Universal's Great Movie Escape yesterday, I just had to take advantage of my brief visit to Florida and enjoy a taste of the Holidays at Universal Orlando - Theme Park Insider readers' pick as the Best Holiday Event in the theme park industry last year. (And here is your chance to take part in this year's nominations.)After the media preview for
Sweets dominate holiday menus at theme parks, and Universal Orlando's offers no exception. But I wanted to at least start with a hearty, savory holiday meal before getting to the sweets. Unfortunately, I was not able to get over to Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous before it closed at 4pm on a Thursday to try my first choice, the Roast Beast Sandwich, a mini meatloaf sandwich topped with French onion-dipped roast beef along with a cheddar cheese sauce and "secret" sauce and served on a pretzel bun.
Instead, I switched course to Universal Studios Florida for a Turkey Dinner Pressed Sandwich ($11.49) from the Battery Park stand, across from Mel's Drive-In. This definitely is the preferred holiday venue for the toast enthusiast in your family.
The turkey sandwich came on a hearty multi-grain cranberry bread, on which the cranberry took a back seat to the seeds and grains. Melted brie held it together, with a small cup of tasty turkey gravy to provide extra moisture, which was welcomed on bites that lacked much of the brie.
There was no hot chocolate available at the stand when I ordered, so I could not try Earl's Salted Caramel Acorn Bomb, as I had wanted. So I chose instead the Chocolate Pressed S'mores ($10.49) for my chocolate accompaniment.
The s'mores came built not with Graham crackers, but with ganache and marshmallow cream sandwiched between two slices of chocolate brioche. The sandwich slicing cost the brioche some of the fluffiness it might offer as a bun, and the pressing undercut the brioche's softness. So, again, it's toast. But once you leave the nuclear-hot ganache to cool a bit, it's a yummy toast nevertheless, especially with the Graham crumb coating.
Universal also is offering a selection of cheesesteaks at a Food Trailer in the park's New York section, across from the Tribute Store. And there's also a Food Truck serving white cheddar mac n' cheese shells, but I could not find it during my lap around the park. Neither option seemed very "holiday" to me, so rather than fill what empty space remained in my stomach with a second entree, I opted to go big on the sweets. And what better place to bo big with sweets than at the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium in CityWalk?
My hometown Universal Studios Hollywood is getting a Toothsome soon (photo below), but it's not open just yet, so it's going to be the Orlando original for a Toothsome holiday milkshake this year.
And what a shake it was. Behold, the Santa's Cookies & Milk ($16).
Fair warning - that Christmas tree atop the shake is not a cookie. It's white chocolate, so don't make my mistake of taking an aggressive bite. Nibbles are better for enjoying this treat. The shake underneath offers cookie butter & vanilla ice cream, topped with abundant whipped cream. It's more creamy than overly sweet, which pleases my taste. In both looks and taste, it's pure holiday joy and a perfect end to an evening of holiday treats.
The Holidays celebration continues through January 1 across Universal Orlando Resort.
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