Ahh, the requisite trek to Disneyland and California Adventure. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t also look forward to riding the bobsleds down the Matterhorn, finding the hidden treasure on Pirates of the Caribbean, or discovering the mysteries of the Enchanted Tiki Room. The memories these invoke are priceless, and for once, dining is not the central focus. However, on our recent trip, we enjoyed a couple of fun meals which only enhanced our overall experience.
We stayed at the Grand Californian Hotel to have early access to the theme parks. This hotel won me over a few years ago when, on a surprise trip to Dland, our son came down with a nasty stomach flu. The staff went out of their way to make him comfortable by arranging for us to see the nurse, helping us get medicine for him, and providing us with passes for rides during the few hours of the day that his fever broke. They went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure his trip was not ruined.
The architecture of the hotel celebrates the Arts and Crafts movement of the 1900’s. The Grand Californian also has a full-service spa and several dining options, our favorite of which is the Napa Rose. We also usually hit the Blue Bayou in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. The ambiance here is what we seek. Although situated in a large building, diners have the illusion they are seated on the patio of a New Orleans restaurant in the evening, replete with Spanish moss, fireflies, and the chirping of crickets.
But what does one do in California Adventure while waiting for your designated Fast Pass time for the new Radiator Springs Racers attraction? Check out Carthay Circle, which is located on the second floor of the reproduction of the Carthay Circle Theatre. The original theater has a prominent place in Walt Disney’s history, as it is there that in 1937 his first feature-length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, premiered. Entering off Buena Vista Street, you will find yourself in the lounge area, which serves drinks and tapas. The main dining area on the second floor features California cuisine in a decor of the Golden Age of Hollywood. For our party of five, we enjoyed a delicious lunch in a private dining area under a portrait of Julie Andrews clutching the Oscar she won for Best Actress in The Sound of Music. Start off with the Signature Fried Biscuits. Stuffed with white cheddar cheese, bacon and jalapeno, and served with apricot honey butter, they are divine. Next we ordered the Crispy Portobello Mushroom Gorditas, the Fire Cracker Duck Wings, the Ginger Pork Satay with Green Papaya Slaw and Mango Raita, the Roasted Beet Salad and the Roasted Organic Chicken Ruby Red Grapefruit Salad. Hubby and I washed it down with a bottle of 2010 Domaine William Fevre Chablis, and we were ready to conquer California Screamin’. Ok, maybe just Splash Mountain, but I am ok with that. Cheers!
|Interior of Carthay Circle|
|Our dining area was a tribute to Julie Andrews (please excuse flash)|
|Roasted Organic Chicken Ruby Red Grapefruit Salad|
|Roasted Beet Salad|
|Waiting for the Radiator Springs Racers ride in Cars Land|
|Snacking in Cars Land|
|I had to buy one of these for the souvenir cup|