What better way to raise money on behalf of CHOC Walk in the Park (happening on Sunday, October 30, 2016) than during The Taste of Downtown Disney? This annual event is part of the yearly fundraising efforts by the CHOC Children’s Foundation supports the amazing staff and care at CHOC Children’s Hospital (located in Orange, California). I have had the opportunity to experience the Taste twice before – you can read those recaps here and here! As the resident Babes in Disneyland foodie, you know that I couldn’t pass up another chance to attend this amazing event!
This year, nearly 600 guests enjoyed a progressive dining experience around some of the Downtown Disney District’s most popular eateries.
As we had in the past, I arrived at The Grand Californian Hotel and followed a red carpet to the check-in table, located outside of the former House of Blues. I was given a lanyard and went to our first stop: AMC Theatres for a sneak peek of “Pete’s Dragon” and some popcorn to snack on. Unfortunately I was a little late to the party and didn’t get a chance to snap a pic!
Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen
Our second stop of the evening was Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen, where we were seated and then treated to red wine and sangria, and two dishes:
Grilled Lamb Lollipop, roasted vegetable cous cous, mint infused olive oil, honey balsamic drizzle
Pan seared Sea Scallop with Crispy Pork Belly and Jalapeño Plum Chutney
The Westside Stage
Our next destination was The Westside Stage to watch some live entertainment. The amazing dancers and musicians from Tu Pua Productions put on a dynamic performance (you may remember them from our CHOC Walk Ambassador’s Luau last year) and then invited some guests from the crowd to also try their hand at some of the dance. Our friend, Robert Daps from DapsMagic got selected to go! Check out his dance moves below!
The next stop is one of my favorites every year of the Taste. I immediately knew where I wanted to go – the guacamole station! This is a crowd pleasing station year over year. We also got the opportunity to try George Clooney’s tequila, CasaAmigos, in the form of a delicious margarita. Other items we tried include Baja Ceviche and Puffadillas. Cheers!
The sun began to set and our dinner party made our way over to Naples Ristorante to dine alfresco. We were served three different dishes:
- Arancini (Fried saffron risotto balls stuffed with shrimp and vegetable ragout, topped with basil pesto)
- Ortolana Pizza (Roasted vegetables, mozzarella, tomato)
- Gaspaccio all’italiana
The Wonderground Gallery/La Brea Bakery
Afterwards, the group headed to The Wonderground Gallery, where we were served glasses of unsweetened passion fruit iced tea from Starbucks and enjoyed two bites from La Brea Bakery – a Panzanella salad and Caprese Meatball Slider.
A Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience
My guest and I took a detour from our next stop as we were signed up for a VIP Ghirardelli Chocolate experience, located on the second floor of Naples Ristorante. This was, hands down, my favorite experience of the evening and while I was sad to miss the food over at ESPN Zone, you’ll completely understand why it was worth it.
Delicious sangrias and a dessert wine awaited us and we were introduced to one of Ghirardelli’s newest chocolate flavors – Bourbon Caramel. We were treated to a delicious chocolate lava cake dessert with raspberries, which allowed us to sample some of the wines with our dessert. It was a truly decadent and sinfully sweet treat after we had dined on quite a few different items. As a media guest, we were also treated to an amazing gift basket full of Ghirardelli chocolate treats and vouchers for the Ghirardelli sundae shop.
Catal Restaurant and UVA Bar
Our final stop of the evening was Catal Restaurant, where we were treated to Spanish paella and amazing cuts of jamon iberica, freshly sliced and placed on crostini or in huge piles on the platter.
The evening ended in front of the old House of Blues building, with Jamba Juice smoothies, hot coffee, and desserts from La Brea Bakery, which included an amazing bread pudding and a variety of cookies. Each couple was also gifted with a bottle of vodka or wine in an innovative “Ice Bag” along with coupons from the various eateries in the Downtown Disney District. The only thing missing this year were the fireworks, which didn’t happen this year!
This amazing event is all in honor of Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and the amazing work that their staff does on a daily basis. For fundraising information and more about CHOC Children’s Foundation, visit www.choc.org or learn more at CHOC Walk in the Park. We hope to see you walking on October 30th!