that I see inside Forbidden Mountain.

Thanks,
 
Debbie C.

Dear Debbie C.

As to what’s going on with all this white Yeti merchandise … The way I understand it, Disney ordered all of this merch in this particular color because the corporation hoped to be able to move it in two distinct locations: Disneyland and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Yes see, Disneyland too has an Abominable Snowman (Supposedly nicknamed Harold by longtime DL employees) who spends his days roaring inside of the Matterhorn.

Photo by Jim Hill

So — in order to create merchandise that could (in theory) be tied to two different attractions — Disney created a Yeti merch prototype that had the phsyical attributes of DAK’s Yeti figure while — at the same time — had the coloring of Disneyland’s Abominable Snowman. Given how well all of the “Expedition Everest” merchandise is selling, it’s clear that WDW visitors don’t really care what color the Yetis that are for sale are, These tourists just want to buy the creatures.

Photo by Jeff Lange

So — to answer your question, Debbie C. — all those white Yetis weren’t actually a mistake on Disney’s part. But — rather — just some Mouse House executive’s attempt to be clever. By creating a line of merch that could then be sold in two different theme parks and promote two entirely different rides.

Mind you, that’s not to say that Disney hasn’t create some flawed merchandise that’s associated with “Expedition Everest.” Take — for example –the souvenir shot glass which was recently pulled off the shelves at Serka Zong Bazaaar.

Photo by Jeff Lange

“What’s the problem with the shot glasses?,” you ask. Well, take a closer look at the image that’s imprinted on its exterior. Notice something slightly out-of-whack?

Photo by Jeff Lange

Yep. That’s right. 2005 does not belong on that shot glass. Why for? Because “Expedition Everest” didn’t actually open for business ’til 2006.

Okay. That’s pretty much it for this week’s special “EE” edition of Why For. I hope that you enjoyed today’s column. More importantly, that we’ll see all of you back here bright & early on Monday morning for the next edition of JHM’s MouseWatch.

Til then, you folks have a great weekend, 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  ExpertGriller.com prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

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

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Brattleboro’s Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont

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Some people travel halfway ‘around the planet so that they can then experience the excitement of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. If you’re more of a Slow Living enthusiast (as I am), then perhaps you should amble to Brattleboro, VT. Where – over the first weekend in June – you can then join a herd of cow enthusiasts at the annual Strolling of the Heifers.

Now in its 16th year, this three-day long event typically gets underway on Friday night in June with a combination block party / gallery walk. But then – come Saturday morning – Main Street in Brattleboro is lined with thousands of bovine fans.

Photo by Jim Hill

They’ve staked out primo viewing spots and set up camp chairs hours ahead of time. Just so these folks can then have a front row seat as this year’s crop of calves (which all come from local farms & 4-H clubs) are paraded through the streets.

Photo by Jim Hill

Viewed from curbside, Strolling of the Heifers is kind of this weird melding of a sincere small town celebration and Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade. Meaning that – for every entry that actually acknowledged this year’s theme (i.e. “Dance to the Moosic”) — …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something completely random, like this parade’s synchronized shopping cart unit.

Photo by Jim Hill

And for every piece of authentic Americana (EX: That collection of antique John Deere tractors that came chugging through the city) …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something silly. Like – say – a woman dressed as a Holstein pushing a baby stroller through the streets. And riding in that stroller was a pig dressed in a tutu.

Photo by Jim Hill

And given that this event was being staged in the Green Mountain State & all … Well, does it really surprise you to learn that — among the groups that marched in this year’s Strolling of the Heifers – was a group of eco-friendly folks who, with their  chants of “We’re Number One !,” tried to persuade people along the parade route not to flush the toilet after they pee. Because – as it turns out – urine can be turned into fertilizer.

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of fertilizer … At the tail end of the parade, there was a group of dedicated volunteers who were dealing with what came out of the tail end of all those cows.

Photo by Jim Hill

This year’s Strolling of the Heifers concluded at the Brattleboro town common. Where event attendees could then get a closer look at some of the featured units in this year’s parade…

Photo by Jim Hill

… or perhaps even pet a few of the participants.

Photo by Jim Hill

But as for the 90+ calves who took part in the 2017 edition of Strolling of the Heifers, once they reached the town common, it was now time for a nosh or a nap.

Photo by Jim Hill

Elsewhere on the common, keeping with this year’s “Dance to the Moosic” theme, various musical groups performed in & around the gazebo throughout the afternoon.

Photo by Jim Hill

While just across the way – keeping with Brattleboro’s tradition of showcasing the various artisans who live & work in the local community – some pretty funky pieces were on display at the Slow Living Exposition.

Photo by Jim Hill

All in all, attending Strolling of the Heifers is a somewhat surreal but still very pleasant way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont. And that’s no bull.

Photo by Jim Hill

Well, that could be a bull. To be honest, what with the wig & all, it’s kind of hard to tell. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Sunday, June 4, 2017

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Looking to make an authentic Irish meal for Saint Patrick’s Day? If so, then chef Kevin Dundon says not to cook corned beef & cabbage

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Let’s at least start on a positive note: Celebrated chef, author & TV personality Kevin Dundon – the man that Tourism Ireland has repeatedly chosen as the Face of Irish Food – loves a lot of what happens in the United States on March 17th.

“I mean, look at what they do in Chicago on Saint Patrick’s Day. They toss all of this vegetable-based dye into the Chicago River and then paint it green for a day. That’s terrific,” Kevin said.

But then when it comes to what many Americans eat & drink on St. Paddy’s Day (i.e., a big plate of corned beef and cabbage. Which is then washed down with a mug of green beer) … Well, that’s where Dundon has to draw the line.

Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon displays a traditional Irish loin of bacon with Colcannon potatoes and a Dunbrody Kiss chocolate dessert. Photo by Tom Burton. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Green beer? No real Irishman would be caught dead drinking that stuff,” Kevin insists. “And as for eating corned beef & cabbage … That’s not actually authentic Irish fare either. Bacon and cabbage? Sure. But corned beef & cabbage was something that the Irish only began eating after they’d come to the States to escape the Famine. And even then these Irish-Americans only began serving corned beef & cabbage to their friends & family because they had to make do with the ingredients that were available to them at that time.”

And thus begins the strange tale of how corned beef & cabbage came to be associated with the North American celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Because – according to Dundon – beef just wasn’t all that big a part of the Irish diet back in the 19th century.

To explain: Back in the Old Country, cattle – while they were obviously highly prized for the milk & cheese that they produced – were also beasts of burden. Meaning that they were often used for ploughing the fields or for hauling heavy loads. Which is why – back then — these animals were rarely slaughtered when they were still young & healthy. If anything, land owners liked to put a herd of cattle on display out in one of their pastures because that was then a sign to their neighbors that this farm was prosperous.

“Whereas pork … Well, everybody raised pigs back then. Which is why pork was a staple of the Irish diet rather than beef,” Dundon continued.

So if that’s what people actually ate back in the Old Country, how then did corned beef & cabbage come to be so strongly associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the States.? That largely had to do with where the Irish wound up living after they arrived in the New World.

“When the Irish first arrived in America following the Great Famine, a lot of them wound up living in the inner city right alongside the Germans & the Jews, who were also recent immigrants to the States. And while that farm-fresh pork that the Irish loved wasn’t readily available, there was brisket. Which the Irish could then cure by first covering this piece of meat with corn kernel-sized pieces of rock salt – that’s how it came to be called corned beef. Because of the sizes of the pieces of rock salt that were used in the curing process – and then placing all that in a pot of water with other spices to soak for a few days.”

And as for the cabbage portion of corned beef & cabbage … Well, according to Kevin, in addition to buying their meat from the kosher delis in their neighborhood, the Irish would also frequent the stores that the German community shopped in. Where – thanks to their love of sauerkraut (i.e., pickled cabbage) – there was always a ready supply of cabbage to be had.

“So when you get right down to it, it was the American melting pot that led to corned beef & cabbage being found in the Irish-American cooking pot,” Dundon continued. “Since they couldn’t find or didn’t have easy access to the exact same ingredients that they had back in Ireland, Irish-Americans made do with what they could find in the immediate vicinity. And what they made was admittedly tasty. But it’s not actually authentic Irish fare.”

Mind you, what Kevin serves at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs (which – FYI – Orlando Magazine voted as the area’s best restaurant back in 2014) is nothing if not authentic. Dundon and his team at this acclaimed gastropub pride themselves on making traditional Irish fare and then contemporized it.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Take – for example – what we serve here instead of corned beef & cabbage. Again, because it was pork – rather than beef – that was the true staple of the Irish diet back then, what we offer instead is a loin of bacon that has been glazed with Irish Mist. That then comes with colcannon potatoes. Which is this traditional Irish dish that’s made up of mashed potato that have had some cabbage & bacon mixed through it,” Kevin enthused. “This heavenly ham – that’s what we actually call this traditional Irish dish at Raglan Road, Kevin’s Heavenly Ham – also includes some savory cabbage with a parsley cream sauce as well as a raisin cider jus. It’s simple food. But because of the basic ingredients – and that’s the real secret of Irish cuisine. That our ingredients are so strong – the flavors just pop off the plate.”

Which brings us to the real challenge that Dundon and the Raglan Road team face every day. Making sure that they actually have all of the ingredients necessary to make this traditional-yet-contemporized Irish fare to those folks who frequent this Walt Disney World favorite.

“Take – for example – the fish we serve here. We only used cold water fish. Salmon, mussels and haddock that have been hauled out of the Atlantic, the ocean that America and Ireland share,” Kevin stated. “Not that there’s anything wrong with warm water fish. It’s just that … Well, it doesn’t have the same structure. It’s a softer fish, which doesn’t really fit the parameters of Irish cuisine. And if you’re going to serve authentic food, you have to be this dedicated when it comes to sourcing your ingredients.

Copyright Mitchell Beazley. All rights reserved

And if you’re thinking of perhaps trying to serve an authentic Irish meal this year, rather than once again serving corned beef & cabbage at your Saint Patrick’s Day Feast … Well, back in September of last year, Mitchell Beazley published “The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub.” This 296-page hardcover not only includes the recipe for Kevin’s Heavenly Ham but also it tells the tale of how this now-world-renown restaurant wound up being built in Orlando.

On the other hand, if you happen to have to the luck of the Irish and are actually down at The Walt Disney World Resort right now, it’s worth noting that Raglan Road is right in the middle of its Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This four day-long event – which includes Irish bands and professional dancers – stretches through Sunday night. And in addition to all that authentic Irish fare that Dundon and his team are cooking up, you also sample the fine selection of beers & cocktails that this establishment’s four distinct antique bars (each of which are more than 130 years old and were imported directly from Ireland) will be serving. Just – As ucht Dé (That’s “For God’s Sake” in Gaelic) – don’t make the mistake of asking the bartender there for a mug of green beer.

“Why would anyone willingly drink something like that?,” Dundon laughed. “I mean, just imagine what their washroom will look like the morning after.”

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Friday, March 17, 2017

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