There's been a flurry of creative edibles appearing at Orlando's theme parks lately. I wouldn't label them as "bizarre food," but some are distinctive enough to fall in the "things you might only eat on vacation" category.
I ate three of the goodies whilst on the job anyway.
Hector Colon, executive chef at SeaWorld Orlando, wants dishes that belong in the "wow" category, he says. His latest is a whopper: a jumbo turkey leg wrapped in a pretzel. When I sampled it, I got stares from fellow park-goers, including a man who said "Now, that's a snack!" and a woman who said "Are you really going to eat that?"
The pretzel turkey leg, available at Mama's Pretzel Kitchen in the park, is eye-catching. It's the usual-sized big ol' mouthful of a treat, wrapped in pretzel dough. It weighs in at over a pound.
"It is a whole meal. You eat one and you're fed for a while," Colon says. "I call it the walking meal."
The legs are put together in the SeaWorld kitchen, he says. The turkey is smoked, then cooled, wrapped in pretzel dough that's made on-site, then baked and brushed with melted butter.
For me, it was like a turkey leg calzone, with a bone sticking out and doubly salty. The pretzel was good; the meaty part makes me feel too Fred Flintstone.
"I like the softness on it," Colon says. "We want to have something unique that you haven't seen around. It's a little bit labor-intensive, but, believe me, it is all worth it in the end."
The pretzel turkey leg sells for $14.99 (with potato chips) at SeaWorld.
I chased the leg with the purple wall slushy drink at Magic Kingdom. It's Disney's latest offering to capitalize on the social media phenomenon, a purple wall that has become the backdrop for thousands of selfies. The drink is sold at nearby Tomorrowland Terrace.
The name feels off. I think of a slushy being a sloshy ice experience, but purple wall slushy has a milkshake texture. And shame on me for assuming it would be grape-flavored. It's not. Maybe I've spent too much time at Wine Bar George, but I detected nutty notes, right?
Nope. Disney says the drink has taro tea plus a bit of sweetened condensed milk. Taro tea, indeed, is purple, but Disney brightens it - one must match the wall, after all - with violet coloring, then tops it with whipped cream and purple sprinkles.
There are tapioca Boba pearls inside, a surprise slurping up my straw. (They're edible and supposed to be there, I'm assured.)
None of these ingredients are on the menu board, but I'm not surprised. That wouldn't make it sound as refreshing as it is - it would probably be a deterrent. A purple wall slushy sells for $5.99.
My dessert for the day came from Voodoo Doughnut at Universal CityWalk. The shop recently added the exclusive Universal Orangesicle pastry, which is cream-filled and covered with citrus frosting and chocolate pearls. It comes on a stick -- think doughy Dreamsicle.
The Orangesicle is sweet and weighty. It's so big that it's a challenge to keep balanced on the stick and off the CityWalk sidewalk. That would be a waste of $2.65, the Orangesicle's reasonable price. You can't beat that with a stick.
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