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EIFW22Photos: Walt Disney World Resorts

The 2022 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has officially kicked off. And if you plan to go out there any time soon, be sure to prepare yourself for excessive heat or you might kick off too.

EIF&WF used to be the park’s only big event before Epcot became a place for year-round festivalness. But it’s still the longest, running this year from July 14 through Nov. 19.

The food and wine fest still isn’t back to its pre-Covid self – who is? There will not be any tastings hosted by visiting winemakers nor special luncheons or wine dinners. And, saddest of all, no Parties for the Senses.

But the Global Marketplaces, those elaborate kitchen kiosks set up around the World Showcase, will be in full swing. Well, partial swing – some of the marketplaces won’t open until Aug. 15. You can see the full list of food and drink options and when they’ll be open here.

EIFW22 screen

Also back this year, the Eat to the Beat concert series. Or more precisely, Eat to the Beat presented by Florida Blue Medicare, as noted in the screenshot above from the Festival’s webpage that shows two not-quite-Medicare-aged men apparently telling their son a Ron DeSantis joke.

There are also Eat to the Beat dining packages on select nights. Certain Epcot restaurants will offer multi-course menus, and diners receive a guaranteed seat at that night’s concert. So technically you won’t eat to the beat; you’ll eat then go to Eat to the Beat. Is that clear?

Of course, this all requires admission to the theme park, and, according to the website, a theme park reservation is also required. And food and beverages are sold separately at the various marketplaces.

As for me, I hope to get out to experience the festival, but I think I’ll wait until the temperatures cool down. I’m thinking Nov. 18.

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Brazas ext

You probably know Brazas Chicken from its restaurant in the Fort Gatlin Shopping Center in SoSoDo where it’s been serving its Peruvian style rotisserie chicken for 16 years. It had such a loyal fan base that it stayed open – and was the only food or beverage operation to do so – during the shopping center’s transition from its days of abandoned decrepitude to its current renovated and vibrant status as a happening restaurant venue.

Or you may have experienced Brazas when it opened a stand last year in the Marketplace at Avalon Park’s food hall.

But it’s unlikely you know the Brazas Chicken that recently opened. Yes, it has the same owner – Franco DelSolar – and its menu still features the crispy skinned/juicy meated chicken that first made it popular. But here the menu has been expanded to feature other Peruvian specialties.

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Liguori at bisonJoe Liguori at The Hangry Bison Winter Garden

On July 17, Joe Liguori, the founder of Pizzeria Valdiano and the Hangry Bison, will celebrate 20 years in the restaurant business.

Except he’s actually been in the restaurant business for much, much longer.

“I was born into it, literally,” said Liguori. He was sitting in the Pizzeria Valdiano in Winter Park Village, which was the first of several that he would open over the years and is just a few steps away from his first Hangry Bison, and was reminiscing about his early life in the business.

His parents, Michael and Maria, emigrated from Italy, met while working at the same restaurant and got married. “By the time I was born,” said Liguori, “my parents had a small place up north, so as long as I can remember I’ve been working in restaurants.”

His earliest recollection is at his father’s first restaurant in Orlando, Michael’s, which opened in the early nineteen-eighties. Michael Liguori sold that restaurant to a cousin, also named Michael, and he and Maria opened a restaurant on a then-remote stretch of Alafaya Trail north of UCF. They called the restaurant Peppino’s, which means little Giuseppe or little Joe. “I was Peppino himself!” said Liguori.

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Chef and I scallops

This episode of Compliments of the Chef could be titled Compliments of The Chef & I as Chris Rains, chef/owner of The Chef & I at Hall on the Yard in Ivanhoe Village, demonstrates his recipe for Wild Mushroom Risotto with Pan-seared Sea Scallops.

Risotto is labor intensive, but Rains gives some useful tips on making the rice dish. And he shows how to beautifully sear the scallops.

Watch the video below and then give the recipe a try.

 

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Chef and I scallops

This episode of Compliments of the Chef could be titled Compliments of The Chef & I as Chris Rains, chef/owner of The Chef & I at Hall on the Yard in Ivanhoe Village, demonstrates his recipe for Wild Mushroom Risotto with Pan-seared Sea Scallops.

Risotto is labor intensive, but Rains gives some useful tips on making the rice dish. And he shows how to beautifully sear the scallops.

Watch the video below and then give the recipe a try.