Three vegetarians. Three days. Three meals a day. Can it all be done at Disneyland Resort? Yes, yum and YAY!
The challenge: Find healthy vegetarian options without bringing any attention to the fact that we’re vegetarians…TRY to look like any ordinary Disney-loving family. To further the challenge of our quest, one of us is a kid, a vegetarian kid, who will only opt for cheese pizza in the most desperate of circumstances. So we have out work cut out for us when we head to a theme park. The rules are simple: No meats, no repeats.
As southern California locals, I admit we’ve done this before, but 3 consecutive days can be a challenge to try something different every day. This past weekend, when we were graciously hosted at the Disneyland Hotel with 3-day park hopper passes to celebrate the Disney Holidays, we were especially excited to discover the newest offerings. To date, our all-time favorite had been at Downtown Disney’s Uve Bar & Café, where we satiated our vegetarian appetites with a variety of “snacks” – a trio of Mediterranean dips with pita bread, marinated olives and, our favorite: Piquillo peppers – stuffed with goat cheese, golden raisins, toasted pine nuts and sherry vinegar pearls. We had greatly anticipated returning here, but we never ran short of options!
Here are our latest favorite vegetarian discoveries –
Honorable Mention: Where: Tangaroa Terrace, Disneyland Hotel. What: Crispy Tofu Salad – Ginger-Soy Marinated Tofu fried crispy in a coconut panko breading, served atop a blend of fresh lettuces, cabbage, carrots, red & gold bell peppers and grape tomatoes, tossed in a citrus vinaigrette. Why it works: Treating the tofu just like a piece chicken is the key – a delicious flavorful marinade and crusty coconut topping make it tasty and exciting. If you think tofu is only ever bland and boring, you haven’t tried this.
#3: Where: Award Weiners, Hollywood Pictures Backlot, Disney California Adventure. What: Portobello-Mushroom Philly – Grilled portobello, onions & bell peppers sauteed in amber lager, topped with pepper jack cheese. Why it works: It works because it’s not a hot dog. I admit, I’ve passed this several times because a hot dog stand is the LAST place I expected to find a vegetarian selection, and I was certain that this only described the toppings. Unsure of the whole concept, we only ordered one. But after they each took a bite of mine, I made them get their own. Trust me on this, it totally works and is completely satisfying.
#2: Where: Rancho del Zocalo, Frontierland, Disneyland. What: Tostada Salad – “Fajita Style” vegetables presented in a crispy tortilla shell with refried beans, chopped lettuce topped with cheddar and jack cheese. Why it works: A tried and true favorite for years, it’s fun to eat, too. The beans and cheese provide the necessary protein, while the tostada shell is tasty with the included accompaniments of guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo salsa. Bonus: it’s big enough to share.
#1: Where: Paradise Garden Grill, Paradise Pier, Disney California Adventure. What: Mediterranean (Vegetable and Tofu) Skewers, including Rice Pilaf, Cucumber Salad and Pita Bread. Why it works: It’s all about the sauce, and there are four to choose from – Moroccan Chili, Chimichurri, Tandoori-spiced Yogurt, and Tzatziki. The vegetables and tofu were grilled to perfection, and the rice is a tasty compliment to any of the flavors. We loved every bite.
Alas, three days are not enough to try all the vegetarian options available between Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and the resort restaurants. And that’s a good thing, because we can’t wait to go back!