California Grill - Picture Report - Relive the experience! ADDED MAY '09 Pics Page 23

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by ehagerty, Jan 20, 2007.

  1. Huskerfamilyof5

    Huskerfamilyof5 I want a Minnie Mouse tatoo for my next birthday!

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    Thanks so much for the post and pics, we have a ADR for our Dec. trip. We are celebrating my inlaws 50th Wedding Aniv. there and hope to have a window seat to watch the fireworks. I mentioned this when I made our ADR, should I call again a week or so before we leave? I can't wait to try some of those dishes. I can see I will have issues making up my mind. Thanks again!
     
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  3. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    You note that you will be there in December. Some weeks are really SLOW and some are really BUSY. It is easier to accommodate requests during slower periods. Since I almost always make my reservation for 5:30, I always get a window seat. During slow periods, Wishes is at 8:00 - which means you can book for 5:30, enjoy a leisurely meal and, if you take your time, still be at the window seat at 8:00 when Wishes starts. This assumes you are working in concert with your server - that is, that they know what you are trying to do and are collaborating with the pace that will get you there (otherwise, they will go at restaurant pace - each course following the other fairly efficiently). There is also an unwritten "rule" that if you occupy a table for more than 2 hours that you tip higher to make up for what the server lost by not turning over the table. You probably already knew that, but not everyone who reads these posts may be familiar with US tipping customs and I don't want be accused of giving advice that hurts the servers financially.

    I prefer a windowseat because I like to take food pictures in natural light (no flash). That is really the primary reason the CG food pictures are so superior to most of my other food pictures (although AP and GVTea also have natural light, and therefore beautiful pictures). I don't actually care if I am sitting for Wishes - once again, my preference is to be on the balcony - so I can take pictures without window reflections from the restaurant. See - different "requirements" call for different plans!!!

    If you want to be sitting at a window seat during Wishes, you need to start with knowing when Wishes is scheduled for that date (sounds like December schedule is posted on Disney's site from a previous poster's comments) - and back up from there - including a buffer for additional wait because you can't register your request until you checkin at the podium on the second floor, therefore, you cannot fully predict / control how long you will wait.

    Recap:
    • The only way (that I know of) to guarantee a window table without a wait is to book for 5:30, then check in as early as 5:00 pm.
    • The only way to have a window table under other circumstances is to check-in early at the podium for your reservation and be mentally prepared to wait (maybe you'll get lucky and not have to...).

    Some people just don't like eating at 5:30 - too early. It happens to be my preference - I like the window table, natural light for pictures, glorious sunset, and casual transition to Wishes on the balcony (in early December, anyway). But as I made reference a few posts ago, we have done multiple scenarios, and the are all wonderful - there really aren't any bad choices, and "optimal" is in the eye of the beholder.

    Click here for multiple scenario recap

    In response to your other question - I would guess that 95% of the time, my reservation requests are present when I check in. That said, if it is important to you, it doesn't do any harm to call a week out and have them read your requests back to you to make sure they are present. Then reiterate it at each customer service contact point (podium check in, restaurant lobby checkin, server greeting, etc.) until you are convinced they've "got it".

    Did that answer your questions - or create more confusion??
     
  4. araishin

    araishin Going Goofy and in the Mud with my Bud

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    For any doubters about the California Grill, you have to go. We just got back from a trip and the food was delicious. The fireworks really capped off the night out on the balcony with the sound pumped through the speakers. The dessert was heavenly. I personally suggest the Caramel Butterscotch Banana Foster.
     
  5. PNO4TE

    PNO4TE <font color=blue>DIS Musician<br><font color=red>P

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    Ellen -- sorry we missed you on 9/27. Walter was not working that night, or at least not by the time we arrived. We had a server who was OK, but not stellar, by any stretch of the imagination.

    One of the hostesses came and took out picture which was emailed to us. That was a delightful touch, we thought. Our meal was fine. Not the best we had all week, but good. The CG came up a bit in my opinion, but they did not impress my DH yet. FYI - we loved our dinner at Citricos despite a very harried waiter.

    I look forward to reading your report of your dinner and to seeing the photos you took that night!
     
  6. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Dang - I did a virtual forehead-slap more than once since 9/27 - each time I remembered I forgot to look for you. I have an excuse - not good enough, but better than pure negligence. We ate at 5:30 - had Ron for a waiter (yes, Walter was off - Ron is pretty darn good, too). Finished about 7:30 and hurried over to GF Cafe, where a friend (who lives in Florida) was having dinner with her daughter. We actually returned to CG balcony with them to see Wishes, and left AGAIN without thinking to look. I did have my camera around my neck the whole time - and my hair is still distinctly gray (should have looked unique). Off course, I remembered as soon as my friend left. Duh.

    Alas, I shall do what I can to make it up and focus tonight on posting my CG pictures.
     
  7. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Context isn't everything, but it's something.....

    There are a few elements worthy of noting as I begin....

    Normally I have multiple dishes to photograph - dinner for four, times appetizer, entree, dessert, etc. I also like to try new things, "chef recommends" (unless it is clams casino in a diner, for you Seinfeld fans) - sometimes just to get new photos!! Not so this time. I will have to create new shots on items you've already seen. Not too many photographic surprises in this photofest, but it is still enjoyable to remember THE FOOD!!

    Enjoying the play of light on the table, the sun on the water behind the screen....

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    ...and the simple sense of place-setting

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    With Mickey Glitter

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    The usual bread, oil - and glitter!!

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    .... or just a minimalist portrait of a bread crumb

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    For some reason, I really like this shot - the wine was good, too

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    Fun with confetti - thought about recommending this to kids at a nearby table but didn't want to interrupt them in the middle of portable DVD movie...

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    Click here to continue to next post of pictures



    .
     
  8. ghidorah97

    ghidorah97 Mouseketeer

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    I know that I've said this already in another thread, but I just love your photography. Your composition is simply superb.

    Thanks again for sharing and can't wait to see more!
     
  9. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    A little more context.....

    On one end of the spectrum, some years I've used meal vouchers, meal plans - and at the other end (the early DVC years), I packed sandwiches and soda for lunch in the park, and Lipton's chicken noodle soup in the microwave for dinner (and with the savings, came to WDW twice a year instead of once a year). The combination of the DDP and digital camera resulted in pictures of many wonderful meals. The 2008 DDP isn't cost-effective enough for us, so, I plan fewer meals - and the meals we do commit to, fewer dishes, paid with DDE. A rather long-winded lead-in to a meal of few dishes.

    Appetizer - Foie Gras

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    The view

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    Sushi condiments

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    Sushi Series

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    The view - again


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  10. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    I'm afraid this is the extent of the SEP '08 CG pictures!! Next up - Jan '09 (as long as SWA comes through on reasonable flights).
     
  11. PNO4TE

    PNO4TE <font color=blue>DIS Musician<br><font color=red>P

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    I probably did see you; we were sitting by the window as everyone was traipsing out to see Wishes! We just didn't seem to connect that night. :( I look forward to seeing your photos as I continue reading. :goodvibes
     
  12. PNO4TE

    PNO4TE <font color=blue>DIS Musician<br><font color=red>P

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    and once again... gorgeous photos

    Thank you
     
  13. hmillerbarilla

    hmillerbarilla DIS Veteran

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    I just love reading your reviews & your pics are always magnificent!

    We dined at CG in September. There was a horrible storm that night & DH & I got drenched on our walk over! But, our meal was unbelieveable and we had a really romantic evening.

    I think I had Ron last year as my server. This year we had Ryan and he was very professional. I plan to ask for him again.

    Thanks for keeping us updated with your adventures!:goodvibes
     
  14. TigerKat

    TigerKat DIS Veteran

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    As always simply incredible photos!:worship:
     
  15. LJD2143

    LJD2143 DIS Veteran & DVC Member

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    AMAZING photos once again Ellen! You can even make a bread crumb look interesting! :worship:

    My mouth is already watering in anticipation of our 5:30pm ADR on Nov. 30th!!!:tongue:
     
  16. tigger536

    tigger536 DIS Veteran

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    Beautiful photos as usual. CG is one of my favorites. One question - which types of sushi did you order? The tuna sashmi looks devine! What else did you have?
     
  17. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    ....once again, you're welcome! How long will you be there over Christmas? We are thinking about coming down 1/2/09 - depends on SWA.

    We had all of 2 minutes of rain the entire trip - after we left WDW under the arch, on our way to the airport!!

    Glad to hear you had a memorable experience at CG.

    If you are interested, I am posting many pictures - not ALL food, but mostly - in a rather haphazard manner, but I think all of the links are there:

    Click here for link to Trip Report

    Thank you

    I think someone else on this thread is going to be there over Thanksgiving, too. Mentioned in an earlier post. Enjoy - looks like Walter, Ron and Ryan are all popular choices for server.

    We ordered "omikase" (sushsi chef's choice) - basically, here at the CG, it is a collection of items offered on the sushi menu. The items with caviar on top are from the "Yellowfin Tuna 3 Ways" - there is some sashimi (didn't post picture originally, but here it is)

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  18. PNO4TE

    PNO4TE <font color=blue>DIS Musician<br><font color=red>P

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    We are there from 12/21-12/27, so our meeting is postponed once again!
     
  19. chunkygal

    chunkygal Mouseketeer

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    we ate there last week after fond memories from a few years ago. The food was good. With drinks and all over $200 for two, but what was different was the lack of enforcement of dress code and all the KIDS there. We sat next to a couple who allowed their son to crawl all over the floor under everyones tables and two little princesses who were crying and at the end of their rope. This to me is not a kids restaraunt and I resented the parents who seemed to think it was mcdonalds. We were there early (6 pm). It is unrealistic to expect the wait staff or me to discipline your children. Maybe they need an adult only area. there are plenty of rest for kids at disney. Do you think its because of the dining plan?
     
  20. ehagerty

    ehagerty DIS Veteran

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    Definitely!!! I am sure they are trying to figure out what can be done diplomatically, including proliferation of DVD players at the table. They are going to have to do something, but I don't have a suggestion to offer them that I think will work!!

    That said, we have rarely had a problem, that is, something so irritating it couldn't be tuned out. Previous posters seem to prefer eating later on the assumption that there are fewer kids. It doesn't appear that way to me, but maybe those who eat later are better behaved - as though they went home from the parks and rested and/or dressed up for the occasion. The families that I usually see that exhibit behavior you are describing are trying to tack a signature meal at the end of a park day. Kids are tired, overly hungry and/or hyped up on park food. Even with the fun of the parks, the kids really can't run off steam - so they're an overtired, combustible mess. I agree that parents should have the wherewithal to change plans under these circumstances, but with the $20/pp non-refundable cancellation policy in place, maybe they decide to forge on into the restaurant regardless of circumstances.

    If it is any consolation, most of the signature dining restaurants we went to over the past couple of years had similar situations, but not every restaurant, every night. For example Citricos was relatively peaceful, probably because it is less known, less accessible if you don't know Disney well, in the GF, etc.

    Send your comments to Guest Relations / Communications. I know CG management is aware of it, because we were chatting with the manager about it in June. It never hurts to be heard, so that they can create new policies "because the customers are asking for it."
     
  21. Sandy321

    Sandy321 <font color=darkorchid>Crazy enough to want to do

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    We had a fabulous time - and we got the Mickey Glitter - I want to share!!

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    and DD arranged them:
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    (I wont poste, but she also stuck them on DH's nose!! :rotfl: )

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    I didnt think to take a picture of the entire table - I was so happy to get a window seat!!

    I hesitate to post my photos - they are plain!!
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    this is the petite chicken, with a leek and gnocci
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    DH had the Grouper

    DD had flatbread - I made sure to order NON whole wheat, she didnt want the child's flatbread - she wanted the cheese flatbread, but with tomato sauce...
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