Square Life Round World

I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Disney Parks Blog Food Truck Meet Up

This past Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the Disney Parks Blog Food Truck Meet Up at Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.  Several times throughout the year, the Disney Parks Blog hosts special experiences that are open on a first come, first served basis.  This is how it works.  They publish a blog post about the upcoming event and when it is along with a few general rules and an email address to RSVP.  The first however many people who send an email get in.  If you are fast enough, you will get an email back later that same day confirming your acceptance.  These events fill up in minutes so if you aren’t looking at the blog at the exact right time you will likely miss out.  I actually have Twitter alerts set up from Disney Parks so if they tweet about it, I usually know pretty quickly.  Unfortunately, I’m rarely there during one of these events so I usually have to live vicariously through others.

This time, however, I was planning to be there for Marathon Weekend and was hoping to get into another runDisney meet up.  I already had about a half an eye on the blog anyway, and it just happened to work out that when they updated the blog with the post about the Food Truck Meet Up, I saw it before the tweet even happened.  So I sent my email right away and about an hour later I got an email back confirming my attendance.  I was so excited!  Fifty people were selected and we were each able to bring a guest.  I invited my friend Heather, whom I was rooming with for Marathon Weekend.  I was also very excited to find out that several more of our friends got in, and I knew we were going to have so much fun!

Princess Posse friends at the Food Truck Meet Up

Princess Posse friends at the Food Truck Meet Up

The email instructed us to be at Downtown Disney West Side between House of Blues and Cirque Du Soleil for a 3 pm check in.  When we got there, it was pouring down rain, and I was thrilled to see that the event was set up under the Cirque Du Soleil awnings to keep us dry. 

They set us up under the Cirque Du Soleil Awnings to keep us dry.

They set us up under the Cirque Du Soleil Awnings to keep us dry.

Upon check in, we were given lanyards in one of four colors and a poncho. 

We were all given lanyards in one of four colors and a poncho to help keep us dry.

We were all given lanyards in one of four colors and a poncho to help keep us dry.

I love that Disney thinks of everything.  The purpose of the different lanyard colors was so each color would start at a different truck to balance out visitors to each truck.  So after everyone was checked in, we were given a brief introduction and description of each of the four trucks.  Each truck is themed after a different Disney park, and there are three different offerings per truck. 

Downtown Disney Food Trucks

Downtown Disney Food Trucks

Going into the event, we thought we would get to try one item from each truck so we were shocked when they told us we were getting one of EVERYTHING.  Score!

Our first stop was World Showcase of Flavors, the truck representing Epcot.  We were given a lobster roll with homemade potato chips, a grass-fed beef slider with homemade potato chips, and a potato perogie with sausage and carmelized onions on the side. 

World Showcase of Flavors Menu

World Showcase of Flavors Menu

World Showcase of Flavors Offerings

This was by far my favorite truck so I was thrilled to get to try it first.  I am a long-time fan of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival held each fall, and these are some of the most popular offerings from the festival.  The lobster roll was my favorite!

Up next was Superstar Catering, the truck representing Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Meatballs were the star here.  We were given turkey sausage and golden raisin meatballs served on creamy polenta, a lamb meatball flatbread sandwich, and a spinach and feta beef meatball sandwich.

Superstar Catering Menu

Superstar Catering Menu

Superstar Catering Offerings

They were all good but I liked the beef meatball sandwich the best. 

Next was Fantasy Fare, representing Magic Kingdoms from all over the world.  We tried the famous hand-dipped corn dog with homemade potato chips from California, a croque monsieur ham and cheese sandwich from France (and Be Our Guest in Florida) and glass noodle salad from Japan. 

Fantasy Fare Menu

Fantasy Fare Menu

Fantasy Fare Offerings

I have to say I was not a fan of the glass noodle salad.  The hand-dipped corn dog was a definite hit!  I liked the sandwich but it did not hold a candle to my favorite croque monsieur sandwich at Les Chefs De France in Epcot. 

A girl and her corndog!

A girl and her corndog!

Finally, we tried the Namaste truck, representing Animal Kingdom.  This was set up a little differently.  The other three trucks put each item on a separate tray, but Namaste put all three on one big tray and even covered it in aluminum foil to help keep the rain out.  I liked that.  The food, however, was probably my least favorite of the four.  We were given tandoori spiced shrimp, butter chicken, and beef short ribs.  The tray also had jasmine rice and naan bread. 

Namaste Menu

Namaste Menu

Namaste Offerings

I loved the naan bread!  I also enjoyed the beef short ribs.  I think I would have enjoyed all of it more had I not been so incredibly full by the time I got to this truck.  Plus, the food here was a bit spicy.  While I normally love spicy food, we were all running a 10k bright and early the next morning and were a little afraid of the spicy food.

In addition to the food, we were also served wine, beer, sodas and bottled water. 

Wine, beer, sodas and bottled water were also offered.

Wine, beer, sodas and bottled water were also offered.

Door prizes were also given out throughout the event, and we learned that each of us could stop by Pop Gallery on our way out and get a free print and glass of champagne, which we took full advantage of.  Our friend Jenn won a $25 gift card to Splitsville.  Also on the way out, we chatted up Thomas Smith, the Social Media Director for Disney Parks, and got some insight on an upcoming meet up opportunity.  He also gave us an exclusive Disney Parks Blog pin.

Disney Parks Blog Pin

Disney Parks Blog Pin

It was a great event and a wonderful way to start the weekend!  I’ve already been asked by several people who have seen my food pics what it is and where they can get it.  My family has even added this to our to-do list for our fall trip.  We were also stopped by several people who saw our lanyards as we were walking back and asked us where the food trucks are.  I predict they are going to be a huge success!

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Memphis Farmers Market

One of the things I love most about living in Memphis in the summer is the Downtown Memphis Farmer’s Market.

Memphis Farmers Market

Memphis Farmers Market

Since 2006, every Saturday from April until October, the Memphis Farmer’s Market is open from 7 am until 1 pm. I would not wait until close to 1, though. Go as early as possible for the best selection.

Located right next to the train station, the MFM has an abundance of so many things, not just fruits and vegetables.

Just some of the things you can find at the Memphis Farmers Market.

Just some of the things you can find at the Memphis Farmers Market.

New vendors have to go through a selection process with the MFM board, and there are two very important rules. Number one, every vendor must either grow or make everything they sell. So you won’t find any tomatoes shipped in from who-knows-where being sold for local here. Also, any prepared food items must be made in a health certified facility. This also means the vendor must be licensed to make and sell any prepared food item sold, and it must be packaged correctly. So in addition to fruits, vegetables, and baked goods, you will also find things like local cheese, farm fresh eggs, local honey, local canned goods, flowers, meat and seafood, granola, plants, and even craft items like pottery. This past Saturday, I even saw really unique items like duck eggs and squash blossoms.

My favorite new vendor this year is Pistache.

Pistache specializes in delicate French macaron cookies.

Pistache specializes in delicate French macaron cookies.

Pistache is a French pastry company that specializes in French macaron cookies, not to be confused with coconut macaroons.

Beautiful macarons made by Pistache

Beautiful macarons made by Pistache

These are meringue type cookies with wonderfully flavorful fillings. They are a bit pricy but so worth it for an occaisional treat.

MFM truly is a complete experience, too. They always have live entertainment, and lots of times they’ll have children’s activities.

Live entertainment at the Memphis Farmers Market

Live entertainment at the Memphis Farmers Market

If you want to bring your dog, they have volunteer dog sitters to keep Fido entertained while you shop. No dog? They always have a few rescues on hand that you can take home with you if you’d like. Of course, they keep all of the dogs far enough away from the food so there will be no chance for, um, contamination.

This is also the second year for something fairly new in Memphis–food trucks!

Fuel Truck at MFM sells a variety of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and grilled cheese.

Fuel Truck at MFM sells a variety of tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and grilled cheese.

On any given Saturday you can choose from Healthy and Delicious for smoothies, Fuel Truck for tacos (among other things), and Rock’n Dough for pizza. I recently tried the pizza for the first time. This is not your normal red sauce pizza. There was not a single selection available that I have ever had before anywhere else.

Pizza with cilantro pesto, corn, jalepenos, and chorizo from Rock'n Dough

Pizza with cilantro pesto, corn, jalapeno, and chorizo from Rock’n Dough

What I tried had a cilantro pesto sauce base, 2 different cheeses, jalapeno, corn, and chorizo. It was so delicious! The crust was just a little bit sweet and was so crispy that it crunched when I bit into it. It was perfect!

They even have small plots available for those who live downtown with no land on which to plant anything but still would like to try their hand at growing their own herbs and vegetables.

These are small flower bed plots so even downtown residents can grow their own herbs and vegetables.

These are small flower bed plots so even downtown residents can grow their own herbs and vegetables.

Without a doubt, the MFM is my favorite place to be on most Saturday mornings. Later in the week, I’ll be making homemade blackberry ice cream with a recent MFM find. Stay tuned for that.

Where is your favorite farmer’s market and what are your favorite finds?

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