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The Best Way to Spend $50 at the 2024 Flower and Garden Festival

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It’s a beautiful afternoon at the 2024 Flower & Garden Festival, and you’d like to sample the Outdoor Kitchens. What’s the best use of a limited budget? We have opinions and we won’t hesitate to share them. Usually our Best $50 list is more like $50-ish, but this year we hit the number on the nail – the 9 dishes below will run you precisely $50. Read on to see what’s in our sampler!

First Course

🥕🌿⭐Avocado Toast –$6.00 | DDP

Two of the three dishes in our first course are returns from last year, but only this one also made our Best $50 in 2023. This glorious, ginormous dish is as beautiful as it is tasty. The challenge of avocado toast is balancing the citrus with the avocado and this one is on the money. It’s lovely and creamy in addition to being visually stunning, and technically big enough to share if you love someone very much and they care nothing for your happiness.

🥕🌿 Potato Pancakes –$5.25 | DDP

We couldn’t squeeze these into our Best $50 last year, but they’re crunchy and potato-ey and just the right amount of salty and sweet with the applesauce on top. (It’s the pancakes that are salted, not the applesauce.) We don’t think there’s a big risk of the applesauce sogging down your crunch because you’ll eat these too fast for it to matter. But if you prefer your potato pancakes to be fruit-less, you can get them without the applesauce.

🆕 Honey-glazed Cauliflower –$5.00 | DDP

The first of several new Festival entries on our Best $50 this year, these are exactly what a Flower & Garden dish should be. Bright veg, well seasoned and not overcooked, small bites but enough of a serving that a few can share without fisticuffs. “Honey-blistered grapes” sounds like something a new culinary author comes up with in a moment of whimsy but it really is the most apt description – and they aren’t even the best part of this dish! Anyone that can make something as pedestrian as mushed carrot and cooked cauliflower taste like this is the real deal. Don’t skip.

Second Course

Chicken and Waffles: –$6.75 | DDP

Don’t be afraid of the “spicy honey” — it’s more warm than spicy and this dish is perfect for kids and anyone with a low spice tolerance. The chicken is beautifully fried and the crunchy breading melts into the gooey whipped honey butter; literally 6 different textures and a riot of flavors on one plate. You might notice that both dishes from the Honey Bee-Stro made this list; this booth is 10/10 and we want the Festival cookbooks to come back so we can make these at home.

🆕 Veal Tenderloin –$8.50 | DDP

The veal has entered the building! This is the first time a veal dish has made our Best $50, but this one is oh-so-worthy. Maybe it’s the fresh Spring Pea Risotto or maybe we’re just suckers for any sort of wine reduction, but this whole dish is joyful. I don’t know if we’re the only ones that think of a Barney Rubble-style chop when we hear “veal”, but this was not that. It was thin and tender and combined with the risotto it was filling – you’re going to need a nap but make sure this one is on your list.

🆕 Tamale de Rajas –$8.75 | DDP

Another new offering, the Tamale is the most expensive dish on our list. It’s not the largest portion, but it is one of the most complex bites at the Festival. Every single ingredient is straight from the “Best Flavors of Mexico” playlist, and the highlight is the pucker of the pickled veg against the creamy cheese flavors. We would happily pay this bigger bill to eat this again. And again.

Dessert Course

Orange Blossom-Saffron Cake –$5.00 | D

This dish barely missed our “dishes to skip” last year, and it is one of a few that have seen some tweaks during the Flower & Garden off-season. It wasn’t even close to what was presented in 2023, and now it is both beautiful and delicious. The basics were the same but chunkier pistachio brittle, a thicker cake base, and more sauce made all the difference. The texture of the mousse inside is firmer than last year as well, although that’s only going to make sense if you’ve ever had a pudding that was too soggy. For sure the prettiest dish of the Fest and also the very best sweet treat on offer.

⭐ Bananas Foster Bread Pudding –$4.75 | DDP

Sugar. But in all the right ways! Only the second of last year’s Best $50 to make the list again, she isn’t the prettiest dish around. But the flavors are so on point with different dimensions from the banana and the brown sugar caramel that you could see some “I’ll have what she’s having” moments. The price is low, the serving is hearty, and there is enough sugar to be a real danger to your next physical. America!

Are you heading out to Flower & Garden this year? What are you looking forward to tasting? Let us know in the comments!

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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer has a background in math and biology, so she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

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