The Food and Wine Festival is open in Disneyland California Adventure now until April 12th. There is not a separate admission fee, but you do need a valid ticket to enter the park.
The perk of the food and wine festival for a military transplant is that you can try a lot of local food in a small space, for a portion of the cost of what you might spend at a local restaurant …and being that it is on Disney property, you know it is going to be fantastic quality. (And kids are totally welcome!)
There are 14 food and beverage stands this year:
- California Craft Brews
- Peppers Cali-Ente
- Uncork California
- Strawberry Patch
- Avocado Time
- Eat Your Greens
- Citrus Grove
- I Heart Artichokes
- Off the Cob
- Garlic Kissed
- Nuts About Cheese
- LA Style
- The Brewhouse
Outside of these food stands, there is also a Festival Beer Garden with beer tasting flights and the Paradise Garden Grill has festival-specific foods and beverages available for purchase.
We did not visit all the stands, but skimmed the menu and decided which ones we wanted to try. The festival proved to be very popular on Sunday as the lines were at least 10-15 minutes wait, but on the Thursday prior, you could walk right up and order. If you can go on a weekday, I would recommend it. But it the weekend is the only time you can go, go with the understanding that you will wait and be prepared with things to entertain your littles while you stand in line.
The Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese with Bacon was extremely creamy. It’s wasn’t too spicy but had a bite, was very creamy with bits of smoky bacon mixed in.
My favorite at this stand was the flavorful Verlasso Sustainable Salmon Peruvian Poke with Cucumber-lime Salad and Aji Verde Salsa. The vegetables provided a crunch among the fresh citrus zest and soft salmon. This was so fresh, and the portion size was much larger than I expected. I love that the fish you are eating is sustainable as well, and I always look for this when purchasing fish to eat ourselves.
Avocado and Pepper Jack Petite Guacamole Burger – just yum! The Burger is cooked to medium, and is soft and melts in your mouth. Mix that with the cool and zesty guacamole on top with the creamy cheese and just yum! It is petite, but can be shared between two people.
The Citrus-Brine Pork Roast with Tangy Barbeque Sauce and Lemon Pepper Slaw was another amazing mix of creamy and tangy. The portion size again was huge and three of us were able to eat off of it. The pork was well-flavored and wasn’t dripping with sauce. The tangy flavor was well-balanced with the creamy bite of the crunchy coleslaw. It reminded me of vinegar-based bar-b-que of the south with just a hint of orange ringing through it.
The kids enjoyed the Crispy Orange Chicken and Rice with Garlic Cracker immensely and asked for seconds. The Garlic Crackers were crispy and reminded me of the savory crackers we enjoyed while living in Asia. The sauce is a lighter orange sauce than one you would get at an Asian Food restaurant. I definitely agree with Disney’s classification that this is a kid-friendly meal.
My hubby’s favorite: The Meyer Lemon Macaron from The Citrus Grove. Here are his thoughts on it: Probably designed to feed two or three, I find myself wanting to eat two or three. The Meyer Lemon Macaron is decadent but smooth, soft but full, and tangy but just right. We have long had an affection for well-made Meyer lemon desserts, this macaron fulfills our deepest Meyer desires perfectly. Seriously, two or three people could share it easily and it is beyond description with its perfect balance of lemon flavor, sweetness, and soft but crunchy but chewy perfection.
First off, I just have to say I love this name. It is very clever. The stand offers both chicken and cow-based products – chicken wings, a beef slider and a yogurt panna cotta. We opted to try the Grilled Harris Ranch Beef Tenderloin Slider with Chimichurri Sauce – and we ended up having two. This slide is also cooked medium, so don’t partake in it if you like your meat well-done. The beef itself is flavorful and melts in your mouth. The chimichurri adds a nice zest to it, and the pickled onions add a nice contrast to each bite. It was seriously delicious.
We purchased the totally kid-friendly Garlic Mac and Cheese without the Garlic Bread Crumble and two kiddos gobbled it up in no time. For the $7 price tag, this is a huge portion that is bigger than any other the toddler-sized mac and cheese in the quick service restaraunts in the park, so you will get your money’s worth. It also tastes pretty creamy and delicious too. I don’t have a picture of it because it was eaten too quickly!
The Black Garlic Soy-Braised Pork Belly Banh Mi was amazing. Since we have lived in Asia and travelled while there, we consider ourselves Asian-food snobs. And this Banh Mi was like a “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” version of one we have eaten overseas. The bread was chewy and had a nice bite to it and the pork was melt in your mouth.
Each item is priced differently – anywhere from $6.50. – $8.00. They take cash, card or gift card at each stand.
If you are an Annual Passholder, you can purchase the Sip and Savor pass which has 8 coupons for certain food and non-alcoholic beverages for $45. The pass does not expire until the festival ends on April 12th, so it can be a cost savings used over the entire period of the festival.
In our phase of life, going to a fancy wine and food pairing just isn’t in the cards. But tasting local fare at Disneyland, where we can break up the food tasting with well-loved rides like Ariel and the Golden Zephyr and the kiddos can join in on the food taste testing is the right combination. Maybe you will open up the taste buds for your little one as well!