Cocina Cucamonga Review

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Cocina Cucamonga is a counter service Mexican restaurant in Disney California Adventure’s Pacific Wharf at Disneyland Resort. This review features photos of the food, plus my thoughts on the cuisine here, and to whom this purported “Mexican” restaurant will most likely appeal. The menu here has a lot of options, including tacos, burritos, tamales, salads, and more.

I mentioned this in the Lucky Fortune Cookery Review, but I’ll reiterate: the Pacific Wharf “land” is very simple. It’s essentially an outdoor mall food court where there are multiple places with ordering windows and an abundance of common seating in the middle. There is no indoor seating, nor is there any theming to speak of at Cocina Cucamonga.

As a preface to this review, how you view the food at Cocina Cucamonga is largely going to be dictated by perspective and background. In terms of background, if you’re a Disneyland local living in Santa Ana, for example, or anywhere that has an abundance of Mexican fast food, this restaurant won’t strike you as even remotely authentic. If you’re from a small town in the Midwest where the only Mexican food around is Taco Bell, your opinion of Cocina Cucamonga will likely be much more favorable and issues of authenticity aren’t likely to arise. Regardless of your background, if you approach this restaurant from the perspective of whether Cocina Cucamonga has quality cuisine, your opinion is likely to differ from someone who approaches it from the perspective of whether it has authentic cuisine.

With those caveats about the restaurant out of the way, let’s take a look at the food, and see how it holds up… (more…)

Golden Horseshoe & Stage Door Cafe Review

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The Golden Horseshoe and Stage Door Cafe are counter service restaurants at Disneyland serving ice cream and various fried foods. This review features photos of the food and ice cream, history, and general thoughts on the locations. As for why these spots are lumped together in one review: Golden Horseshoe is the main restaurant here with meals served inside accompanied by performances, while Stage Door Cafe serves virtually the same menu from the same kitchen outside via a grab and go window. By any reasonable account, they are the same thing.

Well, except for the fact that The Golden Horseshoe is approximately twenty-seven billion times more awesome from a non-food perspective. It alone contains a staggering amount of Disneyland history.  It unofficially opened on  July 13, 1955, as the Golden Horseshoe Saloon, when Lillian and Walt Disney celebrated their 30th anniversary with a private party and the premiere showing of the original Golden Horseshoe Revue. A few days later, The Golden Horseshoe Saloon officially opened, and Disney Legend Wally Boag made his first performance there. Boag went on to perform approximately 40,000 performances on the Golden Horseshoe stage, and is credited as inspiring countless other comedians, including Steve Martin.

Disneyland’s Golden Horseshoe Revue went on to become the longest running stage production in show business history, as listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Other acts have come and gone over the years, most recently being the hilarious Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, who have since been retired by Disneyland and now perform down the street at Knott’s Berry Farm as Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies. Currently, Laughing Stock performs here.

Being huge Billy Hill and the Hillbillies fans, we have eaten here countless times. Unfortunately, it’s arguably the worst restaurant at Disneyland Resort. Why is it so bad despite all that history? Let’s take a look… (more…)

Lucky Fortune Cookery Review

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Lucky Fortune Cookery is a counter service restaurant in Disney California Adventure’s Pacific Wharf at Disneyland Resort. This review features photos of the food and ambiance, plus my thoughts on this restaurant. The menu is very basic, consisting solely of made-to-order Asian rice bowls. You start by choosing a protein: chicken, beef, and tofu. Then you choose a sauce: Mandarin Orange, Spicy Korean, Thai Coconut Curry, or Teriyaki.

Much like the entire Pacific Wharf “land”, the restaurant here is also very simple. It’s an outdoor ordering area with limited seating adjacent to the restaurant plus a ton more in the middle of the restaurant area. Think of it as a glorified mall food court.

As far as Disney California Adventure dining goes, Pacific Wharf is often overlooked. Despite the limited menu here, Lucky Fortune Cookery is actually a bit of a hidden gem… (more…)

Smokejumpers Grill Review

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Smokejumpers Grill is a counter service restaurant in the Grizzly Peak Airfield area of Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort. This restaurant replaces Taste Pilots’ Grill, and is the counter service restaurant in the park with a safe menu of standard burgers that will appeal to a broad cross-selection of guests.

The restaurant is themed and decorated to the smokejumpers who have protected California National Park Service (and other) areas since the 1930s. Like most Disneyland Resort restaurants, Taste Pilots’ Grill accepts Disneyland Annual Passes for discounts ranging from 10 to 15%. We previously were not too kind to Taste Pilots’ Grill, lamenting that its menu was totally uninspired. We’ll get to the food at Smokejumpers Grill later in the review, but let’s start by checking out the new-look of the restaurant.

Theme-wise, Smokejumpers Grill is designed to look like a hanger from maybe the 1940s or so that is owned by Herb and Millie and opened to pay tribute to, and serve, the local Bearpaw Basin Smokejumpers. You can read more about this backstory in the photo below. This backstory is a clever way to side-step having the inside be a virtual museum honoring the smokejumpers while also being a hangar–if it were an active hangar, it probably wouldn’t go to such great lengths to tribute smokejumpers, unless the smokejumpers there were serious narcissists! Besides the smokejumping motif, this is actually somewhat similar in base structure to the previous backstory in this location (you can read more about Imagineering’s backstory for Condor Flats here).

It seems as if the conversion from Condor Flats to Grizzly Peak Airfield is a continuation of the “hip” layer being removed as part of the Disney California Adventure overhaul. Imagineering continues to do a pretty good job with this… (more…)

Steakhouse 55 Breakfast Review

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Steakhouse 55 is a fine dining restaurant in Disneyland Hotel at Disneyland Resort. This review features food photos of breakfast served at this dining spot, along with some tips, and thoughts on the ambiance. Steakhouse 55 is open for breakfast and dinner, and is one of the more expensive dining options at Disneyland Resort for the latter, but seemed fairly priced (to us) for breakfast–certainly cheaper and less chaotic than the nearby Goofy’s Kitchen. The restaurant offers discounts for Annual Passholders, too.

It’s technically a “Signature Restaurant” at Disneyland, and is definitely one of the more refined dining options at the resort. If you question this classification, there are a slew of awards on the wall, including one slightly comical one from Zagat that’s similar to the one they have posted online: “Walt Disney would still be proud” of this “special-occasion” chophouse in the Disneyland Hotel offering “cooked-to-perfection” cuts and “great wines” in a “beautiful” setting where “the children are usually well behaved”; service is “terrific” too, so “make a reservation as this place fills up.”

Okay, first of all, what’s with all the random quotations? Is Zagat actually quoting someone, or is Zagat mocking someone with air quotes? Second, the line about children differs from the restaurant version, which almost reads as a tongue-in-cheek knock of Steakhouse 55 (I wish I would’ve taken a photo of it). Regardless, the restaurant has been praised by real critics, not just random bloggers like me who don’t really have “refined palates.”

Let’s take a look at the ambiance and food… (more…)