Harmonious and Spaceship Earth’s stunning new light package isn’t the only new experience offered at EPCOT this month.
On October 1, San Angel Inn at the World Showcase’s Mexico pavilion debuted the “Mexico Regional Cuisine Adventure” where new menu items from renowned Mexican chefs from different regions of the country will be offered on a quarterly basis!
Our park reporter Chrissy attended a preview presentation of this event at La Hacienda Restaurant hosted by this quarter’s culinary master – Chef Federico Lopez — and then tried some of the foods after the official debut.
For this quarter, the event looks to focus on the state of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico; and according to Chrissy, Chef Lopez wants to present a menu that showcased the Mayan culture with traditional Mayan ingredients, but in a way that would appeal to park guests. Therefore, his menu was a “modern presentation of very old dishes – made the proper way.”
The San Angel Inn is listed on the menu as “A Culinary Journey into the state of Quintana Roo with a 3-Course Prix Fixe Menu” and priced at $69.00 + $20.00 for drinks. Here’s a preview of what guests can enjoy.
Salbute de Cochinita – Slow-braised Achiote-marinated pork on fried Masa with beans and Habanero Salsa. This is a dish all about achiote and masa — this is a flavorful way to start off the meal. The drink pairing for this is a beer that tastes like a Bloody Mary (Ojo Rojo in Tulum – Cerveza Tulum Craft Lager, served with Michelada Homemade Mix, a hint of Habanero Hot Sauce, with Chile Piquin Salt Rim).
TIC-IN-XIC – Pan-seared Achiote-marinated striped Bass is served with Plantains, rice and bean puree, and topped with Avocado. The fish has such a buttery taste and the avocado mousse is light and spicy. Paired with this dish is the Mayan Elixir (Centinela Blanco Tequila, Dragon Fruit Purée, fresh Lime Juice, Huana Guanabana Rum Liqueur and Black Currant Liqueur, with Black and Salt Rim). The color of the drink is stunning, and it is a wonderful sweet and spicy taste to pair perfectly with the buttery fish.
Dulce de Papaya – Caramelized papaya with cinnamon, Gouda cheese, and corn ice cream. This dish is one where you won’t want to look at what’s in it until after you try it. The dish is a labor of love that requires work and patience to get the unripened papaya into the candied stage. Adding Gouda cheese on it sounds like a weird idea, but it is delicious. The corn ice cream is one of our favorite desserts at San Angel, and it is the perfect fit as well. The papaya has a curst on it that is a bit chewy and wonderful. This dish just works incredibly well together. The paired drink is the Carajillo (Cafka, Cold Brew Coffee, Ancho Reyes and Nixta Corn Liqueur). Cold brew and liqueur? A perfect dessert cocktail.
Experience Quintana Roo with this Wonderful Regionally-inspired Beverage Pairing – $20.00
- Ojo Rojo in Tulum – Cerveza Tulum Craft Lager, served with Michelada Homemade Mix, a hint of Habanero Hot Sauce, with Chile Piquin Salt Rim (Contains Soy and Shellfish)
- Mayan Elixir – Centinela Blanco Tequila, Dragon Fruit Purée, fresh Lime Juice, Huana Guanabana Rum Liqueur and Black Currant Liqueur, with Black and Salt Rim
- Carajillo – Cafka, Cold Brew Coffee, Ancho Reyes and Nixta Corn Liqueur.
Achiote was “the guest” of Chef Lopez’ menu design. During the presentation, it was the consistency of a paste that was passed around for participants to smell and taste. He discussed the differences between good, true achiote that’s crushed on stones that women are still gifted for weddings versus what you can buy that contains food coloring, gum paste, flour, and other foreign ingredients.
He also talked quite a bit about sustainability saying every dish needs to translate well to a busy theme park kitchen but not contribute to overfishing of certain species of fish or using other proteins (like beef) simply because they’re abundant as opposed to being authentic.
In fact, part of the reason he doesn’t use grouper in Cancun is that they’re not able to find a source that allow them to source the fish in a responsible and sustainable way. So, rather than using the traditional grouper which is fatty on its own, they use Pacific striped bass since they can grow jobs in local fisheries, recreate the same buttery texture of grouper with a drizzle of fruity olive oil.
One example of how Chef Lopez wanted to keep the menu recognizable yet true to his vision was using white rice rather than the red often seen with Americanized Mexican food. He wants it to look like what people expect but have flavors and combinations that surprise people.
The fried masa in the appetizer was delicate and soft and also part of the cultural experience since corn or maize is integral to Mayan culture and their ancient beliefs.
For this event, it was communicated that it’s of the utmost importance that chefs for each quarter are the best in their respective regions of Mexico and that the food at EPCOT’s Mexico pavilion has ties to what’s being offered. The park also wanted their own chefs at EPCOT to be both trained and influenced by these regional experts.
Overall, if you want a true taste of Mexican flavors, this is a perfect meal that offers authenticity and delightful flavors.
Would you like to book the Mexico Regional Cuisine Adventure at San Angel Inn? Let us know what you think of this menu in the comments.