Disneyland

What is a theme park without cotton candy, popcorn, and corn dogs?  Well, without it, you don’t have yourself a theme park.  Corn dogs is on a stick, and is easy to eat on the go.  It is no wonder that there is almost always a line for the Corn Dog Cart at Disneyland. Good to know that this American classic snack can be had at America’s favorite theme park.  But is it my favorite corn dog?  It’s hard to say.  As for as classic corn dogs go, they are one of the best.

Waiting in anticipation, I was never this excited about a corn dog, ever.  It might have been the Disney magic people keep talking about.  The cart is a small wagon type food stand towards the end of Main St.  The corn dog was deformed looking — this was interestingly a plus for me. I never understood how corn dogs have that perfectly balled tip.  The batter was light and crispy, a bit greasy, but delicious.  Most importantly, the batter stuck to the hot dog.

It was a bit pricey, as all things are at Disneyland.  The corn dog was nicely sized though, and you can get chips or fruit as a side.  If you are ever at Disneyland and need a bite on the run, get your corn dog on.

Disneyland Corndog Cart on Urbanspoon

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As you may already know, I go to Disneyland more often than I should.  And you probably already know that Disneyland has nothing good to eat.  Seeking something good to eat, I had a chance to eat at Napa Rose, their most expensive restaurant on the property available to the public. They are touted for their amazing wine selection and fine cuisine.  It is definitely a step above the Blue Bayou — it doesn’t exude cheap pirrates and theme park rides.  Napa Rose is classier, quieter, and the experience is just more like fine dining.

We were given complimentary bread.  I like it when restaurants give you different kinds of bread to eat, not the same boring rolls or slices. The parmasan crisps were really savory, and the bread was soft.  It was a great starter.

Other than the bread, we started off with the Smiling Tiger salad.  This was a great start of the meal, and a very decadent and tasty salad.   For one, it had tempura fried lobster.  The lobster flavor was all packed inside the batter and it was crunchy and delicious. On the bottom had spicy beef, which was more of a marinated beef.  The Asian greens mixed in with the coconut lime vinaigrette was tasty.  A bit on the sweet side, but sour as well.  This was a great salad with a lot of flavor.

As we were waiting for our food, we were given portabello cream bisque in a tiny pot, compliments of the chef. To our amazement, though the wait wasn’t that absurd, we enjoyed this soup.  It was cream of mushroom, but obvious not from the can.  It was rich in flavor and warmed the belly up.  Service like this really makes eating meals so fulfilling.  After that, we felt good.

We wanted keep the Asian theme continuing from the smiling tiger, so we ordered the Sizzling Beach Rock – It was a a combination appetizer of garlic seared shrimp, soy glazed spare ribs, and lemon grass chicken skewers, and large tiger shrimp cooked on a hot beach stone. The appetizer was for sharing.  the spare ribs and chicken skewers were kind of dry.  My favorite were the garlic shrimp, though, the tiger shrimp on the beach rock was even better.  All the little sharable appetizers was such an amazing thing to look at, as well as to eat.

I ordered the grilled Kurobuta pork rack chop.  This was a Berkshire pork chop stuffed with spanish chorizo on a rustic summer garden (okra) ragu.  The pork chop was thick and the chorizo inside was amazing. Though some bites were kind of dry, the chorizo and ragu helped make each bite be juicier.

Eating here, though not inside Disneyland, it still has some magic inside.  The tall ceilings and masterfully designed interior really make this place special.  They are all about service and good food. The wine selection is impressive and food is elegant.  Napa Rose is a nice place to celebrate a special occasion, or maybe have a glass of wine.  It has all of the whimsical and magical essences of Disneyland, but for adults.

Napa Rose at Grand Californian on Urbanspoon

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Hungry before going out to Disneyland, we needed a bite to eat. Knowing of course that Disneyland had not a single decent place to get a good meal, we decided to eat outside, but near by.  Clancy’c Clubhouse was just around the corner, and it was one of those places I always pass by, and say “I wonder if it’s good there.” This time, we finally tried it.

I was excited to see that it was a sports bar.  It was relaxed and inviting.  At first, I thought it was more like a steak house type restaurant, but was glad that it was casual. They had a bar area, TVs everywhere and tables games scattered everywhere.  The inside was fun, and this would be a perfect place to watch sports games or hold a nice event.

I ordered the Clubhouse burger.  It had applewood smoked bacon, bleu cheese, grilled onions and chipotle aioli.  This had so much flavor — almost too much flavor. The bleu cheese already was strong in taste and packs a lot of flavor.  The bacon was salty and the chipotle aioli was another flavor element that was strong.  Though it had a potent flavor profile, and a bit on the salty side, I liked it.  The flavor was intense and I am a sucker for bleu cheese.

My burger was especially good with the side of house made potato chips we ordered.  It came in a big deep bowl and it almost seemed endless.  The chips were especially good dipping it in their green onion dip. Some chips were kind of soggy, but the chips were light and crispy, not crunchy.

Their Grilled Cheese burger was more mild in flavor, but good as well.  It was basically a grileld cheese sandwich, with a beef patty.  The oven dried tomato aioli, american cheese, caramelized onions were a perfect mix in the sandwich burger.

All in all, I was impressed with this establishment.  The food was good and the atmosphere was fun. I might consider watching some sports games here.  Now we just have to hope that the NBA handles this lock out.  I need my basketball with my home made potato chips.

Clancy's Clubhouse on Urbanspoon

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So a donut shop is a donut shop is a donut shop right?  Donuts from this mom and pop shop is the same as this other one.  Well, in this case, no.  First of all, what kind of donut shop opens only at 9PM?  Kind of sketchy right? On weekends, this Disneyland neighbor opens at 9PM, all the way through the morning till before noon.  What kind of donut shop is this?  Maybe it’s all a front and it actually is a secret CIA hub, or maybe some kind of crack dealing operation.  No, probably not.  Though, the crack dealing operation accusation is only half false.

So what are all these people in cars, and people standing around waiting for?  They all get one thing, the blueberry donut.  Yes, I am one of many who made it an event to wait over 2 hours for donuts.  Before you start to judge me, I would like to say that “everyone was doing it”.

It all started with a tip I got saying that the drive through window is faster.  All lies!  I waited and waited, I was basically stuck.  Not by any means of a disabled car or a road block, but all because of me and my stubbornness. 45 minutes in, I couldn’t leave.  I could have just left, cut my losses and be comfortable at home.  I am the type of person who finishes what I started.  In the end of it all, it was all worth it.

There is no way I am waiting this long and just getting 1 dozen.  I got 2 dozen and a croissant sandwich.  Yeah, random, I got a sandwich too.  I wanted to get more than just donuts.  This was nothing compared to the car behind us who ordered 5 dozen. Yes, if you are thinking crack, we are on the same page.

You get your donuts, in a pizza box of all things.  It is warm and straight right out of the fryer.  I took a bite, and all the stresses of waiting were gone.  It was so crispy on the outside and cakey on the inside.  The donut wasn’t overly sweet and the blueberry flavor was amazing. This tops all other donuts and is in a class of its own.  The best donut I ever had?  Maybe.  Even leftover days later were nice after a little trip to the toaster oven.  Amazing I tell you.  Amazing.

Some people might be turned off by the long lines and wait.  I agree, it’s idiotic and ridiculous to wait that long for donuts. But I promise, after the seemingly never ending wait, there is a glorious donut(s) with your name on it.

M & M Donuts on Urbanspoon

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It was late, we were hungry, and we just had an awesome time at Disneyland.  Of course, we don’t want to settle nor go broke and eat at Disneyland.  We already saw what we wanted to see and rode Pirates, so the day was complete. We just needed to eat.  One of the more decent places to eat is at Naples Rostorante E Pizzeria.  I wasn’t hungry for a meal, but just a quick bite to eat.

I ordered the Bianca white pizza — Prosciutto e Melone.  It had fontina, mozzarella parmesan, prosciutto, cantelope, and arugula.  I never had cantalope on a pizza, paired with prosciutto.  It was new and refreshing, and really tasty.  The mozzarella was fresh — you could taste it.  The saltiness of the prosciutto and sweetness of the cantelope worked well. Everything was balanced perfectly, and the bitterness of the arugula helped cleanse the richness of the pizza.

Downtown Disney has a bunch of places to eat.  They are a lot better than the restaurants inside the park. It seems like you can’t go wrong with Italian here, as Catal/Uva Bar was delicious as well.  Pizza is awesome here with unique flavor combinations.  Ditch the food inside and eat here.

Naples Ristorante E Pizzeria (Downtown Disney) on Urbanspoon

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Having an annual pass at Disneyland is a perk. 10% off almost everything at the theme park is awesome. The best part of course would be being able to go pretty much whenever I want, excluding those annoying black out dates of course. Walking around, riding rides, and watching the fireworks really take it out of you.  Good thing Disneyland has a place to eat at every corner.

Walking into Blue Ribbon Bakery on Main Street, it was like an old school coffee and cake shop.  They offer a lot of baked goods as well as coffees and other drinks.  I opted for the sticky cinnamon bun. I hadn’t had one for a while, and I thought this would be perfect.  In my head, it was warm, gooey, and oh so chewy.  Sadly, this was not the case.

This honey bun was dry.  The bun was not chewy — each bite was like biting off a piece of stale bread.  Not my kind of sweet treat.  Though kind of sweet and cinnamon-y, it did not satisfy my honey bun craving.

I did buy one of their fresh out of the oven macaroons, and that was pretty good.  It was kind of warm and dense inside.  This was exactly what I was looking for.  As you may already know where I stand, I will tell you again.  There aren’t many good places to eat at Disneyland.  In hind sight, I should have opted for a nice churro instead.

Blue Ribbon Bakery (Disneyland) on Urbanspoon

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Having a Disneyland Pass has its perks.  Need a little pick up after a long day at work?  Go to Disneyland.  Need some excitement in your usual day?  Ride a ride at Disneyland.  One drawback about this is that there are no good eateries inside the theme park.  None.  So what is a person to do?  Luckily, there are a few good options in downtown Disney. One of my new favorites is Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar.

At first entering this restaurant, it really took me away from the busy Disneyland atmosphere.  There was a sense of adult sophistication centered around the decoration of Catal — definately refreshing after all the kids and cartons you see in any given day at Disneyland. Eating outside in the balcony, you get the cool breeze from the outside and watch the people on the ground.  The view is great, and watching the busy downtown Disney floor was really fun.

Not only was the decor sophisticated, but their menu as well which consisted of only a handful of the chefs special dishes.  We ordered the cesar salad, sobrasada, and bucatini pasta.  The salad and the pasta were great, but the sobrasada was just alright.  It was basically slices of cured meat and toasted baguette slices.  Tasty, but ordinary. We also ordered the cherry soda.  It sounded good in the description, and it was.  Refreshing and full of cherry flavor.

My favorites were the cesar salad and the pasta.  The Cesar salad had fresh Romain lettuce and their dressing was delicious.  My favorite part about the dish was that they put a slice of a anchovy on top. It was salty and fishy, a perfect companion for the salad.

The bugatini pasta was amazing, quite possibly the best pasta dish I have ever had.  It had roasted wild mushrooms, shreds of ox tail, and topped with creme fraishe, chives, and shaved Mahon cheese.  The cheese was sort of like a milder Parmesan.  The the earthy taste of the mushrooms and the richness of the oxtail and creme fraishe and cheese was amazing. This dish was definitely rich.  It was probably a good thing that the portions were sensible — this is probably why I was savoring each bite. Combining a bite of the pasta, then a bite of the salad was an amazing mixture in my mouth.  This dish was definitely tasty.

So remember when I stated that there are no good places to eat at Disneyland?  Well, I still stand by that statement.  It looks like the secret lies just outside of the theme park.  Catal is a bit pricey, but the grown up ambiance and sophisticated deliciousness of the food all make it worth while. Grabbing dinner and a drink before or after going to Disneyland is a great idea.  Catal & Uva Bar would be the best place to do that.

Catal Restaurant & Uva Bar (Downtown Disney) on Urbanspoon

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I remember going to Disneyland when I was a kid.  One of my favorite rides was the Pirates of the Caribbean.  The cool robotic and realistic figures causing havoc in pirate land was so entertaining.  They just looked so real!  Drifting away deeper and deeper into the fake world of pirates, I couldn’t help but get lost in it all. One thing I always remembered was the beginning of the ride.  Gazing at the people dining near the Bayou in the dimly lit setting, I always wondered who these people were.  How did they get over there, I asked myself.  In my young and naive mind, I came to the conclusion that, “those people must be special”.

Twenty odd years later, here I was, waiting to be seated where those “special” people had sat.  I entered the dining area, and it was just as I imagined.  Dimly lit with candles and lanterns, cool ambiance of the swamp bayou, and people on the boats riding Pirates of the Caribbean on the calm water. I had come to realize that I was on the other side of the looking glass —  I was finally here.

The setting was romantic.  You almost forget you are at Disneyland — inside of a theme park attraction even. The waiter gave us some bread and butter along with our waters.  I ordered the Buccaneer’s short rib and my girlfriend ordered the Cajun spiced salmon.

My short ribs were really tender and flavorful, but really salty.  I like salty and savory  foods, but even this was too salty for my taste.  Eating each bite of meat with the bread or potatoes really helped a lot. My girlfriend’s salmon was really good though.  The strong flavors of the seasoning and the crawfish beurre blanc was delicious.

Is it weird that I liked the appetizers more than the main course?  The chicken gumbo was really good — the Cajun flavors were really prevalent in the dish. I also liked the starter salad.  The craisins and fresh greens really made this salad pop.

 

So I guess my thinking is still correct.  It is virtually impossible to get a fantastic meal in the happiest place on earth. I guess the food doesn’t have to be spectacular at the Blue Bayou.  They make it up with the nice views and scenery.  I must say though, it was a dream come true eating here.   I had finally made it on the other side of the water.

Blue Bayou (Disneyland) on Urbanspoon

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The Bengal Barbecue – Disneyland

by Franklin on March 27, 2011

I can honestly say that it is impossible to have a good meal at Disneyland.  I don’t blame the them — thousands and thousands go there every day.  The truth is, “The Happiest Place on Earth” doesn’t have a decent place to eat.  Well that sucks, if people can’t have a good meal, how can they be happy?  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Disneyland; Disneyland is fun. They just don’t have a decent place to have lunch or dinner — breakfast even.  What they do have, are good snacks.  They have some of the best caramel corn, corn dogs (the famous cart), and coveted churros — but the snack I am talking about comes on a stick, and is from The Bengal Barbecue.

 

This place is located right across the Indiana Jones ride entrance.  It is a little stand that sells various meats on a stick.  They have chicken and beef skewers along with drinks and Mikey Mouse shaped pretzels.  What I came here for was the bacon wrapped asparagus. Who knew you can get this at Disneyland?  The asparagus was juicy and had an almost meaty texture.  The bacon was grilled and was the salty element of the snack.  I may be a sucker for bacon, and that”s why these things are so great

Forget looking for a decent meal at Disneyland.  Just grab a soda, get some caramel corn, get like 10 of these, and call it a meal — You can thank me later.  And I guess I owe you an apology for lying to you in the beginning.  It looks like you can have a tasty meal at the happiest place on Earth.

Bengal Barbecue (Disneyland) on Urbanspoon

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