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Alethea & Athena
Food and Whine 
16th-Mar-2017 04:50 pm
Somehow all our time seemed to poof away from us yesterday, so I'm a little eager to write this up and then do something like watch TV or play KamiAso. Because we went to Disneyland twice actually in the last three days because Gaston is weird, and I have stuff to say about it.

First, we went to the California Adventure Food & Wine Festival on Tuesday, so we mostly wandered up and down the parade route deciding whether or not to try food, and trying it if the answer was yes. In our case, it mostly was not. We did try an artichoke cake pop (mostly tasted like chocolate covered bland) and a panna cotta, which Gaston confirmed to us is, in fact, just fancy Italian jello. It tasted pretty good but it had whole cherries in it which was not ideal.

The interesting part was the vendors who were giving out free samples. There were really only two important ones. First, there was the Temecula olive oil vendors. We really only stopped there because Gaston was interested, and then the lady asked if we wanted samples, and Gaston was all heck yeah, and Athena and I were all, "......" so the lady got out three tiny cups and Athena was like, "Wait a second, not me!" and I was like, "Well, I guess I'm game," even though the idea of drinking any kind of oil was less than ideal. It just doesn't seem like something that should be done.

Well, she started us off with the standard, regular olive oil, and that tasted like the what they put on the pita chips we really liked from Fresh & Easy, so it was pretty good except that drinking oil was about as pleasant as I expected. Next she gave us their younger, more bitter oil. Gaston tried it and was fine, and I tried it and...and I'm having a really hard time figuring out how to convey my reaction in words. It was kind of an "ugh!" but way more intense. What I'm saying is, it was bitter. Gaston and the oil lady were surprised. I felt vindicated, though, because years ago we tried to tell Gaston that we think we might be supertasters, and he was like, "Yeah, I'm one of those--I took a taste test and I could identify all the flavors," and no matter how many times we tried to explain that no, supertaster is the scientific word for people who have more tastebuds, which doesn't give them superior palates but makes them more sensitive to bitter flavors. Now I had some pretty solid confirmation that yeah, we probably are supertasters, and even if I couldn't explain what that meant to Gaston, at least we had clear evidence that our pickiness isn't entirely psychological.

After that, there was some basil olive oil and some blood orange olive oil, and both of them smelled really nice and tasted okay, but I still don't think oil is a fun thing to drink (or sip).

So then Gaston was talking to the oil lady about how California has pretty much managed to destroy Europe in olive oil and wine and now the only thing we can't make for ourselves is balsamic vinegar. As a matter of fact, the oil lady confided, this company does make its own balsamic vinegar, but it's too young of a company to have anything aged to balsamic perfection, and worse, they're not allowed to sell any vinegar at this event because there's another vendor with a vinegar contract and I guess there's some kind of non-competition clause. (At Anime Expo, they would have been allowed, I'm sure.)

Well, that being the case, we made it a point to look for the vinegar seller, but because it was so far out of the way, we didn't manage to find it until much later in the day. After my oil experience I was content to watch Gaston try all the vinegar he wanted and not have any myself, thank you very much. But then there was the dark chocolate vinegar. The girl at the booth explained that people put it on strawberries and ice cream and etc., and it sounded like a dessert vinegar. And it was chocolate, so Gaston, who loves sharing food almost as much as he loves eating it, said we should try it, this one shouldn't be that sour. So we tried it. And I think it was something akin to when you give a baby a lemon slice. Gaston said the look on my face was along the lines of, "Why would you ever do that to a person!?" We all kind of wished we had recorded it, but that's life. Later, we discussed once again our idea of having a YouTube channel with videos of us trying foods and giving our honest opinions and how amusing it would be, at least for us.

And that's pretty much the highlights of Tuesday. We thought we were done at Disneyland after that, but Gaston learned that they were doing a few things for the 50th anniversary of Pirates of the Caribbean, which we think is why we all decided to try to visit the park this morning in the couple of hours before the crowds picked up (that was a futile effort; crowds were extra high today). Apparently, there's supposed to be some extra special entertainment, and there are some limited edition trading pins, but most importantly for our personal experience, they had some themed food items. And Gaston really needs to learn to look those up himself, because when we do it, all the items get registered like this, "Gross, gross, ooh dessert!, gross, gross..." So the only things we were able to tell him about were the beignets and the churros, and those turned out to be...okay.

The beignets were the worst (by which I mean, not terrible beignets, but the most disappointing as far as the thought of exciting new menu item). They were just regular beignets, only instead of being covered in powdered sugar, they were coated in yellow, supposedly lemon-flavored granulated sugar. There was a tiny hint of lemon-ish flavor. They also had shimmer dust, which was mat-gold edible glitter, so they looked pretty. The churros were basically the same concept, only with churros instead of beignets--rolled in lemon-inspired sugar and shimmer dust instead of cinnamon-sugar. But because churros are made for granulated sugar, the sugar stuck to them better, so it was a better experience all around. Everybody around was saying they (the beignets and the churros) tasted like Fruit Loops, but if I had to pick, I'd say they smelled like Trix and tasted like mildly flavored fried dough. I have two regrets: first, the line for the beignets was unreasonably long, and second, they duped us into buying churros inside the park for the first time since the price went up to four dollars in like 2013. (Churros cost $4.25 now, too.) Well, there were the Oreo churros the one time at Cars Land, which didn't seem like the same thing at the time, but was at least as much of a scam. And my excuse is that...flavored churros!

Other than that...we did hang out with Farley for a while on Tuesday, and that was fun, but I don't think I have anything specific to say about that. So I think that covers it. Maybe one day I'll get around to reporting about Gaston. The Park Gaston, not our friend Gaston.

Oh, but I just remembered! The Lily Belle was parked at the New Orleans Square train station, so we took a look around inside today. And I left my iPad at home, so I knew we were going to do something that I'd want to take pictures of, and that's what it was! But it was nice, anyway. The Lily Belle is a super fancy train car that you can ride in on the Disneyland Railroad if you're super lucky. It used to be as easy as just asking about it, but since word got around the internet, rides get booked within the first fifteen minutes of the days she's running. The two of us and the conductor showing us around lamented the fact that all the good Disneyland tricks have stopped being good because when everybody knows about them, they're not tricks anymore.

Today I'm thankful for getting to try the lemon things, getting to see the Lily Belle, making not too terrible progress on Fire Force, the fascinating science of taste buds, and flavored churros.
16th-Mar-2017 11:08 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha at your subject line :D

Whoa, why would an artichoke-anything taste bland? Like I guess I only ever have artichokes that are marinated and full of flavour from that, but... (and who would mix artichoke and chocolate...? this is beyond even my idea of an exciting flavour combination.)

There's a place downtown here that sells vinegars and oils and lets you taste them in sample cups like that. It seems like they usually suggest tasting the oils in combination with vinegars because yeah, it's a little weird to taste oil on its own. (and because if you taste two products together and like it, you're more likely to buy two products instead of one!) I also only put a dab of oil in the cup to taste, so it's not quite the sensation of drinking it. The regular olive oil from Costco does leave a pretty strong bitter/burning aftertaste, even for me. Oh but the flavoured vinegars! I could totally drink those. (and then I'd burn my mouth from the acidity...)

Ohh, I bet beignets would be good with lemon curd. But that's probably not as cheap for them to make so they might have to charge all four limbs rather than the usual single arm and leg. (I saw a jar of lemon curd at the store today and remembered how much I like it, but it had added colouring so I bought locally-grown cherry preserves and organic fair trade apricot jam instead. High consciousness got me...)

The Lily Belle train car sounds delightful! I hope you get to ride it someday, and that you have your iPad to document it :)
17th-Mar-2017 11:54 am (UTC)
Haha, yeah, I wasn't sure it was really all that applicable when I thought of it, but I was afraid I'd forget it when something more applicable came along. But we were at Disneyland, and we do tend to whine there...

Having never had artichoke other than that cake pop, I couldn't say one way or another about how it would taste otherwise. All I know is that whatever they used to make the cake pop claimed to have artichoke. Gaston said that it didn't taste at all like artichoke, which I chalked up to the fact that it was blended with whatever else was in the cake pop (the chocolate was just the coating). Gaston also said it was very sweet, but we didn't get that so much.

Yeah, the vinegar place was always saying, "Now try this vinegar with this oil." One of the girl's guests earlier had suggested peach vinegar with garlic olive oil, and while both she and Gaston commented on the interesting combination, I don't feel like either of them said anything about whether or not it was good or why. We don't use olive oil generally, so I couldn't comment on how the bitter olive oil compares to Costco; all I can say is that when I tried it, the bitterness wasn't so much an aftertaste as an immediatetaste.

We also cannot comment on beignets with lemon curd, but we can agree with your conclusion that it doesn't fit with their formula of saving as much money (for themselves) as possible. We just wish that maybe they had used twice as much as whatever it was they were using to flavor the sugar (hopefully lemon juice, but who knows?). I was amused at your all four limbs remark.

It was very lovely! We'll see if we make it back there before it becomes impossible to get inside again.
18th-Mar-2017 07:19 pm (UTC)
I don't consider myself to be a picky eater in any way, except that I REALLY don't like fish. However, the idea of an artichoke cake pop doesn't appeal to me at all. And the idea of drinking olive oil and/or vinegar appeals to me even less. I think it would have been nicer to have some bread to try the oils and vinegar with. And chocolate vinegar sounds rather vile. And I really am not one of those people who say, "Oh, I can't try THAT! It sounds weird" ...usually. But I guess everyone has lines that they draw, and none of this sounds very appealing (although oil on bread would have, and vinegar on lots of things would have, but to drink it plain? *shudders* )

18th-Mar-2017 11:52 pm (UTC)
I hear you on the fish thing--I tried salmon on the plane home from Japan and it was nasty. I may have exaggerated a bit on the "drinking oil" thing. She had really little plastic cups, like maybe two inches in diameter if that, and she only poured enough oil in to cover the bottom. I think the idea was to take tiny sips, or maybe if you like the texture of oil you can down the whole thing, but no.

I don't think I can speak for the general taste of the chocolate vinegar, because of the whole SOUR!! thing, but once the sourness faded away, there was a fairly nice chocolaty aftertaste. I think so many years of having almost no food be remotely appealing has, perhaps ironically, made us more open to the idea of different flavor combinations, because when even the "normal" combinations seem nasty, it's easier to say, "Well, why not try a sour chocolate?" But of course if you're not interested, I would never make you try it. We know what it's like.
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