I recently had the opportunity to go to a work conference in Anaheim, and of course I couldn’t help but be a little bit mesmerized by all the delicious food options. Of course, after a morning of traveling, my coworkers and I were all ravenous and ready for a good meal. Not long after we landed, my coworkers and I found ourselves at Uva Bar in beautiful Downtown Disney. My coworkers made it easy for our waitress and all ordered the gyro, but I opted for the lamb burger and garlic fries. I finished every bite of the burger and had just a handful of fries left over. One of my newest coworkers said, “I can’t believe you finished all of that. Where do you put it?!”
I had to laugh. It’s something I get a lot. I love food, and lucky for me, genetics allows me to be a human version of PacMan, eating whatever happens to be in front of me.
Another coworker, the one who shares an office with me said, “Are you kidding? She eats all the time! Every time I look up, she’s shoving something into her mouth!”
Again, I had to laugh. It was true. I keep snacks stashed anywhere I can: fruit in my purse, granola in my desk drawer…Don’t even get me started on the work kitchen where there’s no shortage of chips, cheese, crackers, pretty much anything you can crave in the middle of the day.
While I was in Anaheim, I was fortunate to also have some family time. My sister, her husband and daughter met me for dinner at Lucille’s, which places itself in the category of “Louisiana BBQ.” As a Southern girl, I just had to have a taste. We got a great deal on tri-tip, baby back ribs, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese and of course their specialty, biscuits and apple butter. My brother-in-law couldn’t resist the cornbread and got an a la carte side order. While I can’t necessarily say that it was the best BBQ I’ve ever had, it was definitely tasty, and it brought me back to my southern roots. (You know it’s good when you need a warm towel after the meal to wipe your fingers.)
While I had quite a few good meals during my 6-day trip, I definitely have to say that my favorite was at Goofy’s Kitchen for Brunch. I was a tiny bit dubious when my sister suggested a character experience meal, but when the spirit of Disney definitely captured me and I found myself entering the Goofy rotunda. Like pretty much all things Disney, Goofy’s Kitchen specializes in Mickey Mouse shaped treats. Even at my age, I was so enchanted by the Mickey shaped waffles and pancakes! Goofy’s Kitchen is also a buffet style restaurant, and I usually don’t go wild for buffets, but this was really good. They had the best chicken nuggets I’ve had in the longest time, and the desserts were divine! They’re the perfect portion sizes to try a little bit of everything. The lemon bars were packed with California citrus, and the apple pies were almost too pretty to eat!
But the best part of Goofy’s Kitchen wasn’t the food. It was the characters marching around, visiting each table. It was the customers getting up and twirling their napkins when the upbeat music came on. It was seeing my 18-year old niece grab at Pluto’s nose, my brother-in-law take pictures with Goofy and sister laugh with delight as her daughter kissed Minnie Mouse. These are the things that made me feel full and made my heart soar.
It’s easy to dismiss Downtown Disney as “typical overpriced tourist trap food,” but once you get over the crowds, the “hype” and the prices, you realize that it’s all about the experience. It’s about the magic. That’s what makes me want to sit down and always have another meal.