Ya know how when you were a kid you’d request a special meal for your birthday? And whether it was spaghetti, tacos, pizza, or pork-chops-with-mac-and-cheese-and-mom’s-green-beans, the meal was special because it was your day and you were special.
For our Universal Orlando Passholders, UOAP Appreciation Days (August 10 – October 31) are kind of like one big, long birthday with over 20 different special meal options, 15 of which are brand new, throughout Universal Orlando Resort designed to remind UOAPs that they (YOU!) are special.
I’ve had the chance the past few weeks to see, smell, and even taste a handful of these exclusive menu items and they are incredibly good. I fully anticipate an uptick in folks becoming Passholders just so they can get their forks into these dishes.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA
Ale Braised Beef Short Rib Sliders at Finnegan’s Bar & Grill
White cheddar, cabbage slaw, Tabasco onions, applewood smoked bacon, melted sharp cheddar cheese, sliced scallions, pretzel rolls.
My second favorite thing about this dish (after its taste) is its story. Chef Ron originally concocted this creation to prove he was the best candidate when he was interviewing for the job he currently holds. He got the gig and now we all get to enjoy this delicious little combo of heavenly comfort food!
“Everybody loves the bar at Finnegan’s,” Chef Ron says. “Especially the Passholders, so I thought let’s find something that will key in with them. I knew these sliders had worked out good for me originally and I felt like people would enjoy them as a nice little meal to have with a pint of beer.”
ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE
Mediterranean Lamb Bowl at Mythos Restaurant
Spiced ground lamb, house-made hummus, turmeric rice, tomato, cucumber, feta and charred pita.
Mythos has a pretty solid reputation of being an exceptional theme park restaurant (and a literal banner out front confirming it as fact). This dish for you Passholders will certainly help that reputation as the offering is a tasteful, light exploration of Mediterranean cuisine.
“Obviously when you are working with Mediterranean food, people think of lamb,” Chef Jason explains. “But we’ve never had something like this at a lower price point with lamb. We know there are a lot of other places people can spend their money, but the fact that our Passholders choose us and bring their family here? No matter if they’re getting a hot dog or full service, they deserve the best at a reasonable price.”
Roasted Cauliflower Steak at Confisco Grille
Lemon-garlic roasted cauliflower, romesco sauce, stewed beluga lentils, toasted almonds.
At the time of writing, it has been 8 days since I first smelled this dish and I have been thinking about it every minute since. Chef Jason?
“I’ve been thinking about that cauliflower steak for about 8 months,” Chef Jason explains. “Researching it, playing around with it. We got some feedback from last year that there were a lot of great dishes, but there weren’t really any plant-based options. That’s why, for this year, I decided to go with the Cauliflower Steak.”
This totally plant-based meal is a perfectly fulfilling dish that I am really hoping becomes a consistent item on the Confisco menu…please, Chef Jason?
Chocolate Waffle at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen
Chocolate batter waffle topped with chocolate chunks, white whipped cream, chocolate raspberry sauce, chocolate shavings, powdered sugar and micro mint.
I mean what can I say here that that picture and description haven’t already said? This dish is INSANE. Even your friend who says ludicrous things like, “oh I’m just not much of a sweet tooth” is going to end up sneaking bites of this off your plate. It deftly walks that line of sweet-but-not-too-sweet and is just really, really good.
Penelope wasn’t available for comment, but I did get a chance to talk to Chef Jonathon of Toothsome about this dish…
“We get quite a bit of requests for chocolate chips in or on our waffles, so I was like, let’s go extravagant and go all-chocolate all across the board for a waffle!”
UOAP Doughnut at Voodoo Doughnut
A heart-shaped yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting and strawberry lemonade Bavarian filling
OK, so which dish are you going to run to try first when the event starts? Let us know in the comments below or by tagging us with #UOAPDays on Twitter @UniversalORL, Instagram @UniversalOrlando, or sounding off in the UOAP Facebook group, as we fully expect you to do!
Just ask your server at each participating location for the item offered. And don’t forget that you get your Passholder discount on these dishes — just another reason to order two of those Chocolate Waffles.
Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.