It’s everyone’s favorite time of year (or maybe just mine) – DCA’s Food and Wine Festival! I’ve gotten the pleasure of attending the festival in 2016, 2018, and 2019. So, of course, once this year’s festival dates were released, I booked my flight and hotel room. I take DCA’s Food and Wine Festival very seriously...and here’s why!
Let’s break down my most recent trip to DCA’s Food and Wine Festival. This year’s festival started on March 1, and will end on April 23, 2019. So you have tons of time left to visit! Before diving deep into information, I do want to be honest. There aren’t many differences between last year’s festival and this year’s festival. There are some different items and booths, but there aren’t too many extreme changes.
Once you walk through Buena Vista Street and past Carthay Circle, you’ll see the festival sprawled out on the path in front of you! The festival is compiled of kiosks with various offerings – foods, drinks, and spirits. The kiosks are mainly located on the path that stretches from beginning of Cars Land to Paradise Gardens Park. There’s also a kiosk located on the path that’s in between Grizzly River Run and The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, and in the backlot by Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!
I made sure to take advantage of the tasting passport, and the Sip and Savor Pass which everyone is able to purchase this year. The Sip and Savor Pass is $54 ($49 for Annual Passholders) and gives you 8 tabs that can be used to redeem food and non-alcoholic drink items at the various kiosks. This can actually save you a ton of money depending on the price of the items you want, so be sure to check out this offering! I also appreciated the information that the tasting passports gave me, so that I didn’t have to walk from kiosk to kiosk to know what was on the menu.
This year, my favorite booths were Citrus Grove, California Craft Brews, and Uncork California. To be honest, I’m extremely picky (which you might know if you read my Top 5 Restaurants in Disneyland/Disney California Adventure), so I didn’t try a ton of different foods during my trip.
What I Tried
Citrus-brined Pork Roast | Citrus Grove $7
This pork roast was so delicious that I ended up getting it twice. It was amazing. It usually comes with some kind of slaw, but I chose to have it taken off...because I’m ridiculously picky. It honestly didn’t need the slaw anyway, it was delicious without it. The fried onions added a nice crunch, and the citrus taste was an interesting addition to the pork roast. Definitely recommend this item!
Fresh California Berry Pie | Berry Patch $5.75
This was such a delicious dessert item! I actually wasn’t too optimistic about it at first. I’m not the biggest fan of pie, so I wasn’t expecting much. However, I was pleasantly surprised. It was almost cake-like in the inside, and the pie crust was perfect. The berries added the perfect amount of sweetness that the pie needed. I definitely would recommend this to anyone who wants a sweet item at the festival.
Meyer Lemon Ginger Mule | Citrus Grove $13.50
Ahh, a refreshing return! This drink was available at last year’s festival, and I was so glad to see it return this year! I actually happened to drink this on an extremely rainy day in DCA, and it still hit the spot. It’s the perfect amount of lemon and ginger. Both of those flavors combine to make this my favorite drink at the festival. I’ll be crossing my fingers for it to return at next year’s festival!
Creamy Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Garlic Bread Crumble | Garlic Kissed $7.75
This item was okay. I tried it twice just to see if I could develop a strong opinion on it. I wasn’t the biggest fan, but it also wasn’t the worst. Some of my group didn't like the cheese they used for it. I couldn’t pinpoint what cheese they used, but it was really thick. To be honest, I think the garlic bread crumble is really what made the dish somewhat tasty. It’s worth a try if you’re a mac and cheese lover!
Hibiscus Mimosa | Uncork California $14
This drink didn’t live up to my expectations. I’m a huge fan of hibiscus anything, so I was expecting to be blown away by this drink. When I got a mimosa at a booth at the Festival of Holidays last December, I realized something...the cupware they use traps all the syrup in the bottom. That means that you’re basically just drinking champagne until you get to the bottom. Some people may not mind this, but I do. This hibiscus mimosa was just champagne. I didn’t drink the syrup at the bottom because I hated the consistency! So I wasn’t completely in love with this drink. I mean, I love champagne, but it was supposed to be a hibiscus mimosa.
Items With No Pictures
Orange Chicken and Rice | Citrus Grove $7.50 - Definitely not a fan of this item. I tried it last year, but wanted to give it another chance this year. Nothing changed. It’s canned oranges, dry chicken, and rice. Not worth the money, in my opinion.
Grilled Asparagus Caesar Salad | Veggie, Veggie, Fruit, Fruit $7 - So for some reason I ordered this without realizing that there’s chicken in it. It was cold chicken, and I can’t stand the taste of cold chicken. So therefore, I didn’t like this item. Without the chicken, I probably would’ve loved it.
Left Coast Brewing Co., Pink Bikini, Raspberry Wheat, San Clemente | California Craft Brews $10.75 - I love fruity drinks, so this definitely was one of my favorites! On a warm day, this would really hit the spot!
Harris Ranch Grilled Beef Tenderloin Slider with Chimichurri Sauce | Cluck-a-Doodle-Moo $8.50 - I never eat beef, so I really wanted to push my comfort zone and try this item. I was so happy I did! The chimichurri sauce was such a tasty addition to the slider, and really tied the entire item together.
Pizza Port Brewing Company, California Honey, Golden Ale, Solano Beach | California Craft Brews $10.75 - In the midst of some really amazing drinks, this one didn’t stand out for me. It was a tasty bright ale, but there were so many other unique drink offerings that I’d choose over this one.
Lost Coast Brewery, Watermelon Wheat, Eureka | Festival Beer Garden (Not sure of price) - Holy moly. I hate watermelon-flavored drinks. So I surprised everyone when I ordered this drink. I can’t even put into words how delicious this drink was. I got it twice because I loved it so much. If you love watermelon, or even refreshing drinks, this is the one for you!
So that was my experience at this year’s festival! I was extremely pleased with all of the offerings, and I had such a fun time! To see the full menu from this year’s festival, click here.
I definitely recommend that you visit this festival before it ends! While some of the kiosks are notorious for their long lines (I’m looking at you, California Craft Brews), there are times of the day where you may find some shorter waits. The booths open at 10:30 AM, so that’s the best time to get your items! As you near lunch and dinner hours, the lines grow.
Let us know if you go! You won’t regret it!