On the opening day of the 2023 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, the team and I tried a handful of new food items from the Outdoor Kitchens. A few of these new ones had us unsure due to their descriptions, but many things surprised us. This first day of the Flower & Garden Festival brought us many unique dishes that have made our best list. There were also some weirder food options and some that were just outright bad.
The Best Food Items
This might sound like a lie, but almost everything we had was perfect. I was constantly surprised by how great, and fresh everything tasted. By the end of the day, all I wanted to do was come back and eat everything again. Here’s our best list.
- Grilled Street Corn on the Cob with savory garlic spread and plant-based cotija cheese
- Blackened Fish Slider with roasted tomatoes, watercress, and citrus remoulade on brioche
- Florida Strawberry Shortcake
These three are from the Florida Fresh booth, and it is safe to say that everything from that kitchen is top-tier food. I had the corn, and I so badly wanted to reference the “It’s Corn” TikTok when enjoying the dish; that’s how much I loved it. The best part was watching the chefs making the corn and adding all the fixings.
- IMPOSSIBLE Lumpia with Thai sweet chili sauce – Trowels & Trellis
This Lumpia surprised Craig, Panda, and me. It was my and Panda’s favorite festival food item, and we couldn’t stop talking about it the rest of the day. This is the dish that had me wanting to come back to this booth.
- Bananas Foster Bread Pudding – Magnolia Terrace
- Crawfish Pie – Magnolia Terrace
Craig enjoyed both of these dishes from Magnolia Terrace at The American Adventure. He noted that the crawfish pie is very hot, so be careful when holding the plate, and let it sit for a minute before eating it. From how he described the item, this crawfish pie seems to be a perfect snack when it’s cold. Unfortunately, it was 90 degrees outside.
- Orange Sesame Tempura Shrimp with orange chile sauce – The Citrus Blossom
Another dish I really enjoyed was the Tempura Shrimp; Craig and I shared this one, and we were both pleasantly surprised with how good it was. The orange chile sauce added such a great flavor to the shrimp. We both wish the sauce had a spicier kick to it rather than just being sweet. A nice blend of spicy and sweet would’ve made this perfect.
The Decent Food Items
I was extremely excited about the Hummus Trio because hummus is my favorite snack. It never disappoints me. The reason it’s in the decent category has nothing to do with the flavors of hummus and everything to do with the presentation.
They only gave us three pieces of bread and two crackers which was not enough to finish the hummus. I felt like I should’ve grabbed a spoon to finish what was left, or brought my own pita chips. We also weren’t huge fans of the plate it came on. The traditional hummus was hanging off the edge of the flat disc, so we had to take care of that before placing it on the table.
- Hummus Trio: Traditional hummus, red beet and black garlic hummus, and avocado-herb hummus with Moroccan bread and crispy papadam – Tangierine Cafe
The Weirdest Food Item
- Shrimp Scampi Poutine with cheese curds, lemon-garlic cheese fondue, spinach, and artichokes – Refreshment Port near Canada
This was by far the weirdest dish we got on opening day. When it was handed to Craig, I immediately got nauseous because it looked like throwup, specifically, cat vomit. There was no question if garlic was in the dish because you could smell it a mile away. We all thought this would be horrible, but Craig said it was delicious after taking his first few bites. He also mentioned that he would get this again. The lesson here is not to judge the presentation of poutine and give it a try.
The Worst Food Items
- Chicken and Waffles: Crispy honey-brined chicken and honey sweet cornbread waffle with whipped honey butter and spicy honey – Honey Bee-stro
Sadly this dish ended up on the worst list. Many guests that day raved about how amazing it was, but that was not how our experience went. When Craig showed us the chicken and waffles, it was burnt to a crisp. Hard dark areas all over the chicken, but the waffle survived the hardship. The sweet cornbread waffle was the best part of this dish. Others we ran into said it was excellent and perfectly cooked, but we also ran into a guest who said their chicken was undercooked. What this tells us is that this booth has some consistency issues.
For the most part, we had delicious food items that we would eat again, and for me, that’s a win. I think any consistency issues we encounter will improve as the festival continues. I can’t wait to return to enjoy more Lumpia, Tempura Shrimp, and Street Corn. I also want to try some of my old favorites and see if they still meet my expectations. Will you be trying any of these dishes? Let us know!
To see the full review watch the YouTube video below!
Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.