Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The gourmand of Disneyland

I have, with some basis, developed a distrust of my son's culinary recommendations. So it was with a healthy level of skepticism that I listened to him begin to wax rhapsodic about our lunch options during a recent visit to the Happiest Place On Earth*.

8:30 am
Him: Mom, we HAVE to get these corn dogs for lunch! You don't understand. They are SO GOOD. They are the best corn dogs EVER created. It's unbelievable how good they are.
Me: Really?
Him: I kid you not. You will be amazed. I'm SERIOUS.

10:30 am
Him: I could totally go for a corn dog right now.

11:47 am
Him: I say, we take a break and go get corn dogs.

OK, I think. Let's see what you got, boy. I get in line. The rest of the kids are absolutely convinced they are in for the meal of their lives. My sister, master of the back-up plan, is scouting for alternative food just in case. It is a grim picture, so we are forced to go all in on the corn dog option, completely at the mercy of a thirteen year old food critic who is salivating on my shoes in anticipation.

The sun beats down. The line crawls forward. Strange. This is probably the longest I have waited for anything all day**. Maybe he is on to something after all***. At last, I reach the window and place my bet (I mean, order). 5 corn dogs. 4 with chips. 1 with apple slices.

What appears is unexpected. Deeply browned, misshapen, almost glossy things in plain white wrappers****. Not very Disney to have this level of non-conformity in a food item. We settle in at our table and I take a bite. The crust is almost shatteringly crisp on the outside, giving way to a thin and only slightly sweet honey corny layer around an absolutely top notch, thick juicy all beef hot dog. The ratio of that delicious batter to the dog itself is perfect. No wading through dry mealy cornbread, this is almost like a great fish and chip batter, tender, light and just excellent all around. It is truly a revelation.

My son is beyond vindicated, and his chest is puffed out accordingly.

Him: (between bites) See, I TOLD you they were the BEST!

Pretty cocky for a guy batting 50%. But I gave him the high five he was jonesing for anyway. These incredible corn dogs can be found in Disneyland at a little red cart on the corner of Main Street and the circle in front of the castle, just outside the Photo Palace and the Carnation Buffet.

* I use this phrase while waiting for a ride with my daughter. She looks at me like I am crazy. "Mom, how can it be the Happiest Place on Earth? Have you seen the number of kids here who are crying?"
** Despite it being a notoriously crowded day in August, thanks to our highly efficient strategy of leaving home at 6:45 am, arriving just before the park opens, and hitting Nemo first, going single rider on Indiana Jones, fast passing Splash Mountain and getting lucky with a late closure and timely reopening of Space Mountain, we have not spent more than 20 minutes waiting for anything thus far. The corn dog line took 14 minutes. By the way, another excellent food stop is the fruit stand just outside the Jungle Cruise. Ice cold pineapple spears!
*** I later discovered these have a rabid following on yelp and chowhound as well, but at the time, I had only his word to go on.
**** As you can see from the photo, the white wrapper soon showed tell-tale signs of the hot grease these puppies are fried in.

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