Thursday, June 23, 2016

California Grill - Disney's Contemporary Resort

Last weekend, my husband and I had dinner at California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort.

California Grill, a signature dining restaurant, has amazing views of Walt Disney World from their location on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort, and it is a great spot to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks.  We dined early, but you can bring your receipt back to the check-in desk for reentry to see the fireworks.  That was our plan, but the weather was so terrible Saturday night, we decided to go home after dinner.

The last time my husband and I dined at California Grill was two years ago on our 13th anniversary, which you can read about here.  We had an incredible meal, so I was very excited to dine at California Grill again.

California Grill has an extensive allergy-friendly menu that lists options for people with gluten/wheat, milk, egg, soy, fish/shellfish, and peanut/tree nut allergies.

The menu at California Grill changes seasonally, and it features Pacific Coast cuisine with its fresh, seasonal ingredients and international influences.

Twice, we have been seated in the back of the restaurant, where you cannot see the Magic Kingdom.  Next time, I will definitely be asking for a table with a better view.

Our server asked if I was comfortable ordering from the allergy-friendly menu, which I was.  Even with the adoption of the allergy-friendly menus, you always have the option to speak to a chef at Walt Disney World.

I was disappointed when I was served Ener-G tapioca dinner rolls.  I much prefer Deanna's gluten free dinner rolls, which are free of the top 8 major food allergens, and taste way better than Ener-G rolls.  Thankfully, they were heated well, which is rare with this brand, and I enjoyed a few bites with my salted butter.

I have not had sushi since my celiac diagnosis 8 years ago, mainly because I have never liked sushi with raw fish.  I used to love tempura battered shrimp or vegetables in my sushi pre-celiac, but I have never found a restaurant that makes a gluten free version.

My husband and I split an order of the shrimp roll (no tempura) with nori, jicama, and mango.  I loved the combination of the shrimp with the crunchy jicama, and the sweet mango.  Our sushi was served with wasabi, fresh ginger, and gluten free tamari.  I loved our shrimp roll, and would definitely order it again the next time we dine at California Grill.

For an entree, I chose the oak-fired filet of beef with black truffle, Gruyere, caramelized red onion risotto, wilted ice root spinach, and tawny port wine emulsion.  I ordered my filet medium, but it was rare in the middle, so I had to send it back.  My second plate of food arrived quickly, once I found someone to tell about the problem, which took about five minutes, because our server had disappeared.  On the second go around, my meat was cooked to temperature, and everything on my plate was delicious.

My husband enjoyed his Wagyu beef strip loin with celery root puree, spring vegetables and truffle emulsion, which is another gluten free option.

For dessert, I considered getting California Grill's amazing chocolate pudding cake, which you can read about in my past review, but I loved their creme brulee on our anniversary, so I decided to order the peaches and cream creme brulee, which was described as rich sweet cream custard with peach compote and caramelized turbinado sugar.  I recently had an amazing raspberry creme brulee on Hilton Head Island, so I was excited to try a peach version of one of my favorite desserts.

I love peaches, and I love creme brulee, but sadly, I did not love this dessert.  The peach compote kind of reminded me of canned peaches, which I do not like, and there was way too much of the jelly-like substance under the custard, so I only ate about half of my dessert.

My meal and the service were definitely hit or miss this time around, and the weather was not ideal, but I still look forward to dining at California Grill in the future.  It's a great restaurant for a date night without the kids, and for special occasions.  Next time, we might stop in early and ask to be seated at the California Grill Lounge, which seats people on a first-come, first-served basis.  They do offer the same menu as the restaurant, and the Lounge has great views of the Magic Kingdom.  I would love to stop in just for sushi and the chocolate pudding cake.

You can read more about California Grill, make advance dining reservations, and view their menus and hours on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free options at California Grill?


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