What’s the best 2022 Festival of Holidays has to offer? Find out!
This year we went all out and tried a bunch of different dishes featured at Festival of Holidays and had to share the best of the best. This festival continues to evolve and express the rich diversity of cultures found in the surrounding community of Anaheim. Not only does it showcase different winter holidays from Diwali to Hanukkah to Christmas to Kwanzaaa, it celebrates it in different ways. Mostly through food! And even though we’ve tried quite a few things, there are a bunch more that just didn’t make it to our plates. We narrowed the field to what looked the most interesting to us and then gave you our review.
BEST SAVORY DISH – We tried a LOT of savory dishes this time around – Pork Belly Adobo, Holiday Ham Slider, Brisket Slider, Chicken Tikka Masala, Esquites Carnitas Mac and Cheese, Chicken Tinga Arepas, Loaded Yucca Fries, and Columbian Empanadas. The Pork Belly Adobo is ALWAYS good which is why they keep bringing it back. Rich, tender, pork belly tops off this dish with some great crunch added to it with the fried pork rinds and rice. Loved this different take on Chicken Tikka Masala – definitely not what I’m used to at my favorite Indian restaurants, but packs a lot of flavor despite being kind of short on chicken. The Holiday Ham Slider was one of our favorites, but it’s a dish that has to grow on you and there is a LOT of cranberry-bacon jam. Our favorites were the Esquites Carnitas Mac and Cheese and Loaded Yucca Fries. The carnitas was delicious with a good proportion to the mac and cheese – which was the best mac and cheese I’ve had ever! The loaded yucca fries were equally delicious with rich cheese, delicious carne asada, and some pickled onions and tomato. The yucca fries were the star though.
BEST DESSERT – While not as many sweets were available as savory dishes, there was still a ton to choose from. We ended up trying the Chocolate Bourbon-Flavored Tart made with TWIX cookie bar pieces, Mickey-Mouse Shaped Gingerbread Cookie, Mrs. Claus’ Hot Cocoa Macaron, and Gingerbread Cake. All of them were good, but it was a gingerbread Christmas! The tart was super-rich and delicious but you definitely taste that bourbon flavor. The macaron had this interesting dual filling with a lighter creamy filling on the edges and a richer middle. Both were amazing and the macaron was baked just right. But we both LOVED the gingerbread offerings! The gingerbread cake was unique. It has all the flavor of gingerbread in a delicious cake with a frosting that hinted at maple or something similar. Something different that really made it stand out. The gingerbread cookie was sheer WOW! Rivals even the famous Grand Californian gingerbread cookie. It was spicy without being too spicy. Sweet at just the right level of sweet. And the texture was soft while holding its form perfectly.
BEST DRINK – Because we focused on the savory and sweet, we only tried a few drinks and all non-alcoholic. We opened with the Cherry Mango Punch which is really more than just cherry and mango. It’s really a peach-forward drink and should have been called Cherry Peach Punch. Good but heavy on the peach. Santa’s Milk and Cookies Hot Cocoa was the big surprise for me. Delicious hot cocoa and coupled with that rich whipped cream and cookie topping made it even better. My daughter’s favorite was Churro Toffee Cold Brew Latte. A lot of great flavors and amazingly the ice took forever to melt which was so appreciated!
It was a better experience than we’ve had in recent years. Biggest surprise was the amazing Mickey Mouse Gingerbread Cookie and the Esquites Carnitas Mac and Cheese! What will you try this year?