French Market - Disneyland
Disneyland's New Orleans Square is as authentic to New Orleans as the Jungle Cruise is to Africa--which is to say, not very. But the red beans and rice I ate recently at the French Market couldn't have tasted more evocative of the balmy swamp city if Paul Prudhomme served it up himself.
I once read an article that said the people of Louisiana eat red beans and rice more than anything else, especially on Mondays. It's said that the dish is made with Sunday night dinner's leftovers--a low-simmered, one pot meal that required little effort but filled the gut for not much money.
So when I saw it on the menu at the French Market, it just had to be ordered. But I was still surprised how good it was.
The French Market, like most of Disneyland's busiest eateries, is a cafeteria where you line up with tray in hand and the food is slopped onto plates with little regard for presentation. But the red beans and rice was different. It was downright immaculate.
In the deep-bottomed plate, the red beans--spiced to a lip-numbing but pleasant hotness--was the base layer, with pieces andouille sausage mixed in. Then came a sprinkle of rice, a few beveled slices more andouille, and a cornbread muffin straddling the edge. It was one of the best meals I've had at Disneyland, and I've had the corndog.
And to wash it all down: an icy-cold, green-tinged mint juleps. Yes, real mint juleps aren't this green and should be made with bourbon, but it was still refreshing, recharging my batteries so that I could stand in line for that safari through fake Africa.
Anaheim, CA 92802
THIS WEEK ON OC WEEKLY:
Pirozzi - Corona Del Mar