It's Halloween season - time for tricks and treats, right? The Disneyland Resort chefs have had a few tricks up their sleeves, and have rolled out a huge line-up of special menu items for the season, both savory and sweet. (Though admittedly there's a lot more of the latter!). Some of these items are available at only one location, while others are available at multiple locations in the parks.
I had the opportunity to speak with Pastry Chef Christina Oregel about some of them.
(Warning: If you're hungry, you might not want to read this blog right now - or else have a napkin handy. I am not responsible for keyboard damage due to excess drool. Nor is this blog equipped with Just a Taste technology.)
I'm not even sure where to begin! But let's start with treats inspired by our favorite Halloween decoration: the pumpkin. Did you even know that pumpkin could be used in all of these forms?
At the Mint Julep Bar and Cafe Orleans you'll find Mickey-shaped Pumpkin Beignets. I first tried these on September 13 and enjoyed them - they were puffier and lighter than I expected, with an interesting pumpkin/spicy flavor. They were a little heavy on the nutmeg, but they have since tweaked the recipe and they aren't as heavily spiced. They are $4.19 for three or $7.19 for six.
Another fried pumpkin offering is the Pumpkin Squash Fritters at the Royal Verandah. ($3.69) These were really good - I liked them better than the beignets. I only wish that they were served warm. They are more like doughnut holes rolled in cinnamon sugar. Some of them had chunks of cooked pumpkin in them - that may not sound appetizing, but I really enjoyed them.
At various bakeries throughout the resort you'll find Pumpkin Streusel Muffins, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Loaf, and Pumpkin Pie. I had one of the muffins and it was really good - not too overwhelming on the pumpkin/spice flavor, and topped with a few crunchy pepitas. Yum. (Prices for these items range from $2.79-$5.19)
Jolly Holiday Bakery has its own version of the pumpkin muffin, which is filled with cream cheese frosting. It's pretty good, but I preferred the other one.
There's also a Pumpkin Halloween cupcake with chocolate mousse, topped with "worms and dirt" and other fun decorations as you see below. I liked this a lot - the chocolate mousse frosting tastes very good with the pumpkin cake. ($5.99)
This year's "demitasse" dessert, served in a Minnie pumpkin demitasse cup, is a flourless chocolate cake topped with pumpkin and chocolate mousse. Again, the pumpkin and chocolate pair nicely, but you have to dig down deep to get cake AND mousse together. It's available in most bakery and buffeteria locations. ($7.49)
Rancho del Zocalo is offering Dia de Los Muertos Dessert Pumpkin Flan with Orange Cake for $5.19. This looks good, but I haven't tried it.
If you prefer to drink your pumpkin there's a Pumpkin Spice Latte, available at the Market House, Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe, Jolly Holiday Bakery, Mint Julep Bar, and Royal Street Verandah.
But it's not (quite) "All Pumpkin, All the Time".
Another seasonal beverage is the Spiced Caramel Apple Cider at the Jolly Holiday Bakery.
There's an Oreo Mousse Coffin at the French Market. ($5.19)
Zombie gingerbread cookies are available at several locations. It's kind of fun to be eating the zombie, instead of the other way around. I've always liked Disneyland's gingerbread, and these are soft and chewy and spicy, though they aren't actually made by Disney - they come pre-packaged from Selma's Bakery.
Other sweet treats include Mickey Bat cookies, seasonal Crispy Treats, and candy corn cotton candy.
At the Candy Palace, Pooh Corner, Trolley Treats, and Marceline's there's various types of Halloween-themed caramel apples, cake pops, chocolate-covered marshmallows and pretzel rods and other candies.
Pumpkin fudge is usually available also, though it was sold out on my recent visit. :-(
One unusual item I found: Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle. This is available in bags at the candy stores - it's brittle with pepitas instead of nuts, and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. It's addictively good. A six ounce bag is $4.99.
There are some other interesting packaged treats in the candy stores also, like Gummy Body Parts and Gummy Candy Corn. The latter are larger and puffier than regular candy corn, with a softer texture than regular gummy candies, but they have that buttery candy corn flavor. Pretty sweet, but I enjoyed them.
It's not ALL sugar, though. There's some special food items, also.
Pacific Wharf Cafe offers a pumpkin loaf - sourdough bread in the shape of a pumpkin. :-)
Rancho del Zocalo features a Holiday Chicken Tamale Plate for $9.99 and a Holiday Chicken Tamale and Carne Asada Plate for $12.99.
The French Market offers a Muffuletta Sandwich for $13.29, served with Cajun chips.
Tomorrowland Terrace features a Monster U Style Cheese Burger, served with fries that are covered in a blue parmesan-ranch ooze. I'm not sure if this is available for the season, or only on days when there's a Halloween Party.
At Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta there's the Anti-Vampire Chicken Flatbread Pizza with roasted garlic sauce, chicken, smoked gouda, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, harissa, and fresh chives.
The Carthay Circle Restaurant's seasonal soup is Pumpkin Tortilla Broth. Chunks of chicken and crisp tortilla strips in a pumpkin broth (which has a kick to it), drizzled with cream fraiche. I didn't taste pumpkin - mostly it just added some thickness to the soup. It was very good.
I haven't had a chance to try everything, but so far I'd have to say that the Pumpkin Seed Brittle is my favorite, though I also really enjoyed the Pumpkin Streusel Muffin and the Pumpkin Fritters.
What are your Halloween favorites?
The previous post in this blog was Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 10/05/13 .
The next post in this blog is Disneyland Dining Notes - October 2013.