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The Best Way to Spend $50 at EPCOT’s 2023 Festival of the Arts

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You’ve got $50 and a single afternoon to spend at Festival of the Arts. What should you eat to get the best bang for your buck? This is one of our most favorite EPCOT Festivals, and here is how you can get our favorite bites while only spending $49.50.

Cozy Food Course

Tomato Soup with Pimento Cheese, Bacon, and Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese from Pop Eats, $6.50

Is it an appetizer? Is it the best eats for lunch on a snowy day? (That’s a trick question, there’s no snow in Florida.) Whatever, this one wins “Best Comfort Food” of the entire festival. It gives you faking sick and watching Price is Right with Grandma vibes. It gets no better.

To the left, a plastic cup with the Pop Eats logo is filled with orangy-tomato-colored soup. The texture is smooth but not pureed. To the right, the clear pop-top from the lid rests against the two halves of the sandwich which have been arranged with one lying cross-ways against the other. The bread is toasted brown around the edges and on the middle, and the filling is a creamy orange with tiny chunks of bacon.
Tomato soup with Pimento Cheese, Bacon and Fried Green Tomato Grilled Cheese – $6.50

Seafood Course

Cast Iron-roasted P.E.I. Mussels from Craftsman’s Courtyard, $7.50

These mussels with sauteed tomatoes, garlic, and herbs were one of our new favorites last year. On repeat, the serving is just as bountiful and it’s the exact same price. Seafood this good at this price point is not to be missed! Save the toasty grilled bread to scoop up every bit of the herb-spiked brew at the bottom of the bowl.

A white cardboard bowl holds several mussels with small white flecks of garlic on the shells; bits of dark red tomatoes are visible between the mussels and a piece of sliced baguette toast with grill marks lies across the top
Cast Iron-roasted P.E.I. Mussels with Sautéed Tomatoes, Garlic, and Fresh Herbs
Angry Crab from Moderne, $7.25

This is a hefty serving for the price, but it’s the crunchy coating, sweet soft-shell crab, and perfect sauce that landed it on this list. Definitely worth snagging on your way past this booth.

Two halves of a crispy-coated fried soft shell crab are balanced against each other, supported by a small mount of orange and white slaw-like salad underneath. A thin rope of orange sauce with occasional red flecks surrounds the whole thing, and a few bob-style yellow and orange beads are arranged at the tail of the sauce curl, where it meets the crab.
Angry Crab: Whole Crispy Soft-Shell Crab with Green Papaya Salad, Mango-Sriracha Fluid Gel, Coconut-Lime Foam with Pomegranate and Mango Crush Pearls

Meat Course

Carne Asada from El Artista Hambriento, $10.00

With only $50 to spread around, we typically reject any item above $9.00 for this list. We’re making an exception for this dish. The sirloin is so beautifully marinated and the flavor is mmmm: chef’s kiss. This dish tastes like the beefy bits at the bottom of the roast pan on a Sunday afternoon. Just splendid!

A pile of sliced beef is layered and piled into a triangle shape on the plate. A few crispy onions are piled on top.
Carne Asada: Chipotle-Marinated Beef Sirloin, Sweet Potato Purée and Crispy-Fried Onions
Red Wine-braised Beef Short Rib from Pastoral Palate, $8.50

This dish had us researching parsnip purée recipes! The Germany Pavilion does a wine reduction like no other team, and this is no exception. The beef is spoon tender and the veg is wonderful.

Two roasted yellow-orange baby tomatoes sit in the foreground atop a large dollop of creamy beige parsnip puree with a drizzle of balsamic peeking out from underneath. To the rear, two dark brown short ribs lie on top of more balsamic reduction with two spears of broccolini laid alongside everything.
Red Wine-braised Beef Short Rib with Parsnip Purée, Broccolini, Baby Tomatoes and Aged Balsamic

Dessert Course

Decadent Valrhona Chocolate from Deco Delights, $5.00

We loved this last year and our love remains. With the $5.00 price unchanged, we absolutely had to put this on our list again.

A slice of trianglular cake with a purple outer frosting sits on a wide smear of dark currant-colored sauce on the plate with its tip pointing upwards. The brownie on the bottom third is a darker brown, and there is also a scoop of what looks like chocolate ice cream on the plate.
Decadent Valrhona Chocolate with Dark Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Brownie and Cassis Mousse
House-made Crispy Almond Phyllo Pockets from Tangerine Cafe, $4.75

The best endorsement of this sweet, flaky pastry is that our very own Len Testa devoured the entire thing on the first day of the Festival without sharing … and came back to do the same thing again on Day Two. Reasonably priced, and if you ever need to bribe Len this is the right currency.

Two dark brown fried pastries lie on a plate within overlapping circles of a brown and dark pink sauce. The exterior of the pastries is fried phyllo showing ruffles and folds and looking super-crispy
House-made Crispy Almond Phyllo Pockets with White Chocolate Pomegranate and Milk Chocolate Orange

Honorable Mention

The dishes above will bring you in under the $50 marker, but if you have a little extra scratch to spread around, there’s one additional Food Studio we think you should visit.

The entire Deconstructed Dish booth
  • Deconstructed BLT – $7.00
    – Pork Belly, Soft-Poached Egg, Onion Bread Pudding, Watercress Espuma and Tomato Jam
  • Deconstructed French Onion Soup – $6.50
    – Beef Broth Ravioli, Gruyère Cream, Onion Bread Pudding and Onion Textures
  • Deconstructed Key Lime Pie – $6.25
    – Flexible Key Lime Curd, “Key Lime” Mousse, Graham Cracker Cake and Meringues

How do we get the Onion Bread Pudding from the BLT, the Beef Broth Ravioli, and the Key Lime Curd on a permanent menu?!?
The Deconstructed Dish booth is one-stop-shopping that’s worth the trip to the Festival all on its own.

Have you been to this year’s Festival? If you could only pick a few dishes, what would make your list? 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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