Saturday, April 16, 2016

2016 Disneyland Food and Wine Festival

After a long hiatus, the Disneyland Food and Wine Festival is back!

Welcome to Tokyo Disneyland! Hold on. Let me check my map. No, we're in California. What is going on? It's 9:45am on a Saturday. The parks opened 45 minutes ago. Why are we so backed up? 

There is a crush of people trying to get through security. The line backs up past the fountain, and it took us 10 minutes just to get to this point. Crazy.

And we're meeting up with Jacob!

This morning I showed Ian the hat we were going to wear today. Without me saying anything he asked, "Is that a baker hat?" Nailed it buddy! Today you're my little helper.
My hat was getting a lot of attention today too. No less than 5 people came up to me asking where I got it. It's from Disneyland Paris! I love getting fun hats from other Disney parks.

The Festival doesn't start until 11am. Off to the "Ariel ride". Ian did fantastic on it! He sat in between Jacob and I the entire time! Even the scary parts.

Waving at Ariel.

Nice job buster.

The Festival is pretty bunched together. Not like the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot where the booths are spread around the entire World Showcase. Here in Disney California Adventure all 8 booths are in the short walkway from Carthay Circle Restaurant to the Wharf Walkway.

Here's the list of booths plus the items they feature.

At 5 minutes til 11, an announcement comes over the park speakers and tells us the Food and Wine Festival is starting. Since we're at the far end already, we're starting at 8 - By the Bay.

Setting the tone for the day, the prices are high and the portions are small. Well it's an experience, and it's why we're here today. Today we ignore the cost and order whatever we feel like.

First up is the White Cheddar Ale and Bacon Soup in a Boudin Sourdough Mini Boule - $5.50. Seeing how small they were, we ordered two. The bowl was a little larger than a dinner roll. Hollowed out, it leaves just enough room for a few good spoonfuls of soup.
I was really curious if this would resemble the soup from the Epcot Le Celier restaurant. That soup is delicious! Well it wasn't Le Celier, but it was still good. At least I think it was. I got a couple spoonfuls and shared with Ian and T. What was immediately obvious is that there is too much bread here and not enough soup.

Our second item is a Coconut Tapioca layered with Fresh Mango, Lychee Boba, Mango Coulis, Dirt Green Tea Micro Sponge and Sesame Tuile - $4.25. I think they're charging by the word on this one! How big are these cups? 3oz? 4oz? Some people like Green Tea flavor. I am not some people. I ate it anyway, but didn't enjoy it. The rest of the coconut tapioca pudding tasted just fine, but wasn't anything special.
Total cost so far - $15.25

Alli recently started eating solid food a couple weeks ago. She's loving those sweet potato puffs.

Our next stop is 7 - The Farm. Here we ordered one of each of the 3 dishes that were offered.
First was a Golden Thai Vegetable Curry with Jasmine Rice - $5.75. All three of us were surprised by the amount of heat that was in this curry. Even though this is a veggie curry and I'm a meatatarian, I found this to be especially delicious. Must be the heat.
Second was a Grilled Beef Tenderloin Slider - $7.75. The map says it comes with a smoked BBQ sauce and bleu cheese. The sign here says it's a chimichurri sauce. Perhaps they changed it? Maybe not enough people were ordering it, due to an aversion to bleu cheese?  The tenderloin is the same cut as a filet mignon, so you know it's going to be tender. I was happy to see a little pink in the meat as it was cooked just a little over medium. The bun was way too toasted and neither Jacob or I could identify the white item that was placed on top.
Lastly was a Meyer Lemon Macaron with Blueberry Marmalade, Meyer Lemon Cream and Dried Blueberry Dust - $3.50. Not joking about that last part. Yes it has blueberry dust on it. The lemon was a little weak on this one, but still enjoyable. I tried it shortly after receiving it and it was still a bit cold. I found it to be even better after letting it sit in the sun and warm up.
Running cost - $32.25

It was getting pretty warm today and we were hunting for shade after getting our food each time. There's a few tables with umbrellas, but most of the spots to eat are in the direct sunshine.

We skipped 6 - The Brewhouse.

Now here's the booth I was most excited to try. 5 - Gold Rush! Everything here looks good!

Here we ordered the first specialty beverage, a Flower Field Lemonade - $4.25. The lemonade was delicious and there were sugar crystals lining the rim of the cup.
The Triple Cheese Mac with Smoked Chicken - $6.00 was really tasty. The mac was cheesy and moist, and the smoked chicken was great. I'd get this again.

Next was Artichoke Chips with Spicy Aioli - $5.00. For $5, you get 5 pieces of artichoke. Fried veggies with a spicy sauce. Also delicious.

The dessert at this station is an Apple Bacon Whoopie Pie with Maple Cream Cheese Icing and Bacon Brittle - $3.75. I can't say the apple come through, but that maple cream cheese really stands out. I enjoy sweet and savory so this was also great.

Alli, you're missing it!
Total running cost - $51.25

!Viva Fresca! was stop 4. I'm not so into a fried shrimp taco or a cauliflower burrito, so the only thing we're getting here is the Strawberry Mango Agua Fresca - $4.25. Bleh. I could taste strawberry but the mango was completely missing. Instead I was getting cucumber. T and Jacob concurred. Not very good.
Running total - $55.50

At 3 - Wine Country they offered three tasty items. The highlight of the festival and the most expensive item is the Wagyu beef. Yes, the well-known Wagyu beef from Japan that is supposed to be the best in the world.

The Zinfandel-Braised Wagyu Beef with Creamy Polenta and Spring Pea Puree - $8 was much bigger than I was expecting. I had seen previous reviews showing the beef being no larger than the base of a spoon. There's actually quite a bit here. I guess my one complaint is that it's more like a pot roast and with that, it's really difficult to tell how good the meat it. There were two sides that came with it. The creamy polenta was cheesy and great. The pea puree wasn't so great, but then I don't like fresh peas.

Theresa was excited about the Roasted Yellow Beets and Purple Haze Goat Cheese - $5.50, until she saw the menu and saw it comes with cashews. Can't have that. Not sure where the goat cheese was in this one either.
The Blackberry Tart with rosemary vanilla bean creme fraiche - $4.00 was more sour than I was expecting.

Running total - $73.00

At 1 - LAstyle, 1 hour after the event started, the line was especially short. Wonder why. Get to the front of the line and it turns out they're out of the Pork Belly Taco and I'm told it's a 20 minute wait...
Well after waiting around for a few minutes, a cart pulls up and I verify there's more pork tacos in there. Being the first stop, those pork tacos must be really popular.
Ian saw the chocolate caramel tart and really wanted it.

With no seating nearby, we took our trays to the seating near Smokejumper's Grill. On the walk there a lady saw our tray and made the comment "Cha-ching." Indeed.

The Pork Belly Bao Taco with Pickled Vegetables - $6.50 had so many vegetables. Not bad, but the bao bun was an interesting delivery system.

The Milk Chocolate Caramel Tart with Almond Brittle and Sea Salt - $4.25 rounded off our meal. Ian was completely distracted by this one.


Final total $83.75.
Well I really enjoyed sampling all the different foods today. Some were fantastic. Others were just okay, but it was fun trying everything for ourselves.

Let's jump on a ride before we go. Off to the carrousel.

Hearkening back Florida, Jacob made sure to shade Alli from the sun with a park map.

One more ride on the carrousel, then it's time to go.

The kids were both exhausted from the day and were asleep shortly after we hit the freeway.

Well the parks were packed, the food was expensive, and the portions were small, but I'll still be going to Disneyland any time they have something like this going on. It's the experience I'm after and this was fun.

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