25 September 2019

Playfully Presented Food


There are a lot of fun places to eat inside of Disney’s California Adventure, and there also happen to be a number of places to get some incredible meals around the park. There are a few locations, however, the combine the fun and amazing quality to deliver something new that is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the mouth. One such location, and where I happened to grab a couple of bites and beverages recently, is the Lamplight Lounge on Pixar Pier.

For starters, our party had a reservation for Lamplight Lounge, meaning we had a table on the water downstairs and a larger menu to choose from than the bar upstairs. That said, apart from the entrée, everything I sampled is available at both locations. There’s also a secret menu, or some cocktails that we’ll call off script, that one of our party enjoyed, but we’ll let you discover that for yourself!

Lamplight Lounge has a fine selection of “Shorts,” or bites, or appetizers, or whatever you’d like to call them, to choose from. After hearing about them for so long, I absolutely had to try the Potato Skins. I was a bit skeptical when they arrived, simply because they looked like fried green tomatoes, which I was fairly certain I hadn’t seen on the menu. Turns out, these are not your typical pub potatoes. The crispy Yukon gold potatoes are lightly smashed, seasoned, and fried, served with a fair sprinkling of Manchego cheese. There are two sauces smeared around the outside of the plate, a brown-butter caper yogurt and a smoked paprika aioli. The potatoes themselves have a wonderfully crispy crust with the meat of the potato skins being tender, almost to the point that it melts in your mouth. As for the sauces, you can tell just from their descriptions that one would be a bit sourer and the other with a hint more of spiciness. My recommendation? Apply both liberally to your potato skin, you won’t be sorry.

Let’s talk a little about cocktails now, since I had one with our appetizer and another with my meal. If you’ve followed the Gazette long enough, you know that I tend to lean heavily towards whiskey or bourbon cocktails most of the time, and if there are juices in the drink, I am inclined towards those with citrus juices. The pair of beverages I sampled at Lamplight Lounge, the Six Tentacles and the Sunrise Spectacular, both include nods to some of my favorite types of ingredients, but mixed in with some new things to try.

The Six Tentacles has a base of Kikori Japanese Whiskey, with Yuzuri Yuzu, Liquid Alchemist passion fruit, fresh lime juice, and agave nectar. I’ve wanted to try Japanese whiskey for some time now, and I was not disappointed. The Yuzuri Yuzu is a citrus liqueur that utilizes the yuzu fruit that, when paired with the passion fruit and lime juices gives me the distinct feeling of being back in the orange groves of my youth, but with something just a bit different. This was an absolute win for me.

Meanwhile, the Sunrise Spectacular, made with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, tropical juices, a dash of Angostura Bitters, and agave nectar, felt more like a cocktail I would have at brunch instead of a mimosa. At its most basic, this cocktail is the traditional POG juice with bourbon. Not a bad way to start a day, a definitely something I would order again, but it also wasn’t anything special.

On this trip to Lamplight Lounge, the feature presentation was the Cheddar Burger. The patty is a custom meat blend that is served on an Amish bun with cheddar cheese, red onion, avocado ranch spread, and a roasted plum tomato. On the side are malted fries and picked vegetables. This burger has that right balance of fresh flavors from the tomato, onion, and avocado, mixed in with the right amount of fatty richness from the burger patty, cheddar, and avocado spread. It may not be the best thing you’ve ever put in your mouth, but it is a mighty fine burger that hits all of the right notes. The fries are done well, and the pickled vegetables are definitely a scene stealing addition.

The views, as seen above, are killer from Lamplight Lounge. The kinetic energy of The Incredicoaster and Pixar Pal-A-Round add to the atmosphere, while the shade paired with breeze coming off of Paradise Bay makes for a lovely dining experience. Add in a few ducks looking for a handout, some great food and cocktails, and special memorabilia from Pixar productions throughout the restaurant, and you have a meal worth remembering. Lamplight Lounge is definitely a place and a menu I’ll be looking to revisit on future trips to Disney’s California Adventure.

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