Dining in Disneyland: Dinner at the Newly Renovated Club 33

After a 6 month full renovation, Club 33 has re-opened to members and their guests.  The expansion includes a new entrance, a modernized and much larger kitchen, and the gorgeous new Salon Nouveau.

Similar, but much more swanky, Salon Nouveau is sort of like Disneyland’s equivalent to 1901; a members only, no reservations needed lounge serving up food, drinks and jazz. We will be posting a full review about Salon Nouveau in the very near future, but for now, let’s take a look at the new Club 33!

Club 33 Entrance

Club 33 Entrance

We gave you an atmosphere look previously, but we’ll cover a few more pics of the interior for you today!

Atmosphere

The entrance is now located just steps to the right of the old Club 33 entrance in New Orleans Square. The pretty new doorbell includes an etching of the new logo surrounded by a gold toned art nouveau design. It’s located on the side wall to the left of the door.

The New Doorbell

The New Doorbell

When you are buzzed in, there is a small reception area (formally the ornament shop) where you can check in for your meal and do some shopping from one of the two merchandise cases at the club.  Notice the bust? She is a piece from the club that was located on the old stairwell.

Check In Area & Merchandise Case

Check In Area & Merchandise Case

Once you check in, you’ll take a seat in [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: New Treats at the Jolly Holiday Bakery

Spending some time at Disneyland?  Head on down Main Street USA and take a pit stop at Jolly Holiday.  There are some delicious new treats that have been recently added the bakery case.

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

Mary Poppins and her penguins have obviously been busy in the kitchen.  There are several new baked goods in the case, all which look practically perfect in every way.  Most of these new treats are fruity flavors, which are my biggest weakness. I’d choose fruity over chocolate any day (GASP, I know!)…  I ordered 5 different new treats and hope to go back soon for the ones I missed. But for now, here’s a little sampling of the new offerings.

New Treats in the Bakery Case

New Treats in the Bakery Case

Let’s start with the Mickey Macarons.  These were rumored to be hitting Disneyland quite some time ago and appear to be very different than the macarons featured at Walt Disney World.  (Note that in Disney World, the signage on these was Mickey “Macaroon”; yes, we’ve had the “macaroon vs. macaron” definition discussion on the food blog many times before and it just doesn’t seem to be consistent across the Disney parks ;-D.) I’m not sure why it took so long, but HERE THEY ARE!  Priced at $4.99, the Mickey Macarons are very generously sized.  As of now they come in two fruity flavors; Passion Fruit and Raspberry Rose.

The Passion Fruit Mickey Macaron was very sweet; passion fruit cream sandwiched between two super soft Mickey Macarons.  I love the metallic purple swipe across the top.  I know it’s just decorative, but I’m a sucker for shine and sparkle. Especially purple shine and sparkle AND especially when it’s edible!

Passion Fruit Mickey Macaron

Passion Fruit Mickey Macaron

The Raspberry Rose Mickey Macaron was

[Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland Review: Summer Menu Items at Downtown Disney’s ESPN Zone

Located near the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney, the ESPN Zone is a great place to take a pit stop in the middle of a long Disneyland day.  Just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Monorail Station the ESPN Zone has something for everyone in your party.

ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney

ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney

We recently headed over for an afternoon of food and fun.  Upon entering we were greeted by a fabulous team of hostesses who immediately took us to a table.  We visited mid week in the early afternoon and there was no wait.  However, if the World Cup had been playing, we probably couldn’t get near the place!

ESPN Zone Check In

ESPN Zone Check In

The menu at ESPN Zone is full of your traditional American type favorites.  Items include Ribs, Chicken, Burgers, Sandwiches, Salads, & Wraps.

ESPN Zone Menu

ESPN Zone Menu

In addition to their regular menu, ESPN Zone currently has some very tasty Summer menu offerings. AND on this special menu, you can find [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: L.B. Enterprises Elixir Stand in Frontierland

As part of the Legends of Frontierland event currently going on at Disneyland, there are some very fun things happening in the wild wild west.  I was recently passing by when I was stopped by L.B. himself. He’s got his elixir stand set up and he’s ready to help you solve your life problems!

L.B. Ultimate Salesman

L.B. Ultimate Salesman

With lots of personality, L.B. told me all about his product. I’m not going to spoil any of the fun interaction or stories for you,  instead I’ll just tell you that there are three elixirs to choose from.

According to L.B., “Each one of them something we’d all like more of:  Knowledge, Luck & Charm.”

Pick Your Poison....

Pick Your Poison….

He was such a good salesmen that I had to try all three!

Ready to enhance your life????

Ready to enhance your life????  Bottoms up!

I asked L.B. if I drank them all in a row would I [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: A Look Back at 1957 Park Eats

Fire up the flux capacitor and hop in the Delorean because we’re going back in time.  I know, that’s Universal Studios talk, but Doc Brown is the only guy I know that can make this happen…

1957 Guide to Disneyland

1957 Guide to Disneyland

It’s 1957 at Disneyland. The park has only been open for two years, but Walt’s got lots of places for us to eat! Let’s take a little tour of our options starting with good ‘ol Main Street USA.

The Carnation Ice Cream Parlor (currently known as Gibson Girl) was the perfect spot for a cool treat.  Further down the road you could stop at the Carnation Plaza Gardens for some quick service food. Does anyone remember the frozen malts they sold with the wooden spoons? I DO!

There was also the Refreshment Corner sponsored by Coca Cola, The Maxwell Coffee House Shop, The Puffin Bake Shop, and the Red Wagon Inn, which is said to have been Walt’s favorite park eatery and later became the Plaza Inn.

Another option was a cafeteria style restaurant called the Pavilion.  Check out the photos below, I’m absolutely loving the popcorn cart and its cute little cowpoke customers!

Vintage Main Street USA

Main Street USA

Take a right off of Main Street USA and you’ll stumble into Tomorrowland.  Here, you can hit the Space Bar, an automat type restaurant as well as the Yacht Club (self service) and the Dairy Bar, which was an exhibit sponsored by the American Dairy Association.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland

After Tomorrowland, we’ll head over to Fantasyland.  Here you can eat at the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship (YES PLEASE!) or get some fresh grape juice from the Welch’s Stand.

Vintage FantasylandIn 1957, Frontierland was the place to really get your grub on; it had the most dining options of all the lands in the park.  The Chicken Plantation Restaurant served up a fried chicken dinner for just $1.70.  Meals could be enjoyed on the patio of a plantation style home along the Rivers of America.  The Plantation House closed in 1962 to make room for New Orleans Square.

Not in the mood for fried chicken? Head over to the Golden Horseshoe for dinner and a show.  Or visit the birth place of the [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Steakhouse 55 Lounge at The Disneyland Hotel

I can easily say that Steakhouse 55 is one of my top 3 favorite Disney Resort restaurants.

steakhouse55 Logo

We eat there several times a year, and we always wait for our table in their lounge.  Because we’re such fans of Steakhouse 55, we’ve never ordered anything but drinks in the lounge; we’re always on our way to a fabulous meal in the restaurant!

Well, we recently decided to give the lounge a try and I’m so glad that we did.  Let’s be honest though, we only ate there because it was a last minute decision.  The Earl of Sandwich line was too long and there were no walk ins being accepted for Steakhouse 55… But it was great!

Atmosphere

The atmosphere of the lounge complements the decor inside of Steakhouse 55.  Classic and dark, but also inviting, the room is located at the entrance to the restaurant.  In addition to a full bar with seating, there are options to sit at small tables, couches, and some gorgeous high back chairs as well.  The decor includes lush velvet drapery and pillows in deep purple.

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Seating

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Seating

Looking to catch a game? No need to hit ESPN Zone, there’s a TV here too!

Full Bar with Seating AND a TV

Full Bar with Seating AND a TV

More Seating

More Seating

Eats

The menu is not very big, but I did think that the choices were fabulous for a lounge.  Options include Salads, Flatbreads, Bar Bites, and three different “Between Bread” choices.

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Menu Book

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Menu Book

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Menu

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Menu

AND what would be a meal without the fabulous Steakhouse 55 hot out of the oven Sourdough Bread??? Although not on the menu, [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Easter Treats from Marceline’s in Downtown Disney

Marceline’s in Downtown Disney is hopping with Easter treats!

Marceline's Sign

The adorable Easter Bunny Caramel Apples have made a comeback, along with some fun new yummies that include Mickey Easter Egg Cake Pops and Mickey Easter Grass & “Egg” themed treats.

Marceline's Easter Treats

Marceline’s Easter Treats

Mickey Easter Egg Cake Pops

Adorable as can be, these Easter Eggs are as tasty as they are cute.

The moist cake is dipped in white chocolate, then decorated with sanding sugar, and topped with chocolate Mickey ears.  They come in chocolate, vanilla & red velvet.

Mickey Easter Egg Cake Pops

Mickey Easter Egg Cake Pops

We went with chocolate, because it was the only flavor they had left in these ones.

Chocolatey Center

Chocolatey Center

And just a little FYI, I learned that [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Dinner and Updated Menu Review at Ariel’s Grotto in Disney California Adventure

It has been just over a year since I’ve visited Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure. On past visits I’ve found the food just so-so. Not bad, not fabulous, but obviously it took me a year to head back… .

Because I chose to to stay away for quite some time, I was not aware that their menu had a major overhaul just about a year ago! So, on that last visit I must have just barely missed the changes.  Anyhow, I’m back and happy to report that the new menu items are actually quite fabulous! And I apologize up front for the photos. My camera died, it was dark, and all I had was my phone.  Next time I promise to be more prepared!

Ariel's Grotto

Ariel’s Grotto

Now, I know many people go to Ariel’s Grotto for the princesses, but please note that the princesses ARE NOT there during dinner service.  They are only there for breakfast and lunch, so if it’s princesses you’re looking for, make sure to dine early.

We made a reservation through Disney dining (714.781.DINE) to hold our spot for dinner, which I highly recommend. It gets very busy in the evening due to the fact that dinner includes preferred viewing to World of Color.  After dinner, you will be handed one ticket per diner, which will allow you to have a fabulous view of the show.

World of Color Tickets

World of Color Tickets

Atmosphere

When you enter Ariel’s, you descend a spiral staircase into the entryway and dining room area. Be sure to check out the bubbly chandeliers on your way!

View from entryway

Chandelier in entryway

The dining room has a great view of Paradise Pier, and “under the sea” touches can be found everywhere — including the walls!

Ground floor restaurant entrance

Wall mosaic mural

One of the restaurant chandeliers

Ceiling Decor

Once you’re seated, you’ll quickly launch into your meal… .

Eats

Now, on to the food! The menu was previously designed as family style appetizers, you choose an entree, then family style dessert.  You can read more about the old way  here.

Now, everyone orders everything individually. You choose an appetizer, entree, and the dessert is a fixed trio of treats, but it is served individually.  The current menu features soup or salad, 6 different entrees, and the dessert trio.  The dinner menu is a fixed price of $41.99 for adults (over 9 years old) and $19.99 for children under 10.

Ariel's Grotto Menu

Ariel’s Grotto Menu

The Kids’ Menu includes fresh fruit and veggies as an appetizer, 4 different entree options, and dessert.  Unfortunately, my growing every minute boys don’t order off of the kids menu any more…  And bummer, because I was really pushing them towards Ursula’s Octo-Dog!

Two of the four items on the Kids’ Menu are Mickey Check items, which means they are “healthier” choices.

Kids Menu

Ariel’s Grotto Kids’ Menu

Bread Service

Dinner starts with a basket of warm sourdough bread. It’s very tasty, but I do miss the trio of salted butter & dipping sauces from the old menu.

Hot Sourdough Bread

Hot Sourdough Bread

Dinner Salad & Soup

Upon ordering you choose whether you’d like soup or a dinner salad.  Soup options were Crab Chowder or Butternut Squash Bisque.  I’m a huge butternut squash lover so I didn’t think twice about my order. But since my kids didn’t want their soup or salad, we were able to sample both soups and the salad! Thanks, guys!

The bisque was lick your bowl (or at least mop it up with a piece of bread) good.  Fall flavors in Spring are A-OK with me! The bisque is thick, creamy, and topped with a swirl of sour cream & a sprinkle of pepitas.

Butternut Squash Bisque

Butternut Squash Bisque

The Crab Chowder was also a hit at the table. My husband — who normally isn’t a seafood chowder person — really enjoyed it. The Crab Chowder came topped with bacon and chives.

Crab Chowder

Crab Chowder

The Dinner Salad consisted of mixed greens, candied walnuts, pears, and blue cheese topped with a vinaigrette dressing.  Also, very good, but I’m a huge blue cheese & pear fan.  If this isn’t your thing, you can order the salad to your liking without the goodies!

Dinner Salad

Dinner Salad

Entrees

The menu at Ariel’s Grotto has six entrees to choose from.  Unfortunately everyone but me chose the same thing, so I don’t have a lot of entree photos to share.  Let’s start with my entree, the Citrus Glazed Chicken Breast.

Served in a bowl with Udon Noodles, Bok Choy, Edamame, Carrots, and Miso Broth this dish is such a great addition to the new (to me) menu.  I thought it was unique and very flavorful.

The noodles were cooked perfectly as was the chicken, very juicy.  The Miso Broth complemented the chicken very well.  After my last visit I went in with some low-ish expectations and was quite surprised by how good this dish was.

Glazed Citrus Chicken

Glazed Citrus Chicken

Everyone else at the table opted for the Red Oak Smoked Honey-Whiskey Barbecue Tri-Tip.  My boys were very happy to learn that they could substitute the mashed potatoes for french fries.

 Tri Tip & French Fries

Tri Tip & French Fries

The two grown-up boys (aka my husband and a friend of ours) at the table went for the Grilled Lobster Tail and Red Oak Smoked Honey-Whiskey Barbecue Tri-Tip which is served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.  The portions were very generous and everyone cleared their plates.

Lobster Tail & Tri Tip

Lobster Tail & Tri Tip

 Dessert

The dessert trio features 3 mini desserts. Everyone receives the same dessert which includes a Chocolate Covered StrawberryS’mores Bar & Creme Brulee.

The Chocolate Covered Strawberry was sweet & juicy. They are smaller versions of the ones that are sold at Candy Palace and Marceline’s.  The S’mores Bar was the table favorite; a chocolate ganache filled crust topped with 3 dollops of chocolate mousse, a graham cracker, and toasted marshmallow.  The Creme Brulee was actually a little runny.  It tasted OK, but the other two items trumped the brulee by far!

Dessert Trio

Dessert Trio

Drinks

Because the Cove Bar is right there at Ariel’s Grotto, the restaurant serves up a full bar plus specialty drinks.

Drink Menu

Drink Menu

We sampled a few adult beverages including the Skinny Coconut Mojito and the Habanero Lime Margarita.  The mojito was SO delicious.  One of those, “Are you sure there’s alcohol in this?” types of drinks. Way too easy to drink.  Ingredients include Skinny Girl Island Coconut Vodka, coconut water, fresh lime juice, mint and agave nectar.

Skinny Coconut Lime Mojito

Skinny Coconut Lime Mojito

The Habanero Lime Margarita had some serious kick to it.  Ingredients include Patron Silver Tequila, habanero lime syrup, agave nectar, and fresh lime juice.  Interesting to taste but be prepared for a little burn!

Habanero Lime Margarita

Habanero Lime Margarita

Overall

Overall, I am 100% impressed with the change of menu at Ariel’s Grotto. I felt like the food was more flavorful and there was a more interesting variety of entrees. The soups and salad were great and the dessert was also a big improvement.

In addition to the food upgrades, I noticed a difference in service. My last visit was rather sluggish and unimpressive.  This visit started off a bit slow, but once we ordered, our server was fabulous and very attentive.

I really think that Ariel’s Grotto has brought itself up to par with the other table service restaurants in Disney California Adventure. I might even go as far to say that it’s one of the better dining options in the park (ranking just below Corn Dog Castle, 1901, and Carthay Circle, ha!).  I would definitely recommend a visit, especially if you are interested in seeing World of Color. It’s a great meal, plus you get the added bonus of preferred viewing – win win!

Have you been to Ariel’s Grotto for dinner since the menu change?  What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Heather Sievers is the Disney Food Blog’s Dining in Disneyland columnist. See more of her columns here!

Dining in Disneyland First Look: Starbucks Opens in Downtown Disney!

The walls are down and the doors are open! Disneyland’s Downtown Disney has just welcomed one of the most unique Starbucks stores in the nation.

Downtown Disney Welcomes Starbucks

Downtown Disney Welcomes Starbucks!

This LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified store is beyond gorgeous.  First off, you may be wondering what LEED is; I myself had to look it up to get some more information.

LEED certification encourages “green” building, using sustainable products in the construction of the building.  It also requires Energy Star performance ratings on appliances, lighting, machinery, etc.

Welcome to Starbucks Anaheim

Hand Painted “Welcome to Starbucks Anaheim, California” Mural

This Starbucks has all that and more. Let’s take a look inside!

Atmosphere

Both the interior and exterior of the store are lined with upcycled box car wood.  It has been sanded and stained to a beautiful golden brown color. You can actually see the holes where the bolts originally held the box cars together.

Starbucks Panoramic View

Other design elements include hand painted murals and a tree stump that was cut into a bench for seating.  Starbucks wanted to bring in hand crafted elements that compliment their hand crafted beverages.

Up-cycled Box Car Wood with Hand Painted Murals

Up-cycled Box Car Wood with Hand Painted Murals

More Box Car Wood

More Box Car Wood with Mural

The focal centerpiece of the store is a 9 panel LCD screen that features original content from the areas of the world that Starbucks sources their coffee.

9 Panel LCD Screen Featuring "Water Color" Images of Coffee Resources

9 Panel LCD Screen Featuring “Water Color” Images of Coffee Resources Used by Starbucks

The images have been modified to look as though they are watercolors, and change every minute or so.  The only other Starbucks in the nation to features this same screen is in New York’s Times Square location.

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks.

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks

When designing the store, Starbucks knew that its visitors would be in the area expecting some Disney magic.  Looking to impress guests and spread some of their own pixie dust,  elements were added to this new store that have yet to be introduced to any other Starbucks location.

The main feature is the interactive digital chalkboard.  I immediately noticed this when I walked in the doors.  It does two different things. First, it acts as a drawing board allowing guests to use their fingers to write messages, draw pictures or play a fun game of tic tac toe.

about a game of Tic Tac Toe?

How about a game of Tic Tac Toe?

Of course I couldn’t resist trying it out for myself…

Disney Food Blog Was Here!

Disney Food Blog Was Here!

Second, it creates its own pictures using images it “sees” in front of it.

Sure enough, I watched for a few minutes and I noticed that the man sitting near it was all of a sudden featured in a chalk type drawing right there on the board.  Very cool!

Hey Guy! Look, you're on the screen!

Hey Guy! Look, you’re on the screen!

By the way — it has a disclosure right there on the wall stating that they are using scenes and people in that area of the store to create the unique chalkboard drawings, so you’ve been warned that you might be part of the artwork.

Video Disclosure

Video Disclosure

Above the barista work space, Starbucks has added a light up map featuring locations where they source their coffee.

Light Up Coffee Sourcing Map

Light Up Coffee Sourcing Map

Seating

This particular Starbucks has very little indoor seating.  In fact the only seating is really a few small benches and the round stools that can be seen in front of the interactive screen.

Indoor Seating

Indoor Seating

Instead, the seating was designed to be a patio experience; “alfresco” is what I was told specifically. The patio was built around a large pre-existing tree.  Not wanting to uproot this long time resident, Starbucks made it the focal point of the patio.

The seating around it is very inviting.  In fact, if it weren’t for the World of Disney being right next door, you might easily forget that you were just steps away from the Main Gates.  I can definitely see this area being at full capacity most, if not all of the time.  It’s a great spot to take a break.

"Alfresco" Seating

“Alfresco” Seating

Another element unique to this store is the living wall towards the back of the patio.  The wall features 1000 native plants and acts as a backdrop to more patio seating.

Living Wall with Patio Seating

Living Wall with Patio Seating

 Menu

In addition to their regular beverage menu, this particular Starbucks location has a “Starbucks Reserve”  menu.  They have a special reserve coffee bar that serves up some rare and exotic coffee blends that can not be found at most Starbucks locations.  The Reserve menu changes on a regular basis.

The Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar: Serving Up Unique & Exotic Blends

The Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar: Serving Up Unique & Exotic Blends

You can also find the familiar refrigerated cases that serve up prepackaged foods, snacks, bottled water, juice, milk and more.

Starbucks Refrigerator Case

Starbucks Refrigerator Case

Pastries and and treats can be found as well.

Starbucks Pastries

Starbucks Pastries

 Merchandise

This location has the typical Starbucks branded gear available for purchase. You can buy coffee, water bottles, cups, mugs, etc.

Starbucks Branded Merchandise

Starbucks Branded Merchandise

They also have a location-specific Orange County mug.

Starbucks Orange County Mug

Starbucks Orange County Mug

I was hoping to see some Starbucks/Disney colab merchandise, but alas it was no where in sight.  I did ask if it was in the works and the answer was, “We aren’t ruling out the possibility.”  So, basically, don’t hold your breath!

Grinds to Go
Reserve coffees can be purchased to take home.

Starbucks Reserve Coffees Available to Take Home

Starbucks Reserve Coffees Available to Take Home

And…. If you need some additional energy to go, you can grab boxes of VIA, tea or coffee to take with you.

VIA, Teas & Coffee for Purchase

VIA, Teas & Coffee for Purchase

Overall

Overall, I think that Starbucks did a great job designing a location that fits right in at the Happiest Place on Earth. The design elements are modern and playful, a perfect Disney fit.  I also love that it provides a great little spot for fueling up before a long day in the parks.  It’s also the perfect retreat if you need a break…

Just a few hours in and already a super long line.

Customers Gladly Welcoming Starbucks to Downtown Disney Anaheim

Customers Gladly Welcoming Starbucks to Downtown Disney, Anaheim

Welcome to Downtown Disney, Starbucks!

Have you had a chance to visit the new Starbucks in Downtown Disney?  If so, did you have a favorite design element? Did you try the Reserve coffees or play with the digital chalkboard? Let us know in the comments below.

Heather Sievers is the Disney Food Blog’s Dining in Disneyland columnist. See more of her columns here!

Review: New Limited Time Menu Items at Earl of Sandwich

I have to say, I LOVE my Earl of Sandwich email updates.  And when I got this one, my family and I headed over for dinner that very night!

New Earl ItemsFor a limited time (I’m not sure how limited) Earl of Sandwich is offering 4 new menu items: The BBQ Chicken Sandwich, a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich, Bacon Mac n’ Cheese, and Brownie Bark.

These items are currently available in Disney World AND Disneyland, and I’m happy to say that I was able to try out all 4 items and I’m here to report back!

Eats

I ordered the BBQ Chicken Sandwich on white bread and thought it was delicious. I almost never ever stray from my favorite, the Holiday Turkey.  While this is on the menu though, I might just have to switch back and forth on alternating visits.

Earl of Sandwich BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken Sandwich

The sandwich is full of chicken smothered in sweet BBQ sauce.  It also has red onions, which were not at all overpowering. I normally ask for no or “easy” onions, but I totally forgot when I ordered, and the amount on the sandwich didn’t bother me at all.

Topped with cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of cilantro, I’d love it if this sandwich made its way permanently to the menu.

BBQ Chicken Sandwich Close Up

BBQ Chicken Sandwich Close Up

My husband went with the Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich.  After trying mine, we both realized that the BBQ Chicken was [Read more…]