The Patina Group hosted a “culinary tour” of their Downtown Disney restaurant locations on Monday, May 22nd, from 4-9 p.m. This was not a guided tour per se, but a self-guided exploration of the three Patina restaurants in Downtown Disney. A "reception area" at each location provided an opportunity to sample dishes made at that restaurant, and wristbands were available at checkin.
The cost was $10 per person, and the event was limited to Disneyland Resort annual passholders and their guests.
So, let's begin the tour! First up on the list was Tortilla Jo's. Because alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks were included for your $10.00, this was a good deal indeed. The margarita below was $8.50 on the menu, and the bartender made these good and STRONG, and kept them coming:
The restaurant also had a Trio Mexicana, that is, a singing group that serenaded each table. They had limited seating, but not many people waiting too long.
Food never looks appetizing when photographed, but this selection from Tortilla Jo's below isn't really half eaten, just not cleanly arranged on the plate. Service was buffet style, and included tortillas, chips and salsa, guacamole, marinated shredded beef and chicken, and fajita beef and chicken, as well as rice, beans, and an assortment of desserts, including cookies:
I think we also had a few glasses of a Cabernet thrown in there in between Margaritas. They asked if I wanted Cabernet or Merlot, to which the only appropriate response is, "I am not drinking any friggin' MERLOT!" Things are starting to get hazy here, and we were only at the first restaurant! Time to move on.
And move on we did... to Catal. What a mess. Catal was busy with regular diners, and pushed us to the back corner of the upper level. They were constantly running out of food, definitely didn't have enough tables, and had a huge line waiting for food to be restocked.
Below is the "White Wine Sangria", which was okay. The bartender seemed overwhelmed and ran out of strawberries later in the evening. This drink is made with white wine, white grape juice, fresh mint, and slices of strawberries, and ice:
I never tasted much of what they had at Catal, but when they restocked a dish, there was a feeding frenzy. They had a spinach and cheese salad, tender beef cubes, an apple cobbler dessert (replaced with a brownie dessert when they ran out), and these unidentified appetizers, which ran out before I had a chance to taste them:
My only thought is that Catal, which didn't seem enthused by passholders, made an environment that caused people to move on, and not spend too much time there. A shame, as Catal has many Mediterranean tastes that might appeal to diners to come back for lunch or dinner another time.
Final stop was Napoli, where they had more than sufficient seating, white and red wine, and three stations, which prevented long lines at any one place.
On the plate below you'll see a little lasagna, (they had vegetarian and meat, which was nice), a polenta with red sauce, part of a cheese pizza, and prosciutto. A crostini with olive tapenade is also on the plate, and they had bruschetta as well. Very tasty.
All in all, I loved Tortilla Jo's, which is really the only time I've had a good time at that restaurant. Catal, which was my favorite before this event, was an unpleasant place to be with all the food delays, the long line, and the impatient diners and frustrated staff. This really is an incredible deal for $10.00, however, and overall, the value for price was amazing, and some of the food was really good.
My 14 month old son didn't care much for any of it -- he preferred the fries he had earlier at the Storyteller's Cafe. Sometimes he can be the harshest food critic of all: