Sunday, December 11, 2011

Disneyland Dining (Day 2 Part 1)

Since we had a late night last night and it was our arrival day yesterday, we decided to sleep in this morning and hit California Adventure Park in the morning.  The park doesn't open until 10 am but it is best to start lining up around 9:15 am if you decide to enter from the front or the best secret out there is to enter through the Grand Californian Hotel.  They have their own entrance.   Anyways, for breakfast we decided to go the counter service at the Disneyland hotel called Tangaroa Terrace.  They had self-service ordering kiosks where you use a screen to place your order.  Then, you can grab things from the cold cases before going to the cashier to pay.  They give you a number for your table and your order is brought to you so, it is cooked to order.   They have the typical breakfast items like french toast, breakfast platter, breakfast wrap, an egg white and tofu bake.  They also had all kinds of drinks in the cold case plus assorted pasteries and cold cereal.  The place is very small and has limited indoor seating.  It was a bit chilly to eat outside.  We took the last indoor table.   The food was a bit pricey as expected.   We felt that the buffets for a few dollars more offered a better value.   Anyways, I thought the counter service was missing the Tonga Toast from the Polynesian at Walt Disney World.  It would have fit in perfectly with the theme.  Also, a dole whip stand would be great too.

Here are some pictures:

The counter service overlooks the pool area.  The pool slides were pretty cool.  There were 3 slides for 3 different abilities from a kiddy type slide to the big slide.

For breakfast my youngest & I ordered the french toast with banana slices that came with bacon (of course, I had to share the bacon with the oldest).  It was good.  My darling husband ordered the breakfast platter and my oldest order the cinnamon roll.  My husband did not love the platter.  He said that the potatoes were not very good.  My oldest claimed the cinnamon roll was just average.

Here's the french toast:

Here's the breakfast platter (and again the bacon was shared as well).

Here's the cinnamon roll:

Next, door was a bar that was basically attached to the counter service.  We never got a chance to eat and have a drink there but it looked yummy.   Maybe next time..

The menu:

Finally, I thought the counter service place was okay.  It definitely was quick so, we didn't waste a lot of time eating.  This was the only time we ate here.  I'm not sure we'd go back.   Maybe if I was hanging at the pool or if it was the only option left.

COMING UP NEXT:  A date with the princesses (and I thought we were done with character meals... oh, boy I'm so wrong)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Disneyland Dining Review (Nov 2011)

I love doing food reviews and I've done a few on the disboards.  Anyways, I thought I would do one here of our recent trip down to Disneyland.   First, I'd like to say we aren't normally hotel people as we usually stay in a timeshare.  However, I could not secure a timeshare stay for our trip.  So, the 4 of us were stuck in a hotel room.  We ended up staying at the Disneyland Hotel as they were running a special since they were in the middle of remodeling.  There was no guarantee that the pool would be open due to their recent renovations that they were working on.  Our room was cute.  The headboard lit up and played music when you turned it on:

It was very cute.  The room had 2 queen sized beds, a desk and dresser.  There were only 4 drawers in the entire room for clothes.  We were staying 5 nights so that was a bit tight.  We had to live out of our suitcases for a bit which isn't something I enjoy.  The room also had a small refrigerator that held our bottled water but not much else.  Plus, there was a coffee maker but we don't drink coffee.  The bathroom was nice as the sink was separate from the toilet and shower area.   I guess, you can say we are definitely spoiled with the timeshare part of life where you get a separate bedroom and a full kitchen.  Since, we weren't staying in a timeshare we pretty much ate every meal out.  By the last day we were ready to go home just to eat a home cooked meal. 

We arrived on Tuesday and left on Sunday.   For our first meal out was dinner at the Rainforest Cafe.   We arrived at the podium there was a 45 minute wait to eat inside so, we decided to eat outside.  They had tons of heating lamps to keep you warm.  However, this is LA and it really isn't that cold.  It was in the low 70s when we ate our dinner.

Now, Rainforest Cafe isn't always my first choice as I feel the menu is way too big.  However, all the other places at Downtown Disney had long table waits.  To my surprise the menu has been updated to a nice small compact menu.  Much better than before.  But first I rate the view.  Now, we weren't inside so we didn't have to listen to the obnoxious animal sounds so, I really enjoyed our meal here.   We did have a nice view of this tree from our table:

First up are the drinks.  I ordered the Panama Punch which was pretty good not as good as the drinks at ESPN.  It is made with Bacardi 151, Myers's Original Rum, Peach Schnapps and 99 bananas Liqueur. Accented with Creme de Cassis and orange and pineapple juices
John had a beer but it was a bigger can than usually.  My drink came with a souvenir cup.  Something I haven't collected in a long time.

 The beer:

My youngest daughter is at that stage where kid menu items don't always work and adult menu items are too adult like if you know what I mean.  Anyways, she ended up ordering two appetizers as her meal.  She ordered the clam chowder soup and chicken quesdilla made with pita bread.  The soup was great but the quesdillas were a bust.  She didn't like the sauce that was mixed in with the chicken.  She likes a plain quesdillas with just cheese and chicken (no extra flavorings).   I tried the quesdillas and they just didn't work well with the pita bread.  The bread was thick so it was like eating a lot of pita.

My oldest had nachos.  I'm not sure why she ordered such a safe item.  It doesn't look to appetizing to me.  I did not try them.

I ordered the Chinese chicken salad.  It was good but not the best I ever had.   It had more of an oily taste rather than a sesame taste.   But still good.  It was a very large portion.

My husband ordered  Filet of mahi mahi grilled and topped with mango salsa. Paired with Caribbean Coconut Shrimp and cream styled scallops.  He reported back to me that the meal was very good.  The scallops were cooked to perfection (I thought it was just his lucky day as you never know with scallops).

We were too full for dessert but we did window shop at Downtown Disney and came across these babies:

My oldest reminded me that they don't taste as good as they look.  Anything I make is way better.  Oh Boy, I sure created a monster.  So, we didn't buy a treat!

Coming up next:  Day 2

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winter Vegetables (Blech...)

This is the time of year when vegetables lose their flavor and taste a little boring especially when you've been eating homegrown tomatoes from your garden all summer long.   I really don't like eating vegetables raw or plain by themselves in the winter so, I'm always looking for recipes that hide the vegetables in with the meal.  I sound like a toddler don't I!  Anyways, I came across this recipe last night and my girls loved it and so did my husband.  I did think it was an expensive meal as I didn't have chicken sausage on hand and it calls for light alfredo sauce which is very expensive at the grocery store.   In fact, I really don't like the taste of light alfredo sauce but since it was mixed with other things it tasted pretty good.  Too bad I didn't pick up chicken sausage at Costco when I was there the other day.

Chicken Sausage and Spinach Penne Alfredo

1 1/2 cups uncooked multigrain penne pasta (I didn't have on hand so I used regular white pasta)
6 oz package baby spinach
cooking spray
9 oz chicken sausage, sliced (I used chicken with gouda but you could use any variety you like)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
10 oz container of light Alfredo sauce
1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

I had to double the recipe as a serving size was about 1 cup and my husband and daughter eat more than that.  Plus, needed leftovers for both my lunch and my husband's lunch.  So, my pictures will show a double amount.

First, cook the pasta according to the directions.  It says to omit the salt but I never do that.  I always add salt to my pasta.  This part I forgot to do last night but you were suppose to add spinach to the pasta water during the last minute of cooking time.  Drain.  That is what happens when you are rushing to get to a 5:30 pm meeting and you don't read the directions.  Who does meetings at 5:30 pm.  CRAZY...

Coat a large non-stick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Add sausage and cook about 5 minutes.

Add bell peppers and mushrooms and saute another 5 minutes.

Stir in Alfredo sauce and cook until thoroughly heated. 

Then, stir in pasta, spinach and cheese.  This is where I definitely messed up as the spinach was difficult to fold in but it did eventually but a bit messy.

Dish came together very quickly especially for that 5:30 pm meeting.  Enjoy...  BTW, if you are on Weight watchers this is 8 points for 1 cup serving size but since I used regular pasta I'm sure it is more like 10 points per serving.