Can There Be TOO Much Good Food? – #DCA Food and Wine Festival 2016 (part 2 of 2)

I’m stuffed!  After a day of feasting at the Food and Wine Festival hosted at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, my stomach was packed (and admittedly it’s a pretty big stomach).  I went to the event with my belly empty, hoping it would be a worthwhile jaunt and it was.  The food they offered was for the most part delicious.  There were a few misses, but with six food stands and two dishes at each stand, not including desserts – it was quite a lot to take in…literally.

Location: Disney California Adventure main thoroughfare toward Paradise Pier
Type: Quick Service
Specialty: High end gnoshing
Cost: $5 – $8 each per dish, about $4 for dessert
Craig’s and Emma’s Favorites: Pork Belly Bao Taco (Craig) and the Apple-Bacon Whoopie Pie (Emma)

Welcome to the Festival Marketplaces from the Paradise Pier side
Welcome to the Festival Marketplaces from the Paradise Pier side

The average price for a dish was between $5-8 which I thought was pretty high considering you’re basically getting sampler platters and not full meals, but the food is high quality and better than most food trucks where you’ll spend just as much.  And like I said, I walked away full.  My daughter and I skipped the seminars and Celebrity Kitchen so we could focus on the food!  We tried every main dish and a couple of desserts, too and thought we would give you our thoughts on each:

LA Style – Chilled Ahi Poke and Pork Belly Bao Taco – Both of us liked the poke and my daughter thought the seaweed salad at the bottom was delicious.  Personally, I was super impressed with the sweet sesame tuile.  I LOVED the Pork Belly Bao Taco!  My daughter isn’t big on pork belly so she passed.

The Wagyu Beef on top of polenta and peas. Tasty and loved the polenta
The Wagyu Beef on top of polenta and peas. Tasty and loved the polenta

Wine Country – Zinfandel-Braised Wagyu Beef (gluten free), Roasted Yellow Beet Salad (gluten-free) – We both enjoyed the wagyu beef but I thought it tasted way more like pulled pork (especially paired with the polenta).  Neither of us were big beet salad fans, but it was light, refreshing and sweet.

Viva Fresca – Fried Shrimp Soft Taco and Anaheim Chile and Roasted Cauliflower Burrito – We both loved the burrito.  The flavors were so delicious and for only $5.50 it’s a steal.  Served with an avocado-lime crema it was pretty filling by itself.  The shrimp was good on the taco and the tortillas were tasty, but there were too many pickled red onions which overpowered the flavor of the rest.

Gold Rush – Triple Cheese Mac with Smoked Chicken, Artichoke Chips with Spicy Aioli, and Apple Bacon Whoopie Pie – We both loved the Triple Cheese Mac, both thought the artichoke chips were only okay, and my daughter LOVED the whoopie pie!  They ran out about midday.  I guess everyone else loved it too.  The maple cream cheese icing was delicious as was the bacon brittle.

The Farm – Roasted Vegetable Thai Curry over Jasmine Rice (gluten-free), Tenderloin Slider with Smoked BBQ Sauce and Bleu Cheese, and Mayer Lemon Macaron with Blueberry Dust – We passed after a couple of bites of the veggie curry.  The curry was good, but just didn’t hit the spot.  We both loved the slider (although I couldn’t for the life of me find any bleu cheese).  It was a very nice bite.  And we both loved the macaron which held a blueberry marmalade surprise in the middle amidst the cream.  I’m not sure why it wasn’t listed as gluten-free as most macaron’s are.  Must be the marmalade.

By the Bay – White Cheddar Ale Soup with Bacon in a mini-Boudin Sourdough Boule and Chilled Shrimp and Snow Crab Cocktail (gluten-free) –  This was not our favorite place.  The soup was very strong in both cheddar and ale (so if you like that you’re in for a treat).  It just wasn’t to our liking, although we both liked the bread bowl.  The chilled shrimp and snow crab looked beautiful but wasn’t strong enough in flavor and was sort of bland all the way around.

Our top choices were the Pork Belly Bao Taco (Craig) and the Apple Bacon Whoopie Pie (Emma)!  Both were delicious.  Personally, the macaron was my favorite dessert.  They do have a gluten-free dessert at By the Bay (coconut tapioca flight with fresh mango) but neither of us wanted to try it.   Emma’s favorite dish was the Triple Cheese Mac with Smoked Chicken.  We were stuffed by the end of our food run and we hadn’t even tried any of the “festival-inspired dining” at some of the other restaurants in the park.  The stated opening time for the Festival Marketplaces was 11am but all of them opened a little early.  Waiting too long and they might run out of something you want and the lines (while managed pretty efficiently) can get long at times so plan accordingly – especially if you’re going to one of the culinary events! Overall, we had a GREAT time just noshing on all the good food and satisfying our palettes while trying some new flavors.  If you’re a Disney Foodie, this is a great event for you!

  • Read part 1 of our 2 part coverage of the Food and Wine Festival and find out what else is going on in DCA

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