In Mid October, Chad had to go to the UCF campus to take a final to complete his Master’s. Evan and I took the opportunity to go with him to visit Disney and Legoland. While waiting on Chad to finish with his test, Evan and I went to Epcot. I am so happy I got to see Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival again before we leave Florida. Once the park opened, we went straight to visit Mickey since Evan is too young to ride most of the rides. Evan has never been close any characters, so I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be.
He absolutely loved them! Mickey was his favorite. He saw all of them as oversized stuffed animals and kept giving them hugs and kisses. He was not very happy when we had to move on and kept trying to run back to them. We ended up buying him a Mickey stuffed animal later at Downtown Disney and he now carries it with him around the house.
We rode the The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Evan took a quick catnap in the stroller before the World Showcase opened at 11. I made it halfway through the park to the Japan Pavilion before Evan woke from his nap so we sampled the Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll first for lunch.
The back area of the park was fairly empty since most of the crowd stopped at the first few booths. The Japan Booth offered the Spicy Hand Roll (Tuna and Salmon with Chili Pepper, Soy Sauce, and Sesame Oil topped with Kazan Volcano Sauce), California Roll (Avocado, Cucumber, Crab, Mayonnaise, and Smelt Roe rolled in Sushi Rice and Seaweed), Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll (Marinated White Meat Chicken with Sushi Rice topped with Teriyaki Sauce), Youki Tofu (topped with Miso Sauce and Edamame served with Grilled Vegetables), Sake (Junmai Ginjo Yuki “Snow”), Sapporo Draft Beer, and Green Tea Colada.
Evan and I both enjoyed the Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll. My only complaint is the roll was soaked in a bit too much teriyaki sauce for my liking. Evan didn’t like the last couple of bites with the extra wrapping of Nori- no worries, just more for me. Overall, the chicken was tender and the teriyaki sauce had just the right amount of sweetness. This was one of my favorites at the festival.
Evan fell asleep again later in the day after Chad joined us. Chad pushed him around in the stroller while I went back to the Japan Pavilion to shop (my favorite place in Epcot). Mitsukoshi Department Store has large assortment of souvenirs from hair accessories and clothing to toys. My favorite section is in the back of the store- the dishware! I spent so much time looking at all the beautiful plates, bowls, and tea sets. It was definitely hard to narrow down my purchases to a couple of items. The plate in my Orange Chiffon Cupcakes post was one of my souvenirs.
After the Japan Booth, we visited the Cheese Booth. I tried the Cheese Fondue from the booth when we visited in 2011. I am not sure if I just got a bad batch, but I was definitely not a fan. It was nearly cold and just did not have a good consistency. This year, the Cheese Booth offered Almond-crusted Blue Cheese Souffle with Fig Jam, Artisan Cheese Selection (Beecher’s Flagship Reserve served with Honey, La Bonne Vie Triple Creme Brie with Apricot Jam, Wyngaard Goats Gouda with Craisin Bread, and many wines from Once Upon A Vine: The Big Bad Red Blend, The Lost Slipper Sauvignon Blanc, The Fairest Chardonnay, and A Charming Pinot.
Evan and I got the Artisan Cheese Selection. Definitely an improvement from the cheese fondue a couple of years ago. The only one Evan didn’t care for was the Brie. His favorite was the Wyngaard Goats Gouda with the Craisin Bread. My favorite was the Beecher’s Flagship Reserve with Honey.
I created a version of the Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll. It took a couple of test runs, but I am happy with the final result. I got a sushi kit from Amazon:BambooImportsMN 10″ Sushi Oke Tub (Hangiri) with 13pc Sushi Making Accessory Pack to help me in my endeavors. I added a little carrot to my rolls. I also used chicken thighs instead of breasts, because I personally prefer chicken thighs for Teriyaki Chicken. The festival version uses white meat.
I made the sushi rice first. Sumeshi (vinegared sushi rice) is created by combining steamed short grain rice with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. The rice vinegar mixture is gently folded in as the rice cools. I used the Hangiri that came in my sushi kit to mix the rice. A Hangiri (Handai, Sushi Oke) is a flat wooden tub used for mixing and cooling the rice. If you don’t have one, use a large 9×13 inch casserole so the rice is in a layer no more than about 2 inches deep. I covered the rice with a damp cloth and set aside while I prepared the teriyaki chicken.
I’ve only attempted sushi once before a couple of years ago and it was barely passable, so I was a little nervous about recreating these. The first time I tried making the hand rolls, I added too much rice to the layers and they turned out huge, about 4 inches in diameter. Delicious, but way too big. I attempted again with less rice and am happy with the results. I cut one sheet of nori (seaweed, laver) into thin strips and place one strip on each side of the sushi mat (makisu), about the width of a full nori sheet, that I wrapped in plastic for easy cleaning. With this roll, the rice is on the outside, so it can turn into a huge mess without the plastic barrier. I added a thin layer of rice to cover half of the nori strips, topped it with a sheet of nori (I trimmed 1/4 off of the top of the sheet first), covered with a thinner layer of rice, then a strip of teriyaki chicken slices and carrots. With the help of the sushi mat, I wrapped the roll up tightly, then cut the roll in half diagonally to serve with more teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds.
Nori is a thin seaweed often used for rolling sushi. It is sometimes called laver. I have been able to find it at many supermarkets in the Asian food section or at Asian Food Markets. It is also available on Amazon: Premium Quality 50 Sheet Toasted Sushi Nori, 3.5-Ounce Pouches and organic:Earth Circle Organics Nori Sheets, 10-Count.
Mirin is a sweet Japanese cooking rice wine. I use hon-mirin (true mirin) in recipes calling for mirin. I have been able to find it in Asian food markets near me. Many grocery stores have aji-mirin, but those usually have a lot of additives. Other types of mirin are shio-mirin (includes salt) and shin-mirin (very little alcohol). It is also available on Amazon: Eden Foods Mirin Rice Cooking Wine — 10.5 fl oz.