I went on a business trip this past week. I spent four days at the Disneyland Resort. Would I need to leave Disneyland to find good food? My guess was yes.
I am not a yelper, but I do read their reviews and especially rely on it when I travel to unfamiliar places. I also have the iphone app. I found an interesting restaurant via yelp that I was looking forward to trying. It was a Bolivian restaurant called Beba’s and Gilmore’s. I have never eaten Bolivian food before and the restaurant received an average 4.5 star rating from yelpers, so of course I had to go.
I had an early dinner on Friday around 5pm. The yelpers were talking up the empanadas and the saltenas. I have eaten empanadas before and love them. Empanadas originate in Latin American and are savory pastries stuffed with a yummy filling. I remember an Argentina restaurant in Los Angeles that I used to go for them called Empanadas Place. They were delicious fried goodies. The corn empanada was my favorite. I remember biting into them and they would ooze a creamy cheesey corn filling.
I had no idea what a saltena was. Wikipedia defines salteñas as savory pastries filled with beef, pork or chicken mixed in a sweet, slightly spicy or very spicy sauce, and sometimes also containing peas, potatoes and other ingredients. I am still unclear what the difference is between the empanada and the saltena. Unfortunately, the empanada at Beba’s is only served on Saturdays and Sundays, so I was unable to try it. I did try the saltena which for their version had beef, chicken, eggs, raisin, vegetables, and olives. For those that know me, I typically would not order this because it has beef in it and I only eat grass fed beef. I decided that I would forego my discrimination this time. The saltena came out temperature hot. The pastry shell was baked to a perfect brown color. It had interesting flavors because of the many ingredients so it was salty, sweet, and medium spicy. I did enjoy it like other yelpers.
For my main dish, I ordered the “sajta” or picante de pollo. This was a chicken with yellow sauce and included two types of potatoes and rice. The chicken was a bit dry. It had a nice medium spice to it and was good but not special. One of the sides that came with it was a purple potato that I was not fond of. It tasted uncooked and starchy. But the other half potato that my dish came with was soft and buttery. The rice was also fluffy and delicious. I don’t know what they put in the rice. My rice never comes out tasting this good. Beba, what is your secret?
If I were a yelper, I would give Beba’s and Gilmore’s a 3 star rating. Although this is an average rating, I would still recommend this restaurant. I had told my coworker about this place so she also went this weekend with some of her friends. They were fortunate to try a lot more dishes. One of her friends spoke Spanish so I believe that probably helped with their entire experience. They enjoyed Beba’s and even were clued in that Bolivian Independence Day is August 6 and Beba’s will be bringing out their best foods to celebrate. If you live in Southern California, you should try to make it. And if you do, please report back!
So I started this blog asking if I had to leave Disneyland Resort to find good food. Believe it or not my most memorable meal was a breakfast I had at the Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney. I ordered the chilaquiles with two fried eggs. The only other time I’ve had chilaquiles is at Tamarindo in Oakland, which in my opinion is the best Mexican restaurant period. I definitely was intrigued about this dish when I looked at the menu. I was very happy I ordered this. The fried tortilla chips are covered with a spicy ranchero sauce, cheese, green onions, cilantro, sour cream, and topped with two perfectly fried organic eggs. It was amazingly good. Every last tortilla chip although covered with sauce and flavor remained crispy to the last bite. This dish alone is worth 5 stars! I was wrong, you don’t need to leave Disneyland Resort to enjoy good food, but you might need to leave if you are staying for more than a few days!
Next week: The 4th Annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon