Disneyland: The Food

I am not a foodie, nor do I play one on TV -- at least, not as I understand the definition of "foodie." I mean, I like food -- I really like food -- and I like knowing how my food is made and what's in it and how I could possibly recreate a certain dish at home and maybe what variety of boxed wine goes with what particular course, but I'm not really a foodie.

Well, wait ... maybe I am a foodie. But on my very best day, I am an extremely novice foodie, and also, I really only care about herbs and cheeses. My fine dining experiences are very limited because (1) I am basically working poor and (2) I am terribly cheap. The words prix fixe usually mean "too expensive for my blood," and I don't really eat at places that have "cuisine" on the menu anywhere because in my experience that means tiny little portions and big scary checks with lots of zeroes on them.

And don't even get me started on hipster locavores. Pshaw. I am lucky if I can remember what fork to use when. It's like that scene in Pretty Woman, complete with flying escargots.

But anyway: as I said, I really like food, so believe me when I say I had some of the best meals of my life (all over the course of only two days!) while we were in Disneyland, and in case you are ever thinking of going yourself, I'd like to tell you about them. (OK, brag a little. Whatever. Shut up.)
  • On Friday, our first day in the parks, we had lunch at Ariel's Grotto for the Princess Celebration. This is where we saw all the princesses. It was almost overwhelming, how much food they brought to the table: a tower of antipasti, baskets of bread, fantastic entrees (you can see the whole menu here). I had the Santa-Maria-style Trip-Tip and I swear to God, it was the best damned steak I ever had in my life, and those mashed potatoes were nothing short of heavenly. And the desserts! I thought we'd get to choose one -- I was going to go with the Sea Horse Lava Cake -- but we actually got the WHOLE TRAY. (I don't know what I thought "shared dessert platter meant," but as usual, mistakes were made.)
Ariel is edible, and so is the seashell. No, really!
They're both made of white chocolate.
  • Friday night we had dinner at Blue Bayou. Oh, sweet Lord -- if I could spent every day for the rest of my life at Blue Bayou, I would. I'd go completely flat-ass broke, but I loved this place. It's inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and it looks SO PRETTY, and the food is AMAZING. Granted, I could have been extra-impressed because we were tired and starving after spending 11 hours in the parks at that point, but I don't think so: good crab cakes are good crab cakes, and these were among the best I ever had. (Lunch menu and dinner menu.)
This is a terrible, terrible picture of absolutely delicious food.
I feel like I should apologize to the memory of these crab cakes.
  • Oh, and an important caveat about all these meals -- I am raving like a lunatic about this food, and I didn't have ONE SINGLE DRINK when we ate in the great Disneyland Resort Metro Area. And everybody knows that a glass of wine or a cold beer or even a passable mojito makes everything better. This food was this good all on its own.
  • Saturday morning, we had breakfast at Carnation Cafe, on Main Street U.S.A., in Disneyland. It's a cute little place with big sun umbrellas and wrought-iron tables and chairs and it's perfect for people-watching and it's exactly as typically Disneyland-kitschy as you would expect. Shae and I had "matching" Junior and Senior Mickey Mouse-shaped Belgian waffles. You know what? Nobody does Belgian waffles like Disney. NOBODY.
Disneyland_2011 031
Shae was mad because her breakfast didn't come with bacon.
What can I say? She's a fan of the pig. (That's my girl.)
  • Interested in Walt Disney World equivalents? No idea -- the size and layout of Disneyland and California Adventure is very different from the expanses in WDW. But as best I can tell, you can have a princess lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Norway, EPCOT); for a fancy-schmancy gourmet-style dinner with excellent steak, go to Le Cellier Steakhouse (Canada, EPCOT -- we ate there on our honeymoon and it was FANTASTIC) or for great seafood try Fulton's Crab House (Downtown Disney); and for a lovely breakfast try Crystal Palace (out-of-this world French toast, my very favorite thing we had to eat on our honeymoon except for the fresh watermelon juice at La Cantina de San Angel in Mexico, EPCOT).
Now, these meals were not cheap. I'm not going to lie. Three meals in the parks, plus taxes and tips, came to about $300. That's a lot of money. Carnation Cafe was the least expensive, primarily because of the type of restaurant it is and the kind of food we ordered. But you know what? Every meal we had was worth what we paid. Especially those crab cakes. And you are paying for the experience blah blah blah -- all of which is to say that I definitely think it was worth every penny of the splurge.

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