2014 Food & Wine: Hops and Barley Market

Hops and Barley Market used to be a must-stop for us, as Matt was a big fan of the former Pumpkin Mousse that was replaced last year by Craisin Bread Pudding, and again this year by Fresh Baked Carrot Cake.

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This year, the Lobster Roll, of which I was not a fan, has been replaced by Lobster Alfredo. With the Cheese kiosk gone, an Artisan Cheese Plate has made it to the menu, and the Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider, a version which was once served at the repurposed Florida Local kiosk, has also joined the lineup.

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Interested by the new lobster dish, I decided to give the Lobster Alfredo an honest try. I’m particular about lobster, so I was a bit apprehensive. When I posted a photo of the dish online, a reader noted that it looked dried out. Yes, the top of this dish was indeed toasted, but that was the only part of this dish that was dry.

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There was quite a bit of claw meat tucked under the crisp panko, and the pasta was al dente. I’m pleased that the lobster was tender and not dried out or chewy.

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I thought the dish was decent for what it was, especially with as much lobster as my portion had, but I ordered this particular dish was on preview day, and experience shows that dishes can be a bit more generous on this day. I’m glad I tried it for the blog, but it’s not something I see myself ordering again.

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A couple days later, I returned to try the Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese. Last year, when served at Florida Local, it featured Monterrey Jack and Sweet and Hot Pickles. Consistency was an issue for the slider last year, with a few guests reporting it was nicely cooked, while others found it to be very dry. I fell into the latter of the groups.

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Still, with the addition of Pimento Cheese, it was definitely worth another shot. Note: We had ordered the Pimento Cheese at Craft Beer – located in The Odyssey – and loved it. Review to come!

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Unfortunately, it failed to impress. The burger was not only dry and seemingly lacking seasoning, but cold. And it certainly wasn’t cold out! The bread at least had not dried out, as many sliders sit under heat lamps. Must have been the humidity keeping them soft!

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2014-food-wine-hops-and-barley-florida-grass-fed-beef-slider-pimento-cheese-fresh-baked-carrot-cake-craisins-cream-cheese-icingFlorida Grass-Fed Beef Sliders and Fresh Baked Carrot Cake awaiting icing

2014-food-wine-hops-and-barley-artisan-cheese-plate-cabot-cloth-wrapped-cheddar-purple-haze-chevre-goat-cheese-cave-man-blue-cheeseArtisanal Cheese Plate: Purple Haze Chevre Goat Cheese, Cabot Cloth Wrapped Cheddar, Caveman Blue Cheese

Overall, Hops and Barley Market didn’t really have any stand-outs. The Cheese Plate might make it on a future lap, but it doesn’t offer anything I don’t have access to outside of the Festival. The $3.75 Carrot Cake probably won’t make the cut. While there was nothing wrong with the Baked Lobster Alfredo, and guests who enjoy lobster will likely enjoy this dish, it’s not one I feel I need to revisit. If you opt to try the Florida Grass-Fed Beef Slider, you might was to keep an eye out for when they were cooked. I imagine I would have enjoyed it much more if it was fresh and hot.

UPDATE

Well, sort of. We got a picture of the “finished” Carrot Cake with Craisins and Cream Cheese Icing. I was going through my photos and saw it, but I don’t recall ordering it or tasting/eating it. I asked Matt, and he doesn’t recall it either, and noted that he doesn’t care for carrot cake. I’m guessing I quickly snapped a picture when another guest ordered it.

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We’ll keep you posted on updated reviews from Hops and Barley Market as the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival continues. What have you tried from the kiosk, and what did you think? What are you looking forward to trying?

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4 responses to “2014 Food & Wine: Hops and Barley Market

  1. Yay, I’m so excited to see your reviews coming out! I am curious about that slider. How was the pimento topping? Did that help with the lack of seasoning at all? Was that part flavorful? And the topping looks pretty onion heavy… Were the onions overwhelming?

    Thanks for everything you do!

  2. The Pimento Cheese was okay on the slider, but the dip with crackers version at Craft Beer was a better use of it. While I don’t know if they’re the same Pimento Cheese (they very well could be), the one at Craft Beer had a more noticeable kick. I didn’t think the onions were overwhelming, but I also like onions. The amount of cheese and onions seemed subdued thanks to the bland beef and amount of bread. 🙂

  3. I had the Lobster Alfredo and in was extremely disappointed. First, I probably got one little tiny piece of lobster and second, the whole thing was really tasteless. While I didn’t try the slider, it sure smelled good as they were cooking it.

  4. Sorry to hear that! It’s another one of those consistency things that plagues the Festival. Mine had four good-sized pieces of lobster and some small pieces as well. It wasn’t a strong Alfredo sauce, but I thought it worked well with the lobster, that is, if you get much lobster at all. I think the sliders smelled better than the one I got tasted. It had definitely been sitting on the counter for some time!