Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival

30 May

Woke up to a bright sunshiny day!  Wanted to wear something that reflected just that.  I didn’t know Karl had the same thing in mind and burst out laughing when I saw him in a yellow top too.  We had signed up for Disneyland’s Annual Passport when my sister visited and are constantly on the look out for events to attend to make the most out of it. It’s pretty cool because they take your picture and print it at the back of a card similar to  getting a driver’s license.  The highlight of spring at Disney was their fifth annual Food & Wine Festival at California Adventure Park.  We were debating on going either on Saturday or Monday (the festival’s last day), but when we checked out their schedule and saw that two reality stars from the Discovery Channel were going to make an appearance on Saturday a decision was immediately made.  I’d visited California Adventure Park just once before but I was with kids so I felt this would be a good day for me to freely explore the place.  
We arrived at around 10:15a.m. and it felt refreshing not having to pay for parking for a change.  As usual, Karl’s loud car set off the alarm of other cars in the parking lot which I find really annoying but which he finds amusing.  Hmph.  When they scan your card at the entrance your picture appears on the monitor to verify your identity.  The wine stations weren’t open yet.  Everything was scheduled to begin at 11a.m.  Karl wanted to try one of the rides right away, but I told him I needed something in my stomach first to stomach the ride.  (Get it?)  I settled for churros outside before we waited in line to get on the Tower of Terror.  The first time I went on this ride was at Disney World in Orlando and after that I vowed never to get on it again.  I remember getting bitten on my finger by one of my companions mid-ride.  Ouch.  But here I am about to get on it again to please my boyfriend.  Haha.  Actually it wasn’t as bad as I’d remembered it.  I decided to just let myself go and not fight gravity.  That’s really the key to most rides I think because once you start to get tense psychologically your body will tense up too and you’ll only give yourself a mean headache afterward.  I walked out of there feeling accomplished.  Wish I could say the same for the roller coaster later on…

Our next stop was the “Taste of California” Marketplace at the Festival Showcase strategically hidden away at Stage 12 in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot.  They were offering tapas-size tastings of specialty foods uniquely created for the festival.  Perfect for me!  I love small portions.  We had a nice little brunch outside where it was warm and breezy.  People were starting to arrive for the wine seminar which was being held at the same place.  We wanted to make it to this one too, but we were enjoying our time outside a little too much and were a minute late so they wouldn’t let us in anymore.  That’s okay , we thought.  The room seemed full anyway.  We attended the five o’clock one instead.

Ordered food from Villa Capri inside the Marketplace.

Caught Karl at mid-chew!  Haha.  He drank Sam Adams Lager and had a Four Cheese Bread Bowl Soup to start.

Meanwhile, I had Chalone Chardonnay which paired perfectly with the Beer Battered Halibut.  I don’t think I’ve ever had wine this early in the day.

Our common choice–Beer Battered Halibut.  The combination of beer and fish made it sound really appealing on the menu.  The crust was  crunchy and light.  It fell apart in your mouth.  The lime and malt vinegar made the halibut even tastier.  I was tempted to get a second helping but decided against it to make room for more food later.

On to ride number two.  As we got closer to the gate I started feeling sick to my stomach and my hear started to palpitate.  I’m just really not a fun date when it comes to getting on these crazy rides.  While waiting in line, Karl kept convincing me that the ride would be fun.  Jokingly he said, “I’d have so much respect for you if you get on this one.”  I made it inside the cart but jumped out at the last minute leaving Karl alone.  Ugh!  I’m such a coward.  Seeing those big loops made me nervous!  The cast member asked me, “Are you sure you’re not getting on this ride?”  I shook my head and exited making sure not to make eye contact with the other passengers because I was embarrassed.  I am not sure I’ll ever get over my fear of roller coasters.  Thump, thump, thump.

Spotted Karl just as his ride ended.  I felt like a loser but a relieved loser for chickening out.  Haha.

Exploring the park and checking out great scenery.  The sound of the waterfalls was incredibly relaxing.  This area reminded me of my former workplace.

We headed back to the Sunshine Plaza to catch a glimpse of Sig Hansen and Edgar Hansen from Discovery Channel’s “The Deadliest Catch.”  Because I’ve only sporadically seen a few episodes of the show, I wasn’t quite as connected to them as Karl was.  He was very excited to see them.  Their presence drew in about a hundred people in and around the tent that morning.  The brothers demonstrated how to make Captain Sig’s Fish Cakes, a recipe made famous on their show.  Let me tell you that they were the most entertaining cooking hosts I’ve ever seen.  If only all cooking shows could be like this! Usually when you listen to speakers you start to block them out after the first ten minutes.  With these two brothers, however, we were glued to what they were saying the whole time.  They were simply hilarious, witty and candid about their stories and comments.  They were very genuine in answering questions from guests.  I was really impressed.  Through the show, they said, blue-collar men like them are getting more respect for what they do.  Sig and Ed also mentioned how their fame has allowed them to be more actively involved in charities. 

(left-right) Reality stars and brothers Ed Hansen and Sig Hansen.

I was expecting them to look haggard from long months of fishing, but surprisingly they looked fresh.  My favorite part was at the end when they shaped the fish cakes on the pan to look like Mickey Mouse.  Haha.  That was classic.  Like on the show, they were swearing a lot even joking about how Disney would not be inviting them next time because of this bad habit of theirs.  The audience just roared with laughter.  Check out a video clip of their 45-minute presentation below:

The entrance to Walt Disney’s Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar.  Inside is where you’ll find Disney’s future plans for the park.  I seem to have a knack for wearing something that matches the drapes.  Haha. 

It was about 80 degrees today.  We had to cool off with a sundae.  I begged for Karl’s cherry.  Hehe.

After getting on a few more rides we headed back to the marketplace to sample some fine wines from Baileyana Winery.  Can you believe we only paid a dollar to get in?  It was the best bang I ever got out from my buck, literally. 

Swirl, swirl.  I see a cat’s face!  Look closely.  See those other glasses in the far end of the row?  Those seats were empty so Karl got to drink some more.  Haha. 

Learning the difference between wines.  (left-right) Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Shiraz.  My favorite was Chardonnay.  I like it light and crisp.

I believe he was the owner of the winery.  His seminar had good attendance from wine enthusiasts.  

Taking one of my last sips.  I’m not a huge fan of the peppery taste of Shiraz.  

Beautiful wine glasses inside their souvenir shop.

Drinking has never come naturally to me, but over time and with constant habit (and lessons from Karl who is a wine aficionado) I’ve developed a liking to wine.  They no longer give me headaches.  They just make me sleepy if I have a certain amount of it.  Haha.  I think what intrigues me the most about wines is the culture and verbiage that surrounds plus the amount of detail and time it takes to produce a certain taste.  It’s nice to get a little bit of education every now and then.  I love admiring bottle designs; they’re very poetic.  I don’t think that one can be fully acquainted with something unless one makes a real effort to learn and constantly invites it into his or her lifestyle.  Growing up I was sporadically exposed to wine at events and most especially at my last job in Cebu where I had to entertain guests.  But I never quite ‘got it’ because I had never traveled before and quite honestly didn’t feel the need to make it part of my lifestyle since I hardly ate out.  These days it’s nice to be able to reinforce what I learn every day and allow myself to relax and enjoy moments like this.  Amazingly enough California is abundant with wineries from North, South, East and West.
Before we headed home, we watched a couple other shows, crossed over to Disneyland and dropped by to meet Abraham Lincoln.  His animatronic self was incredibly lifelike.  It creeped me out at certain times.  Wish they would think of doing one for Michael Jackson.
Whew! What at a full day. 

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