Wonderful World of Dining: or Eating at Disneyland!
Last night we had dinner at the Napa Rose at the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel. Our friends Geoffrey and Thommy were celebrating their 10th anniversary and they had a party in the restaurant for 52 people! Holy crap! It's been several years since I've had a five-course meal at a nice restaurant and I don't think I've ever had a wine-pairing meal so this was really special.
First of all, the hotel is beautiful; I'd never been inside it. The Grand Californian is modeled after the early 20th-c. craftsman style. It's Disneyfied craftsman but it's still pretty impressive because it's just so big! The lobby is about six stories high and reminds me of the lobbies of huge National Park lodges. We thought about staying down there for the night because it's a pretty long drive but it was a really busy weekend and many of the hotels were booked and it was too expensive, anyway. It didn't take long to drive home, though, because it was so late. I'm just glad I didn't have to drive; I'd had too much wine.
We arrived a little early (but not early enough to go into the park and go on a ride, which Eric had originally wanted to do) so we walked over to Downtown Disney and Eric bought a T-shirt. Our friend, Aimee, did even more major shopping; she decided she was under-dressed and actually bought a dress in Downtown Disney right before dinner! She is so funny! She had been scouting pirate-themed restaurants for a party, as one does, so she had been wearing jeans. There were people in the restaurant who were dressed pretty casual but most of our party was a little more dressed up. We didn't know most of the people there but we had a wonderful time getting to know the people at our table.
The executive chef for the Napa Rose is Andrew Sutton and the general manager/sommelier is Michael Jordan. You were wondering what Michael Jordan was up to, right? First basketball, then baseball, then underwear modelling, and now he's a sommelier. Seriously, though, that's the guy's name.
We started with canapes and champagne in the bar area. Eric was fall-down drunk after one glass so he didn't have any wine with dinner. He tasted mine, though. The mushroom "tartar" canapes were delicious. I don't know what champagne we were drinking but I'm assured it was actual champagne and not sparkling wine. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
We were seated according to Disney characters; we were at the Goofy table. First course was "Lobster & Acocado Martini 'Shaken Not Stirred' with Creamy Mango-Lime Vinaigrette." It was basically a lobster, avocado, and mango salad served in a martini glass with a breaded jalapeno-stuffed olive. It was a cute presentation and it was tasty. It was paired with a 2001 Chardonnay from the Tantara Winery in the Santa Maria Valley.
Second course was a "Salad of Select Organic Greens, Apples and Laura Chenel Goat Cheese with Candied Walnut Vinaigrette." Delicious. We were still drinking the first wine with this course.
Third course definitely made us think of Top Chef. It was a "Coastal Mushroom Bisque 'Cappuccino' with Brandied Thyme 'Froth.'" It was served in a cappuccino cup and looked just like a cappuccino and the "froth" made us think of Marcel's famous foams. It was very good. This course was paired with a 2002 Belle Glos Pinot Noir from Caymus Vineyards on the Sonoma Coast.
For the entree we had a choice of "Sauteed Salmon with Lobster Risotto and Champagne-Basil Essence; Mine Shaft Blue Cheese Crusted Fillet of Beef Tenderloin with Colcannon Whipped Potatoes and Cabernet Jus; or Rosemary Grilled Lamb Chops with Farm House Roasted Potatoes and Merlot Jus." I chose the fillet. I wish I liked fish more because the salmon sounded really good. The entree was paired with a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Silverado Vinyards in the Napa Valley. I don't know if the wines were getting better with each course or if we were just getting drunker but this Cabernet was delicious.
For dessert we had a "Scharffen Berger Flourless Chocolate Cake with Double Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream." We were expecting a really sweet desert wine with this course so we were very pleasantly surprised to get a red sparkling wine served in a champagne flute that tasted remarkably like a Kir Royale. I didn't know such a wine existed. It was very refreshing. It was a 2005 Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto di Acqui from Italy.
By the end of the night there was a baby sleeping in a tablecloth (the adorable Parker) and we were all very happy. Oh, and the valet service is excellent! It was a wonderful meal with wonderful people! Congratulations Geoffrey and Thommy and thank you!