California Grill

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The wait was not long before I was seated at a table for two by the window. Here are some photos of the menu which I was presented, starting with the cocktails…

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From this I chose my usual…

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Twisted Mai Tai – Mount Gay Rum, Crème de Noyaux, Orange Juice, and Pineapple Juice with a splash of Lime

This is sweet and fruity, which is exactly how I like my cocktails. :thumbsup2

So that was the easy part of the ordering process. The hard part was choosing my food. During my December 2013 trip I had visited California Grill twice and both times I enjoyed everything that I ordered from their new post-remodel menu. Then when I returned during my April/May 2014 trip (again I went twice), I tried some new (to me) things and for the most part was not thrilled with my choices. I chalked it up though to my ordering poorly, so this time I wanted to make my choices carefully. Here is the menu from which I chose…

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None of the entrees were calling my name, nor was the sushi. So that left the Flatbreads and Hot Appetizers or the Soups, Salads, and Appetizers from which to choose my dinner. Ultimately I decided to order one item from each of these sections of the menu. While I waited for my selections to be prepared and delivered, I decided to give the new focaccia bread another go…

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While I had tried the whole grain sourdough rolls and lavender-infused focaccia a few times previously I had not cared for them. I didn’t like the “flowery” taste of the bread and the rolls were just plain boring. I again passed on the rolls this time but the focaccia looked really good so I couldn’t resist trying it. Much to my surprise, this time I actually enjoyed it. The lavender flavor seemed much more subtle and I ended up eating a whole piece before my other food arrived. And speaking of which, it arrived pretty quickly and both things at the same time even though I had asked for them to be brought separately. But I didn’t think this was worth complaining about so I ended up eating them at the same time. My first selection was one of the flatbreads…

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Heirloom Tomato BLT Flatbread with Marinated Tomatoes, House Bacon, Romaine Chiffonade, and Lemon Mayonnaise

And a closer look…

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I had high hopes for this one because I was a big fan of a flatbread which had this same exact description that I had had here two years ago…

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Unfortunately the new version was not nearly as good. First of all the romaine lettuce and the tomatoes seemed extremely wet, causing the flatbread crust to be soggy, especially in the middle. Also the tomatoes were green and yellow instead of red and tasted rather sour to me. All in all, this was a disappointment. :sad2:

My other choice was one of three salads which were listed on the current menu…

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Autumn Harvest Salad with Ribston Pippin Apples, Tuscan Kale, Pumpkin Seeds, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, and Cider Vinaigrette

Ok, here was my thinking process when ordering this. During my previous visits to California Grill during the last year they had had a different kale salad on the menu. I had ordered and enjoyed this salad twice, once in December and again in April.

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Heirloom Apple and Kale Salad with Cripps Pink Apples, Marcona Almonds, Cranberry, Feta, and Cider Vinaigrette

The new Kale Salad had similar ingredients so I figured ordering it would be a slam dunk.

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Well, I was wrong. :guilty: While the rest of the ingredients were tasty, the main one was not. The kale was tough, as in REALLY chewy! I felt like a cow chewing its cud and I did not enjoy the feeling…at all. :(

So that was two strikes, but every batter gets three before they are out. Therefore, it was necessary for me to order dessert, right? ;)

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I placed my dessert order plus requested a cup of coffee before going out to the observation desk to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks show, which that night was HalloWishes. When I returned to my table both were there awaiting me…

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Warm Homemade Banana-stuffed Fritters dusted with cinnamon and served with chocolate, peanut butter, and caramel sauces.

And a closer view…

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I had enjoyed these twice before during my December visits, and though they had changed the presentation a bit they still tasted the same…which was very good. So with the fireworks and dessert, at least my dinner ended on a high note. But sadly the lows have been outnumbering the highs during my last three visits to California Grill. While I can’t yet say for sure that it is no longer my favorite Disney World restaurant, I am forced to put it on probation. ;)

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