Today I had the pleasure of walking behind the closed off walls of Cars Land in Disney California Adventure. This brand new land in the Disneyland Resort has been under construction for years, and I couldn’t believe I was actually going to get a sneak peek…and even get to sample some of the brand new menu items that will be served there and on Buena Vista Street when they open next month!
Standing under the mountains of Ornament Valley with the Radiator Springs Racers whizzing by, I had to take a deep breath. Goosebumps on my arms, tears in my eyes. What in the world was happening to me? I’ve watched the progress of Cars Land from day one, and now, it’s nearly done.
Just weeks away from the June 15th grand opening and there I stood, inside getting a sneak peek! The only way for me to describe Cars Land is simple and true. You are IN Radiator Springs. You have stepped into Cars.
After telling myself to get it together and wishing I could take a photo, I followed the other attendees into Flo’s V8 Cafe for a sampling of the menu!
Because Flo’s is not 100% complete, photos were not allowed, the pictures you see here were from a “preview” room that we were taken to beforehand.
I’ll do my best to describe to you in detail the atmosphere of Flo’s. Flo’s is a counter service restaurant serving up breakfast, lunch & dinner. Upon entering, be sure to look up. There is a giant light fixture made of shiny tail pipes.
Flo’s caters to the growing number of Route 66 visitors and race fans coming to Radiator Springs, with a “showroom” dining area that overlooks the Radiator Springs Racers attraction. The cafe also is home to Flo’s personal memorabilia, collected during her glamorous career as a singer with the Motorama Girls.
The service area includes several walk-up kiosks (or food pods) divided by road barrier type blockades to keep you in your line. The main color of the cafe is turquoise. There is a giant juke box fixture at the counter. Two main dining rooms make up the cafe, and there is both indoor (booths & tables) and outdoor seating.
Best of all? You can’t beat the view from the dining rooms. One side features a perfect view of Sally’s Cozy Cones and the other — a breathtaking view of Ornament Valley.
I was blown away by the research and planning that went into the making of Cars Land. Michele Gendreau, Disney Director of Food and Beverage, told us that she took a 3 day, 17 stop trip on Route 66 to get inspiration for Cars Land menu items.
One of the most memorable spots, the Midpoint Cafe in Midpoint, Texas, played a huge role in the development of Flo’s.
Noting the popularity of the “rotisserie” in the 1950′s, Michele shared with us that one of the goals at Flo’s was to contemporize classic rotisserie comfort food dishes. Examples of this are the rotisserie Pork Loin and the Citrus Turkey and the NY Strip Loin.
The Citrus Turkey was amazing. Moist and flavorful, served atop mashed potatoes with roasted vegetables and a brioche bun. Talk about comfort food! The sampling I had included the turkey, potatoes, and the brioche bun. All three items were fabulous.
Next up was the Coca-Cola BBQ Pork Loin. This dish was was another home run in the comfort food game.
Again, the meat was tender, juicy and flavorful. But what really makes this dish is the BBQ sauce — Coca Cola BBQ sauce! Sweet and tangy, this dish is served open face atop Texas Toast.
We were given a small sampling of the meat with coleslaw, one of the optional sides. The coleslaw was delightful. Not too full of mayo, and just enough flavor without being overwhelmed by vinegar.
The NY Strip Loin was not on our “sample” platter, but it does look tasty! Pictured below, you can see it’s smothered in gravy with a side of coleslaw, “Radiatore” Pasta Salad & a brioche roll. I’m sure the steak lover in you will rejoice when you order this Spit-fire Rotisserie Classic.
Something I was very excited to learn about and try were the vegetarian options here at Flo’s. There were two prominent dishes that Michele spoke highly of: the Veggie Tater Bake with roasted vegetables and the Vegetarian BBQ Beans.
The Veggie Tater Bake is Disney’s take on the ever popular comfort food, Shepherd’s Pie. The dish is layered and features a perfect slice of melty cheddar cheese on top.
Honestly, I feel that the chefs have done an amazing job at creating a vegetarian item that is “original” and exciting — something new that can be ordered as is with no modifications. The dish was very flavorful, and if I didn’t know it was filled with “Boca” crumbles, I would have assumed it was meat.
The textures were nice and that slice of cheese on top sealed the deal. The photo below shows the item served with classic peas and carrots and a brioche roll. The Disney Parks Blog recently shared a recipe for it here.
From what I could tell, entrees were ordered and then served with two “sides.” Sides include coleslaw, veggies, mashed potatoes, “Radiatore” pasta salad, and vegetarian BBQ beans. The beans, which are pictured above with the pork loin plate, were really amazing. The tangy BBQ sauce (yes, that Coca-Cola sauce) makes for some yummy beans. I didn’t have a chance to confirm it, but I believe that the same Boca crumbles were also in this dish.
Our “tasting” didn’t stop here. We were lucky enough to also sample the milkshakes that will be available at Flo’s. Three different flavors will be available — your classics of course: chocolate, strawberry & vanilla.
We were able to taste the vanilla shake, which would’ve been my first choice in flavor, so YAY for me! The shakes served at Flo’s are all topped with “road gravel,” aka chocolate and strawberry pearls. A really fun touch, and they look pretty too! I also enjoyed the crunch of the pearls atop my frothy rich shake.
As far as beverages go, Flo’s serves Coca Cola products, of course. But, if you’re looking to get your “adult” beverage on, they will also feature beers from two local breweries. You’ll find Racer 5 IPA and Red Rocket Ale from Bear Republic Brewery as well as selections from Anaheim Brewery.
California wines by the glass will include Fess Parker Riesling, Silverado Chardonnay, Chappellet Mountain Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon, and Eppa Superfruit Red Sangria.
Enough with entrees and beverages though. Let’s get down to business and talk about PIE!
This is where that Midpoint Cafe inspiration REALLY comes in. Known for their “Ugly Crust” pies, Disney Food and Beverage was so impressed by these that they came back from their Route 66 trip wanting to create their own versions of the pies.
We were told a funny story that the Disney pastry chefs are such perfectionists that they had a very hard time using “ugly” in their creations. The individual serving pies are made on premises, and I was incredibly lucky to taste all four of them.
The Apple Cheddar and the Chocolate Mud Pie will be offered daily, and the Blueberry Peach, and Strawberry Rhubarb are rotating flavors. Disney also mentions cherry pies on the menu above!
My absolute favorite was the Apple Cheddar. While it sounds like an odd combo, apple pie was traditionally served with a slice of cheddar cheese, especially in the 1950′s.
The cheese is not at all overwhelming, in fact it’s very complimentary. The crust was thick, but not hard; cooked to perfection, it was golden and flaky to boot.
My second favorite was the Blueberry Peach. I LOVE both blueberries and peaches, and this combo was divine.
Next up was the Strawberry Rhubarb. Also tasty, and my third favorite, it was a lovely combination of sweet strawberries and tart rhubarb.
And finally, you might think I’m crazy, but my least favorite pie was the Chocolate Mud Pie. I’ve said it before, but I’m really not a big chocolate fan. I like chocolate, but when given the choice, I always go for fruity desserts. Although I found out it did not have coffee in it, I swear I tasted a hint of coffee. AND my lovely friend Mr. Daps said that he tasted the same, so I know I’m not totally crazy!
Anyhow, the chocolate was smooth and I liked the addition of chocolate crust. In fact I’m sure most people would love this. I just wasn’t a big fan especially compared to the awesome fruitiness that was happening alongside it.
Overall, I was beyond impressed with the menu here at Flo’s V8 Cafe. The whole experience was fantastic and the menu is full of so many creative new dishes.
The decor is beyond fabulous, and, like I said, you can’t beat the view from the dining rooms. The whole time I was sitting there, I was daydreaming that a cast member would come up to me and say, “Hey Heather, let’s go take a spin on Radiator Springs Racers!”
I can’t wait for you to enjoy Flo’s V8 Cafe for yourself! I got the chance to sample a few items from Buena Vista Street as well, so stay tuned for those reviews coming soon!
Are you planning to head to Flo’s when Cars Land opens? Any must try menu items on your mind?
Thanks to Disney for inviting me to attend this Food Preview event! While the food was complimentary, all of my opinions are my own. See more on our disclosure policy.