It has been a while since we reported on foodie news at Kings Dominion, but within the past week we have attended Tower Tasting and gotten a preview of upcoming events from Chef Paul. So, it seemed like a great time for an update.
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Last Sunday (September 13th) Zachary, Joe, Tony, and I (Nicole) went to Kings Dominion for Tower Tastings. 2015 is the second year for this event, and I believe overall the food was better than 2014. Chef Paul was new to the park last September and I think we could taste the difference a year at the helm can make.
It should be noted that we had planned to review everything the first week, so people could decide if they wanted to attend the second. Because the marketing department didn’t get the information out soon enough, however, the September 5th date was cancelled. I really hope that they do a better job getting the word out next year, as we have really enjoyed it both times we have gone, and really want to see this become a successful annual event.
Like last year, we were taken up to the Eiffel Tower’s lower observation deck. Unlike last year, it was fairly windy, which did make it a slightly more exhilarating experience. Chef Paul and his charming staff were there to greet us; explain the menu; and make sure everyone had plenty to eat. Once again all of the dishes were small and easy to eat at the cocktail party style tables that had been placed on the east side of the tower.
Chef Paul ended up changing the menu from what the park had posted on their website. Here is what he served:
- Pesto Orzo Pasta Salad with Mediterranean Vegetables and Goat Cheese
- Cucumber Cup Shrimp Cocktail
- Buffalo Caprese Salad with Basil Pesto
- Roasted Turkey and Monterey Jack Flatbread Bites with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli and Arugula
- Cornbread Round with Pulled Pork, Pickled Onion, and Smoky Barbeque Sauce
- Seared Hawaiian Ahi Tuna with Mango Salsa and Garlic Mayo
- Crab Dip with Toasted Pita Chips
- Vanilla Donut Hole with Cinnamon Sugar
- Sprite Shooter with Berries and Mint
- Fresh Brewed Ice Tea
Everything was fantastic, although a few dishes stood out. The pulled pork was my personal favorite. The cornbread was excellent and the pickled onion provided the perfect tangy counterpoint to Chef Paul’s delicious barbeque pork. Both the crab dip and the ahi tuna were huge favorites with our group, as well. The crab tasted fresh and could easily have been served in a high-end restaurant. The combination of flavors on the bun with the tuna came together brilliantly, and resulted in a better dish than its equivalent at several award-winning full service theme park eateries.
While we were at the tasting, we had an opportunity to chat with Chef Paul about his plans for the remainder of the 2015 season.
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The Haunt Dinner is back again this year, and it sounds as if Chef Paul has some pretty creative ideas. Tickets are currently available on the Kings Dominion website for each Saturday in October.
Chef Paul told us that there would be an alien theme, and he plans to use the props from Outbreak. He also sent us the backstory:
Now that it is deemed “unclassified” it is no secret that for many years the U.S. government has been secretly running cruel and grotesque experiments and research on alien life forms in underground hidden laboratories located right beneath the park property in underground bunkers at Kings Dominion in Doswell, Virginia… For many years this continued until one cold Fall evening in October when an ambush went wrong and one alien life form escaped in it’s ship never to be seen again. Once back on it’s planet, the alien communicated the horrors it saw and its fellow kin being mutilated and sliced open alive on tables and being ripped limb from limb… Under the command of a fierce alien warrior, the multiple life forms started abducting local Doswell residents in the neighborhoods around the park property, hoping they could use the humans as leverage to make a deal and exchange them for their kidnapped loved ones. Upon learning that there were no survivors in the underground bunkers, the fierce alien commander ordered his brigade to unleash holy hell and show no mercy for their human prisoners… Before that night, aliens have never tasted human flesh but now have developed a craving for it. It has been said that the returning alien warriors tour the underground bunkers and secretly use the park’s prestigious dining room, the Caprice Room, after the sun has gone down to bring their recently abducted human victims to torture, slaughter and feast upon before returning to their home planet… tonight, you are a part of that dinner…
~ Chef Paul Maloney, Kings Dominion’s Executive Chef
The currently-planned menu includes:
- Deep Fried Human Lungs with Spiced Man Cartilage and Creamy Pureed Mucus Aioli (Crispy Fried Tomato Salad with Spiced Chilled Shrimp, Arugula and Shaved Radish in an Olive Oil Lemon Vinaigrette and a Honey Tabasco Aioli)
- Charred Man Flesh with Garlic Roasted Intestines Served on Creamy Bone Marrow and a Red Blood Reduction (Herb Grilled Beef Filet on Garlic Roasted Mashed Potatoes, Oven Roasted Vegetables and Red Wine Reduction Sauce)
- Warm Cinnamon Roasted Brain Pudding with Chilled Beating Heart Sauce (Warm Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding with a Stout Beer Caramel Sauce, Glazed Strawberries and Vanilla Ice Cream)
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There will be a Haunt Buffet outside Victoria’s. Chef Paul says that there will be a carnival tent and everything will match the evil clown theme of the surrounding scare zone, Cleaver Brothers’ Carnival.
Chef Paul is also thinking about adding specialty dishes to the regular eateries, during Haunt. He mentioned a Fall-flavored funnel cake, and we suggested hot beverages, like cider.
The UCI World Road Cycling Championships in Richmond Men’s Elite Individual Time Trial will kick-off from KD on 23 September. We spoke to several people last, who told us the front of the park will be open and free to the public for the event. Most importantly for this article, however, Chef Paul also plans to serve a special menu that day. More information about the race can be found on the KD site.
We are really excited about all of the changes Chef Paul has made in the menus around the park, and his special events have really raised the culinary bar at Kings Dominion. We are looking forward to trying everything in October and hope to report back on how it all tasted!