I ate my way through Disney California’s Food & Wine Festival. Here are my top 11 picks
The Disney California Journey Foods & Wine Festival, a two-month celebration of California cuisine at Disneyland’s sister concept park in Anaheim, has returned this month with additional than 60 new food stuff and drink merchandise for visitors to attempt.
So I tried them. Not just about every product mind you, but I asked a lot more than a dozen park personnel, as properly as pageant booth workers, for their recommendations. Then through the working day I asked other festival-goers for their picks and pans to reduce my over-all caloric consumption, and I nevertheless had a few duds (skip the artichoke pizzetta). It is certainly really worth undertaking a little bit of exploration to get the tastiest bites and the greatest bang for your buck this yr.
Due to the fact its founding in 2006, the pageant has developed to become just one of the most popular yearly sights at the Golden Condition-themed park. In its 1st 12 months, there have been just two booths presenting bite-dimensions parts of seasonal food items things. Right now there are 12 booths in which readers can invest in sample-measurement objects, as nicely as 10 foods stands and eating places all over the park featuring competition foods and drinks, however not all in bite-size or minimal-priced parts.
Park site visitors can purchase person meals and consume things for $5 and up or invest in a Sip & Savor Pass for $59, which makes it possible for consumers to try a mix of 8 foods or non-alcoholic drink merchandise at most venues. This year’s competition runs through April 25.
The festival celebrates the bounty of California’s create, beers, wines and its multi-ethnic cuisine. There are person booths dedicated to key state crops like avocados, berries, garlic, artichokes, peppers, nuts and cheese. There is also the Uncork California wine backyard, serving point out-generated varietals, and the California Craft Brews yard celebrating craft beers from San Diego (Ballast Place and Harland Brewing) and far beyond.
A several decades back, the festival launched a couple vegan objects designed with plant-based Extremely hard Burger protein. It was so common with park site visitors that DCA is heading massive with plant-based mostly objects this yr. Aside from a bevy of vegetarian and vegan choices sprinkled through the festival booths, the park’s Paradise Backyard garden Grill cafe has switched to an all-plant-dependent menu for 2023.
On opening weekend (March 3-5), DCA was packed with website visitors who obviously arrived to consume. Lines at the pageant booths were prolonged by 10 a.m. — a half-hour before they opened — and they stayed extended in the course of the day.
To assistance make competition-likely a bit less complicated, in this article are my picks for my favored new bites of 2023 and a handful of tips on how to defeat the strains.
Most effective bites at the festival
Although each individual meals item and most of the beverages this year are new this year, but longtime fest-goers will realize some preferred dishes of the previous that have been transformed up this year with fresh new new flavors and toppings.
Smoked Honey-Habanero Rooster Wings — Most effective of the fest this 12 months is this huge portion of 4 to 5 seasoned drumettes and wings in a finger-licking, not-way too-warm sauce. Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo booth.
Impossible Gyro Fries — Jogging a shut second is this hearty Greek-design and style part of plant-centered Unachievable Beef served with waffle fries, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes with tzatziki and cauliflower cheese sauces and a wedge of pita bread. Paradise Back garden Grill.
Unattainable Al Pastor Taco — One of the ideal vegan merchandise I have attempted at the DCA fest features effectively-seasoned Unattainable Pork with bites of grilled pineapple and a spicy avocado tomatillo sauce on a warm flour tortilla. Avocado Time booth.
Grilled Peach Toast — This pleasant mix of flavors begins with toasted sourdough bread, topped with ricotta-mascarpone cheese unfold, arugula salad and grilled peaches. Pacific Wharf Café.
Extremely hard Nacho Mac & Cheese — Mac ‘n’ cheese has usually been a finest-vendor at the festival just about every yr, however the recipes are usually shifting. As in earlier yrs, there are two various mac ‘n’ cheese choices this year. I most savored the Difficult Nacho Mac & Cheese, which comes with olives, jalapeños and guacamole and it’s fairly a big portion. Avocado Time booth. But for American foodstuff and meat-enthusiasts, there is also the decadent Carbonara-Garlic Mac & Cheese showcasing Nueske’s Peppered Bacon and Parmesan cheese. Garlic Kissed booth.
Petite Burrata — Burrata cheese, zesty pesto sauce, freeze-dried balsamic, tomatoes and olive jam are served on a slice of grilled ciabatta bread. The flavors have been wonderful, but my ciabatta was a bit soggy. Nuts About Cheese booth.
Mickey Mouse-formed Macaron — This yummy oversize French-influenced macaron sandwich cookie is crammed with caramel ganache and topped with peanuts and Snickers sweet bar parts. Nuts About Cheese booth.
Kenny’s Relatives Cheesecake — Freshness is the best aspect of this miniature cheesecake on graham-cracker crust topped with a blended berry compote. Berry Patch stand.
What to consume
Beer and wine costs are on the large facet at DCA. But there are plenty of non-alcoholic cocktails, espresso and fruit drinks. Right here are some superior bets:
Horchata Cold Brew — Cold brew coffee mixed with horchata, a Mexican rice and cinnamon consume. Of this year’s sweet beverages, it is the very best. Cappucino Cart, Pacific Wharf.
Central California Cooler — This fruit juice mix incorporates apple, orange and lemon juices combined with puréed peaches. It is considerably less sweet than many of the drinks this yr. Golden Goals booth.
Apple Tequila Colada — I’m sugar-averse when it will come to cocktails, but the tartness of the tequila and bite of Aperol stability the sweetness of the coconut cream and apricot purée. D’LISH booth.
Beating the strains
Just like at the county reasonable, several park-goers arrive mainly to attempt new food items things for the duration of the festival season. The traces can get incredibly prolonged all through the lunch and dinner hours, so in this article are my ideas for cutting down the wait around.
Use the no cost Tasting Passport to map out what you are likely to get in advance, then go to any festival booth and buy and fork out for all of the things at the very same time. Then you can bypass the invest in line at each individual booth and go straight to the food items decide on-up window with your receipt. The attendant will cross off the merchandise you’re picking up, then return it to you so you can get it other booths.
Start off your tasting working day deep into the park at Paradise Garden Grill and do the job your way back to Buena Vista Sq.. The traces are constantly longest the closer you get to the park entrance.
Invest in the Sip & Savor Go. You may perhaps not save a ton of dollars this way, but the go can be worn close to your neck on a lanyard and is cash-totally free. Just snap a tab off the plastic pass at the cashier’s station when you buy.
For a lot more, pay a visit to disneyland.disney.go.com.