Sunday, May 9, 2010

Festival Inspired Dining throughout the Park!

"Select from a unique menu of Festival foods created especially for Disney's California Food & Wine Festival and welcome back some of your favorites. Expertly paired wines and beer may also be available for purchase."

This sounded like a terrific thing to try, but honestly, after the delicious tapas tasting, we were so full that we decided to just take a spin around DCA and see what they were offering at the different eateries in the park. We were surprised to find so many things offered at almost every restaurant.

Award Weiners on Hollywood Blvd was offering Mangia Meatballs and two types of beer.

Mangia Meatballs - Marinara simmered meatballs with sauteed peppers and onions and shredded mozzarella in a hoagie roll. $7.99

I don't eat meatballs, mainly because they are made from ground meat and I don't eat anything ground unless I grind the meat myself at home and see what goes into the grinder. But, if you're a meatball eater, this sounds like it would be a tasty sandwich!

At the Taste Pilot's Grill in Condor Flats, they serve some great ribs and criss-cut fries, but they have added a yummy pulled-pork sandwich for the festival.

Southwest Pulled-Pork Sandwich - Slow-cooked pulled pork in a chipotle BBQ sauce with caramelized apples and onions in a toasted cornmeal bun. $9.59

In addition it looks like there are two wines and two beers available for purchase.

This one sounds pretty good. I'm not big on sweet with my savory as in apples with the pork, but I'd be game to try it!

At the Farmer's Market just past Bug's Land, they are offering a Festival Chicken Wrap.

Festival Chicken Wrap - Crispy chicken strips tossed in spicy buffalo wing sauce, wrapped in a spinach tortilla with diced celery and crumbled blue cheese. $8.19 (really? 8.19? You couldn't have just made it like 8.25? This really sent my OCD into overdrive after the 9.59 at the Taste Pilot's Grill.)

Okay I was with them on this until they got to the blue cheese part. UGH! How 'bout some nice California cheddar huh?

On to the Lucky Fortune Cookie. This has moved across the Pacific Wharf area into the smaller walk-up area where the Cocina Cucamonga used to be.

The Lucky Fortune Cookie is offering Thai Rice Spring Rolls.

Thai Rice Spring Rolls - Chewy rice noodles with julienne carrots, green onions, Thai basil and red bell peppers are rolled up in a rice paper wrapper. Served with ginger sauce. $3.99 ($3.99 - I can handle that!)

I'd be willing to give this a try. I'm not normally a big fan of the spring roll, and don't think I would like the sauce, but since it is for dipping I could adjust how much I get so it might be fun to try it, and it wouldn't break the bank. Know what I mean?

On to one of my favorite places to eat in the Pacific Wharf area, the Boudin Bakery Pacific Wharf Cafe. You can always get yummy soup and salads here, or take home a sourdough Mickey.

Wine Country Chicken Salad - A salad of chicken breast, roasted corn, carrots, artichokes, red bell peppers, and celery. Tossed in a creamy cumin mayonnaise. $8.99

This one gets a big no from me, mainly because I hate salad and especially salad dressing. I can only handle a green salad DRY. And if I am invited to some "luncheon" thing with a bunch of women, I always know that it will be a big salad fest and the place is going to stink to high heaven of vinegar and salad dressing. I will walk in and get sick to my stomach just from the smell, so all salads are on the "no go" list for me as well as salad luncheons. But if you are a salad lover, it sounds like it would be a pretty good one. Just don't order it and sit by me okay?

Across the wharf is the Cocina Cucamonga. They serve a variety of Mexican food here.

At the Cocina Cucamonga, they are serving:

Anahiem Chile Relleno - Battered local Anaheim chilis stuffed with dos quesos and served with traditional ranchero sauce and crema fresca. $9.99

Dulche de Leche Cheesecake - creamy dulche de leche drizzled on a graham cracker crusted cheesecake. $4.99

In addition it looks like three beers are available at the Cocina Cucamonga.

I've actually never had a chile relleno, so I don't know if I would like it. I don't tolerate heat well, so it would probably be too hot, but it has some things that I do love: it's battered, fried and filled with cheese! Yum! The cheesecake sounds good too. It's really tough to screw up cheesecake.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow is back in the corner of Paradise Pier by the Jumpin' Jelly Fish and Mulholland Madness (soon to be Goofy's Flight School). Just a warning, Mr. Diva loves to go to Pizza Oom Mow Mow for the atmosphere, but the food is horrible! It's just the disgusting food from Red Rocket's Pizza Port in Disneyland transported over to DCA and dressed up surferish.

Pizza Oom Mow Mow is serving Pasta di Anitpasto - Angel hair pasta with buffalo mozzarella, julienne salami, pepperoni, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, green olives, and red onions. Served chilled and tossed in Apulia Extra Virgin Olive Oil vinagrette. $9.29

In addition two wines and two beers are offered for purchase.

(again with the weird pricing. yeesh! Hey DCA, how 'bout you make the chicken wraps $7.99 and this $9.75 and call it even?)

I would not eat this. First, it is a salad, secondly, it has pepperoni and salami two meat products derived from grinding up some kind of mean and packing it in a casing and then hanging it up for who knows how long, and thirdly, it is served cold. (yucky shivers!)

Two of the nicer restaurants in DCA are found here, across from the Pacific Wharf. The Wine Country Trattoria is listed as offering Festival inspired dining, but it isn't going to open until the last week of the festival due to some renovations, so I couldn't find out what their menu item would be.

We forgot to check Ariel's Grotto to see if they were offering anything special for the Festival, sorry! We like Ariel's Grotto. It has pretty good food and has a decent character meal too. I will check when we go back the last weekend of the Festival for more of the tapas in the Marketplace!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

DCA's Food and Wine Festival 2010 - Taste of California Marketplace

"The Marketplace returns to Disney's California Food & Wine Festival! Enjoy unique festival food created especially for the Festival. Delicious tapas-size tastings are available in the Festival Showplace, located in Stage 12 in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. Expertly paired wines and beer are also available for purchase."

Well, after a description like that, who could resist trying some delectable little tapas in Stage 12? Not me! So we headed over to the Backlot area and checked out the menu.

Being the picky eaters that we are, there were obviously some items on the menu we would not be tasting, and those would include the Santa Rosa Pear Salad and the Island Ahi. Yuck. Seeing as each one was between $4 and $5, Mr. Diva and I decided to try several and split them all between us.

You know I can never resist a cute photo op!

As you enter Stage 12, there is an area set up for the cooking classes. These classes, called Sweet Sundays, cost $70.

In the right corner is a beer and wine tasting.

In the back center is the area to order the tapas.

We ordered several things off the menu.

Festival Flight: a selection of artisan cheddars with sundried raisins 7 sliced baguette drizzled with Apulia Extra virgin Olive Oil. $5 plus tax

RIP OFF! Don't order this. They have better cheddars for free at Whole Foods.

Artisanal Cheeses: A selection of artisan cheese with sundried raisins 7 sliced baguette drizzled with Apulia Extra virgin Olive Oil. $5 plus tax

Another RIP OFF! Don't order this either. Again, way better cheese at Whole Foods. And I ask you, does this cheese look appetizing? No! It looks old, dry, and oily. And it was. This gets a big Booooooooooo from me!

Then we moved on to some of the main courses.

Karl Strauss Pale Ale & Canadian White Cheddar Soup with Smoked Bacon. Served in a famous mini Boudin Bakery sourdough boule. $4.25 plus tax.

This one got a BIG thumbs up from me. WOW! Delicious! It was so good I didn't want to give Mr. Diva his half. If we go back before the end of the month, I'm going to go back and order two of these!!

Sorry for the poor quality of the close-ups. They looked fine on my camera and I didn't realize how blurry they were until I got home. Guess I'll just have to go back and try it again.

Marketplace Slider - slow braised beef with spicy mayo in a sweet brioche roll. $4.50 plus tax

Okay, anyone who knows me knows I have a strong aversion to all condiments, salad dressings, and anything pickled. So, the spicy mayo was an immediate turn off. Thankfully, it was only on one side, so guess which side Mr. Diva got?

My condiment free side was fabulous! the meat was perfectly seasoned. If we go back, I would order this with no mayo and eat the whole thing!!

Not a big fish fan either, but I can almost always do fish and chips.

Beer Battered Halibut - Crispy Karl Strauss Woodie Gold beer battered halibut with traditional malt vinegar. $5 plus tax.

I thought this fish was cooked perfectly! It wasn't oily and was so nice, light and the batter was really tasty. Another winner!! Mr. Diva tried dipping in the malt vinegar and hated it, but we both loved the plain beer battered halibut.

We wanted to end our meal on a sweet note and decided to go with chocolate instead of berries.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Profiterole - A cream puff filled with vanilla pastry-cream topped with chocolate ganache. $3.75 plus tax

This was a very tasty dessert! I would definitely get another one of these too!

As you exit the Marketplace, there is a store area where you can purchase bottles of wine, t-shirts, totes, and wine accoutrement.

I found the tapas tasting to be a lot of fun. The food was surprisingly good for the most part and I would definitely go back and get some of the items again. In fact, Mr. Diva and I would like to get back before the end of the month and if we do, I'mdefinitely getting some more of that soup, a slider, halibut and another profiterole. Mmmmmmm mmmmm good!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

DCA's Food and Wine Festival -- The Wine Tasting

Mr. Diva and I headed down to the Food and Wine Festival at Disney's California Adventure on a mission to check it out for a friend. Being a picky eater and wine detester, I was interested to see how this would go, but we were both game!

One of the first areas you can imbibe is in the Beer Walk area just to the right of the Sunshine Plaza. You pay $10 and you can taste several different beers. We didn't do the beer walk, because I hate the taste of beer more than I hate the taste of wine.

There are two specific regions of wine available for tasting. Across from Grizzly Peak is the Italian wine tasting.

The Italian wines are from the region of Apulia.

It costs $10 to taste 4 wines from this region.

We opted for the California Wines since the theme this year was a Taste of California.

Again, it's $10 for a taste of 4 wines. You can taste one wine from each region of California, or you can taste all four from one region, or any way you choose to select the 4 wines. They give you a wine glass and a passport that is stamped each time you taste a wine.

We started with the Napa Valley wines and I decided to try one wine from each region.

This lady recommended that I try a white wine since I don't really like it. This Chardonnay is from Walt Disney's daughter's winery. Diane (Disney) Miller and her husband own the Silverado Winery in Napa Valley.

She told me to smell it.

Then taste it.

and........yuck! Too pungent and bitter!

I tried to finish it in two gulps on the way over to try the Paso Robles wines and got the yucky shivers all down my neck and back.

Again this lady recommended a Paso Robles white wine. This one was from Carina Cellars and is a Viognier.

I was a little apprehensive after the last wine, but gave it a shot. This wine was okay. Not one I would want a whole glass of, but it was definitely fruity and not so bitter. Better than the Disney wine.

Again, I swallowed it down on the way to the Central Coast region and got the yucky shivers again.

Yet again, it was recommended that I try the white wine from Tangent called Ecclestone.

The eyebrow says it all. Not good. It was milder than the Disney wine, but not fruity at all. I didn't like it.

I again swallowed it as fast as I could to get rid of it, got the yucky shivers and my eyes were watering at this point. I wasn't sure I could do another one, but I was determined.

At the Sonoma wine counter, the girl again recommended a Navarro Vineyards white wine called Gewurztraminer. She said this was a very sweet dessert wine. Okay, FINALLY! (I thought)

The look says it all. Obviously what I thought a dessert wine should taste like is vastly different than what it actually tastes like. Although definitely the mildest of them all, I'd had enough at this point, and the lady at the counter had mercy on me and told me about the pitcher on each counter. Apparently you can DUMP the wine in them after you taste them if you don't like it. HELLO? Why didn't anyone tell me that before?

That was it for my wine tasting experience. I just couldn't do anymore. I'm sure if you love wine that it would be a fun thing to do, but it's not something I'm going to try again. I still hate wine, but I do know that they each taste different. It may be all bad different to me, but I did learn something!

Here is a layout I did of my wine tasting experience. If you'd like to see close-ups, get details or see more of my Disney layouts, check out my scrapbooking blog, Plays Well With Paper.