Saturday, July 2, 2011

Quick Service Dining - DCA

Two brand new, long awaited, quick service dining restaurants opened yesterday on Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure Park - Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta and The Paradise Garden Grill.  The incredibly poor previous occupiers of the real estate have been closed for quite awhile - Pizza Ooom Mow Mow (now there's a stupid name) and closed even longer than that - Burger Invasion which was basically a high priced McDonald's. So far the the reports have been very good about the two new restaurants serving up (of course) flatbread pizzas, exotic and standard pastas, along with Mediterranean ka-bobs/skewers and salads. Not too mention, there is also a beer stand. It all sounds so good that a visit over there is top on my list for my next Disneyland Resort trip.

The new restaurants were very much needed because quick service dining is made of up of some pretty slim pickings for the rest of the park. Of the rest - hear would be some of our favorite selections:

Pacific Wharf Cafe usually gets high marks for its soups (breadbowl), salads (again, served in a breadbowl), and sandwhiches (just plain bread). There's usually a line so a place has to be good, right? Generally, it is. I think the Shrimp Louie Salad (in the picture above) is my sister's favorite thing to eat in either park and she usually has to have it more than once. Personally, I'm not a fan of the tiny bay shrimp but who am I to argue? Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and myself have had the soups and they are good, but not great, and certainly not in the same ballpark as the fantastic Baked Potato soup served up at the Carnation Cafe in Disneyland. I think my biggest complaint was the soup just didn't seem hot enough. I really can blow on my soup if its too hot. I'm a big boy now.

Cocina Cucamonga is Pacific Wharf's neighbor and probably my favorite place as long as you know what to order (this seems to be the trick when picking any quick service dining facility in either park). I have never had any luck at all with what they try to pass off as carne asada beef. It always seems to be something akin to shoe leather. You will have better look with the citrus marinated chicken (though it too can be a bit dry). My best choice would be the chicken tamales - these are good and very consistent from visit to visit. What sucks is during the 2010 Food and Wine Festival, Concina Cucamonga served a fantastic chili relleno. I think I had two this three times in during our 5 day stay. Unfortuately when the Food and Wine Festival closed, the relleno went away. This should have been a keeper.

The Lucky Fortune Cookery is the third option in the Pacific Wharf dining area. I've never eaten here. Somehow, around $10 for a rice bowl seems to be pretty steep. Yeah, I'll stick with the tamales.

Corn Dog Castle back on Paradise Pier is artery clogging decadence. They make a pretty good corn dog here and big enough to split with someone unless you really want to walk around with a gut full of grease after eating one. They are memorable.

Award Wiener over at what used to be Hollywood Pictures Back Lot is a good choice if you like your dogs and sausages on a bun. Pretty good offerings at a good price but in the end - it is what it is.

Taste Pilot's Grill has provided me and Mrs. DisneylandTraveler some interesting dining experiences. Our first visit, we went with the burgers - hers cheddar, mine blue cheese. When Disney serves a burger, it typically is served well done, and well done usually means dry. Disappointing. Doing some research, other websites said to forget the burgers and go for the chicken sandwiches. This we did with much better results with both the grilled and fried breaded chicken sandwiches. Not disappointing at all. And Taste Pilot's Grill offers a "fixins" bar so you have some options to doctor your food up (as long as someone hasn't gone in and thrashed it all making it a disgusting mess). Haven't tried the ribs here - if I want ribs, I'm heading over to Big Thunder BBQ.

So that's why the two new places were desperately needed. When you're in Disneyland and you want something quick and good to eat, you ask "Where do you want to go?". When you're over in DCA and want something quick and good to eat at least now maybe your first response won't be "You want to go back over to Disneyland?".

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