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Friday, April 15, 2016

food & wine festival, disney style

a few weeks ago during one of our random visits to disneyland, we noticed some fun stuff being prepped for the upcoming food & wine festival.

unlike over at disney world, this festival has been MIA from the west coast disney parks for several years.  i don't even remember ever partaking in the past, so maybe it was really low-key or i just didn't pay any attention.  but then i started seeing sneak peeks of the menus online and reading people's excitement about it, and i got swept up in the enthusiasm and couldn't wait to check it out.

luckily, we managed to find some time during opening weekend to go.  i mean, i'm always excited to hit up the 'land, but especially when there's something new and fun to do.  and even more so when food is involved!

it was already pretty crowded when we got there.

there were special park maps available at the front gate, which told us where the little kiosks were located and what we could find in each one.

i'd told myself that if we didn't have time to visit all of them, the one that had the most offerings that we would all like was this one:

there was a really long line for it, so we hopped in right away.  but then the people in front of us turned around and said "make sure you place your order first, because this is the line to pick up your food!"  thank goodness for helpful disneygoers.

and so i left the girls in the line and got in another one, which luckily wasn't as long and seemed to move fairly quickly.

i ordered one of each item and we took our plates to a spot around the corner from the kiosk, where there was a small eating area set up.  first, the chilled ahi poke:

it was a fairly decent portion, with plenty of cubes of ahi topped with an avocado creme and sitting on top of a nice mound of seaweed salad.  the bean helped me eat this one, and it was really tasty and light.

this was the pork belly bao taco, which i handed to the old lady to enjoy.  she saved me a bite, and it was really good.  if the line weren't so long, i'd have gotten back in to grab another one.

and we all enjoyed the milk chocolate caramel tart, topped with almond brittle and sea salt.

next up:  the ¡viva fresco! booth.

the old lady wasn't too impressed with the strawberry mango agua fresca.  while it was cold and refreshing, there wasn't a whole lot of flavor in it.

the fried shrimp soft taco was really good, though.  i chowed right through that sucker like it was my last meal.

this was the anaheim chile & roasted cauliflower burrito.  like the agua fresca, however, it was boring and bland.  i suppose this photo didn't do much for it either, but burritos don't really photograph well if they're as plain as this one was.

at the gold rush kiosk, we happily sipped on the super delicious flower field lemonade:

and the bean finally got something that was all for her...the triple cheese mac with smoked chicken.

so did the old lady - artichoke chips with spicy aioli.

the dessert offering here was an apple bacon whoopie pie, filled with maple cream cheese icing and topped with bacon brittle.  yum.

we skipped the brewhouse and the vineyard, at least for this round.

there were a few other specialty kiosks set up too, like an olive oil tasting and a wine-themed body and skin care display.

we decided to head into blue sky cellar to see what there was for the annual passholders.

not a whole lot, as it turned out.  we received a free commemorative food & wine festival pin (which i forgot to take a picture of), and there were charging stations for phones and such, plus free bags of popcorn and a display of popcorn containers available throughout the park.

back outside, we stopped at "the farm."  i'd hoped for one of the grilled beef tenderloin sliders, but they ran out.  boo.

the old lady decided to try the golden thai vegetable curry, and we had to try that meyer lemon macaron.

i really don't like the taste of curry (don't shoot me), so that was a bust for me.  but those macarons...they had a little hit of blueberry marmalade in the middle of that meyer lemon cream, and the shells were perfectly crispy and chewy.  they were delicious.

the last stop was here - by the bay.

i was so bummed to hear that they were all out of the shrimp and crab cocktails when i got there, but i did get one of the mini bread bowls of white cheddar ale & bacon soup and the coconut tapioca cup.

i should have put the spoon next to that soup to show you how very, very tiny it was.  the soup itself was tasty as hell, what there was of it.  like, it would have taken half a dozen of those things to make a full cup.  but the bean loved it.  that coconut tapioca cup, on the other hand...it was topped with lychee boba, mango coulis, a green tea micro sponge and sesame tuile.  that's a whole lot of words that basically mean "tasted like ass."  i liked the coconut-flavored tapioca on the bottom, but the girls hated it.  oh, well.  can't win 'em all.

and by the time we were done eating those things, we spied people walking by with the seafood cocktails.  i managed to slide back in line before the word got out and emerged triumphant:

it was definitely on the spicy side, which turned off the bean.  i'm a wuss when it comes to spice too, but i enjoyed it.  i love crab and shrimp cocktails.

they had free beverage seminars going on too, although none of us had any interest in that.

we'd stayed much, much longer than i'd planned to...but it was worth it.  most of the food offerings are really good, and there are also special treats available at various eateries around the park.  it's only at california adventure though, so don't go into the disneyland side hoping to find festival grub.  and if you're an annual passholder, they're selling a special "festival passport" for $39 which includes six tickets that you can use at any of the kiosks.  they tried to price them at $45 to begin with, but when they realized that people can do math, they wisely dropped the cost.  i'm sure they're selling a lot more of them now.

the food & wine festival is on weekends only through the beginning of may.  go get you some!

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