Monday, January 26, 2015

Lunch at the Bayou

When my friend Stacy invited me to join her and the family at Disneyland to take photos of her dad's 65th birthday celebration, she sealed the deal with lunch invitations at the Blue Bayou. It was the equivalent of waving catnip in front of a feline; I was powerless to say "no."

There's something about this restaurant's nighttime-during-the-day atmosphere that weaves a magic spell over me. I lose track of time and find myself gawking over the plastic lanterns above. Wouldn't you love to sneak up these stairs and take photos from the balcony? These are the thoughts that go through my head.

If the lights were up, I am sure the faux plantation façade and phony wisteria would lose much of their luster to me.

Instead, I feel like I'm back in the south at an outdoor restaurant with the sounds of frogs and crickets fading into the background.

A set table awaiting the next group of guests.

My one gripe with the Blue Bayou is about what the food has become. The sourdough-style rolls that had a delicious crunchy crust have been replaced with a selection of breads that taste like they came from the grocery store…and not a good one. My favorite wedge salad with the yummy vinaigrette, blue cheese, and bits of andouille sausage has been replaced with a mess of shredded…who knows what. The once southern-style menu has been Andrew Sutton-fied.

The recipe for the Tesoro Island Chicken Breast seems to have also undergone a metamorphosis: "Pan-seared with Boursin Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Sautéed Spinach, and Fennel Confit with Roasted Shallot Reduction." Fancy-fancy sounding, but again, on the plate, it just looks a little bit like a mess. It tasted ok, but nothing that would make me rush back.

I reached over to take a shot of Stacy's Monte Cristo Sandwich. What was once my favorite item at the Bayou has been changed beyond recognition.

I get it; eating food that is deep fried is not good for you. However, I can eat healthy at home; no need to spend $27 for this somewhat bland version of what I used to love. Compare with what it used to look like in 2005; oh that golden deep-fried crust. My arteries are clogging just thinking about it. And for those who are crying tears for the health of children and adults everywhere, take care of it in your own kitchen. Nothing wrong with moderation and a little cheat every now and then. But then again, this is Disney. They have to be middle-of-the-road and not offend the moral minority.

After your meal, don't forget to use the restroom; it is probably the nicest one in the park!

See more Daveland vintage & current Disneyland Blue Bayou Restaurant photos at my main website.

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MRaymond said...

I do love the Blue Bayou but I agree with you about the menu. I bypass it now. The pictures are fantastic and bring back great memories.

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K. Martinez said...

I have a dislike for those who are into food shaming. Enjoy life! It's not what you eat on special occasions and holidays, but what you eat on a regular daily basis that has an impact on your health.

I agree. If the lights went on in the Blue Bayou, the show would be over. Disneyland is certainly the land of illusion. As Mrs. Madrigal would say when looking at moonlight Seal Rock, "In the right light, even seal shit looks good"

Fifthrider said...

First, I still have no idea how you get so many shots devoid of people. The empty tables here are again, a photographic miracle to me.

Second, thanks for the before/after pics of the sandwich. It has changed a lot. Sutton's take on food really worked at the Napa Rose but at Club 33 and Blue Bayou it's more like... It's like Disney had success before with Chef Marcel but they wanted to change things just for the sake of changing things. There wasn't really a need, it was just done. Now that Sutton's there, the dishes have become very artsy but also kind of odd. Not bad, more like I don't walk away thinking "Wow!" like I did before. Now I think "Well that was different."