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Apr 3, 2002 08:20 PM

Eating in Downtown LA, Catalina, and Disneyland

  • s

Will be staying downtown LA 3 nights near Staples center and need recommendations for good ethnic restaurants. (I did read the letters regarding eating in the Staples area posted earlier.) We will be without a car - need to be within walking distance, short taxi ride (don't want to spend all our money on getting to the restaurant) or public transportation. Will be visiting Chinatown, Japan town, Farmers Market, other close in points of interest. Also spending two nights in Catalina - and 3 nights in Disneyland. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Will plan our days and nights around the good eating to be had!

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  1. w
    wow i'm a dog

    There is a late-night taco stand (I don't know what the name is) in Catalina that is just awesome. I think it's open until 1:00 am or so. Not to be missed.

    In Disneyland - I like the vegetarian gumbo in New Orleans Square, the popcorn (super salty - in a good way!) and the dill pickles on Main Street. Also, my better half likes the corn dogs (cart on Main Street) and chili dogs from the Refreshment Corner (also on Main Street).

    If you're going to California Adventure, try the corn dogs at Corn Dog Castle (Paradise Pier). Have an (alcoholic!) drink at Avalon Cove Upper Deck, also in the Paradise Pier area. This used to be Wolfgang Puck's until he pulled out of the park recently. It's refreshing to have a drink at a Disney park. It's a new thing to Anaheim. Also, the french fries at Strips, Dips, n' Chips (Paradise Pier) are great, although they don't have mustard on hand. My quirk: I like mustard on my fries. You need to go to the corn dog stand to get it.

    Finally, grab a sandwich at Wine Country Trattoria in the Golden Vine Winery area. The salads were good - for a theme park - and two people in our group ate the lasagne and said it was surprisingly good.

    There are additional Anaheim suggestions at the link below.

    Also, if you need any general Disneyland park suggestions, just email me. I'm sort of a Disney Dork.


    3 Replies
    1. re: wow i'm a dog

      My favorite places to eat at Disneyland:

      Blue Bayou: best atmosphere. Go for lunch (dinner prices are astronomical).

      Also in New Orleans Square, near the train station, is a cafe that serves fritters, (non-alcoholic) mint juleps, and espresso drinks.

      On Main Street, near the restrooms, is an ice cream place (not Carnation, on the other side). Here, you can get a cut-up apple covered in warm caramel for about $3. Yummmm!

      Also, check out the candy place on Main Street--you can watch them make candy treats, then go inside & purchase them.

      1. re: Alison B

        If you're at California Adventure, the park has a couple of churro stands with awesome churros. You can get a regular cinammon & sugar churro, but they also have strawberry and apple churros. I had the apple churro-it was warm, fresh, and outstanding! I second the recommendation on the corn dogs at California Adventure.

        1. re: Samantha

          One more thing-at Disneyland, they have these cookie ice cream sandwiches. They are to die for! Two chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream in between. I always have one when I go. You can get them at various ice cream stands throughout the park.

    2. japanese (little tokyo)
      sushi gen in the honda plaza on 2nd by central
      hamakawa on central by 2nd (sushi only)

      chinese (chinatown, for dim sum)
      empress pavillion on hill st
      ocean seafood on hill by alpine

      vietnamese (chinatown)
      pho 87 on broadway
      pho 79 on hill

      korean (koreatown is 5-15 minutes from downtown, depending on traffic)
      beverly (tofu house) on olympic by vermont
      soot bull jeep (bbq) on 8th
      chosun (bbq) on olympic by western

      la taquiza (very close to staples center, by usc) on figueroa
      grand central market on broadway in downtown (various vendors selling tacos, tortas, etc... forgot the name of the place i went to, just look for the vendor with the longest lines)

      sunnin on broadway in downtown

      india's oven on beverly by la brea (close to farmer's market)

      1. Can't help with the eats but if at all possible and your time permits you must go see the Getty Museum. I'm from Corona, east of L.A. but it's my favorite place to visit in the L.A. area. The views and architecture are spectacular.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sherry A

          The grounds at the Getty are beautiful and on a clear day you can see the ocean. The first time I went there it was overcast and I had no idea what a great view could be had. But oddly enough, the art is, as my dad would say, "not too fancy."

          If you like garlic and you find yourself near Beverly Hills, try The Stinking Rose at 55 N LA CIENEGA BLVD, just north of Wilshire. Yummy garlic dishes, but expect to stink for a day or two!

        2. If you have some connection who works at Disneyland or if you are staying at their hotel, maybe there's a way you can get into Club 33. It's a private club in the park with an entrance near the Pirates of the Carribean and has pretty good food. It used to be the only place in Disneyland where you could get an alcoholic beverage (Walt's morality superimposed on that of Orange County). Don't know if that's still true under the current Eisner regime. Good luck.

          11 Replies
          1. re: mc michael

            I was fortunate enough to go to Club 33 a month ago for the buffet lunch. They served us champagne, not sure if other alcoholic beverages were available or not.

            Eating here is well worth it, the buffet was $47 each but included lots of seafood, and just about anything else you could imagine.

            1. re: LisaN
              wow i'm a dog

              Unfortunately, you can't get into Club 33 without a membership. V. v. exclusive, don't you know...

              1. re: wow i'm a dog

                As Sister Mary Frances used to say, where there's a will there's a way.

                1. re: mc michael
                  wow i'm a dog

                  Or if the price is right, as Bob Barker says...

                  "Corporate Membership

                  This membership is designed for organizations to make Club 33 available to a number of their executives, and has a membership fee of $20,000. This entitles the corporate member to designate up to nine associate members. Dues for associate members are $2,250 per year. All memberships are transferable to other executives in the corporation.

                  Members no longer in the employment of the corporate member's company must surrender the membership cards to Club 33. The corporate member may then designate another member of his company.

                  Limited Corporate Membership

                  This membership is designed for organizations wishing to make Club 33 available to one of their executives, and has a membership fee of $10,000. This entitles the corporation to transfer the membership to another employee whenever necessary. For individual members, credit is extended based upon the membership fee initially paid if a transfer of membership is desired. Dues are $2,250 per year.

                  Individual Membership

                  This particular membership is for individuals and is available at $7,500 membership fee and $2,250 annual dues. These memberships are nontransferable."

                  1. re: wow i'm a dog

                    You forgot to mention that any one of those "members" can bring in as many guests as they want. Also, they can give guests entrance even if they are not escorting them.

                    And while the amusement park does not allow alcohol service or consumption, Club 33 is not considered part of the park (even though it is inside it's gates). When Walt was building the park, he had that area designated as it's own city so the park rule wouldn't apply at Club 33 and he could indulge. So, it's not a matter of Eisner regime, it's a matter of state and local rule. Club 33 is it's own city.

                    1. re: kc girl

                      If you really have to have a drink, take the monorail to the Disneyland Hotel, where liquor is served at most (all?) of the restaurants, or to the new Downtown Disney area, have a drink (and probably a better meal than you'll have in the park itself), hop back on the monorail and enjoy the rest of your day.

                      1. re: LBQT

                        One of the worst dining experiences I and Mrs. Chino Wayne, and little Ms. Chino Wayne had was when we took the monorail to the Disneyland hotel and tried to get service at their Italian themed restaurant. We did it because it was Memorial Day and the park was jammed. We figured we would be smart and nip over to the Hotel. We are still not sure if the terrible, terrible, terrible service we experienced was because they were busy that day, or because we happen to be a zebra family. We believe in our hearts it was because of the latter.

                        On the other hand, on of the absolute best roasted meat entres thazt I have ever had in 50 odd years was one prepared by my mother's long lost cousin (why is he going in this direction, you may ask, you will find out). This was some second or third cousin that my mother had not seen in years but was now living in Anaheim and invited the family over for a Sunday dinner. So it was buffet style in his house and I walked up to this really massive piece of roasted meat on the bone that I had never seen before, but that smelled and looked fabulous and start loading up my plate. Meantime my mother and father seem to be fading in to the woodwork and not eating anything, and my sister is avoiding the meat.

                        I ignore them and finish filling my plate, do find a seat and scarf it all down, and of course go back for seconds.

                        Turns out the wonderful meat that I had never experienced was a whole baked ham, prepared by my mother's cousin, the executive chef of the Disneyland Hotel. Of course it tasted great to me, it was done by a professional and it was a new delicacy to me, since my mother had spent the previous 15 odd years of my life keeping a Kosher house for my father.

                        The coda to this story is that my parents subsequently invited my mother's cousin and his family to our house for Sunday brunch. My parents layed out a whole buffet table of lox, smoked fish, blintz's and all the appropriate acoompaniaments, and I was in "hog heavan" that day too. On the other hand, my mother's cousin's family did not seem to be eating any of the "strange" food.

                        I will eat a good ham sandwich or bagel and lox anytime, just don't mix bagels and ham!

                2. re: wow i'm a dog

                  Sorry! Didn't notice that it wasn't mentioned you needed to be/or know a member to get in.

                  1. re: wow i'm a dog

                    Find out what corporations currently are sponsors, or exhibitors or have businesses in Disneyland. The company I work for has a business on Main Street. That means that those of us who are in management at our company have an ability to gain access to Club 33.

                    So if you know someone who works for a corporation that has a presence at Disneyland, that may be away to get access to Club 33.

                3. re: mc michael

                  If you can't get hold of a way into Club 33, I would try Blue Bayou which is in that alley where you exit Pirates of the Caribbean (you also are part of the P of the C experience, the riders pass you by as they enter the ride). It's a nice restaurant with wait service. Kind of an intimate atmostphere but I've seen families in there (they also have a kids menu). You will need to get reservations almost as soon as you get in the park. They assign you a time to come back and wait for the next available table.

                  1. re: Can
                    Caitlin Wheeler

                    As a kid growing up in Southern California, I always wanted to eat at the Blue Bayou every time I went to Disneyland. The food was decent Carribbean inspired, but the room was so cool -- they have made it look like the outdoor patio of a Louisiana mansion backing on the bayou at night.
                    Around New Orleans square in Disneyland there's a place you can get beignets and nonalcoholic mint juleps -- those are fun. And Disneyland churros are a great part of the experience!

                4. Catalina is pretty much a culinary wasteland (just my opinion - I'm interested in any contrary observations) - but a decent Northern Italian restaurant can be found in the Portofino Hotel (just past the Hotel Metropole on Crescent.