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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cocina Cucamonga - Review #2

Cocina Cucamonga
@ Disney's California Adventure
1600 S Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 781-4565

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Trying to be the master of a particular subject I started this blog so I could be the authority on Mexican restaurants in Orange County. Having been to about 200 of them so far there's still many more to get to and I often get e-mails from people asking, "How could you possibly have not been to such-and-such restaurant yet?" Well, sometime before now and Doomsday (2012?) I may make it to all the Mexican restaurants in the county but any time mealtime comes up for me and I decide I can make it out for a Mexican meal I have literally over 350 choices to choose from, so . . . my goal will be met, it's just not going to happen all at once. Fortunately, other bloggers help to fill in some of the gaps so be sure to check out the other blogs I link to here.

I can however be the guru of a smaller subject so I have found it more readily in my grasp to be on top of all Mexican food at the Disneyland Resort (click here for our extensive coverage). Cocina Cucamonga in Disney's California Adventure is the first one I covered and that was three years ago and now it has just reopened in a new spot with a revised and expanded menu.


New items include Fire-Grilled Citrus Chicken, Carne Asada, Chicken Tamales (which were tested during the recent Wine and Food Festival), Soft Tacos Monterey, and a Fajitas Ensalada.

Click here for better pictures of the menu.

While I admire the fact that they upgraded the menu a minor downside to it is that it is now too much like Rancho del Zocalo in Disneyland proper, when, prior to the upgrade, each of the three Mexican restaurants at the Disneyland resort were very unique. Perhaps a menu revision at Rancho del Zocalo will rectify that.


On one of my visits friends tried out the tacos and burrito:

Soft Tacos Monterey

Burrito Sonora

My chicken tamale turned out pretty moist and meaty while the carne asada it came with appeared at first to be shriveled up and burnt (a little exaggeration here) but turned out itself to be moist and tender with a robust, marinated, cracked pepper taste to it. Beans and rice on all the dishes are very standard. Tortillas come freshly made form the nearby Mission Tortilla Factory.

Carne Asada and Chicken Tamale

Fire-Grilled Citrus Chicken

If you get the citrus chicken make sure they give you the tortillas that are supposed to come with it. Yes, they forgot to give me mine, and, yes, it was probably a fluke, but do check your order before you walk off with it.

Hacienda Chicken Caesar Salad

The caesar salad was light and refreshing, great for a summer day, and surprising that they would put something on it as "authentic" as pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds) and radishes.

For dessert they have bags of tortilla chips with cinnamon and sugar on them and usually a special dessert as well. The menu board instructs you to ask your "cast member" what the special dessert selection is. The one time I got dessert I was told they had chocolate or pineapple empanadas. I had had the pineapple empanada before at their prior location so I went for the chocolate one this time. It empanada was rather dry and I only about half of it and was not tempted to go any further. I think at a place like Disneyland that if something is not specifically listed on the menu then patrons are much less likely to order it, let alone even ask about it. (UPDATE: The Fall 2009 annual passholders magazine Backstage Pass mentions that sometimes there are also Dulce de Leche Empanadas.)

Also, on my first visit, when I went up to the pickup window I looked at the soda fountain and saw that they had Mello Yello (the Coca-Cola company's answer to Mountain Dew) even though it's not listed on the menu board. On my next visit back I ordered a Mello Yello but the cast member taking my order said they don't have it. I said, "Well, I saw it on your soda fountain the last time I was here." He said, "Yeah, I know, they put the stickers on there for some reason and got all us cast members excited . . . but we don't have it." Sounds like an entry for the FAIL Blog.

For upgrading and improving overall, but with still some improvements to be made, Cocina Cucamonga gets a 3¾ Panchito rating:

Panchito Panchito Panchito Panchito

We have covered all the Mexican food and restaurants that can be found at the Disneyland Resort. To read about them click here or anywhere on Panchito's message:

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