Monday, May 7, 2012

Disneyland Dining - Rancho del Zocalo

The flowering bougainvillea that laces over the trellis above the outdoor dining of the Rancho del Zocalo counter service restaurant is one of the most beautiful, stunning sites in Disneyland. Just gorgeous. If you are dining below with meal from Rancho del Zocalo then beauty may be the furthest thing from your mind.

Of all the dining places Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I have frequented in Disneyland over the last couple of years, Rancho del Zocalo has been the most consistently disappointing. Disappointing to the point where we don't even bother to go there anymore. Now Mrs. DLT love Mexican food but what Rancho del Zocalo tries to pass off as true Mexican cuisine well, you'd probably get a better meal from Taco Bell.

At one time Rancho del Zocalo was a hybrid restaurant with one side serving Mexican dishes and the other side serving up Bar-B-Que which was actually pretty good in the days before Big Thunder Bar-B-Que. But even back in those days, the Mexican food was sub-par. Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and I have made 3 or 4 visits to Rancho del Zocalo over the last 10 to 12 years and our impression has always been the same - bad food, cheaply made, poorly made, and typically overpriced. We have dined on the carne asada & cheese enchiladas with the beef typically being overcooked (quite common in Disneyland's preparation of beef dishes of any kind), stringy, and tough while the cheese enchiladas were nothing more than supermarket shredded cheese wrapped in a tortilla and served with what tasted like a canned sauce. The chicken soft tacos were better but not by much. The typical rice and beans are served with the plates but these are nothing special in the least.

As mentioned in a post from earlier today, my sister ate at Rancho del Zocalo yesterday and had the chicken fajita tostada salad and said it was way to spicy to the point where she could not eat it and had to throw most of it away. Sad and a waste.

In my journeys about Disneyland through cyberspace, many Disneyland bloggers and forum posters say that if you go to Rancho del Zocalo, try the citrus grilled chicken which seems to get favorable reviews. The French Market in New Orleans Square serves up a version of citrus grilled chicken as well that Mrs. DLT and I have enjoyed and if Rancho's version is as good as that one the maybe it may be worth going back sometime. I said 'maybe'.

Rancho del Zocalo is a beautiful site for a restaurant. Open, airy, spacious, it's quite inviting to give it a try. We have and come to realize that beauty is only skin deep but lousy goes right to the core. Connected to Rancho del Zocalo is a little area known as Zocalo Park where certain times of the year thematic pieces celebrating Mexican heritage are put on display. Very nice, charming in fact, but the food, oh that bad food.

It should be noted that the Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill across the way in Disney California Adventure serves much the same menu as Rancho del Zocalo (with much the same results) with one very notable exception - Cocina Cucamonga serves a chicken tamales plate that is actually quite good. They also server beer over there which can sometimes make up for what the food may lack in quality and taste.

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