Disney Foodie Spotlight: Crazy Cajun Cooking at the French Market

Delicious and filling red beans and rice - cajun style
Delicious and filling red beans and rice – cajun style
Beef stew in a bread bowl
Beef stew in a bread bowl

The French Market recently went through a menu overhaul and instead of reflecting the pasta of the past, it now strikes right at the heart of the Cajun cuisine often found in parts of the bayou.  A much more rich reflection of the Louisiana tradition than ever before, the food is not only different but filled with down home goodness.  Featuring such classics as red beans and rice and jambalaya, these tasty offerings also feature some different twists that I hadn’t had before.  Usually with theme park fare, it is highly priced and you don’t get very much, but not at Disneyland.  I have been so impressed with the recent changes to the different menus around the park that now I’m interested in what will be done next!

When I saw the menu changes at the French Market, I thought “Now, that’s interesting,” but was somewhat skeptical they could pull off the flavors and textures so indicative of Southern cooking.  Usually, Western renditions of Southern food are similar in ingredients, but lacking in taste.  Not these treats.  And since I expected I wouldn’t get very much, I ordered TWO entrees.  Let me tell you, one would have been more than enough.  That first night I had the delicious red beans and rice which came with a piece of jalapeno cornbread AND the beef stew.  I’d never seen jalapeno cornbread before, but it fit in the taste profile of Southern cooking – tasty with some heat (very mild heat though – don’t worry).  The beans and the rice were poured out in a perfect combination, not runny but thick and hearty.  The rice was soft but not mushy.  And the flavor was fantastic!  Then it was on to the Louisiana beef stew in it’s own bread bowl.  The stew had more peas than I would have cared for, but then again, any peas would have been more than I cared for – seriously though it was a lot of peas.  But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a LOT of beef because there was.  Soft, tender beef with veggies that were cooked perfectly.  The flavor of the stew was just right as well, and the bread bowl was a nice add-on.  I did return about a month later and had the Cajun Meatloaf, but it wasn’t as good as the other two dishes.  Still it was far better than most theme park offerings and the mashed potatoes were delicious.  Oh, and you CAN get a side order of the jalapeno cornbread!  I asked.  It is just too good to pass up.

They still have some “safe” choices for those who are less adventurous and would like to dine with their friends, so don’t worry.  There generally is something for everyone – French dip sandwiches, roast chicken, and mac & cheese for the kids.  But if you want to experience some good, hearty fare then head over to New Orleans Square in Disneyland and dig in.  Tasty treats await!

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