My Birthday Dinner at California Grill

For my much anticipated birthday dinner, I met up with Paula and Hunter at the Wilderness Lodge dock where we boarded a boat that took us to the Contemporary Resort…

 

Back in February, Paula sent me an email which included a list of the ADRs which she and Brenda had made for their April/May trip together…just in case I couldn’t wait until October to take my next trip.  The first thing that I noticed was that Paula and Hunter were dining at my favorite Disney restaurant on my birthday.  I of course took this as a sign that this trip was meant to be, and so I have Paula to thank for making it possible for me to have my birthday dinner at…

 

 

 

 

Our evening here began with a cocktail at the bar while we waited to be seated. Here is the slightly blurry cocktail menu that I was given…

 

 

From this I chose a…

 

Twisted Mai Tai with Mount Gay Rum, Creme de Noyaux, Orange Juice, and Pineapple Juice with a splash of Lime – $9.25

I had had this when I was here in December so I already knew that I would like it. It was again very good, sweet and fruity…just the way I like my cocktails. :thumbsup2

We were then seated at a table next to a window and had a lovely view of Cinderella’s castle…

 

And then a closer look with the help of a zoom lens…

 

…and even closer. ;)

 

 

 

Or maybe you prefer Space Mountain?

 

 

We were also there to witness a beautiful sunset, which the photo does not do justice…

 

 

Now for some food. Here is the menu which we were presented with that evening…

 

 

 

 

 

We were then brought a basket of whole grain sourdough rolls and lavender focaccia…

 

I don’t really care for either of their new breads, so I stayed clear of the bread basket. ;)

However, I was all over the next thing that arrived at our table, which was delivered by Hunter and Paula’s friend…

 

…the amazing Chef Eddie!

And here is the delicious amuse bouche which he presented us…

 

This consisted of gnocchi, house-made bacon bits, and tiny long-stemmed Japanese mushrooms that Hunter identified as Enoki. It was my favorite thing that I had that night…I would have happily eaten a whole plateful of this and called it a night. :thumbsup2

However, the food just kept coming, starting with the House-made Charcuterie which Paula and Hunter ordered and graciously shared with me…

 

 

This really isn’t my thing so I nibbled on just a few of these and left the rest for Paula and Hunter to enjoy.

About this time my cocktail ran out so I ordered an Iced Tea…

 

…and was happy to discover that, like Yachtsman Steakhouse, they serve a pitcher of simple syrup with their tea. I gladly used this to make my own sweet tea, to the exact degree of sweetness that I prefer.

I was also happy to see that the salad that I had enjoyed in December was still on the menu…


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

Once again, I was quite pleased with my choice. I especially loved the sweet Marcona almonds that topped this salad. I wanted to leave room for my next course so I didn’t eat all of this, but I was sure not to leave any of those almonds behind. ;)

 

Instead of ordering an entree, I decided to finally try California Grill’s signature appetizer…

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with Tomato-Fennel Broth, crispy Mushrooms, Basil, Benziger Estate Olive Oil

 

I’ve always wanted to try this and am glad that I finally did. However, I’m sad to report that I didn’t really like this. :sad2: The ravioli itself was okay but the look and taste of the tomato broth that it was submersed in really turned me off. Here is a less than flattering photo of the broth, which I think proves my point…

 

At about this point in our meal, it was time to head out to the observation deck for a great view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks…

 

 

When we returned to the table, Hunter had arranged for someone to cover our table with Mickey confetti, as it originally had only three…I guess one for each of us. :laughing: So now that he had the proper materials to work with, I asked that he re-create this lovely message for his dear wife, Paula…

 

The confetti artist at work. ;)

 

 

Hunter received a kiss for his efforts…

 

 

…or maybe two! :love:

 

Not to be outdone by Hunter’s sweetness, we were then presented with complimentary desserts. Mine was the Seasonal Tasting, which is listed on the Dessert menu pictured below.

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME FROM CALIFORNIA GRILL!!!

 

The almond crescent cookies were tasty but the rest of the desserts weren’t anything special. If I had chosen a dessert, I would have gotten the fritters that I loved when I was here in December. But given that this dessert was complimentary, I can’t complain. ;)

But those were not the only sweet treats I received for my birthday, as Paula and Hunter presented me with this box of delicious Hunter-made candy…

 

One last photo of our well-fed, happy trio…

 

So overall, with the exception of the disappointing ravioli, this was another great meal at California Grill. I was thrilled to be able to have my birthday dinner here and being there with Paula and Hunter was icing on the “birthday” cake. Thanks again, Paula!! :goodvibes

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