A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose…or that one time I had dinner at the Napa Rose and it was fantastic

Dinner is where the magic happens in the kitchen.

Kris Carr

 

 

I am a self-proclaimed “foodie”.

If you follow me on Instagram, I’m one of those people who posts pictures of the food that she’s eating. Not all the time, but frequently.

If you know me personally, you know that I love to eat. I love to try new foods and I get super excited when my mom or my Teah-Teah make their signature dishes. (By the way, Teah-Teah means ‘grandma’ in Syrian; congratulations you learned something new today!)

When the mood strikes, I treat myself to really good food.

One such mood spurred me to treat myself and my friend, Jen,  to dinner at the Napa Rose.

The Napa Rose is located at the Disneyland Resort at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. The Napa Rose is a restaurant that has really good food in decent sized portions at prices that you generally just ignore when you order because you’re excited about some really good food until you have to pay the bill. The Napa Rose is a place where I wouldn’t normally dine, but I had a coupon okay and I wanted to treat myself to a super nice dinner and I wanted to share the experience with someone else who I know really enjoys food so I brought Jen along with me.

We dressed up as one tends to do when you are treating yourself. And we were thrilled to be going because treating yourself is a fun experience and good food makes the experience likes a million times better (for me anyways).

Like I said, the Napa Rose is located inside the Grand Californian Hotel. We entered through the Downtown Disney entrance and followed the Restaurant →  signs.  We passed through the lobby of the hotel,  which is designed to look super cozy and makes me feel like I just stepped inside the foyer of someone’s mansion-sized rustic cabin in the mountains. I always like to stop and stare because it’s a gorgeous lobby it really is and you have to stop and stare otherwise you will stare as you walk and you might run into a pillar or a wall or another Guest who is also transfixed by the massive open room.

(Look at it. So open and cozy.)

(Look at it. So open and cozy.)

Then you follow a path past the pools and little side rooms with elevators up to the hotel rooms and I’m about 85.8% sure that half the reason this restaurant is located at the hotel is to make you want to actually stay at the hotel instead of just popping by for dinner.

The Napa Rose itself is almost tucked away in a corner. It blends in so well with the theme and decor of the Grand Californian that you would probably walk right past it if you weren’t looking for it.

We had reservations at 9pm but stopped by a little early to see if we could sneak in earlier. We were politely informed that nothing earlier was available at the moment but we were more than welcome to wait in the Lounge until our table was ready.

The Lounge is open to the public and you can order drinks and appetizers if you wish. Not wanting to fill up before dinner, we settled on water and snacking on a bread basket and staring at waiters and waitresses carrying other Guests’ appetizers as they walked by.

The bread basket was appealing enough. There were four different styles of bread. The darkest roll tasted like bran cereal without the raisins (so definitely not my favorite). The light roll had hints of rosemary and the flat sourdough was a fine specimen of true sourdough bread. My favorite by far was the flat-bread. It had Parmesan cheese baked into it and other herbs and spices as well.

Soon enough, our table was ready and we were led into the main dining room. The Napa Rose is styled like its lobby counterpart: high ceilings and decorative pillars in a warm and cozy and inviting atmosphere. Tall windows invite a small view into Disney’s California Adventure Park, showcasing the back of Grizzly Peak (the cool stone mountain that houses the Grizzly River Rapids attraction and is shaped like a bear but looks a bit like a howling wolf depending which way you are looking) and the various species of trees make the restaurant seem more open.

Speaking of open, the kitchen is literally right there. I love open kitchens. They are just so cool to me.

There was seating next to the kitchen and Jen and I wondered if it costs anything extra to sit there or if those seats were reserved for special occasions. We forgot to ask our waitress about that..whoops.

At the top of the menu there is a disclaimer as follows: (*clears throat*)

“For centuries, the Rose was planted at the beginning of a trellised row of grapevines. The Rose added beauty to the vineyards and attracted bees for pollination and a bountiful harvest. Additionally, the Rose warned the vintner of unfavorable conditions. We honor the Rose for its beauty and many contributions as we bring to you the Bounty of California and the Cuisine of Wine Country.”

And they weren’t kidding. There were roses everywhere. Each table had its own little rose in a vase. The rug was styled with roses and lights were twisted into rose-form. There were bouquets of roses by the kitchen and rose stencils along the ceiling. Now, not all of the rose details were super obvious, but if you were specifically looking for them, they were there.

Eventually, Jen and I stopped staring and decided to order. Naturally, as we self-proclaimed foodies tend to do, when we order food we go all out. Appetizers, main courses and dessert. When I treat myself to good food, I really treat myself to good food.

For our Appetizer, we chose to try the Rabbit and Dumplings, which was described on the menu as “Fricassee of Sonoma Rabbit and Country Herb Dumplings”. So fancy.

It came out like this:

“Be careful,” the server said, “It’s really hot.”

It was only *after* looking through my pictures, that I realized the Rabbit and Dumplings was secretly a Hidden Mickey.

It was only *after* looking through my pictures, that I realized the Rabbit and Dumplings was secretly a Hidden Mickey.

I’m going to break this down for you: Rabbit tastes like chicken.

Seriously.

You think rabbit, you think oh this is probably going to taste a little gamey. Like duck or quail. Nope. Wrong. It tastes like really tender chicken. (I know, it blew my mind too.)

The broth that accompanied the rabbit and dumpling was warm and almost like a minestrone. The dumplings themselves were soft and flavorful, a good balance of potato and some cheese.

(Price: $18; Deliciousness Rating: 5/5  stars)

For the main courses, we ordered two different dishes and split a side dish. Jen ordered the Barbacoa of Bershire Pork Loin (with Green Garbanzo Beans, Charred Sweet Peppers and Sherry Romesco) and I ordered the Grilled Angus Beef Filet Mignon (with Parsley Root, Back Kale and Red Pumpkin Essence). We split an order of the Truffled “Mac & Cheese” Orecchiette Pasta with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Barbacoa of Bershire Pork Loin (with Green Garbanzo Beans, Charred Sweet Peppers and Sherry Romesco)

Barbacoa of Bershire Pork Loin (with Green Garbanzo Beans, Charred Sweet Peppers and Sherry Romesco)

Truffled "Mac & Cheese" Orecchiette Pasta with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Truffled “Mac & Cheese” Orecchiette Pasta with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Grilled Angus Beef Filet Mignon (with Parsley Root, Back Kale and Red Pumpkin Essence)

Grilled Angus Beef Filet Mignon (with Parsley Root, Back Kale and Red Pumpkin Essence)

Sometimes when my phone camera takes good pictures of the food I'm eating, I'm very proud of my photgraphy skills.

Sometimes when my phone camera takes good pictures of the food I’m eating, I’m very proud of my photgraphy skills.

The Mac & Cheese came out steaming hot and was the right size for splitting for a party of 2. The Parmesan cheese was thick and creamy and the light breading on top allowed for the perfect crunchy bite. The pasta was shell-shaped, which I liked because that meant that each bite was filled with cheesy goodness. There are only so many things you can do to mac and cheese to upgrade it from its’ usual presentation and taste but this dish had a lot of flavor and was a really good “comfort food” side dish.

(Price: $12; Deliciousness Rating: 4/5 stars)

I only got a bite of Jen’s pork loin but that one bite packed a powerful punch of flavor. If I were to ever go back to the Napa Rose and find this dish on the menu, I would probably order it if something else didn’t catch my eye. The spices on the pork were ridiculous; it was one of those dishes where you take a bite and suddenly your taste buds are overwhelmed by a burst of black pepper and other rich spices. It was enough of a surprising kick that Jen laughed out loud at my expression and, after I chewed, I quietly whispered “ohmygod”.

(Price: $42; Deliciousness Rating: 5/5 stars)

I love steak as much as the next meat-eater. In fact, there is no way in the history of anything, that I could be a vegetarian. You could pay me a million dollars to be a vegetarian for a week and I might be able to do it because a million dollars is really enticing but it would be ridiculously hard for me to do. The Filet Mignon at the Napa Rose is one of those meals that you don’t want to end. When you have a steak and your knife cuts through it like freaking butter, you know you got your money’s worth. I like mine cooked medium and it came out perfectly pink. The kale was soft with a spinach-like consistency and a sweet flavor. I didn’t realize that my steak came with a pumpkin essence sauce until after I took a bite and got a rich harvest-y pumpkin flavor over the spices that the steak had been marinated in. It was just so good and I knew that I was probably sitting there with a content look spread across my face, probably looking a little ridiculous, but I couldn’t care less. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I enjoy my food.

(Price: $45; Deliciousness Rating: 5/5 stars)

When Becca, our waitress, came over to ask if we wanted dessert, Jen proclaimed that she was too full but I jumped on it and Becca was smart enough to leave a menu just for Jen to “look at”. We kept seeing other waiters and waitresses bring desserts to other tables and most of them had a little soda bottle that was filled with what looked like orange soda. Jen and I both ordered our own servings of Pumpkin Caramel Crunch Whoopie Cakes with House Made Red Pumpkin Soda (hey, tis the season) before double-checking with Becca that what we ordered came with those little soda bottles. She assured us that they did and our excitement intensified.

Pumpkin Caramel Crunch Whoopie Cakes with House Made Red Pumpkin Soda

Pumpkin Caramel Crunch Whoopie Cakes with House Made Red Pumpkin Soda

The pumpkin whoopie filing was light, fluffy and sweet. The two outside cakes were chocolate so that made for a lovely combination. The berries on the side were super sour. Like pull your cheeks in and smack your lips a couple of times sour. The middle cake was the best cake, obviously, because it was pumpkin on pumpkin and I just wanted to stay there and eat them endlessly. The pumpkin soda tasted like real pumpkin juice mixed with Sprite; it was very sweet so the small glass was just enough.

(Price: $12. Deliciousness Rating: 5/5 stars)

You may noticed in the picture that our pumpkin soda was served in a tiny martini glass. We were a bit dismayed that they didn’t come in the small soda bottles. Becca, our waitress, was even more dismayed than we were. When she saw that we had different glasses, she tried to switch them out with the little soda bottles but it turns out that the dessert was so popular that all the glasses had been used for the evening.

After we paid for our bill, Becca surprised us with one last treat. She said that she was so sorry that we didn’t get the little soda bottles. She gave Jen and I these little black boxes that had two chocolate truffles inside and said that they usually save those for Guests who are celebrating anniversaries. We thanked her profusely and told her that we enjoyed the pumpkin soda immensely.

What's in the boxxxx?

What’s in the boxxxx?

One light chocolate and one dark hazelnut truffle.

One light chocolate and one dark hazelnut truffle.

Overall, our experience at the Napa Rose was excellent. If you want to treat yourself to some nice food, go here. I mean it. If  these pictures and descriptions of the food don’t entice you, I’m afraid something might be wrong with you.

I recommend making a reservation in advance because this restaurant is immensely popular with Guests who are staying in the hotel and adoring foodie people such as myself.  You can do that online here or call if that is more your style.

But seriously, eat here if you can.

You won’t regret it.

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