When: April 15, 2017, 1:15 PM
Elaine and I are in California Adventure, heading to meet Bryce, Sharon, Ken and Julie. The Food & Wine Festival is underway, and they’re keen to try food from the specialty kiosks along DCA’s main drag.
For our part … Food & Wine isn’t really part of this project. To be on our list, something has to be an “original dish served by a Disney establishment” – and the Food & Wine kiosks are all 3rd-party vendors. They don’t qualify.
But Paradise Garden Grill? That totally qualifies.
See, Disney has done a Food & Wine makeover on Paradise Garden Grill. The Beef Gyro Platter and Spicy Meatball Mediterranean Skewer are on hiatus. The menu has been switched out with new items, just for the festival. Exciting! Novel! (We are totally in.)
I go with the Beer-Battered Cod.
To be honest, I’m not expecting much. I’ve had theme-park fish and chips before. The menu makes it sound good, but I’m expecting the standard treatment: two or three anemic pieces of fish, a double handful of fries for volume, everything deep-fried to within an inch of its life.
The dish arrives. And my jaw drops.
The fish looks thick, moist, and perfectly battered. The fries are fresh, steak-cut, and inviting. There’s a side of coleslaw, a slice of lemon, a sprig of parsley and a plastic container of tartar sauce. The presentation is incredibly enticing.
Elaine and I head to the table, and get to work.
It tastes every bit as good as it looks.
Seriously: the fish. (The fish!) Hearty. Moist. Crispy, not-too-thick batter. A nice beery tang, and a slight kick of salt. The fries are equally good, and some of the best I’ve had in the parks, ever. The tartar sauce is terrific. (Even the lemon is helpful.) The only “meh” on the plate is the coleslaw. But I’ll forgive that.
This isn’t just good, it’s standout. Honestly. I loved it that much.
Food & Wine is seasonal, but Disney would do well to find a home for this dish year-round.
UPDATE: As of June 2017, this dish is no longer available.