Kristen Carr | @thehappiestclubonearth
Disney’s California Adventure has become the festival park, with food festivals running throughout the year. But none more anticipated or flocked to than Food & Wine. Running now through April 25th.
With 12 food booths offering small plates of varying levels of culinary expectations, this limited-time offering sprinkled throughout the park does a great job of highlighting California-focused and grown ingredients.
Any park ticket holder with a reservation or park hopping ability to DCA has access to the food options. And for an additional advanced purchase, there are even celebrity, local and Disney chefs offering culinary demonstrations, tasting seminars and signature events.
Although this event does not offer much kid-friendly foods which is understandable as it’s more focused on the elevated theme park palate, they are including more plant-based, allergy-friendly and gluten-free options this year. The Paradise Garden Grill is functioning as a sort of plant-based purveyor.
That being said, here’s my top 5 items for all different foodies to try from the long list of special offerings.
Cluck-A-Doodle Moo - BBQ Beef Brisket Slider
Who knew a slider could be more than just a slider? Personally I’m not a big fan of burgers as a whole, but as a foodie at heart, I can’t deny when something is truly tasty, and this one is a must try! I received a generous portion of brisket, and the Fiscalini Farmstead Smoked Cheddar was the perfect accent to the meat’s flavor profile. The salt and pepper brioche bun was both airy and soft and the pickles were crisp and fresh, complementing every bite rather perfectly.
Grab our Food & Wine inspired tee for the perfect festival-filled day!
Paradise Garden Grill - IMPOSSIBLE Gyro Fries
Come one, come all to this lovely twist of a menu item, that also happens to be vegan! This serving of waffle fries is topped with gyro-spiced IMPOSSIBLE ground beef, cauliflower cheese sauce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, tzatziki, and a pita bread slice. I will say, I wish it was all on a big slab of pita to wrap it all up like some form of junkyard gyro, but the flavors are bright overall and the herb-infused tzatziki gives it all a wonderfully authentic flavor.
Garlic Kissed - Carbonara-Garlic Mac & Cheese
This festival always has a mac & cheese offering of some kind and they brought this fan favorite back while thankfully NOT bringing back the peanut butter and jelly version. As soon as you’re handed this one, right away you notice the perfectly toasted parmesan-garlic panko topping and peppered bacon. Under all that goodness is a heaping of rich, creamy and oh-so-delectable cheese sauce covering textured noodles and salty parmesan forward flavor. This one was made for wrapping you up in its comfort for these unusually cold SoCal days and nights we’ve been having.
Peppers Cali-Ente - Chile Relleno Empanada
Have an aversion to spice? Beware. Devoted to dishes inspired by Mexican food, this booth is full of heat, as peppers are the showstoppers in every bite. I personally love some spice and the well balanced use of arbol peppers and California chiles! Raised in a Mexican family, becoming a vegetarian at a young age was quite difficult on my food options. But let me tell you, I could have eaten this empanada daily and would have never complained. It’s a perfectly flaky and crisp shell filled with arbol pepper salsa and Oaxaca and cotija cheeses. I won’t share how many of these I’ve already consumed, but hopefully there’s some leftover for you to try.
Nuts About Cheese - Mickey Mouse-shaped Macaron
After a long love and constant promotion of the Rose Macaron at Jolly Holiday and all the special macarons Kayla’s Cakes creates, I realized I am a die hard macaron lover. And this item returning to Food & Wine this year just may be the shining star. An oversized, picture worthy chocolate Mickey macaron filled with caramel ganache and SNICKERS cookie bar pieces is worth packing a to-go box for a bonus one to take home. It’s large, very rich and absolutely delectable, and personally, exemplifies exactly what I would expect from the Disney pastry chefs of a truly well executed food festival.
Who would I be if I didn’t mention a cold-brew? Apparently, still me because I can’t in good conscience steer you to the Blueberry Pancake offering this year. It just isn’t it. But, there is a lovely non-alcohlic drink called the Echo Park cooler over at the LA Style booth. It’s a lovely mocktail of Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co. Ceylon & raspberry rose tea, raspberry purée, lychee and rose syrups and lime juice garnished with a lime wheel.
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