Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Big Eats at Food and Wine

It's another update from the Food and Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure!  My stomach's favorite time of the year, this is when DCA unveils booths full of delicious special dishes served only for the event, and following yesterday's starter course, today, we hit upon the pricier items that Annual Passholders might actually be able to economically offset via the use of the Festival Marketplace Tasting Passport.

The west coast Food & Wine Festival is in full swing at Disney California Adventure!
The Tasting Passport is available only to AP holders and allows users to purchase six food items (sorry, alcohol is excluded) of their choice.  The pass is $39 total (tax included) and does not all have to be used the same day.  Annual Passholders who do not use up their Tasting Passports can come back no later than May 1 to finish off their tabs.

The Festival Marketplace Tasting Passort, an AP perk!
If you're doing your math, then you'll realize that $39 divided by 6 tabs means each tab is effectively worth $6.50 of credit.  Work further backwards, since the food items purchased also need tax added, this means that each tab is worth $6.01 of pre-taxed credit.  The moral: don't use it on any food item that is $6.00 or less.  Only use it for food items greater than $6.00 before tax, and pay out of pocket for everything else.

Fortunately, there happen to be exactly six food items that are more than $6.00, making this half-dozen perfect for use with the Tasting Passport!  Lets check them out!

The Chilled Ahi Poke with Avocado Creme, Wakame Salad, and Sesame Tuile ($7.00 + tax) at the "LA Style" booth is exactly what'd you'd expect if you're familiar with poke (marinated raw sushi-grade fish).  The tuna is fresh and flavorful without tasting too fishy, and the seaweed salad is tangy and spongy.  The glazed sesame wafer adds a nice crunch, and the cream sauce plus the sweetened shoyu marinade create a delectable flavor pallet.  Though one of the pricier items, it is definitely worth it!
Also at the "LA Style" booth is the Poke Belly Bao Taco with Pickled Vegatables ($6.50 + tax).  Chinese steamed bun dishes are quickly becoming hip and trendy among the foodie community, with the moist and slightly sweet steamed bun adding a nice twinge of flavor to the savory bun contents.  This dish was also quite tasty, with pork belly, a hoisin sauce topping, and pickled carrots and daikon (Chinese radish) and cilantro adding a nice crunch.  I have had better baos at other restaurants, but this is a nice starter for those who may not be familiar with the dish.
The poke and pork belly bao together.
The Zinfandel-Braised Wagyu Beef with Creamy Polenta and Spring Pea Puree ($8.00 + tax) at the "Wine Country" booth is hearty and tastes a little bit like a pot roast.  I thought the use of wagyu beef was a bit of a waste in such a dish where the cooking process tenderizes the meat anyway, but the spring peas and polenta lent a light, refreshing contrast to the heavier beef.  This was tasty, but not among my favorites.
The Wagyu beef with the roasted yellow beets dish mentioned yesterday.
At "Viva Fresca," guests can also get a Fried Shrimp Soft Taco with Pickled Red Onion & Jalapeño, Queso Fresco, and Avocado-Lime Crema ($6.50 + tax).  This was wonderfully savory, portioned to easily share with a friend, and was a mix of tangy and light deep-fry.  The cheese and sauce complemented the ingredients perfectly!
The Grilled Beef Tenderloin Slider with Chimichurri Sauce ($7.75 + tax) at "The Farm" booth was hearty and quite delicious.  The slider might look like it only requires a few bites, but it actually is more filling than expected, and the chimichurri sauce adds a lovely zest to the moist tenderloin. 
Finally, at the "By the Bay" booth, the premium offering is a Chilled Shrimp and Snow Crab Cocktail ($7.50 + tax), a spicy appetizer dish with some nice helpings of shrimp and crab as well as a tomato puree with red onions, jalapeño, and parsley.  It's not filling, but it's pretty tasty and pairs excellently with the recommended Zocker, by Grüner Veltliner available at the same booth.
The Shrimp and Crab Cocktail in the middle, surrounded by CHOUP! (White Cheddar Ale & Bacon Soup) to the right and Coconut Tapioca Layered with Fresh Mango, Lychee Boba, and Mango Coulis (more on this and other desserts offered in a future post) on the left.
So if you followed along, you probably noticed that quite a few items were substantially above $6.00 per item.  So if you got one of each item described above at full price plus tax, the meal would cost you $46.71.  So by using the Tasting Passport to purchase these six items, you save $7.71, or basically the average cost of one of these heavier hitters.  And in fact, the "discount" works out to be about 16.5%, which is the typical Premium Annual Passholder dining discount.  You can use that savings to go back and get another order of your favorite dish!

The photo op by the waterfalls during the day.
Now that you've taken all that in, what are you waiting for?  Go grab some grub today!  And save some money while you're at it!

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