French Pithiviers, Florida Alligator Tenderloin, and Pumpkin Trees

One of the best parts of travel is experiencing different food, and this weekend was full of new food experiences and GOOD EATS.  My husband and I went to Orlando to check out the city and go to Disneyworld, and the food was really awesome both days (I was particularly impressed with Epcot at Disneyworld…I was expecting typical theme park junk food, but the things I ate seemed very authentic).

Saturday evening we dined at the 310 Lakeside restaurant in Downtown Orlando.  It’s right on Lake Eaton, and the restaurant’s ambiance is beautiful.  I started with a cocktail called the Asian Pear Martini (Absolut Pear Vodka, Canton Ginger Liquer, Sour Mix).  I’m not a big drinker, but it was actually quite good and well balanced.

What intrigued us about this restaurant was the Florida Alligator Tenderloin appetizer (pan fried francaise style and topped with a whole grain mustard sauce).  My husband loves to try strange foods (we ate iguana in Aruba…strange I know, but it’s apparently typical local fare), so he was very interested in trying it.  I only had a bite or two, but the texture was very comparable to chicken, though it was more tender (Why does everything always taste like chicken?!!?!  LOL).

(Sorry the photo quality isn’t too good, I always feel like a weirdo taking photos in a restaurant…but I did see somebody videotaping their food with a camcorder at Disney later, which made me feel better, hahahaha).
For our entrees we had a fresh pappardelle pasta with house smoked salmon and red pepper white wine sauce, as well as slow roasted half duck with a plum demi and crab risotto.

Both were good, though the crab risotto (their starch of the day) really shows how important it is to make risotto fresh.  Fortunately, we got to have some fantastic aroncini, fried risotto balls, at Via Napoli in the Italy section of Epcot. 
We also had an authentic (as authentic as it can be outside of Naples) woodfired Napoli pizza.  They import their flour from Naples, use San Marzano tomatoes, make their own mozzarella, and somehow replicate the water in Napoli (a tough job, since Florida water is pretty awful, but the hardness of water really does affect doughs).  Wow wow wow was it good.

We also stopped by the Boulangerie Patisserie in the France section of Epcot.

Both the napoleon, layers of puff pastry with a pastry cream in between,  and the pithivier, an almond paste goodie, were delicious.
A really cool ride at Disney called Living With The Land took us on a little boat ride through Disney’s food gardens, where scientists grow food by untraditional methods.  Some cool things I saw were a rosemary Christmas tree:
Red Pepper Pots:

And gigantic pumpkin and squash trees!

They had tons of produce, and if you go to DisneyWorld, I highly recommend you check it out (and reserve a tour).
And I had to put in a photo of the lights at Disney…aren’t they amazing?
Have you eaten anything new or eclectic lately?  Please post comments below =)  Happy Monday!