Napa Rose Chef’s Counter Review

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Napa Rose in the Grand Californian Hotel is the best restaurant at Disneyland Resort. Blue Bayou, Carthay Circle Restaurant, and even Club 33 all pale in comparison to Napa Rose. A big part of this is likely that Napa Rose is the only restaurant of those I’ve mentioned not located in a theme park. While it still has a bit of a captive audience in terms of tourists visiting Disneyland Resort, it’s not nearly to the degree of the in-park restaurants.

Given that the Orange County and Los Angeles foodie scene is among the best in the country, Napa Rose really has to bring its A game to attract locals who aren’t heading into the parks. I mean, this is an area with some of the finest Pop Tart culinary creations known to mankind. When restaurants throw down the Pop Tart gauntlet, you know it’s on. Although Napa Rose doesn’t have any gourmet Pop Tarts on its menu (yet), it has basically responded with the sage words of Barney Stinson, shouting “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED” with regard to the competitive Orange County foodie scene.

In so doing, Napa Rose has demonstrated that it can run with the big dogs, winning a variety of awards since first opening, and being recognized as one of the top restaurants in Orange County by the likes of Zagat and other restaurant critics. Interestingly, the restaurant only scores an 81% on crowd-sourced Urban Spoon, but in glancing through those reviews, many seem to focus either on price or are tourists used to large portion sizes. No question, Napa Rose is an expensive restaurant serving smaller portions–this is pretty much a universal truth among fine dining locales. In other news, the sky is blue and Snoop Dogg likes to party.

We’ve already covered the regular menu at Napa Rose in a separate review, so for this review we will focus solely on the Chef’s Counter experience… (more…)

Avengers Assemble!…at Disneyland?

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This post covers a couple of things: new Avengers food at Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port in Disneyland, and whether a Marvel attraction is replacing Innoventions next door. Let’s start with the more intriguing subject. That’s right, the food.

I’ll admit that I was pretty hyped when I read an article on the Disney Parks Blog about the Iron Man waffle (yes, you read that correctly–it’s a waffle shaped like Iron Man) on Friday afternoon. I mean, it’s a waffle, shaped like a super hero. That’s something truly special, and I felt the need to consume it ASAP. In actuality, my excitement probably wasn’t so much about the waffle itself as the fact that I now had a pretext to head to Disneyland after finishing work.

I met up with Hawkeye4Life Fan Club Founder Guy Selga, and we each purchased all of the Avengers items at Pizza Port (besides the pricey Iron Man novelty cup). There was much excitement in the air, as the potential of a delicious waffle shaped like a super hero could instantly catapult Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port from being one of the worst restaurants at Disneyland to one of the best restaurants…in the world. I mean, c’mon, it’s a waffle shaped like Iron Man? That’s serious business.

Let’s take a look at whether the waffle and other Avengers foods we assembled lived up to the hype. Oh, and also the minor question of if and when a Marvel attraction is coming to Tomorrowland… (more…)

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…)