Friday, January 10, 2014

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Pie Car

I may be a food blogger, but I also have a big interest in the circus. I choose to fill my spare time with teaching myself circus arts. It started out with juggling, then moved on to unicycle, then stilt walking, then balloon art, and so on and so on. You can find circus props hidden throughout the background of several posts on this blog. Much of the travel food blogging that was written about has been done based around trips to circus festivals and conventions. Because of my rather obscure interests, you can bet I was excited when I received an invitation to visit the circus train for a tasting experience on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Pie Car!
The Pie Car is the official name for where food is prepared and consumed on the circus train.
Once aboard, we got to see the kitchen where all the food is prepared. That's Matt Loory, the Pie Car Manager for Ringling's Blue Unit.
We had a seat in the dining area of the Pie Car and were told all sorts of fascinating facts about eating on a circus train. For example, did you know:
  • The Pie Car on the train and the Pie Car Jr. (food truck), which serves meals at the arenas, prepares a combined total of 1,000-1,500 meals each week.
  • On selected days, the Pie Car offers special dishes featuring favorite performer recipes representing the cuisines of their native countries.  Approximately 30 countries are represented on the Blue Unit. The Pie Car Manager strives to create dishes that cater to everyone’s tastes.
  • Central Florida native Matt Loory is the Pie Car Manager for the Blue Unit. At age 23, he is one of the youngest PCM’s in Ringling Bros. history.
  • How did the Pie Car get its name? There are three versions behind it:
    • The old chow houses used to serve primarily meat pies due to their heartiness and low cost.
    •  Old dining cars on trains used to just serve coffee and pie.
    • The name comes from the car's original designation: the "Privileged Individuals and Employee" car... P-I-E Privileged Individuals were those who had paid the show for some sort of concession rights. For example, someone was granted the "popcorn privilege," or the "cotton candy privilege.”
Soon enough, it was time eat. Since the public can't dine on the Pie Car without running away to join the circus, these pictures will be the closest you'll get to sampling circus food. Circus employees are definitely served much better food than what's sold at the concession stands at the circus! The first dish that was sampled was called Huevos Loco-Motion. Eggs, chorizo, peppers, onions, pico di gallo, and cheese all over a tortilla.
Popcorn Shrimp with Chipotle Mayo came next. I really liked the batter on the shrimp. Apparently it is a secret recipe that does include corn starch, brown sugar, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and Old Bay seasoning.
Asian Meatloaf with Wasibi Mashed Potatoes & Chicken Caprese Roulade came next. Wasibi Mashed Potatoes were a very tasty combination that I had never tasted before!
For dessert, we had pineapple upside down cake and yogurt topped with orange slices.
After dessert, my meal on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Pie Car came to an end. I can now say I've eaten on a circus train! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Legends will be playing at the Amway Center in Orlando January 9-12, 2014. Be sure to go watch. I'm definitely going to see the show!

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