FIRST TASTE: 2018 ‘Festival of Holidays’ bring celebration of flavors

The 2018 Festival of Holidays are here and we got our chance to get our first taste of what the booth has to offer. The flavors span the continent bringing salty, sweet, and spicy combinations to tempt the palate!

If you missed it last week, we took you on another Disneyland Resort food tour for all of the NON Festival of Holidays food and drink options!

What We Tasted

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Pozole Rojo Beef with Hominy Polenta

RATING: ❄❄❄❄❄ 

Pozole Rojo Beef with Hominy Polenta ($7.50) is one of those rare surprise hits that we find every year. At first, we weren’t even going to try this dish because we thought it was the traditional Mexican pozole soup. But once we realized it was at the “Twist on Tradition” booth our interest was piqued. This dish is awesome, it was our favorite of the day. If you’ve had pozole before then you’ll already understand the flavors going on here.

The meat was juicy and spiced just like the soup — the heat level was on the higher side so spice wimps beware! The polenta cake underneath made of hominy is a perfect complement to the spiced meat. The two flavors together combine to create that wonderful classic taste and it’s a winner. We would have liked a little more of the cabbage to balance the heat but man was this thing tasty!


 

Braised Pork Belly Adobo with Garlic Fried Rice

RATING: ❄❄❄❄❄ 

Braised Pork Belly Adobo with Garlic Fried Rice ($7.75) is a returning favorite from previous years. It remains a strong strong contender for its wonderful balance of delicious garlic fried rice, tender braised pork belly, and lightly crispy pork rind. This thing is magical.


 

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Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage

RATING: ❄❄❄❄❄ 

Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage ($8) was a powerful kick of flavor. We were turned off at first by the seemingly excess of broth but came to realize that the magic spicy liquid was a vital component of the dish. The three shrimp were cooked perfectly and served over a cheesy dollop of grits. Bits of sausage added some heat and overall balanced this dish into a festival must-try for us.


 

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Beef Pot Roast on a Potato Roll with Horseradish Cream

RATING: ❄❄❄❄⚫ 

Beef Pot Roast on a Potato Roll with Horseradish Cream ($8.50) was a fantastic little sandwich with tender juicy pot roast that gets some texture from the veggies and a pop of flavor from the horseradish. A solid contender. We only wished there was a touch more horse-radish to better balance out the portion of beef.


 

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Turkey & Stuffing Tamale with Cranberry Relish

RATING: ❄❄⚫⚫⚫ 

Turkey & Stuffing Tamale with Cranberry Relish ($7.75) is an odd one. If it sounds to you like the flavors wouldn’t really come together into a tasty dish, you’d mostly be right. While the dish didn’t taste bad, it’s certainly not a dish we’d want to try again. The tamale masa was flavorful but the filling just did not come together for us into an inspiring mashup.


 

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Lox & Everything Bagel Nachos

RATING: ❄❄❄❄⚫ 

Lox & Everything Bagel Nachos ($7.50) were pretty good although it didn’t knock our socks off. We were surprised at the amount of salmon portion which we thought would be smaller. The “everything” relish on top is a great flavor booster but the amount of cream cheese was disappointing. We ate through most of the top layer and found a large layer of bare bagel chips.


 

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Curry Cauliflower Soup with Braised Lamb and Mintchurri

RATING: ❄❄❄⚫⚫ 

Curry Cauliflower Soup with Braised Lamb and Mintchurri ($7.50) is a decent choice if you like curry although we’re not in a hurry to speed over for this dish. Perhaps more out of personal preference we just didn’t find much to write home about the dish. The curry nice and thick, the lamb tender and juicy. The chimichurri provided the expected brightness.


 

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Candied Yams with Marshmallow Cream and Toasted Pecans

RATING: ❄❄⚫⚫⚫ 

Candied Yams with Marshmallow Cream and Toasted Pecans ($7.50) are one of those dishes that probably taste great when fresh. Ours however, had clearly been sitting for a bit by the time we got it. The yams were dried out (not by cooking but seemingly by sitting out). As was our trend for the day, we felt a little more of the sauce (in this case the Marshmallow Cream) would have done the dish some good.


 

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Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Crema

RATING: ❄❄❄❄⚫ 

Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Crema ($6.50) are a nice spicy treat. The latkes taste just like they should and the fresh apple crisps on top are a wonderful flavor complement with the spicy chipotle crema. Definitely a satisfying side-dish.


 

Cranberry Sangria with Lime Garnish

RATING: ❄❄❄❄❄ 

Cranberry Sangria with Lime Garnish ($10.25) is a delightfully refreshing beverage with tartness and sweetness that will be hard to not drink all in a single chug.


 

Milk Chocolate Candy Cane Pot de Crème

RATING: ❄❄❄❄⚫ 

Milk Chocolate Candy Cane Pot de Crème ($4.50) is a holdover from last year. It’s really about as simple a holiday flavor as you can get. Chocolate and peppermint. Tasty and refreshing.


 

Nashville Fried Hot Turkey

RATING: ❄❄❄⚫⚫ 

Nashville Fried Hot Turkey ($7.50) is another hold over from last year with dill pickles served on a toasted bread. We tried this last year and found it a tasty option but needing either more pickles or an additional sauce. Neither of those seemed to have manifested this year.


 

Ready to Taste?

2018 Festival of Holidays Sip & Savor Tasting Passport is available to ALL guests with you the opportunity to taste through your choice of eight different dishes or non-alcoholic beverages from participating Festive Food Marketplaces.

This pass can be purchased at various locations throughout the park, including Festival Merchandise Carts, Seaside Souvenirs, Kingswell Camera Shop, and Rushin’ River Outfitters.

Prices:

  • Regular ($54)
  • Annual Passholders ($49)

VALUE ALERT: To get the most bang for your buck out of the passport, you’ll just want to make sure you don’t get any of the items that cost less than $6.75 (regular) or $6.13 (passholder). Considering the prices, that shouldn’t be terribly difficult as long as you avoid desserts and drinks.

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But wait, there’s more!

There’s a ton of offerings at the Resort, below are all the holiday food items available to tempt your palate:

Merry Mashups

Food:

  • Turkey & Stuffing Tamale with Cranberry Relish
  • Lox & Everything Bagel Nachos
  • “Hot Cocoa” Marshmallow Macaron

Beverages:

  • Sparkling Wine Punch with Chandon Brut, Sparkling Wine and Lime Sherbet
  • Holiday Punch with Lime Sherbet and Sprite (non-alcoholic)

Winter Wonders

Food:

  • Pumpkin Soup with Maple Cashew Cream
  • Chana Masala with Grilled Garlic Naan
  • Vanilla and Cranberry Trifle

Beverages:

  • Pomegranate Lemonade (non-alcoholic)

Brews & Bites

Food:

  • Chorizo Queso Fundido with House-made Tortilla Chips

Beverages:

  • Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Paradise Rd, Pilsner
  • North Coast Brewing Co., Blue Star, Wheat
  • Brewery Ommegang, Rosetta, Aged Cherry Ale
  • Deschutes Brewery, Mirror Pond, Pale Ale
  • Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Boont, Amber Ale
  • Aftershock Brewing Co., Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Isomerizer, IPA
  • New Belgium Brewing Company, Accumulation, White IPA
  • Cigar City Brewing, Maduro, Brown Ale
  • Karl Strauss Brewing Company, 9 Bonfires Blazing, Golden Stout
  • Legends Brewery, Cookies Galore, Chocolate Cookie Milk Stout

Festive Progressive Flight:

  • Figueroa Mountain Paradise Rd Pilsner
  • Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale
  • Karl Strauss Isomerizer IPA
  • Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale

Flavors of the Season Flight

  • Ommegang Rosetta Cherry Ale
  • Aftershock Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale
  • Karl Strauss 9 Bonfires Blazing Golden Stout
  • Legends Cookies Galore Milk Stout

Favorite Things

Food:

  • Holiday Ham Shanks with Brown Sugar-Pineapple Glaze
  • Reuben Potato Tots with Russian Dressing and Rye Toast

Beverages:

  • Cranberry Sangria with Lime Garnish
  • Eggnog Cocktail with Whipped Cream and Nutmeg Dusting

Holiday Duets

Food:

  • Curry Cauliflower Soup with Braised Lamb and Mintchurri
  • Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage
  • Holiday Mickey and Minnie Cookies

Beverages:

  • Ballast Point Brewing Company, Spruce Tip Sculpin, IPA
  • Warm Peppermint Chocolate Float with Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Vanilla Ice Cream, Whipped Cream and Peppermint Crumbles

Visions of Sugarplums

Special Offering:

  • Sweet Dreams and Milk – Horizon Organic Lowfat Milk and Choice of Dessert

Food:

  • Warm Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce
  • White Chocolate Cranberry Blondie
  • Eggnog Wreath Éclair with White Chocolate Icing
  • Horchata Fudge

Beverages:

  • Warm Bourbon Cider with House-made Bourbon-infused Marshmallow
  • S’mores Frozen Chocolate Milk with House-made Toasted Marshmallow-infused Whipped Cream, Graham Cracker Crumble and Chocolate Drizzle (non-alcoholic)
  • Horizon Organic Lowfat Milk

Blissfully Braised

Food:

  • Braised Pork Belly Adobo with Garlic Fried Rice
  • Cornbread Cakes with Braised Collard Greens and Smoked Bacon Gravy

Beverages:

  • Blood Orange Ginger Mule with a Rosemary Sprig

Grandma’s Recipes

Food:

  • Beef Pot Roast on a Potato Roll with Horseradish Cream
  • Candied Yams with Marshmallow Cream and Toasted Pecans
  • Gingerbread Mickey

Beverages:

  • Wyder’s Cider, Hard Pear Cider
  • Towne Park Brew Co, Gose Fresca
  • Avery Brewing, White Rascal, Belgian-Style White Ale
  • Smog City Brewing Co., Snugglebug, Sour Blonde Ale
  • Merry Cherry Pineapple Punch with Red Maraschino Cherries (non-alcoholic)

Tart & Fruity Flight:

  • Pear – Wyder’s Cider, Hard Pear Cider
  • Watermelon, Lime, Hibiscus & Cayenne – Towne Park Brew Co, Gose Fresca
  • Orange – Avery Brewing, White Rascal, Belgian-Style White Ale
  • Boysenberry & Raspberry – Smog City Brewing Co., Snugglebug, Sour Blonde Ale

Spicy Celebrations

Food:

  • Nashville Hot Fried Turkey with Dill Pickles
  • Jalapeño Latkes with Chipotle Crema
  • Chocolate Chipotle Pot de Crème

Beverages:

  • Pomegranate Margarita with Chipotle-smoked Sea Salt Half-Rim

A Twist on Tradition

Food:

  • Pozole Rojo Beef with Hominy Polenta
  • “Chicken-less” Mole with Spanish Rice
  • Black Forest Yule Log

Beverages:

  • Winter Michelada with Modelo Negra and Brown Sugar Rim
  • Modelo Negra, Dark Lager

Winter Sliderland

Food:

  • Roasted Turkey Slider with Cranberry Sauce
  • Holiday Stuffing Mac & Cheese
  • Milk Chocolate Candy Cane Pot de Crème

Beverages:

  • Frosty Frosé with Fleurs de Prairie Rosé, Blue Curaçao, and White Cranberry Juice served frozen with Mint Sprig
  • Oskar Blues Brewery, Old Chub, Scotch Ale

Making Spirits Bright

Beverages:

  • Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Baileyana, Firepeak, Chardonnay, Edna Valley
  • Bartenura, Moscato, Italy
  • MacMurray Ranch Estate, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
  • Joel Gott, Zinfandel, California
  • Rodney Strong, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County
  • Chandon, Sparkling Wine, Brut, California

Mimosa Flight:

  • Pomegranate Mimosa
  • Pear Mimosa
  • White Cranberry Mimosa

White Wine Flight:

  • Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Baileyana, Firepeak, Chardonnay, Edna Valley
  • Bartenura, Moscato, Italy

Red Wine Flight:

  • MacMurray Ranch Estate, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
  • Joel Gott, Zinfandel, California
  • Rodney Strong, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County

See it for Yourself

The Disney Holidays take place now through January 06, 2019.

MORE INFO: Find more news and info about the 2018 Disney Holidays.

 

Author: Joey Inigo

I have been a part of MouseInfo.com since 2003. I enjoy visiting the Happiest Place on Earth and am happy to talk about Disney Parks all day long.

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