Saturday, 8 November 2014

New Orleans Square: Blue Bayou [3]

Our other reservation for this 24 hour Disney Day, was for dinner at Blue Bayou. Both Brittany and I agree this is the best restaurant, only this time around, it was far from it.

After a long, exhausting day of fun-filled frolicking all around both parks, we were ready for a good meal to give us energy to do the last few things we wanted to do. At this point, we knew we couldn't last the full 24 hours, we desperately needed sleep, so we were going to have a power nap after dinner.

We had a lengthy wait in the waiting room before we were finally shown to our table. Fighting off the sleep, we ordered mint juleps and jambalaya. The mint juleps are still endless and the jambalaya still comes with your choice of salad or gumbo.

The salad was fine, but the jambalaya was not. They had changed it and not for the better. Last time, it was very salty, this time it was not as salty, but still not perfect on the seasoning. Then the shrimp, fish, and andouille were arranged in the middle of the dish in a fancy presentation. It was nice to look at, but defeated the purpose of jambalaya.

Jambalaya is essentially something you can throw together in a pot and cook until ready to get the flavours to combine together. These were cooked and arranged separately, so the rice on the bottom lacked the proper flavour. We weren't very happy with it.

The worst part: I was so tired when we left, I couldn't finish a full glass of mint julep!

After that, we went to meet Thor once more before going to nap. The cast members were hesistant to let me into Asgard, and when the narration talked about Loki, everyone looked at me then shifted away. I also had an amusing conversation with Thor.

Finally, we went back to our hotel and slept. When our alarms went off to go back into the park at 2 AM, we decided to continue to sleep. Our bodies simply did not want to get up.

I still enjoyed myself at Rock Your Disney Side, despite the odd Blue Bayou jambalaya.

And I am forever sorry, I left behind a mint julep.


Paradise Pier: Ariel's Grotto [2]

I greatly enjoyed the experience and the food last time I ate at Ariel's Grotto, so this trip, I made reservations to dine there again. Curious about their breakfast options, I made the reservations for then.

Today was the 24 hour day- or the Rock Your Disney Side day- in the parks, which meant the Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure, opened at 6 AM. Brittany and I were up at 5 AM to get ready, and lacking sleep as we were up late watching an X-Men marathon and I was finishing my costume and some homework. Still, we managed to get dressed in our marvelous costumes, and were in the park at 6 AM.

There was no plan of attack for when we went in, just breakfast at 9:30 AM and Innoventions at 11 AM. So we went around both parks for three and a half hours. I was surprised by the lack of costumes and the lack of people. More people showed up later in the day, but this early in the morning, there weren't as many people as I thought there was going to be.

We checked in for our reservation, and it wasn't a long wait until we were able to go down and take photos with Ariel. She looked very awkward next to us; almost like she didn't know what to do or how to react. After that awkward experience, we were shown to our seats, which were outside and I was grateful for that. We didn't request to sit outside, it was just where they happened to place us, but I needed to be in the cool morning air because I was covered in layers of leather and metal.

A waitress came and took our drink order, I got hot tea, and we were allowed to peruse the menu while enjoying some breakfast breads and pastries. Well, I didn't, Brittany enjoyed them, I took a photo with them.

The menu for breakfast was a strange mixture of breakfast foods, but more up-scale ones. They offered both sweet and savoury dishes to please every pallete.

Our food orders were taken and that's when we heard the voice we never want to hear again. It was the singing announcer for the princesses. Each time a princess was coming out to greet the diners, he had to sing about it. Very Disney and very much geared for the kids. I knew this was going to happen when dining here, but honestly, it was about the food for us.

Still, we took pictures with the Princesses, and Belle was the only one who made a comment about who we were. Apparently, she is well read in Norse Mythology.

Our food soon arrived and I think one of the best parts of this meal were our waiters' reactions to Brittany and me in our costumes. They knew who we were and were very entertained by it. As our waiter placed my dish down in front of me, he said, "Loki eats frittata. Okay." Another waiter complimented us.

Anyway, yes, I had ordered the frittata, being the only thing meat and gluten free. I'm sure you can get a chef to come out and discuss your allergy friendly options, should you need it. I was happy with frittata because they are good, so no complaints from me.

I think it was a leek frittata, there was some green veg. mixed into the eggs, on hash-browns topped with avocado and tomatoes. It seemed small at first glance, but with everything else, it filled me up just the right amount.

It was all a touch on the bland side, but overall was very good. The frittata was creamy, which went well with the smooth avocados that brought a lightness to the everything. Then the hash-browns added crunsh and helped weigh things down and give you that fullness you need at Disneyland.

We were out of there with enough time to queue up for Innoventions opening. First we jumped in line to meet Thor. Where, while waiting, we fell asleep, along with the Hawkeye that was next to us. We journeyed to Asgard, met Thor, talked about our shiny-ness, then met Cap, talked about our shiny-ness, and got adorable photos of Brittany as Agent Carter with Steve Rogers.

If you are going to start your 24 hours at Disneyland off with some breakfast, that was a perfect way to start it. Minus the lack of sleep the night before. You're going to want sleep.


Friday, 7 November 2014

Disneyland Hotel: Tangaroa Terrace [2]

When Disney first announced their 24 hour celebration of the beginning of summer, I knew I had to go. Not only were both parks open for 24 hours, but it was also a costumed event. If you haven't noticed from my previous posts, I like costumes: designing them, making them, wearing them- I am all in.

That weekend was also the weekend of a very big anime convention in Northern California, so instead of driving down, Brittany and I flew. This also meant I had the perfect Marvel costume to wear that I had been working on the past month.

We landed and dropped our luggage off at the hotel around lunchtime, so we headed over to Downtown Disney to shop and get some food.

After getting distracted at Build-a-Bear Workshop- I got Thor'bear' Odinson and Brittany almost got a Cap'bear' America, but ultimately decided not to- we ended up at the Disneyland Hotel and at the Tangaroa Terrace. Last time I ate here, the only things I could eat were the sides: sweet potato fries and green papaya salad. Well, the Tangaroa Terrace has made many changes since then.

Before when you walked in, you ordered on the touch screens that greet you as you walk in, then you paid at the cashier to your left. It sounds hi-tech, but it really wasn't. It was about the equivalent of self check-outs. This time, though, we were greeted by a cast member, standing in front of the machines, who directed us immediately to the cashier where we both ordered and paid.

The best change they made was to the menu. No longer just burgers with pineapple and sad sides, they changed everything around. More fish options, a few burgers, the sides were completely different, and more gluten free options.

I happily ordered the shrimp tacos. I love tacos and shrimp and these met my expectations and more. Placed inside a uni-tasker taco holder, were three tacos. Each had two layers of warm, white corn tortillas filled with shreaded cabbage, perfectly seasoned, pan-seared shrimp, a lime aioli, and garnished with a cilantro leaf. It also comes with a side of jicama, red and yellow bell pepper, and celery cole slaw in a sweet lime dressing. And some lime wedges for your squeezing and flavouring pleasure.

Words cannot describe how ecstatic I was when these arrived and I had that first bite. I've had many fish and shrimp tacos in my time and I've never had some like this. Everything was perfectly balanced between the spice and salt from the shrimp, and the creaminess of the aioli, cut with the splash of lime, and evened with the tortilla and crunch of cabbage. Even the simple cole slaw was perfect with crunch and not overdressed, with a great balance of sweet and sour.

I loved this dish so much, the next week, I re-made it at home, down to the aioli. It wasn't the same, but it quenched my cravings for these shrimp tacos for the time being.

I don't know why they made changes to The Tangaroa Terrace all of a sudden, but I am forever thankful that they did.


Garden Walk: Johnny Rockets

In all honesty, I had no clue there was a Johnny Rockets at the Garden Walk until this trip. We had spent a full day at WonderCon walking the exhibit hall, attending the Salem panel, and The Art of Frozen panel. I wore my Elsa costume, which I was finally, officially debuting after starting it back in August 2013.

The hosts of the Frozen panel: four of the storyboard artists.

Both of our feet were in pain. Mine from wearing heels all day, Brittany's from endless walking. I'm sure that contributed to the ache in my feet as well.

I didn't want to drive anywhere, so I did a search for restaurants in our area. Our hotel was next door to the Garden Walk, so it wasn't a horrible trek and we agreed on Johnny Rockets.

If entering Garden Walk from Katella, as we did, Johnny Rockets is located on the second floor in the way back. Johnny Rockets is a chain, 1950's style diner with classic diner food such as shakes and burgers.

We sat at a table next to a table where Indiana Jones and Mr. Fantastic were dining, and ordered a cherry shake, regular fries, sweet potato fries, and I think Brittany got a chocolate shake, but I might be wrong.

No, most of their food is not allergy friendly. They have some salads, but that is a very limited option. Typically, my back up is fries and a shake since in Southern California, they are abundant and can be very filling.

My cherry shake was made with maraschino cherries, so it was very sweet. I wanted the fruit flavour though, as opposed to a plain vanilla, but yes it was very sweet.

Both orders of fries were okay. Nothing spectacular. The fries were better than the sweet potato fries, because they had a more even cook and more seasoning.

Not the best I've had from Johnny Rockets, but it did what it was suppose to do. It fed us and it wasn't too far of a walk.


Main Street, U.S.A.: Jolly Holday Bakery [12]

Yes, again.

We were just about to leave the park as Disneyland was closing, but we couldn't resist a late evening treat from Jolly Holiday. The fact that it is open until park closing makes me a happy snowman.

Brittany and I both ordered hot chocolate- Ashley had left us due to an early work shift the next day. I also ordered the cheesecake, which was fully loaded with raspberries on top.

I didn't get any flavour shots in my hot chocolate, just the whipped cream on top. It greatly warmed me up on the chilly night and is so much better than the hot chocolate available anywhere else in the park.

The cheesecake was rich and creamy as per usual. The large amount of tart from the mountains of raspberries cut through the richness. Combined with the hot chocolate and the atmosphere, it was the best way to end a day at Disneyland.


Main Street, U.S.A.: Jolly Holiday Bakery [11]

WonderCon 2014!

I know. This is very delayed in posting and I truly am sorry for this. Sometimes life just gets in the way, but get ready for a slew of new posts. Starting with my WonderCon trip back in April.

After an early morning start, driving the seven hours down to Anaheim, my friend Brittany and I checked in to our hotel and were ready to meet my other friend, Ashley, at the parks. It was close to 11 AM when we made it inside, which is the time Innoventions opens, so we made our way to Tomorrowland.

Ashley's birthday gift to me was to wait until I was with her to meet Thor and Captain America. Both are recent additions to Innoventions, near the IronMan suits. Being a true Marvel fan, I was excited to meet them; Brittany was in the same boat as me. Ashley has only seen the IronMan films, so it was easy for her to wait- I would not have been able too.

It was a long wait, for both Thor and Captain America. They weren't perfect; we ended up dubbing them the Mighty Mumbles and Captain Awkward. Also, we found out that Cap is against the letter 'i' when I asked him to sign my Captain America trading cards (near mint, a little foxing on the edges) that I bought at WonderCon 2013.

By the time we got out of there, it was past lunchtime and we were starving. Making our way to the Hub, we looked up, past the Partners statue, and saw the glowing beacon of Jolly Holiday Bakery in our hunger-driven haze.

I, of course, ordered the caprese sandwich on a gluten free bun, and I know what you might be thinking. 'Hasn't she reviewed this sandwich quite a few times before?' Yes, I have, but this time it was a very special version.

My sandwich seemed to come with a full head of lettuce. It was more of a leafy caprese salad with a side of bread and chips. So unfortunately, this time the sandwich wasn't up to par with what I expected and wanted. Only a rabbit would have enjoyed that.

As you may come to notice, with several reviews I've done, dishes often change around. It might be a change in chef or just whoever prepared it, but they dishes can change. Therefore, you can't always base one experience as your final judgment for the dish and restaurant. Next time you go, it might be different.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Mickey's Halloween Party: Jolly Holiday Bakery

For three years, I had been looking forward to going back to Mickey's Halloween Party and never got a chance until this year. I had originally gone in 2010 and absolutely loved it. Not just all the Halloween decor and themes but being able to wear a costume in the park, and a full on costume not just an inspired one.

Although I didn't have it complete, I still wore my Elsa costume from the upcoming Disney film, Frozen.

I was only there for a short amount, so I didn’t eat too much. Also, a lot of the restaurants and dining areas were closed because of the late hour. Jolly Holiday, Cafe Orleans, and, I think, Pizza Port were all still open, as well as the Corn Dog Cart. I didn't want too much, and I couldn't resist a trip to the Jolly Holiday Bakery, so the last stop of the night was there.

They offered special Halloween cookies, cupcakes, drinks, and cheesecake; not as much as one would hope, but they were still fun to see. I got the pumpkin spiced latte and the pumpkin cheesecake.

The latte was exactly how the Starbucks’ pumpkin spiced latte use to be: the coffee flavour overpowers the pumpkin and spice flavours. I don't like coffee- a tea drinker true and true- so it is possible that my tongue is not trained yet to pick out the pumpkin flavour from the coffee, but as far I can tell, there wasn't much pumpkin.

Now the pumpkin cheesecake, Disney knows how to make the perfect cheesecake. From original to bananas foster to pumpkin, they are all just perfection. The spices related to a pumpkin pie were very much present but the pumpkin sweetness can still come through and makes the cheesecake even creamier. Even the little dollop of whipped cream on top had spices in it and I really wish there was more of it.

But again, remember that the crust is not gluten free, so avoid eating that if you have an allergy. Likewise, I noticed that the other gluten free treats at Jolly Holiday were missing in actions: the original cheesecake and the flourless chocolate cake. I wish they would at least continue to offer the chocolate cake during the holiday seasons so that there will be more options for those with allergies and don't want to wait around for a gluten free sandwich.

If you can get tickets- many of my friends got sold out- then I strongly urge you to visit Mickey's Halloween Party. It is a lot of fun and they really go all out, not just the cast members but guests too. I saw many creative and well-done costumes there, which just makes people watching in Disneyland all the more entertaining.