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  • Trip Report Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, & Club 33

    First off, these food experiences were from three separate trips. I've already posted a little bit about the Carthay in another post, but I'll go into more detail here. I realized, though, that most of my pictures from my most recent trip were all from Club 33, so it made more sense to do a food report than a complete trip report. Also, I have a ton of photos from the Napa Rose Chef's Counter which I have never documented here.

    I'll start with the Napa Rose, since that was the first of the three trips. We went in March for my guy's birthday, so I treated him to a nice dinner and a unique experience. The food was great. If you have never eaten at the Napa Rose and are able to, I highly recommend it. The regular dining experience there is wonderful, but for a true foodie experience, sit at the Chef's Counter. Here is what our "table" looked like:

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    We ordered wine from our waiter, but were too enthralled by the show going on in front of us to pick dinner from the menu.

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    At one point, Sous Chef Alex came up to us and started chatting. He asked if we'd ordered yet, and when we said we hadn't, he proceeded to discuss the menu with us and took our orders himself. I had heard that, when sitting at the Chef's Counter, it's an option to ask them to create something for you. I was totally planning on doing that until I saw the filet mignon being prepared. Once I saw it, I had to have that.

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    While we were waiting for our dinners and watching meals being prepared for a large party, the waiter brought us a complimentary appetizer. I'm not sure if this was because we were dining at the Chef's Counter or for some other reason, but it was tasty. Also, since we didn't order it from the menu, I never was clear what exactly it was.

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    Long before we were bored with watching the food prep, our dinners arrived. Mine was the Pan Roasted Filet Mignon, which came with roasted parsnips and white cheddar fritter.

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    Dave had the sustainable fish (I think it was a bass variety?) with "laughing bird shrimp" and potato gnocchi in a lemony basil broth.

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    The meals were amazing. So tasty. And though we probably should have been over-stuffed, we managed to find room for dessert. As with the appetizer, I'm not entirely sure what these were. I know that mine was similar to an apple betty, but I don't remember what it was called.

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    The blooming tea was a nice touch. I had expected a selection of tea bags, but this was lovely (and tasted better). Dave ordered dessert, but neither of us saw them preparing the special birthday plate...

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    Neither of us have any recollection what his dessert was, other than cute. I think we'd hit food coma by that point.

    We weren't the only ones to hit our limit on that day. The Napa Rose - due in part to the large party I mentioned earlier - broke a record on the number of people served that day. It was no surprise to us... the staff barely stopped moving the entire time!
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    Chef Gloria and Sous Chef Alex prep plates

    All in all, it was an amazing experience... but it's only the first of three great meals in this report! Back shortly with the rest.
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

  • #2
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    The second of our appetizers was a plate of grape leaves stuffed with goat cheese, with roasted garlic.

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    I don't remember why I didn't try the grape leaves either. Probably, though, because I was in rapture over the Carthay House Biscuits. (We got two orders. I could have had lunch made up of just these biscuits.) These are stuffed with white cheddar, bacon, and jalapeno, and are served with an apricot honey butter as a dipping sauce.

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    I think this is the most surprising and amazing food I have had in a long time. Maybe ever. It was amazing. They were so good, in fact, that Dave and I went to the Carthay Lounge last week to try to get some there. We were told that they only serve the Carthay House Biscuits in the main restaurant, so instead we tried a BBQ Pork roll. These were also quite good, even if they weren't what I really wanted.

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    They had a hint of cucumber, along with the fried onion strings on top. It was a very nice Western twist on sushi. (Also, these appetizers are not available in the restaurant, so it's worth trying both menus because both have great food.)

    Now, back to our July trip... My meal was a pappardelle pasta with chicken meatballs. I'd never had this type of pasta, so I didn't know what shape to expect. The dish was tasty, though I found myself wanting more of the tomatoes. The presentation was also quite nice, and even though I was full by the time we left, the meal didn't look large enough.

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    Dave had the seafood udon bowl. It wasn't udon SOUP, though, just the noodles with the seafood. (The menu didn't have this listed under "soup," it said "noodles." But we're too used to thinking of udon as soup and so that's what we expected it to be.) The noodles were accompanied by a bunch of stuff, though: mussels, shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, and a variety of vegetables.

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    Several of us doubled up on meals, so I only have one other picture of a main course for you. This one is the Angus Burger. It came with cheese, bacon, and grilled onions. It looked amazing for a burger, but I couldn't bring myself to order something "normal" when I could get the more gourmet-sounding options. (Granted, this looked like a gourmet burger. Still.)

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    Lunch was very tasty, and super filling. If we hadn't planned to get desserts before we started eating, I don't think many of would have wanted them - even to share. However, we did get 4 desserts, and they were as good as the rest of the food. Somehow I only managed to end up with a picture of the dessert Dave and I shared. This was the seasonal fruit tart, and it had (I think) blueberries and peach filling. It was really good, though I think I could have been happy with just the biscuits and the dessert. I don't know that I needed to eat nearly as much as I did.

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    The only real problem we had at the Carthay was in the service area. I suspect it's mostly because we had a large party, but our food was not quite all ready at the same time, and when it did all arrive, a few of the dishes were not as hot as they should have been. Our servers were attentive, however, and the food was great. I would certainly go back here again, and I suspect the service will improve as they settle in. I have to remember that this restaurant had only been open for a few weeks when we were there.
    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

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    • #3
      Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, & Club 33

      And as for Club 33...

      It's getting late, and I'm getting tired. In order to truly do justice to the part of the food-trip-report that I suspect most of you will be the most interested in, I'm going to wait and finish this up tomorrow. I will leave you with these pictures as a tease, though...

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      proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

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      • #4
        Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, & Club 33

        What a great report so far! I'm quite jealous that you were able to attend the Top 3 restaurants I've been wanting to go at the Disneyland Resort. The food (and your pictures) look amazing! Thanks for sharing and giving me the opportunity to live vicariously through you, and I can't wait to see your Club 33 experience!
        My Adventure Blog

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        • #5
          Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, & Club 33

          Great report and photos, thank you very much for this!
          when the spooks have a midnight jamboree....

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          • #6
            Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, & Club 33

            Where's the Pizza Port?

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            • #7
              Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, & Club 33

              I LOVE the pictures of all the fabulous foods! <3 Napa Rose is a favorite and I have always enjoyed my dinners there; I have yet to try the Chefs Counter but it sounds like fun! Being a Pastry Chef myself, this is something I have participated in, but from the other side of the counter.

              Carthay Circle looks delicious! The plating is so well done and it's good to know that the flavors are good too.

              Great post, bookwyrm and thanks for sharing!
              <3 There are a million cupcakes in the world but only one is Cupcake Terror. <3

              I AM THE REBEL SPY.


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              • #8
                Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, &amp; Club 33

                Amazing pictures! I love the Chef's table at Napa Rose, I must try that next time on our vacation!
                Web-hosting: 3dxhosting.com | Blog: anthonyhays.com | Pictures: Flickr | Facebook: Cakvala
                ‚Äč

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                • #9
                  Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, &amp; Club 33

                  Right... and now for the most recent trip...

                  During the month of August is my parents' anniversary. They have a habit of going to Disneyland to celebrate. (Really, who could blame them?) This year, I decided to see if I could pull some strings and get us an invite to Club 33 to celebrate. Short answer? YES!

                  So, my mom & dad, me, Dave, and our friend Julie had a wonderful luncheon at the Club mid-week. It was great timing, because it was during the recent heat wave, and it was so very nicely air conditioned inside. It was like being transported to comfort as soon as we stepped in the magical green door.

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                  Of course, the good part was just beginning.

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                  One of the interesting things to look at was the appetizer buffet. We were told to make as many trips as we liked, so of course we did! It would have been so easy to fill up on the appetizers, but we all knew that the main course was coming too, so we wanted to save room.

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                  There were various salads (the one I tried was a relatively basic Caesar, nothing to complain about but also nothing that needed a second or third serving), an antipasto plate, lox, various cheeses, seasonal fruit, and chilled seafood.

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                  There were also some puff pastries filled with a couple different combinations of things, but these were a little confusing to me and I'm not sure what I thought of them. The presentation and preparation were fine, it's the combination of flavors that I was unsure about.

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                  The seafood was lovely. Shrimp, crab claws, and lobster. Yum. I could have eaten my whole lunch right there.

                  Well, the seafood plus the soup, that is. The soup was the thing EVERYONE seemed to go back for.

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                  It was a cream of artichoke, which seemed unusual to hear. I would have expected cream of asparagus or broccoli. The flavor, though, was wonderful. And it was served in the cutest warming tureen, which had a pour spout and a bunch of little demitasse cups to serve the soup in. Brilliant idea. I'd much rather go back for seconds and thirds on soup and have it stay the perfect temperature, rather than serve a dish of soup and have it go cold.

                  We were also served bread with our appetizers, and the butter tray that came with was appropriately fancy:

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                  The bread, though I didn't take a picture of it, included a white (maybe sourdough?) bread, a bread with fruit mixed in, and another bread with olives in it. All very tasty, except I don't like olives so I passed on that one.

                  Next came lunch, but in the interest of keeping the pictures to a manageable level per reply, I'll get to that in a moment.
                  Last edited by bookwyrm; 08-15-2012, 09:50 PM.
                  proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

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                  • #10
                    Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, &amp; Club 33

                    And now, the main courses for lunch:

                    My mom got the lamb.

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                    As you can read for yourself (should you so choose) at the official Club 33 website
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                    It was a blackened Texas redfish, topped with a lavender lime aioli and served with a honey grits cake and rock shrimp in a Chardonnay Bercy. (You learn something new every day - I just discovered that a Bercy sauce is made from simmering white wine and shallots. Dave said the sauce was flavorful.)

                    As for me, and Dad, and Julie...

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                    We had the chateaubriand. We all ordered it cooked medium-rare, and though I can't speak for the others mine was perfect. I prefer my steak on the rare side, and this was definitely the rare side of medium-rare. So if you like your steak more well done, be sure to specify that. This does seem to be a consistent thing, and not just the one trip, because I also got the steak on my last visit. That time I ordered it rare, and - while I still ate the whole thing and loved it - that was almost too rare for me.

                    So, the chateaubriand is done in a Cabernet demi-glace, and served with a potato puree and fava bean succotash. The menu also says "baby tomato salad," but I've never heard two cherry tomatoes referred to as a "salad" before. They were yummy, but I have to laugh at the name. The sauce on this steak was to die for. The cut of meat was wonderful, but the sauce is what really made the dish exquisite.
                    proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

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                    • #11
                      Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, &amp; Club 33

                      Last but not least, dessert.

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                      As with the appetizers, luncheons at Club 33 feature a dessert buffet. (We could have gotten dessert before our meals, but for some reason we were all patient and waited. I think it's because we loved the soup too much.)

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                      There were more desserts offered than we tried, even amongst our group of five. We were too full by this point to really splurge on dessert, though we did sample several of the offerings.

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                      There was a cookie-brownie-smores thing. You'll have to ask my dad what it was like, because I don't like marshmallows. You'll also have to ask him about the jello-type thing below, because I didn't taste it either. The bubbles on top were amusing, though.

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                      While we digested and stared at the desserts, we had a discussion at the table about how they got the "33"s printed on the cookies and the eclairs. We decided that would make an interesting setting on an inkjet printer: black & white, color, cookie...

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                      Julie and I both got the chocolate cupcakes. I don't normally like chocolate cake enough to have picked it out of this buffet, but this cupcake? GLITTERED. No, really. There was edible (at least I'm guessing it was edible, as we're still alive) glitter sprinkled on top of the cupcakes. We had to try them. Julie liked hers, but I didn't care for mine. There's a coconut filling inside, and I'm not a huge fan of coconut.

                      I know, no mushrooms or marshmallows, or coconut. You may be wondering what I actually DO like. One answer: eclairs. So that mini-eclair up there, with the gold "33"s stamped on the chocolate? I loved it. I also like strawberry shortcake, and the pastry at the top of the plate in the picture above was a stylized shortcake, so I enjoyed that as well.

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                      I found a Hidden Mickey!

                      Now, as you may recall, we were there celebrating my parents anniversary. They were wearing "Happy Anniversary" badges, so it wasn't a surprise when Cast Members in the park itself wished them a happy anniversary. What was a surprise - to them, anyway - was what the Club 33 staff had in store for them.

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                      I knew about it, because I'd told our patron member that we were celebrating their anniversary, and so he'd arranged for the special plate. It was a nice touch to end the meal with.

                      Along with dessert, we had tea and coffee. I am surprised, thinking back on it, that this tea was basic Twinings in a tea bag. Don't get me wrong, I love Twinings. That's possibly my favorite store in the World Showcase at Epcot. But for the Napa Rose to serve a lovely decorative blooming tea and Club 33 to serve a tea bag still in the individual wrapper makes you stop and think. At least, it makes me stop and think NOW. I didn't notice anything weird about it at the time.

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                      The coffee, I'm told, was REALLY GOOD. Our table certainly drank a lot of it. Helped, of course, by the fact that our server Steve had the pour down pat, and made a show of it each time he topped off their cups.

                      About that: Steve was amazing. He was on top of everything, and saw to our every need. When we got up to go to one of the buffets, he (or one of the others, depending on who was near) had our plate cleared and our napkin refolded in the blink of an eye. We never wanted for water or coffee refills. He was everything I expected an elite waiter to be.

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                      Julie on the balcony overlooking Royal and Orleans

                      One of the most enjoyable parts about this experience... oh, who am I kidding? The whole thing was the most enjoyable part of this experience. But. One of the things that I didn't expect that I really enjoyed was the ability to hang out on the balcony overlooking New Orleans Square. The CM's didn't make any move to rush us, even though I suspect we were the last guests in the place for lunch that day. We enjoyed the early afternoon people-watching from the Club's balconies and enjoying being in the magic without being in the crowds.

                      When it all comes down to it, if you have the chance to go to Club 33, I'd say go for it. It's not a cheap meal, but really, would you want it to be? You get what you pay for, and this experience was worth every penny.

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                      ​the Fab Five: my parents Larry & Kathy, Julie, me & Dave
                      proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

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                      • #12
                        Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, &amp; Club 33

                        Originally posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
                        Where's the Pizza Port?
                        Tomorrowland.

                        ---------- Post added 08-15-2012 at 11:09 PM ----------

                        Originally posted by CupcakeTerror View Post
                        Carthay Circle looks delicious! The plating is so well done and it's good to know that the flavors are good too.
                        Gloria Tae, the head chef at the Carthay, moved there from the Napa Rose. Also they share an executive chef... not sure if you'd read the Disney Parks Blog post about that. I had high hopes for the new restaurant, though, since I loved the Napa Rose so much. And my hopes about the food were realized.

                        ---------- Post added 08-15-2012 at 11:11 PM ----------

                        Originally posted by cakvalasc View Post
                        Amazing pictures! I love the Chef's table at Napa Rose, I must try that next time on our vacation!
                        Thanks! It was really fun. I want to go again. We had a later dinner that night, and were told that to "really see" the action in the kitchen, you should get an earlier reservation. I was impressed enough by what we saw... I can't imagine seeing them even busier!
                        proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

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                        • #13
                          Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, &amp; Club 33

                          Originally posted by bookwyrm View Post
                          [ATTACH=CONFIG]23169[/ATTACH]

                          There was a cookie-brownie-smores thing. You'll have to ask my dad what it was like, because I don't like marshmallows. You'll also have to ask him about the jello-type thing below, because I didn't taste it either. The bubbles on top were amusing, though.

                          [ATTACH=CONFIG]23171[/ATTACH]
                          Well, yes, the first dessert was like a smores, only the marshmallows weren't toasted. It tasted yummy.

                          I am also not sure what the jello-type thing was, other than it was very good.

                          I'm confused, however. It looks like you took these photos of my dessert plate, but I don't recall you doing so. Maybe I was too busy enjoying the surroundings to notice?
                          Proud member of Team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Gumball Rally Team Spirit Award.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, &amp; Club 33

                            Originally posted by lctom1 View Post
                            I'm confused, however. It looks like you took these photos of my dessert plate, but I don't recall you doing so. Maybe I was too busy enjoying the surroundings to notice?

                            Blame a food coma for the memory lapse. You turned your plate around specifically so I could get a good photo of the smores thing...
                            proud member of Rally team It Doesn't Matterhorn, winners of the 2012 Team Spirit award

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                            • #15
                              Re: Food Report: Napa Rose Chef's Counter, Carthay Circle, &amp; Club 33

                              The experience really was amazing! What a wonderful afternoon! But I have to say, as great as all of the other desserts were, they didn't come close to the Mickey and Minnie "Mice"... um... "mooses"... er... "Mouses"... Well, they were chocolate!! It was like a chocolate Mousse cupcake! Heavenly!! And they ears were chocolate wafers with the bow on Minnie being a strawberry! And yes, the faces were printed white chocolate! Yum!

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