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.
This year, the Lobster Roll, of which I was not a fan, has been replaced by Lobster Alfredo.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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?