07 November, 2012

Disneyland Eats: Flo's V8 Cafe, Cafe Orleans, Jolly Holiday, & Mint Julep Bar

This is another mish-mosh of Disneyland foodie stuff that didn't warrant a full post individually, and I loved every single bite of it!  

Flo's V8 Cafe

After the runDisney meetup, we were treated to breakfast at Flo's V8 Cafe.  I wish I took more photos while in there but we were starving and talking and I completely forgot!  

I'm slightly obsessed with tamale's.  I'm not sure WHY I love them so much but I do.  So when I saw a chicken tamale on the breakfast menu?  Heaven!  I proceeded to order this again when we went back a few days later.  

Might be my favorite counter service breakfast on either coast.  I'm NOT a fan of the mass produced eggs that Disney always serves at all counter service (and some buffets) so I wasn't sure what to expect.  But the tamale was delicious and had a good amount of chicken in it, and the salsa verde and pico de gallo masked the eggs enough for me that I loved every bite.  

Chicken Tamale Breakfast - Chicken Tamale, scrambled eggs, salsa verde and Pico de Gallo

And you can't deny that Flo's doesn't have a great view.  If you sit outside you can watch the dueling cars on Radiator Springs Racers!

Cafe Orleans

I have been eyeing the chicken gumbo crepe on this menu since last year.  And it didn't disappoint at all!  It was slightly too salty for me but still very edible.  I loved the little kick from the andouille sausage and the asparagus and potatoes were cooked perfectly.  Plus put anything in a crepe and I'm usually happy.

Chicken Gumbo Crepe - Sauteed chicken, andouille sausage, tasso ham and Creole gumbo sauce

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

Didn't get a chance to try any of the 'real' food at Jolly Holiday but got a few desserts and a quiche throughout the week!

Chocolate Flourless Cake

The chocolate flourless cake was dense and rich!  But it was tasty.  I'm pretty sure this was gluten free, MAYBE....but don't quote me on it.  It'd definitely get it again.

Ham and Cheese Quiche
The ham and cheese quiche was also really good and I could have probably eaten about 3 of these in one sitting.  The fruit salad was slightly a disappointment   Every fruit salad I had at Disneyland was slightly too over ripe and on the verge of going bad.  I'd pick out like 3 pieces of fruit each time and toss the rest.

Lemon Tart

I love anything lemon so was excited to try this one.  This was perfectly lemony but I wish the crust on the bottom was graham cracker instead of a cake consistency.

Mint Julep Bar

Obviously we had to stop here at least once on our trip, I'm surprised we didn't go more often.  Last year I was skeptical about a bourbon-free mint julep but I like these.  They aren't too sweet and just minty enough that it doesn't taste like mouthwash.  Definitely refreshing!

And then of course there's the Mickey beignets!  One of these years I would love to head west for the fall when they start serving the pumpkin beignets.  MMMMMM   These are always awesome.  Reminds me of zeppoles at the carnivals and Italian feasts back home.  We had fun teaching the couple in line behind us about these doughy pillows of heaven.  They had never heard of them so we insisted that they order them and then showed them how to cover them in sugar and eat them.  We turned them into addicts I think.  :)

06 November, 2012

Disneyland Eats: Steakhouse 55

On our first night in Disneyland, we wanted to splurge a little and start off our vacation right! One place that neither of us had been yet was Steakhouse 55.

Walking in it looks like a typical Steakhouse, dark woods, white table cloths, etc.  They want you to feel as if you stepped back in time to an old Hollywood club.  There are huge photos on the wall of celebrities at parties having meals so we assumed that the photos were taken here, when it was originally called Granville's but were told that they were taken all over Hollywood.

View before it got busy!

Unfortunately I think I was too hungry to take a photo of all of Pat's food too but I have all of mine!  I love me a good onion soup so when I saw a seven onion soup, I couldn't pass it up.  I was forewarned though that this isn't traditional French Onion and no melted cheese would be present.  

"Steakhouse 55" Seven Onion Soup

This was delicious, even without the melted cheese.  It was heartier than traditional onion soup and I was surprised at how filling it was.  There were parmesan crisps in there so I still had the cheese flavor.  When the dish was presented at the table, the bowl was empty except for the 'non-soup' items....the parmesan crisp, parsley, etc.  The server then poured the soup into the bowl at the table.

Filet Mignon

I ended up ordering my go-to meal at a steakhouse, the filet mignon.  I've tried every other cut of meat but this is still my favorite.  The filet was cooked perfectly medium as requested but it wasn't my favorite filet ever.  It was seasoned nicely but I still felt as if it were missing something.  It also wasn't as tender as I had hoped.  But it was still enjoyable and I devoured it.

For side dishes, we chose the green beans with bacon and the mac and cheese with bacon.  You can obviously never have too much bacon!  Both were very good but I think the string beans were my favorite.  I'm not a fan of blue/gorgonzola cheese or anything in that moldy family and I could taste it a bit in the mac and cheese, hence my slight aversion to it.  

Sauteed Green Beans with Applewood-Smoked Bacon
Macaroni and Cheese, 4 cheeses and bacon

The winner of the meal though, hands down, was dessert.  The server raved about the chocolate layer cake and I was tempted to try it but Pat and I couldn't keep our eyes off of the Root Beer Baked Alaska.  I'm in LOVE with root beer and root beer floats so this was right up my alley.  We had no idea what to expect but we ordered it anyway (Pat nixed the idea of ordering the chocolate cake as well lol).

The root beer float was just that, a mini root beer float.  But the baked alaska was amazing.  There was root beer ice cream under the meringue and the meringue was charred perfectly.  It reminded me of Fluff, the marshmallow topping that we used to make sandwiches with.  I could have easily had another order of this since it was so light.

"Root Beer" Baked Alaska - Root Beer Ice Cream, Root Beer Float Shooter Pound Cake

At the entrance of Steakhouse 55, there were a few photos of Walt that I had to snap pics of.  The lounge was pretty busy when we arrived and looked like a nice place to grab a drink.   Maybe next time!

Photos of Walt by the entrance
Photos of Walt by the entrance

05 November, 2012

Disneyland Eats: UVA Bar, Dole Whips, Starbucks & a Midnight Snack

Had started writing this during the storm and didn't get a chance to finish it!

I realized I never posted any reviews or pics of the rest of our Disneyland trip!  My friends and I always joke that we do these Disney races so that we can stuff our faces the remainder of the trip with all the yummy goodness that the parks and hotels have to offer, and Disneyland is no different.  I'll be posting a few of these of the highlights (which will be a lot!)

Overall, Disneyland wins, hands down, when it comes to food on either coast.  Not sure if it's because the locals demand better quality in Cali or if Florida just dumbs it down for the masses, but I really hope that Florida starts to take some ideas from Cali and ups the ante.  It looks like they're doing that with Be Our Guest but we'll have to wait and see how that pans out!

Uva Bar

When we first arrived, Pat and I have made it an annual tradition (all two years so far) apparently to stop for a drink and apps at Uva Bar in Downtown Disney.  Honestly?  It might be one of my favorite places on property.

Doing our Beers and Ears duty, we both ordered a beer sampler so we can taste most of their drafts.  The bartender messed up our order a bit and we ended up with a few dups but we didn't complain too much.

My sampler:  Bootlegger's UVA Pilsner, North Coast Blue Star Wheat, Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat, Green Flash Hop Head Red

My favorite out of all of them was hands down the Tangerine Wheat.  SO GOOD!  I think Pat's favorite was the Firestone.

Pat's Sampler:  North Coast Blue Star Wheat, Stone IPA, Green Flash Hop Head Red, Firestone Double Barrel

As for food?  I think I could easily live off of these corn arepas for the rest of my life if need be.  The pork was perfectly marinated and went amazing with the arepa, peppers, avocado, and mojo sauce.

Another surprising winner?  The shishito peppers!  I had no idea what to expect when we got them but the bartender said people rave about them and they're addicting like potato chips.  She wasn't kidding.  They weren't spicy really but had a great smokey flavor and the salt and garlic emulsion was a perfect compliment.  I just started salivating thinking about this meal.

The guac was also really good but paled in comparison to the other two options.

Corn Arepas - seared corn cakes topped with pull pork, mojo sauce, cilantro, shaved red onio

Guacamole - Chef's handmade recipe with avocados, lime, chile, Cotija cheese, served with crisp olive oil brushed flatbread

Shishito Peppers - Sea salt, lemon garlic emulsion

Dole Whips!

After our stomach's were full of all the yummy goodness, we attacked Disneyland and then got ready for a delicious meal at Steakhouse 55 (those photos and review to come in another post).  But of course we had to have one of many Dole Whips and Dole Whip Floats.  Did you guys know that if you order the very first dole whip float of the day, you get a pin?  :)  This pic was from a few days into our trip but they all looked the same and tasted fab... although I STILL think the ones in WDW are slightly different (and better).  :)

After dinner we headed to California Adventure and checked out Cars Land (Amazing!).

Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe

Oh, and I lost how many times on this trip that I begged asked to head to California Adventure so I can quickly run in to the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe to get my Starbucks fix!  We need this baby to open up in Florida ASAP.  They still need to work on the service since it took FOREVER to get any drink every time, but I put up with it.  They should come to NYC and see how these baristas can work through a line of 20 people in under 5 mins, no joke.  I didn't get to eat there but the food looked yummy!

Starbucks at Disney!  Woot!

Grand Californian Hotel

When we sleepily stumbled into our room at the Grand Californian, we were surprised with an awesome bed time snack, milk and cookies!

Milk and Cookies

The cookies were awesome.  They were a mix of everything... chocolate chips, cranberries, walnuts.  I saved one for the next morning and it was still amazing.  Mmmmmmmmmmm!  

02 November, 2012

The Sandy Aftermath

Today has been the first day I've been able to get online since Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey on Monday.  With only having my phone to communicate with the outside world, I was trying really hard not to FB or tweet much to conserve my battery.  We have been without power since Monday night and it was finally restored in our building around 10am this morning.  I have never been so excited so sit in my apartment and do nothing but watch tv with the heat on full blast.

We were fortunate enough to only have a broken storm window on our balcony, a missing balcony wall (it wasn't too sturdy to begin with and many of the "walls" on other balconies in my building are also gone), and a car rear window smashed.  I just started watching the news and the widespread devastation is breaking my heart.  Seeing the photos and video of the Jersey Shore and Staten Island blows my mind.  Many friends in nearby towns still haven't been able to move back into their homes either and when they do they're in for a very long recovery.

Power is slowly coming back everywhere but it is painstakingly slow.  In no way am I saying that PS&G (our power company in the area) isn't doing their job, it's just completely overwhelming for them.  This is the worst power outage they've seen in their 105 year history they say.  The night of the storm it seriously looked like daylight due to all of the transformers on fire and blowing up.  Insane.

Power companies from all over the country have been flocking here to help out the area and I know the guys that brought power back to my power grid were from Florida.  I think the one thing that kept more people from going crazy was PSE&G was very active on twitter keeping customers up to date with what was going on.  They weren't able to give specifics many times but just knowing they were listening I think was helping ease people's anxiety.  

Trying to find gas is a complete mess here.  I went out yesterday morning and waited in line for 1.5 hours until I was able to fill up.  But it's just getting worse and worse.  A friend waited for 5 hours today getting gas and there are now people losing their minds and getting into fights on the side of the highway.  Just scary.

Trying to keep everyone from going crazy, our CrossFit box has been holding outdoor parking lot workouts for the past two days since they didn't have power either.  It's felt good to get the blood flowing again and, for me, was worth using gas to get there.  Luckily I heard that they just got power back this afternoon too.

A friend and I couldn't take being cooped up in our houses any more so we went for a walk to find some coffee.  There are still huge trees down that have taken down power lines and poles.  And these pics are 4 days after the storm and after some of the debris has been cleared away.

And now with this Nor'Easter that they're talking about hitting us early next week?   PLEASE go away.  :(   I'm not sure some of these families can handle any more.