What I Ate in California – Part 2

I dedicate this entry to, honestly, the best meal I have ever consumed in my life.  No joke.  Sorry mom…but it’s true.  Never before have I been treated to such an exciting and taste-defying tasting menu, all of it done by the chef’s whim.  And yes…all of it done to suit any food allergies at the table.  For me…being a gluten-free vegetarian.  For my friend Tawn…no shrimp.

What am I talking about?


Napa Rose.

Chef’s Table.


Okay…now that I got that out of my system…kind of…let me explain…

You see, Disneyland has a lot of nice treasures inside its gates.  And, after running the Disneyland Half Marathon, Indy wanted to treat all of us, plus her hubby and her dad, to a nice meal out…which would be our Christmas and Birthday gifts.  She chose Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa as the scene of this adventure.  After a long day, the four ladies got all dressed up and met up with Evan (Indy’s hubby) for a ride over to the restaurant.  Her dad was staying there so he’d meet us there.

A few drinks in the lounge and two Joey Fatone (from *NSYNC) sightings later, we were making our way to the Dessert Counter and being seated, napkins placed on our laps, and about to be treated to one of the finest, most epic, amazing meals of our lives…complete with wine tasting.  All of this…completely at the whim of the chef.

So…let’s get started:

Amuse-Bouche: Plum with Grape Relish and Gluten-Free Flatbread

Amuse-Bouche: Plum with Grape Relish and Vegan & Gluten-Free Flatbread
Amuse-Bouche: Plum with Grape Relish and Vegan & Gluten-Free Flatbread

The rest of the counter was treated to a Panna Cotta with Great Relish…but not this girl.  The chef kept is simple, elegant, and instead of the panna cotta, served me up an amazing warm Plum with Grape Relish on top.  The plum was sweet, pairing beautifully with the slightly sour tones of the chopped grapes.  It was the perfect way to wake up the palate and prepare it for the rest of what was to come that night.

In addition, while the rest of the counter got to share this large basket of various breads, a basket of vegan and gluten-free flatbread was delivered to me.  This bread had a fresh herbiness to it.  It was crispy, yet still soft.  And when it was fresh and warm…there was nothing like it in the world.  It was a nice change from the gluten-free rolls I am so used to getting.  It’s not everyday this girl gets to indulge in flatbread.  And indulge I did.  Because I just couldn’t stop eating it!!

First Course: Cauliflower Tower

Cauliflower Tower
Cauliflower Tower

What…you may ask…is a Cauliflower Tower.  Simply what it sounds like.  Cauliflower…in a tower.  But…it is really so much more than that.  In fact, while the base of this dish was, in fact, a cauliflower mash, it was blended with couscous, raisins, pistachios, and was drizzled with a blood orange sauce.  I love cauliflower, so using it as a base for this meal was sheer brilliance.  The couscous gave it a bit more body.  Toss in the sweet raisins with the salty nature and crunch of the pistachios and you have a meal made in heaven.  Seriously.  Angels eat this when they picnic on the clouds.  I swear.  The blood orange sauce just sealed the deal.  It gave this savory dish a little zing.  It was fantastic.  Down to the very last bite.  If this was any indication of what was left to come, I was all in.  I didn’t record the type of wine any of my meals were paired with…but I loved them.  All of them.

Second Course: Grilled Peach Salad with Green Beans and a Peach Yogurt Sauce

Grilled Peach Salad with Green Beans and a Peach Yogurt Sauce
Grilled Peach Salad with Green Beans and a Peach Yogurt Sauce

 The usual version of this dish is served with roasted duck.  But, being that I was the sole vegetarian at the table, the chef made one with duck, which Indy received, and made mine without it.  But this made me want to grill peaches ALL the time.  ALL the peaches.  And then consume ALL the peaches with ALL the food that I could think would pair well with them.  I will say this…I never would have paired peaches with green beans.  But…this worked.  This worked remarkably well.  The peaches had this rich sweetness to them, the green beans were cooked perfectly, so they had that crispiness to them.  And that yogurt sauce just tied everything together.  This was fantastic.  I could have eaten plate after plate of this and been one happy girl.  But more goodness was still ahead.

Third Course: Heirloom Tomatoes with Golden Tomato Essence with Fava Beans and Parmesan

Heirloom Tomatoes with Golden Tomato Essence with Fava Beans and Parmesan
Heirloom Tomatoes with Golden Tomato Essence with Fava Beans and Parmesan

 I do believe either Tawn or Cathy made the Silence of the Lambs reference when I was served this beautiful, rainbow dish.  I mean, the colors on this dish just popped.  The sweet tomato essence was what really made this dish so savory.  The beautiful heirloom tomatoes were ripe, gorgeous, juicy and the flavors danced across my taste buds with the first bite.  The fava beans added a little body…and some texture.  And to top it all off…shaved Parmesan cheese, which gave the dish that big of salty seasoning that just brought it all together in the end.  Rich, succulent…and fantastic.  Each dish was topping the last…

Fourth Course: Chef’s Creation – Vegetarian Mushroom and Tomato Plate

Chef's Creation - Vegetarian Mushroom and Tomato Plate
Chef’s Creation – Vegetarian Mushroom and Tomato Plate

 Be jealous.  Because the chef made this one specifically for me.  His gluten-free, vegetarian diner.  What exactly was it?  Savory goodness, that’s what it was.  Honestly…this was fantastic.  From the first bite he reigned me in with perfectly cooked mushrooms, beautifully seasoned and topped with gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and greens.  I wanted to hoover this dish so much, but I sat there like the lady I am and ate it like the sophisticated foodie I see on television and dream about becoming.  No…really.  I savored this dish.  Every bite of it.  And I never wanted it to end.  But…my fork fell onto the last slice and soon it too was gone.

Dessert: Meyer Lemon Crème Brûlée with Blueberries and Mint

Meyer Lemon Crème Brûlée with Blueberries and Mint
Meyer Lemon Crème Brûlée with Blueberries and Mint

 Without even knowing anything about me save for my food allergies and preferences, the chef sent out the most perfect dessert for me.  It involved lemon and blueberries…and that pairing is, by far, one of my absolute favorites.  So, without even knowing it…the chef capped off the perfect evening with the perfect dessert.  His Meyer Lemon Crème Brûlée with Blueberries and Mint was a stunning plate to start with.  The crust on the crème brûlée was brilliant.  And that lemon flavor was just enough without overpowering the entire dessert.  Toss in the blueberries (one of my favorite berries) and the hint of mint and I was in a delicious, tasty food coma.  Seriously.  I dug right into this dessert and savored it as long as I could.  I even ate the drizzle of chocolate letters around the plate wishing me an early happy birthday.  Yes…I enjoyed it…for real…down to the very last bit.  But, I’m a dessert girl…and this was one hell of a dessert.

My hat is off to Indy, for this fantastic food experience.  If I were to choose my last meal on Earth…it would be this.  I would want to be at Napa Rose…at the Chef’s Counter…once again receiving the dishes of his choosing for me.  I loved being surprised and not knowing what to expect when my plate was carried out and placed in front of me.  The company was the best I could ever be with at this venue.  The food was outstanding.  I’ve been spoiled.  No other meal has come close to equaling this one…and I am starting to wonder if one ever will.

My food hat is off to the chef of Napa Rose…the food that is served there…the wine it is paired with (SO GOOD!)…and the good friends I shared the experience with.  If any of you find yourself at Disneyland…do try to experience this for yourself.  It isn’t cheap…I can tell you that…but the food and the experience is worth every dollar you put towards this meal.  I promise.

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