For the first time in forever (not the song), Disney California Adventure is hosting the Food & Wine festival and I couldn't be more thrilled! Having not attended the initial run the first few years it was hosted, I knew this was going to be a must and planned several weekend visits. Currently running from April 1st - May 1st and mainly on the weekends, this is going to be a big draw to the park.
Similarly set up like the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival, California Adventure has a the main avenue running next to Pacific Wharf dotted with eight Festival Marketplaces (booths). There are eight booths starting at Buena Vista Street and ending by The Little Mermaid, each one with a theme and containing 3 food items and 1-2 alcoholic beverages with some containing specialty non-alcoholic beverages. Prices ranging from $3-$8 for food.
Also, several free panel discussions and demonstrations are held in the Hollywood Land area as well as paid celebrity chef hosted seminars, demonstrations, and VIP experiences. In this area of the park, you'll also find branded festival merchandise ranging from t-shirts and aprons, to wine glasses and convenient festival plates. APs can purchase a food ticket lanyard for $45 and all guests can purchase a bracelet gift card with a minimum of $15. I decided on the gift card and plate, as it afforded me the convenience of not taking my wallet out at every booth and having a wider surface to carry food. However the drink holder is not very convenient as it's not as deep as the EPCOT one we got in November and my first glass of wine took a tumble. We tried placing it on the holder and hooking the stem, which works best but it's not perfect. Very close though. Maybe a display of how it should be held would help out tons. I'm guessing our second attempt was correct.
|No more tickets to flavor town...|
Lines were not short but moved relatively fast for a crowded Sunday afternoon with them thinning out early evening. I heard people were lined up bright and early, so by the afternoon it didn't seem too busy but I would go in expecting a wait no matter what time of day. You can never tell with Disney crowds, sometimes.
Anywho, on to the food! Keep in mind that everything eaten was shared by two people.
First up is LAstyle:
We took up with all three food offerings: Chilled Ahi Poke, Pork Belly Bao taco, Milk Chocolate Caramel Tart.Super delicious and it's on "the list" for the next visit. Of all the deserts we ate, this was my favorite. The poke was so good as well and the taco was on point! This booth also had a selection of wines.
Down and across was The Vineyard/Wine Country booths. Both connected and sharing a queue, with The Vineyard hosting various wine flights and wines by the glass and Wine Country containing foods.
We picked up all three food offerings here: Zinfandel-Braised Wagyu Beef, Roasted Beet Salad, and a Blackberry Gallette.The Wagyu Beef and polenta was by far the winner in our group with the salad being tasty and kind of a miss on the gallette. The rosemary was a little overpowering and underwhelming, if that's possible. It is. It happened.
Next booth over, Viva Fresca!
This booth had only one of the food offerings available, and it really was the one I had my heart set on. We picked up the Fried Shrimp Taco and Tecate Michelada. However, they were out of Tecate and were using Corona.This taco was great! I loved it so so much! Fried shrimp, pickled onions, lime and a creamy sauce. So good! I also highly recommend the Michelada. Two of them.
Further down is Gold Rush and The Brewhouse.
At The Brewhouse, guests can purchase various beer flights. However, some may change or not be available as was the case on Sunday. Our friends picked up a flight and seemed to have enjoyed it. I was too busy stuffing my face with more greatness to fully process both experiences.
From Gold Rush we picked up the Triple Cheese Mac w/Smoked Chicken, Apple Bacon Whoopie Pie and Flower Field lemonade. They were out of the Artichoke chips when we visited. It's on "the list" for our next visit.
The Whoopie Pie is very much like the Apple Bacon bundt cake at Riverbelle Terrace, and just as delightful. However, this Triple Cheese Mac was amazing! I loved it so so much. Perfect blend of cheese, smokey goodness and pasta. It was really great.We washed it all down with the Flower Field Lemonade, which is a sweetened lemonade, flavored with lavender and served in a sugar and lavender rimmed cup. It was our favorite.
At The Farm, we picked up the Tenderloin Slider, the Meyer Lemon Macaron with Blueberry Dust and a glass of Trimbach Gewurztaminer. On Sunday the tenderloin sliders were being served with Chimmichurri sauce and citrus, however the map notes it as BBQ and blue cheese. When we arrived, the booth was out of the sliders, so it took about an hour to get them back in. A little longer I think. We checked back twice. Luckily, the second time they scrapped together the last one for me and then a new batch arrived in time for our friends.
Everything was good but not my favorite. I tasted the Curry veggie rice plate and thought it was good. Spicy as well. Here is where I spilled my wine.
Last was the By the Bay booth where we picked up the White Cheddar Ale Soup w/Bacon in a Boudin Sourdough roll, Shrimp and Snow Crab Cocktail, and Coconut Tapioca w/Fresh Mango.
The soup is the CUTEST thing you'll ever see and super delicious. I really liked the shrimp cocktail we well. The dessert was good but tapioca is always way weird for me so I wasn't completely sold on it. It was really pretty though. So pretty.
All in all, there are some really big hits in there that I'm looking forward to eating again! Various locations around the park have specialty food offerings that we'll be checking out our next visit. Just adding to "the list."
We caught a lovely food photography presentation featuring Lynn Chen. It was less, if anything regarding actual technique and more regarding her relationship with food and wanting to celebrate it. I loved her thoughts and ideas behind food and food blogging.
We also stopped by the AP center at the Blue Sky Cellar. Here we got a recipe card and commemorative button for the festival. As well as having a little cooled off area to sit in, bring your chargers (including the plugs) as they have numerous charging stations and a short video that I think is from a few years ago but still lovely.
I'm so so happy that Food & Wine is back this year. Hopefully it continues and grows with years to come. But also with the weekends to come. We're very much looking forward to our next trip!
Head over to Remain Seated Please to hear a mini-podcast and read their coverage of this weekend's visit.