Of the four new Outdoor Kitchens at this year’s Flower and Garden Festival, the Citrus Blossom far exceeds anyone’s expectations. As the name suggests, this booth is all about dishes served with unique citrus flavors. Some dishes are just traditional comfort foods served with a fun citrus flare. Others use citrus to bring out the quality and incredible flavor of a dish. Some are an incredible rainbow of flavors that steered me away from my typical dislike of seafood. But above all else, this booth features one of the most popular souvenir items at this year’s event. If you plan on attending the festival this year, you must plan to make a stop at this booth for at least one of the amazing dishes.
I must start with the Orange Cream Slushy served in the adorable Orange Bird sipper. On the very first day of the event there was a tremendous line for people to get their hands on this guy. I quickly learned that the booth now opens before 11am, before all the other Outdoor Kitchens open. So on day three of the event, I made my way to the Citrus Blossom well before 10am and got to try the infamous slushy. If you’ve ever had an orange creamsicle, this is exactly what it taste like. It’s as if someone took a bunch of popsicles and melted them into the cup. As much as I loved it and it was very refreshing, I will say it was incredibly sweet and almost sickly. I definitely finished it but maybe not a good idea to do before 10am.
Let’s next move on to some food. The crispy citrus chicken is traditional fried chicken topped with a orange aïoli. I originally thought the orange flavor would be mixed into the batter. But the aïoli on top is made of dreams. The chicken itself is a good size of chicken breast and perfectly fried. I was scared the fried chicken would be similar to a dish that I tried at Food and Wine back in 2017. Which I believe was breaded in corn flakes. This is good old southern style fried chicken at its best. An absolute delicious dish, but actually one of the more boring ones when you look at all the other food items here. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t worth a try or your money.
Next, we have a dish that I was actually thoroughly surprised about. The lobster tail served with Meyer lemon emulsion and grilled lemon on the side. First of all I have to mention the obvious. This is a very small dish. The lobster tail itself is actually very thin. But since I’ve been to many Epcot festivals before, I did expect this to be on the smaller side. Similar to the lobster roll that has decreased in size over the years at Food and Wine. But what makes this a winner is the simple fact that the lemon sauce brings out an incredibly juicy flavor of the lobster tail. Which was very meaty. It is perhaps one of the most expensive dishes at the festival this year, but worth every penny. I could’ve easily gone back for a second.
After the fried chicken and the lobster tail, I thought what could possibly top this. Well it turns out that the tuna tataki is even better than the previous two. You‘ve probably heard me say this already, but I have an aversion to seafood. But I do have strange exceptions. For example I love sushi, and I’m clearly a fan of lobster. So I wasn’t sure how I was going to enjoy this. Since I am a fan of raw fish, I love that the fish is pan seared because it’s practically raw in the middle. You get three good thin slices of tuna covered in a spicy Yuzu glaze. The sauce is very similar to a sweet chili sauce, but certainly with more ginger here. But what makes this dish stand out is the combination of fruit on top. You get a nice sprinkle of avocado and mango, both which I love. It’s the mango that balances out the spicy flavor the best. The whole thing is served on top of a crispy pappadam. Which is also sprinkled with a little bit of chili pepper. You get great flavor from the tuna, refreshing taste from the fruit, and a crispy finish at the end and a spicy kick. Because this was so unique and thoroughly surprised me, I rate this as my number one favorite dish out of all the new booths.
But I’m still not done because we have yet to talk about dessert. The final dish on the menu here is the citrus shortcake. This is a solid dessert perfect for those avoiding the heavier chocolate dishes. At the base is an orange chiffon cake that was perfectly moist and incredibly soft. Hidden inside is a surprise of lemon curd, one of my favorite sweet items. It then finishes off with whipped cream, citrus crumble, a slice of mandarin orange and apple cider sorbet. If you love the citrus flavors you’re gonna love this desert it’s one of the best and at a good price as well.
In terms of pricing and value, all four dishes are eligible for a snack credit on the dining plan. Even the expensive lobster tail priced at $8.00. However the tuna tataki is the best value if you’re paying out-of-pocket or using the snack credit because it’s a good size. This dish is priced at $6.25. The crispy citrus chicken is also a good value for money, because it too is at a good size and only priced at $5.75. Dessert is best to pay for out-of-pocket given the small price point of $4.25. Oh, and that orange cream slush in the sipper cup, will set you back $14. But given that most non-alcoholic drinks are around $5, I think it’s worth the hype and a great addition to the collection.