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Old 01-27-2013, 10:48 AM   #1
DLFan123
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10 Days of Dining at Disneyland and Southern Cali with Pictures!

Hi all. I'm back for my second dining review! About us: me, 34 and lover of both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, lover of food too! DP 34 and along for the ride, now pretty much as smitten by Disney theme parks as I am. We both eat a mostly vegetarian diet but also eat seafood. We seem to eat more seafood when on vacation, simply because of the types of options we find at restaurants.

We spent 12 nights in southern California back in September, 7 nights in Anaheim (at our beloved Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel!) and 5 nights near San Diego. This review will focus on Disney food (with pics!) but at the end, I will include our food pics from the restaurants we sampled when we travelled "farther afield."

I hope you enjoy reading along, and thanks!

Subway and Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen
Snack from Downtown Disney
Gandhi Palace
Jolly Holiday Bakery
Harbour Galley and Hungry Bear Restaurant
Rancho del Zocalo
Flo's V8 Cafe (breakfast)
Flo's V8 Cafe (lunch)
Tortilla Jo's Downtown Disney
Charlie's Chili (Newport Beach)
Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta
Carnation Cafe
Snacks in DL and DCA
Cafe Orleans
Rancho del Zocalo (dinner #2)
Snack
Blue Bayou
Jolly Holiday Bakery (breakfast #2)
Carnation Cafe Lunch
Ghirardelli Soda Fountain
Royal Street Veranda
Jolly Holiday Bakery (treats)
Harbor Fish Cafe (Carlsbad)
Snack in San Diego
San Diego Pier Cafe (Seaport Village)
Anthony's Fish Grotto (San Diego Bay)
Coyote Cafe Old Town (Old Town)
Coronado Brewing Company (Coronado Island)
Carnation Cafe Take 2-Bonus from October Trip with Mom

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Old 01-27-2013, 11:08 AM   #2
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Our first day, breakfast from Subway and Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen

For our first day, we had decided to take it easy and not visit the parks. (What were we thinking???)

For breakfast, we wanted something light. I didn't want all that pre-trip dieting to go to waste before I even had a chance to meet Mickey Mouse!

We decided on Subway, the one right on Ball Ave just off of Harbor Blvd.


This is the new egg white flatbread with avocado and spinach.

Here is the good stuff inside:


Personally I enjoyed this meal very much. We picked it up and ate it poolside, and it was wonderful. It was one of those crisp, moist, southern California mornings, just the right weather for sitting out enjoying a healthful breakfast. I would eat this again next time we go. It is wonderful to have some cheap meal options so we can budget for the expensive meals we'll have while in the parks!

For lunch, we'd decided to walk in to downtown Disney and try Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen, because we'd heard such good things here on the Disboards.

When we arrived, we were seated in the dining room right away. We waited 30 minutes without a server, so that by the time our server did greet us, we had decided to move out to the patio, mostly to avoid having her as our server.

Our patio waiter was much better, prompt and courteous. We decided to split the Bourbon street sampler for an appetizer.


This consisted of popcorn calamari (ok), coconut shrimp (our favorite on the plate, but still nothing spectacular), crispy parmesan artichoke hearts (ok) and 3 dipping sauces. It is normally served with Louisiana meat pies, but we substituted those for more of something else, but I'm not sure what it was...
This was ok. A little chewy, nothing special and nothing better than we can get at a local Olive Garden or Red Lobster in Denver (but it costs more!). For the cost, I felt like the portion was a little small (I think we were served only one fried shrimp each). However, it was very heavy, heavier than most deep fried foods, so we decided to order salads for our main dishes.

DP ordered this:

Creole Caesar Salad, romaine hearts, roma tomatoes, parmesan cheese, creole caesar dressing and rosemary ciabatta toast

This was ok. DP loves spicy food and was hoping this would be spicy, but it was not. She said it wasn't as good as a regular caesar salad would have been.

I ordered the Louisiana Sauteed Seafood Salad without the applewood smoked bacon and substitute more shrimp and crawfish for the red snapper.


Mine was just ok also. The roasted red peppers on there really overpowered the seafood. The crawfish tails and shrimp might as well have not been there. I will say maybe I made a mistake by skipping the red snapper. It was pretty clear there had been some red snapper placed on the salad and then removed, because every now and then, I'd find a little piece of white, flakey fish in my salad, and it was delicious. The salad itself, shrimp and crawfish were all just "ok." Maybe Ralph Brennan's is more suited for meat eaters, but we frankly don't see what everyone else sees in this restaurant.

We were too full for dessert. All in all, we paid $65 for this lunch and don't really need to go back. We will consider the walk-up window for a dessert in the future, because people on the Dis rave about the desserts!

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Old 01-27-2013, 11:20 AM   #3
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Snack from Downtown Disney

We decided to pick up some snacks from downtown Disney after our lunch. These were for later, of course.

This was the best snack ever!


I enjoyed eating this for the next several days. It was the best cheese popcorn I've had in a long time!

Next was fudge from Marceline's.


This was very good, too, but it was much better when we let it come to room temperature rather than eating it straight out of the fridge. My favorite was the cookies and cream. The others were just like typical fudge to me, nothing too special.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:22 AM   #4
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Oooooooh! I'm excited for this report!

The family and I are really torn between DL or WDW and dining is one of the reasons I can't decide!

I'm subbing so I can follow along!
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldier's*Sweeties View Post
Oooooooh! I'm excited for this report!

The family and I are really torn between DL or WDW and dining is one of the reasons I can't decide!

I'm subbing so I can follow along!
I'm so happy you are here! It is a hard choice. We love to eat at both places so this is a hard one. Really there are pros and cons to visiting each destination, and no matter what you decide, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time (and some great food)! We have found eating to be more of an event and more on a schedule in Florida (mostly because you need ADRs for most decent restaurants), while when we are in Disneyland, we enjoy eating a bit more spontaneously and also tend to enjoy the extras/snacks a little more.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLFan123 View Post
I'm so happy you are here! It is a hard choice. We love to eat at both places so this is a hard one. Really there are pros and cons to visiting each destination, and no matter what you decide, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time (and some great food)! We have found eating to be more of an event and more on a schedule in Florida (mostly because you need ADRs for most decent restaurants), while when we are in Disneyland, we enjoy eating a bit more spontaneously and also tend to enjoy the extras/snacks a little more.


This is one of the reasons I am even considering DL.

WDW is my home park. I grew up right outside of Tampa but we went at least once a month as a kid and even had some week long onsite stays. It is SO scheduled now. We would pretty much be doing QS food because I can't even imagine my DH's response when I ask him 180 days out what he wants to eat.

I feel like DL is more relaxed. We can walk everywhere...If we give ourselves three or four days there we can be relaxed...Definitely more on par with DH's sense of vacation. The price tag with adding the airfare is the biggest stumbling block.

We have about a year to figure it out though. For now I will live vicariously through you!
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:36 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Soldier's*Sweeties View Post
This is one of the reasons I am even considering DL.

I feel like DL is more relaxed. We can walk everywhere...If we give ourselves three or four days there we can be relaxed...Definitely more on par with DH's sense of vacation. The price tag with adding the airfare is the biggest stumbling block.

We have about a year to figure it out though. For now I will live vicariously through you!
I agree with you! Disneyland is my "home park" and I only recently started venturing to Orlando. I love WDW, but one of my favorite things about DL is that you can walk everywhere. I also personally think the counter service at DL is in general a better quality than at WDW. You can have a great meal on the spot at both the table service and the quick service at DL.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:48 PM   #8
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I am in! Love, love, loved our trip to DL in 2010! I will drag myself away from WDW one of these years and go back!

We are meat eaters and Ralph Brennan's was our favorite meal on our trip. So much so that we went back a 2nd time. I do agree that it was pricey. I am sorry to hear that you were disappointed!
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:55 PM   #9
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Dinner at Gandhi Palace

For dinner, we tried a restaurant we have always wanted to taste, Gandhi Palace on the corner of Harbor and Katella. You can walk here from basically any of the hotels on Harbor Blvd, and the restaurant is in the Ramada hotel right there on Katella.



I apologize up front-we were excited and started eating before we started taking the pics. Also, I have always felt that Indian food is just not that photogenic.

For an appetizer, we decided to start with the vegetable samosas.


These were absolutely delicious, soft, hot and mildly spicy. The dipping sauce was delicious, too. Overall, I'd rate these better than the ones at our favorite Indian restaurant in Denver.

Our dinner was served with traditional basmati rice.

This was good, just what you'd expect.

We ordered a side of naan to enjoy with our meal.

Very good as well.

For our entrees, we chose two items from the vegetarian menu, the aloo saag and the baigan bhartha. We requested both "mild."


First off, these were way too spicy for me!

This is not a criticism. My DP absolutely loved this meal, because spice is her favorite food.

The eggplant was a little pickled tasting in my opinion, which I didn't really like and which I'm not used to in my experience eating Indian food. The spinach was fine, again just too spicy for me.

We would eat at this restaurant again. It was a nice break from the theme park crowds, and they serve a lunch buffet during the day. I think I'd opt for the buffet next time, since I could sample many of their dishes versus just a couple.

Also, we'd read some criticism of the restaurant online by people who were turned off by the ambience. The restaurant was eerily empty when we initially arrived, but by the time we left, there were many other tables there, including some local repeat customers. We found the decor typical although not particularly authentic, and the service and manager were courteous and met our needs.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:12 PM   #10
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Day 1 at Disneyland!

The next morning, we were up early and headed straight to Disneyland! We managed to ride several rides right away with very little waiting, including the Matterhorn Bobsleds with their new ride vehicles.


These are basically the same ride vehicles they use at Space Mountain in WDW. They are uncomfortable, and we missed the old vehicles. But I am off track here...this is a dining review after all, not a ride vehicle review.

By this time, we were feeling quite hungry for breakfast, and we both decided we'd like to relax and indulge on main street at the new Jolly Holiday Bakery.
There are lots of nice little tables outside, and you can see there was no crowd at this time of day.



We started with a latte.

This was fine. This is one of the few places you can get an actual espresso drink in DL, and it was just what we needed to kick off our stellar breakfast.

For breakfast, we split the strawberry and lemon cupcake, along with a plain croissant with butter on the side.


These were both delicious and I can't wait to have them again! The croissant was soft, buttery and flakey. The cupcake was dense and moist.

This is me, looking very happy that I am about to consume a cupcake and a pastry at 9am, since I'm not in the habit of eating desserts for breakfast.
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Old 01-27-2013, 01:25 PM   #11
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After a few more rides, a lovely visit to the goats at the petting zoo, and a front row seat for Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, we were ready for lunch.

My DP wanted to get one of her favorites at DL, the fried green tomato sandwich with sweet potato fries from the Hungry Bear Restaurant in Critter Country.

She always loves this meal. This is a good sized portion, and I usually get as many bites as I want.

I decided to pick up a salad from the Harbour Galley which is just on the other side of Splash Mountain.

These is a nice salad with a large portion of salmon as well as lots of nice tasty bits in it, including wheat berries and dried cherries. Very nutritious and also filling. It comes with a drizzle of aioli on top, and then you can choose your dressing from a variety of packets they have available.

After lunch, we walked back to our hotel for a rest and a swim, and then we were back in the park for the afternoon parade. By this time, we had worked up an appetite for a snack.

We started with popcorn and vitamin water.

This was just how it looks, the popcorn good and salty, and the vitamin water refreshing.

We also enjoyed some ice cream from the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor, but we were so excited I forgot to take a picture of it.
The ice cream was very tasty as always.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:28 PM   #12
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I'm glad to hear that the Fried Green Tomato Sandwich is good! It's on my list of things I want to try. I LOVE fried green tomatoes.

I might try to replicate it at home one of these days.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:46 PM   #13
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I'm going to be taking my first "real" trip to DL this summer (I was there for a day about 7 or 8 years ago) and I'm so excited to read this review!! I truly don't know much about food options at DL like I do at WDW so I'm really looking forward to this. That fried green tomato sandwich looks messy and filling and yummy!! I must write that down.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:58 PM   #14
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I'm going to be taking my first "real" trip to DL this summer (I was there for a day about 7 or 8 years ago) and I'm so excited to read this review!! I truly don't know much about food options at DL like I do at WDW so I'm really looking forward to this. That fried green tomato sandwich looks messy and filling and yummy!! I must write that down.
Welcome! The Hungry Bear is one of our fav lunch spots simply for the atmosphere. It is nestled at the back of Critter Country and opens at 11. The entrance can be tough to spot unless you've just come off of the Winnie the Pooh ride or Splash Mountain. This means it is often not crowded until noonish. The tables are shaded but outdoors and overlook the Rivers of America. You can see or watch ducks. They have seating up or down, so be sure to see which you think you'd prefer (I believe you order up and then have to take the stairs down). They have a lemon cupcake I've wanted to try since they added it to the menu! Maybe next time.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:18 PM   #15
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Howdy from Denver! Love your report...I haven't been to DL since 2005 and want to go back in the next year or two so I love reports like yours.

Jill in CO
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