Eating is, arguably, one of the best activities at Disney parks. The biggest problem that I run into though – portions are too big and I don’t get to try enough. Well, that and the plant-based options are still pretty limited. It’s getting better, but when I heard about all of the vegan options at the California Adventure Food and Wine Festival this year all bets were off.
So I grabbed a flight back home (San Diego), grabbed my dad, and we drove up to Disneyland Resort to eat our veggie-loving hearts out. Was it all good? No, not everything you try in life is a home run. But, there were never any leftovers.
Location: Pacific Warf
Our first stop was to Avocado Time located across from Sonoma Terrace in the Pacific Warf area. This is one of the booths that I was most excited to try. Tacos are my all-time favorite food but it is next to impossible to find good plant-based vegan street tacos. Unfortunately, this stop did not make all of dreams come true.
Impossible™ Nacho Mac & Cheese – $7.00
This was the first dish that we tried at the festival and it set the stage pretty well. This dish was weird! It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t order it twice. The concept is inventive – nacho mac and cheese, but the execution fell a bit flat. The cheese sauce was rich and creamy, the impossible meat was seasoned and cooked well, the sour cream added a welcome tang, and the tomatoes gave it a bit of texture and freshness. The guacamole is where it all fell apart. On it’s on, great guac! It’s when you load a giant scoop of cold guacamole onto a plate of hot mac and cheese, that things go wrong.
Impossible™ Al Pastor Taco – $7.25
Good, but not memorable. We didn’t have much to say about the Al Pastor Tacos, except that they were on the spicier side. The meat was cooked well, but slightly over-seasoned – lending to the spice level. The pineapple pico de Gallo is what stands out here, and I could eat it with a spoon.
Location: Hollywood Land
Impossible™ Gyro-Inspired Naan – $8.00
This Impossible Gyro Naan is the big winner for Food and Wine. The naan base was warm and fluffy, the hummus provided a cool creaminess. The Impossible meat, yet again, spiced and cooked very well. Then on top are crunchy fried chickpeas that set the whole thing off! Absolutely delicious, I would eat here again.
Echo Park Cooler – $7.00
I know, it’s not food. But we tried it and it’s vegan – so I’m including it here. Also, it was really, really bad and I don’t want you to waste your money. The Echo Park Cooler tasted like fruit punch Kool-Aid. As a child of the ’90s who survived on red Kool-Aid, I feel qualified to make this statement. It wasn’t a nostalgic trip down memory lane though, no. Fruit punch is the absolute worst red Kool-Aid flavor (all about Strawberry, am I right?!), and this drink was somehow both sweeter and more sour at the same time—hard pass.
Paradise Garden Grill
Location: Paradise Gardens Park
On the far side of the park, Paradise Garden Grill had the most plant-based options of any booth – and some of the most interesting. We tried them all.
Torta de Chilaquiles – $13.99
Way too spicy – and I say that as a person with a subscription to Hot Ones’ hot sauce of the month. This was actually really good, but it was too spicy to finish. Plus, it’s chips and beans inside of bread with a side of more chips – that’s a lot of carbs. More of a meal than a snack, which the price reflects, and was not an eligible item for the Sip and Savor pass.
Impossible™ Gyro Fries – $12.99
Another winner! Honestly, it may be the gyro seasoning that DCA is using in these two dishes that is setting it off. But this was fantastic! I recently discovered Gyro fries on a trip to San Francisco, but once you remove everything with meat or dairy you’re basically left with fries in a salad. So, seeing this option on the menu got me very excited, and did not disappoint. My only criticism would be the type of fries. Does anyone actually like waffle fries? I’d much rather have a thicker fry than these, which were basically potato chips.
Buffalo Mac and Cheese – $13.99
Apparently, mac and cheese was a theme this year, especially for the plant-based options. Truthfully, I’ve never been a fan of cheese so these are not the dishes that I was really looking forward to. That being said, I would order this again. The buffalo sauce tasted just like Frank’s Red Hot (probably was), the cauliflower was crispy, the vegetables added some crisp freshness to the dish, and the ranch sauce was a perfect accompaniment. Given the choice between this or the Nacho Mac and Cheese, go for the Buffalo option.