Sunday, October 12, 2008

Macaronis et Fromage

Brookie wanted me to write about the Tour de Macaroni & Cheese she conducted during our vacation to Disneyland. You may not have known this about her, but Brookie has long been a connoisseur of that fine cheesy cuisine. If you've got her name for Christmas this year, a box of Kraft might make her the happiest kid in the room.

I can only think of one meal at which Brookie did NOT order mac and cheese. That was Monday night after the Parade of Dreams when we all went to a friendly little restaurant called Millie's, which was located just across the street from Disneyland on Harbor Blvd. Brookie got the cheese pizza and fries, just like the other kids. Madsion, however, DID order the macaroni and cheese, and I think they switched meals halfway through. I confess that I also ordered macaroni and cheese that night, but it was a more sophisticated version that included bacon, diced tomatoes and cilantro, plus a house salad - so it was okay for me.

I don't really care so much when the kid's menu is simple and the prices are inexpensive. For $4.99 they can order a corn dog or a grilled cheese sandwich or mac & cheese, it doesn't matter much to me. However, there were a few gooey meals that left me less than enthused with her customary selection.

California Adventure has several interesting food production facilities located inside the park. For example, they grow grapes and press their own wine, much of which is used inside the parks' and hotels' own restaurants, and some is sold at retail. There is also a live Mission tortilla factory that we toured (and ate the free samples). Another such enterprise is a bakery, and this is what brought us to Pacific Wharf - Sara wanted cheese soup in a freshly baked sourdough bread bowl. Brookie ordered the usual, but at an unusually good price - $3.50. All was good until we opened up the kid's meal box. Her macaroni and cheese was in a container the size of those tiny little plastic bowls that you put pickles and banana peppers in at Quizno's. There were literally only like 15-20 noodles inside. In a price-per-noodle comparison, this may have been the most expensive of the trip.

I briefly touched on some of the crazy items in the breakfast buffet at Goofy's Kitchen; peanut butter and jelly pizza, gummy worms, and ice cream. There is also an outstanding assortment of great food like waffles, french toast, made-to-order omelets and egg scrambles, breakfast potatoes, oatmeal with various toppings, cold cereals, pastries, fresh fruits, and... you guessed it, macaroni and cheese. Brookie did branch out a bit; apple juice, mac and cheese, and gummy worms. I can't complain though, since they considered her an infant and didn't charge us for her meal.

For $18.00 I want to see something involving a decent-sized cut of what used to be a cow, grilled and seasoned to perfection. If the chef wants to throw in mac and cheese on the side, so be it. But 18 bucks for a kid-sized portion of that ubiquitous pasta made my stomach churn. As if that wasn't bad enough, Madison ordered the same thing. To add insult to injury, they didn't even save any for me. I can't say that I blame them for choosing the cheesy goodness - the alternatives were chicken nuggets or mini-corn dogs.

UPDATE: 10/17/08 - I was just cleaning up some papers on my desk and came across a copy of the kid's menu from Ariel's Grotto. Turns out the girls had an excellent selection including glazed chicken skewers, "meatball lollipops", and my favorite, a kid-sized tri-tip like I ate. In hindsight I should have had them order one macaroni and cheese and one tri-tip which could have been like a side dish for my main course tri-tip.

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