Saturday, June 29, 2013

Napa Rose: Chef's Counter

For Nick's birthday, we went to the Chef's Counter at Napa Rose during our Disneyland trip.  I was so excited to go after reading other reviews and a little scared about the possibility of what I might be presented with!

We arrived 30 minutes early (Chef's Table has two seatings- 5:30 and 8:30), so we were seated in the lounge to drink some water and relax.  Promptly, at 5:30, we were taken to the counter. Each side has 4 seats facing directly into the kitchen, and then another row of seats on the side (6-8).  We shared one side with a couple celebrating their anniversary.  Even though we were all right next to each other, it was really spacious and not cramped at all.

Our waiter came over and presented us with our options:

  • Order off the regular menu.
  • Order the Vintner's menu.
  • Allow the chef to write our menu for us.
We already knew that we wanted to go with the last option, so the sous chef came over and asked if we had any dislikes or allergies.  Nick said he was up for anything and I requested no fish.  Nick also ordered the wine pairing and I decided on a glass of the Lassiter since I had it previously at Carthay Circle and loved it.

Course 1: Amuse Bouche- Crab wrapped in pineapple with a red pepper sauce.
I had my camera ready to go... but we both popped these into our mouths without hesitation!  So, I got a picture of the sauce on the plate and then snapped one of some that were going out to other guest's.  It was so good!  Literally all I tasted was the fresh pineapple mixed with the creaminess of the crab.  All four of us received this dish.

Course 2:
Angelica- Citrus Salad with beets and radish.
This salad was really good.  It had a balance of citrus and bitterness from the radish.  It wasn't very exciting, but I definitely liked it.

Nick- Trio 
We can't quite remember what was what on the plate but the first part was salmon with salmon roe.  I had a bite of this and actually liked it and I hate cooked fish.  It had crunchy scales, the roe was salty and the meat didn't taste fishy.  The second was a sushi type of mix (cucumber, fish, radish, etc.)... Nick ate it before I could try some!  The last was raw salmon with spices dashed on top.  This one was a bit bland, but I may not have gotten any of the spices.

Course 3:
Angelica- Scallop in Lobster Sauce
Holy crap.  I had a feeling I was going to get this... I'm not a big fan of seafood, but have recently started eating shellfish, some sushi, etc.  I have never had a whole scallop to myself before and this one was HUGE.  I definitely did not want to insult the chef's, so I just went for it.  The sauce and scallop combo was actually amazing.  It also came with potato chips on top which was interesting, but also complemented the course.

Nick- Tiger Salad
I was really jealous that Nick got this and I didn't!  The salad was literally like fireworks in your mouth.  Beef, sriracha, cilantro, mint, arugula and lobster tempura.  Words can't even describe how much I loved this salad!

Course 4: 
Angelica- Mushroom Risotto 
Mmm mmm.  This course was so me.  But, it was also the point where I was hitting the wall of fullness because I typically only eat small meals, multiple times a day.  The cheese in this dish melted in perfectly and the mushroom pieces were huge!

Nick- Rabbit Stew and Polenta
Nick was so happy with this dish!  He forced me to take a bite (even though I was not excited about eating rabbit- sorry Mr. Fuzzlebun's)!  I have to admit that it was not bad and it was very flavorful.  The meat was tender and not taste like game meat, like I expected it to.  Another hit from the chef's!

"Gift" from the Chef's:
This course was unexpected, but just what I needed.  I almost wonder if was a pallet cleanser to prep us for our main courses...?

Angelica- Mushroom House Soup
Yeah, I basically slurped this down like it was nobody's business.  Light and frothy mushroom soup- so good!

Nick- Seasonal Soup
Another dish full of flavor for Nick!  This had shrimp, scallions, lemongrass in the broth.

Course 5:
Angelica- I could kick myself for not listening more closely to the descriptions... mine was a filet (medium) with asparagus and tomatoes.  I wish I could remember what the sauce was, but it was delicious with the meat.  I did not like the tomatoes though.  Ek.  Haha.

Nick: Lamb belly and shank.  The lamb belly tasted super fatty to me, but it reminded Nick of osso buco.  The lamb shank had a parmesan herb crust.  The green sauce was a mint sauce.  Overall, an interesting dish.  I think I might have cried if it had been served to me!  

Course 6: 
Angelica- Cherries, Pistachio and Chocolate Cherry Gelato in filo dough.
I must admit, while this dessert was really very good I wanted a dessert that stood out to me since I have a major sweet tooth.  This was subtle and would be perfect for those who like something not so sweet.  I also think the presentation was amazing!

Nick- Pineapple Empanada with Vanilla Ice Cream
I actually liked this better than my dessert!  It had that home baked feeling and was melt in your mouth good with the cinnamon sugar, tangy pineapple and creamy ice cream.

Overall, we definitely plan on returning to the Napa Rose and dining at the Chef's Counter again!  

At the end of our meal, we were able to watch Executive Chef Andrew Sutton plating some mushroom ravioli right in front of us.  He even wished Nick a Happy Birthday twice and we had a small conversation with him about Father's Day and the ravioli (that looked so delicious... even though I was full, I wanted to eat some)!

Our Wedding Planning Channel.

So, if you're reading this... you probably already know about our upcoming Disneyland wedding!  However, if you want to hear me blab about it in addition to this blog, I would love it if you went over and subscribed to my new YouTube channel.

I feel like it's important not only to document the process so we can look back on it some day, but for others to be able to just see what it is like to have an Disney wedding!

Plus, I'm addicted to the YouTube's!  :)

Click here to head over and subscribe.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

disneyland savings: the magic of ebates.

Planning a trip to Disneyland can be expensive... especially when you go every 3 months and still have not invested in an annual pass.
I discovered ebates a few months ago on someones blog post about grocery shopping.  Yep, I live fast and hard.  

Basically, when you sign up you are able to shop through their links and earn cash back.  This cash back is then deposited to your PayPal account or via a paper check.  Cash back can range from 1% and I've seen it as high as 26%.  It just all depends on the store.  I mostly earn 3-5% back which is actually huge on big purchases!  I have verified that this works and there is no scam behind it, which is why I am comfortable with sharing.  I'm sure that ebates gets a cut of money from the company you purchase from for sending you to the website to shop, which is how they stay in business.

Anyway, my point is that with a lot of research, I found a way to save money on my Disneyland trip.  Orbitz is currently running a promotion for 4 day park hopper tickets for the price of a 3 day park hopper.  On top of this, you can earn 5.25% cash back by using the ebates link. If you're a big family, or even just two people... the savings is worth a meal or even 2 days of parking cost at Disneyland!  You also receive a $10 gift card from ebates (there are a few stores to select from, such as Target) after your first purchase through them.

I have some other tips and tricks for saving money when planning your Disney vacation that I need to confirm before I post about them!  Seriously, every penny counts... who knows, maybe I can save up enough cash back to suck it up and buy an annual pass.

If you decide to sign up, please use my link HERE.  It works like any other referral link and you will be able to share yours as well when you create an account.

This post is not sponsored.  I am merely sharing my wonderful, new discovery!

hi there!

hi there!
i'm angelica. a twenty something, newly engaged, lover of literature and coffee.
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