Saturday, 28 April 2012

Downtown Disney: Tortilla Jo's Taqueria

After class one Wednesday, I met up with two friends at Downtown Disney. They were in the same class as me, but I let them go on ahead because I was busy getting these:

Photo and autograph by Disney Legend Marty Sklar!

After obtaining those, I went to Downtown Disney and met my friends at Tortilla Jo's Taqueria. It is a faster and cheaper option than Tortilla Jo's but seating is very limited and there aren’t so many options to choose from.

I ordered two steak tacos and they do it Subway style where they ask what you want on your tacos. It was fast since it was dead in Downtown Disney, but the workers there weren't happy at all. They were grumpy, which threw me off a bit and I was more than happy that I got my food fast and was able to escape to our table outside.

The tacos were just okay. I was pleased the meat had great flavour and was cooked just right. The only thing that bugged me was that they didn't have guacamole. Not even as an extra for an additional fifty cents, they just had none to speak of. Even my friend complained about that and she doesn't even like guacamole.

I probably won't go back unless I was with someone, and I wouldn't recommend it. And for $6 tacos I would expect something more and guacamole. I love guacamole.


Monday, 23 April 2012

Main Street, U.S.A: Jolly Holiday Bakery [3]

 It's official; I am in love with the Jolly Holiday Bakery. Blue Bayou is still my favourite restaurant, but as far as being a poor college student goes, Jolly Holiday is definitely my favourite.

So far, I've tried the desserts and now it was time to try their sandwiches. They have many choices and all can come on a gluten free bun should you ask. They all look delicious so choosing one was a struggle so I had to narrow it down, on this particular day, to what I wanted at the time. I was looking for something on the light side and that lead me to the caprese sandwich. It has lettuce, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella with a side of balsamic vinaigrette and basil puree. All sandwiches come with a side of handmade potato chips.

I poured the vinaigrette onto the bread to allow it to soak it up and before each bite, I would pour a little of the basil on to get the full flavour. It was delicious, amazingly so. Everything complimented each other from the crisp lettuce, creamy mozzarella, tangy vinaigrette, and sweet tomato.  It was also quite tasty to dip my chips into the basil or balsamic.

Asking for that sandwich on a gluten free bun meant I did have to a wait a bit, but it also meant that my sandwich was made fresh. The other, non-gluten free sandwiches sit in a display case while waiting for someone to order them. Additionally, the cast member was nice about the whole wait thing, actually all the cast members around me there were. The cost was $9, which is a little expensive for a sandwich, but since that was my lunch I was happy I wasn't paying $15 or anything.

I will be getting this again, but I still have to try the other sandwiches.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Main Street U.S.A: Market House

The Market House on Main Street, U.S.A. sells food merchandise, the Main Street Popcorn, candy, and Minnie's Bake Shop items. It also sells coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and various other drinks.

I saw something on their menu that sounded delicious and I finally decided to order it: the cinnamon tea latte. It costs a little less than $3 and there is only one size but it is a decent size. I’ve never had a cinnamon tea latte and didn’t know what to expect from it. At first I thought it was going to taste like chai tea or but it didn't taste like that at all, to me it tasted like snickerdoodle cookies. There is this brand that sells gluten free snickerdoodle cookies that I absolutely love and this tea tasted exactly like it.

 While I was casually sipping on my tea, Peter Pan ran past me. I went to go take a picture with him and since it was a slow day in the park, or whatever his reason was, Peter asked me to walk with him. We strolled together over to Tomorrowland from Fantasyland until I was finally able to get my picture with him, tea in hand.

The only negative would be that a lot of the cinnamon in the tea fell to the bottom and at the end it was gritty, but I would still get this again, and again....and again.


Downtown Disney: Gelato Popsicle Stand

A friend and I were heading to the monorail station in Downtown Disney to go play in the parks. We were talking about something, most likely work, when we both just come to a stop and silence falls between us. We had stopped, simultaneously, at a stand selling gelato popsicles. Why were both were so fascinated, I have no idea, but we were.

It was evil too because I had just eaten and was too full to get one on my own. Not taking that for an answer, my friend couldn’t help herself and bought one for us to share. There are nine different flavours and the popsicles cost around $5, we kind of wanted all the flavours but we decided on a simple vanilla bean one and it was spectacular.

It was gelato so that made it all the more better. Smoother texture and richer flavour even if that flavour was vanilla, it was a bright vanilla. Incredibly delicious, we devoured it before we were even in line for the monorail despite our full stomachs. Now I want to try all of the flavours but especially pistachio since that is one of my favourite gelato flavours. It is close to the same price as a Mickey shaped ice cream but tastes so much better. I know, blasphemy!


Pacific Wharf: Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill

The Pacific Wharf is what I kind of call the food court area in Disney California Adventure. Yes, there is one sort of over in Paradise Pier by Goofy's Flight School, but this one has the most variety from Chinese to San Franciscan. It also has Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, which is Mexican cuisine.

The gluten free list provided by Disneyland just lists random things, and I didn't bring it with me when I went so I was left to try to figure it out on my own. My go to was usually nachos since I love them and they are quite delicious, but sadly they did not have nachos. I ended up just deciding on something that, to the best of my knowledge, shouldn't contain wheat.

I ordered the two chicken tamales, which comes with a side of beans, rice, and some lettuce, tomatoes, and guacamole to add to your tamales.

When I opened up the corn husks and saw the tamales were pure white I became slightly nervous, not knowing if they had only used white corn flour or not, but I continued on.  I'm assuming they didn’t have wheat flour in them because I felt fine afterwards, it was just shocking to see tamales that were so white. I was also nervous about the beans but those were fine as well. You should probably ask a cast member just to make sure though.

The tamales were filled with chicken and I had the salsa (not sure what beside tomatillos were in it) and lettuce/tomatoes/guacamole to add to them, which made it better. The rice was dry, but overall the meal filled me up, I just wasn't something I was too excited for. All of the food was just ‘okay’ and not much to write home about. But if you are at Disney California Adventure and you want Mexican food, here you go, though I would recommend Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney.

The total cost was about $10 so slightly expensive but other meals cost around $15, so I decided to go for the cheaper one.

They also have a little side area that sells desserts. I have a friend who loves the cookies from here. I haven't tried anything from there yet, but at least know that the cookies are delicious- as says my friend.

And here is a picture of what I was sitting under.



New Orleans Square: French Market [2]

I went back for lunch on one of my days off recently and I made a pleasant discovery.

First, I did get dessert because the fruit bowl just was just calling out to me. It is just blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries with a bit of whipped cream on top, but I think it is refreshing and doesn't fill you up like other desserts can. Disneyland food tends to be more on the filling side, so it is nice to find something light.

Now the pleasant discovery: the jambalaya has changed since last time I got it. When I reviewed the French Market the first time here, the jambalaya came with a side of wild rice this time, however, it came with a side of boiled vegetables. The jambalaya itself was also different in that the andouille sausage was not cubed as it has been in the past but sliced so you can actually tell there was sausage in it. My aunt and I both found the cubed andouille as an annoyance so that fact that they changed that is wonderful.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Across the Street: Coldstone Creamery

That is the Coldstone Creamery that is located across Harbour Boulevard from Disneyland. I was standing on the corner in front of the Disneyland sign when I took this picture.

Once day after work, a co-cast member and I decided to get ice cream so we went to Coldstone, I have been there before but not this location and this one was tiny. We walked in, I took one look at the menu, and was kind of scared. There were just so many options, but I ordered how I would at any other ice cream shop.

First I looked at the flavours and took forever trying to decide what to get, which was fine because my friend was busy talking to the worker there.

Finally I decided on the banana ice cream with walnuts in a medium cup.

It was delicious. I was going for a banana nut bread type of flavour and it did taste a lot like banana bread. I enjoyed it very much. Of course, there are boundless more flavour combinations you can do to fit whatever you want at the time.

About a week later we went again because I was thinking about ice cream while at work, it was also a hot day, and that time I got cheesecake ice cream with white chocolate chips in a medium cup.

Because the menu is so confusing I honestly didn't know how much the ice cream cost that I wanted before I bought it. It cost a little less then $5, but they do give you a lot of ice cream so it is worth it.


Saturday, 14 April 2012

elecTRONica: End of the Line Club

 Tomorrow is the last night of elecTRONica and if you haven’t been and don't have a chance to make it over there, then here is what you missed out on.

There is dancing, lights, people wearing skin-tight costumes that have glow tape on them, and lots of alcohol for sale. In the back by Flynn's Arcade, there is a place called the End of the Line Club where they sell a variety of drinks. Additionally, there is a booth set up in the middle of the street in the Hollywood Backlot that sells the same drinks, but this is usually busier.

After work one day, I went with a couple of friends to go play in the parks where we ran into two others friends. From there we decided to spend time at elecTRONica before it ends. They all got either beer or the special Tron drinks and I got lemonade...that came in a glow-in-the-dark souvenir cup.

The lemonade in the souvenir cup cost $6 but there was a lot of lemonade and it was really good. Everyone else seemed to like it too, as I did share. The first couple of sips are delicious but after awhile, the amount of sugar in it begins to hit you. I did manage to finish it by the end of the night, though. So it is good just really sweet.

Other activities going on there was Flynn's Arcade with classic video games, outside the arcade there were four Wii's set up with a Tron game. Our friend was working that area and convinced us to play where I beat everyone. There was also a tournament on the Wii’s.

Overall it was a fun and interesting night. I'm still excited that elecTRONica is leaving but I did enjoy my night there, probably because of the people I was with.

And I have to say, I do love my souvenir cup.


Friday, 13 April 2012

Main Street U.S.A: Main Street Cone Shop

Currently on Main Street, U.S.A, they are working on a lot of shops along the left side of the street, one of which is the Ice Cream Parlour. Don’t worry; they aren't getting rid of it, just fixing it up a bit. But because of this, there is another ice cream shop that sees all the hand scooped ice cream business on Main Street.
Located in the back of the alleyway next to the Market House, is the Main Street Cone Shop. While waiting in line you might hear the sounds of the nearby dentist’s shop, piano lessons in progress- very much in progress- or someone taking a shower.

When it is hot out or before a parade, the lines manage to get very long but the lines move fairly fast.

They have six different flavours: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, mocha almond fudge, mint chocolate chip, and rainbow sherbet. You can get your chosen flavour as a cone or a cup, one scoop or two. Additionally, they have other things like bars or a chocolate chip cookie sandwich.

I got one scoop of mint chocolate chip in a cup while waiting for the parade to start.

Dryers host the ice cream, so it is their brand that you are served. Somewhat expensive at $3.69 for a single scoop, but it is a nice treat while waiting in the hot sun for the parade, and it was just the right amount of ice cream for me at the time. I didn't need a huge cone that some people were getting, those looked ridiculous.

So overall, very good ice cream.


Thursday, 12 April 2012

A Bug's Land: Juice Box

Was a bug, little bug, hardly there...

Yes, that song plays through my head when I go to sleep. That is also the song you can hear anywhere within A Bug's Land, because it is the song that is constantly being played over at Heimlich's Chew Chew Train. Of course, all four rides have music playing but Heimlich is the only music that never stops playing even between cycles.

Now onto the point of this post! Inside this tiny bug land is a juice box turned on its side. When the weather is good (if it's raining or if there are chances of rain then it is not operating) then the juice box opens up to reveal frozen, fruity drinks. There are three different flavours: cherry, blue raspberry, and apple. I asked the cast member there which was best and what they tasted like and she said she liked the cherry and raspberry ones, but I didn't fancy having my lips turn bright red, or bright blue. She said the apple one tasted like apple cider, and I like apple cider, so that is the one I got.

They have three different sized cups, but the other two are souvenir cups and I didn't need one of those. The cheapest was this cup at around $5.

You can mix flavours if you want get two or all three in one cup, but I wanted just one flavour and I was disappointed. The cast member said the apple flavour tasted like apple cider, but it didn't, it tasted like apple juice. There is a big difference between apple cider and apple juice and this was for sure apple juice. The reason I don't like apple juice is because it is way too sweet for me and I wasn't enjoying it much. But if you like apple juice then you will like this apple drink. Another con was that it was hard to drink. I found myself using the warmth from my hands to try and melt the drink so that I could use the straw to drink this thing. Even then it still takes a while.

I have plans to go back and try the other flavours just to see but currently we are scheduled for rain so it will be closed.

If you find yourself on a very hot day in A Bug's Land in Disney California Adventure and you need a cold drink, then look for the juice box on its side selling frozen drinks.

It is located right next to this lovely attraction:

And for a little heads up, you see that button there? That's the entrance for the queue, people go up the exit a lot.

Not a good first experience but hopefully the other flavours will do better on my palate.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Main Street U.S.A.: Coke Refreshment Corner

Located on Main Street U.SA., right next to the Jolly Holiday Bakery, is the Coca~Cola Refreshment Corner. Many things happen here that not many people know about.
Such as the Musical Chairs that Alice and her Wonderland Characters put on:

And the Dapper Dan's Perform here:

And you can see Mary Poppins and Bert. The one persistent form of entertainment is the Ragtime Piano player:

But behind all of the activities outside, inside they sell food. They have chili, hot dogs, pretzels, and of course, coca-cola. The menu is very limited but there are allergy friendly options available.

They have gluten free hotdog buns, so that's what I got. Like everything with a gluten free bun, it takes an additional 10-15 minutes for them to prepare it, and at that time, I felt it was worth the wait.
When offered the hotdog, you get a side of chips or apple slices. I chose the apple slice. The total was about $6, so a little pricey but I'm starting to get use to the Disneyland prices and I think that is a little on the cheaper side. This hotdog for me was just a snack not a meal so other people might want more food and that would make the price go up.

The bun was very good. Just like the hamburger buns, you can't tell it is gluten free only if you taste a bit of it by itself. The hotdog was delicious as well. It was juicy and salty and not some cheap, thin hot dog as I was expecting. I didn't grab any ketchup, and since I was by myself, I didn't want to lose my table, so I just ate it without any condiments. This was not a problem as there was plenty of flavour even with my lack of condiments.

If you are looking to a salty snack that isn't popcorn and don't mind waiting, then go here and get yourself a hot dog. You might just get some fun entertainment.


Pacific Wharf: Coming this Summer!

 This is what the new addition to the Pacific Wharf area looks right now. Which, by the way, I often call it Fisherman's Wharf, and that confuses guests sometimes. Need to stop doing that. 
Anyway, would you like a close up of the sign so you know exactly what to expect there? Here you go.

Yes. Disney California Adventure is getting Ghirardelli! You have no clue how excited I am. Honestly, you have no clue.

So here's some history about the area and the location of the new shop. The Pacific Wharf area was designed after Monterey Bay and it celebrates California's abundance in the fishing industry. It is also Disney California Adventure's ‘food court area’ with Mexican and Chinese food, the Boudin Bakery, a beer truck, and a margarita stand. Because of these reasons (the tribute to Northern California and all of the food) it was the perfect place to put a new Ghirardelli shop, but before it was Ghirardelli, it was the Mission Tortilla shop.

I had the chance to ask the General Manager of food and beverage and store operations in Disney California Adventure himself, Gary Magetti, what specifically happened and how they were able to put in the Girardelli. He was very happy (and excited) to answer. First he explained how when they opened up they went to Mission Tortilla and asked them to open a shop in this new park. The company wanted Mission Tortilla to install a machine that would allow guests to see how tortillas were made. Unfortunately, the machine they provided was small and made the tortillas very, very fast- this was not what Disney wanted. They wanted guests to see each step so they asked them to make a big machine that would make the tortillas at a very slow rate. Ultimately, after all of this, Mission Tortilla was having some problems and had to leave the Pacific Wharf.

Needing to fill this empty space, it was a natural reaction for Disney to turn to Ghirardelli. They have a shop in Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida, so both companies agreed and coming on June 15th the new shop will be opening and I will be happy to review it. If it is anything like the soda fountain and shop in Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, then chances are it will be very difficult to remove me from the shop.


Friday, 6 April 2012

Critter Country: Hungry Bear Restaurant

Located in Critter Country, next to Splash Mountain, is the Hungry Bear Restaurant. Once it was home to the Country Bear Jamboree, but that has sadly been gone for a while now.

It was late at night, I had just come home from work, when one of my roommates' co-workers wanted to get onion rings and she gets onion rings from The Hungry Bear Restaurant. With the promise of a mint julep, I decided to go with her because my roommates didn't want to so we made our way to Disneyland.

After getting me a mint julep, and thus her keeping her promise, we made our way over to the Hungry Bear Restaurant.

Looking at the menu I knew I didn't want a full meal, just a snack and the sweet potato fries were calling my name so the only choice I had was to answer.

They were okay. The only problem I had was that they were really salty; all of Disneyland’s fries seem to be this way. They use a very coarse salt on their fries and I think they just put a normal amount of salt on but they don't take into account how big the crystals are. Aside from that it is good. I had a mint julep still with me to wash the salt down, so I would say if you get these get a drink or at least a cup of water. The price is about $3 so it is regular Disneyland snack price.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Disneyland Parks: Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana

I see people eating these and walking around all the time and finally I got one for myself. Unfortunately, I was left disappointed.

The overall concept is good: frozen banana dipped in chocolate, rolled in peanuts then frozen again and on a stick. Sounds delicious right? Well it is but there are several issues involved with this. First of all, you take a bite and the chocolate just falls off and onto the floor, or since I was sitting down, my lap. It is fairly easy to bite into even though it's frozen and kept that way by dry ice, but once you get to the stick, the banana is frozen onto it. It doesn't slide of the stick so you have eat it off like corn on the cob.

Once you get through all of that you are left with a round stick. I know this is just garbage that you can toss, but some people drop it on the ground, either by accident or sheer laziness- I don’t know- and that becomes a hazard. When Disneyland first opened, Walt Disney didn't want his frozen treats to be on a round stick because it's a tripping hazard, so that bothered me a bit.

Overall it isn't as great as it looks and from now on I shall stick to the Mickey Shaped Ice Cream Bars.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

For Sale: Main Street Popcorn

Inside some of the shops you can buy bags of popcorn. It isn’t the popcorn sold from vendors around the parks, it is a pre-packaged version of kettle corn. They have different flavours both savoury and sweet and I’m here to tell you about some of those flavours- I have yet to try them all.

Both times that I have gotten these different popcorn bags for sale was first on Thursday and then today while I was waiting for the Soundsational Parade to begin. Both times I purchased them at the Market House on Main Street, U.S.A.

And both times the chocolate on the popcorn melted in the hot sun while waiting for the parade.

You can find the popcorn in the Market House on a rack by the two front entrances.
On the packaging are different classic images of the iconic Disney characters: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald.  Love their classic designs.

Thus far, I've only had two sweet flavours and not the savoury one (cheddar cheese). The first one I had was caramel chocolate popcorn.

It was amazing. It tastes exactly as it says, like kettle corn with milk chocolate drizzled on. There is that bit of salt that balances out the sweet caramel and chocolate. The chocolate is cooling and adds some creamy, smoothness to the sugar crunch.
Then there is the chocolate mint popcorn. It was kettle corn with mint milk chocolate drizzled on. The two look the same but taste a lot different, but that extra coolness from the mint again helped supply further contrast as well as further flavour. However the mint one is limited edition.

The bag might say family size but that is a complete lie! Maybe two people per bag- maybe, I personally have found no problem finishing the bag myself. They are ridiculously addicting, you can't just have one piece and leave it at that.

More flavours to come.