10 years is a long time to know someone. It’s a long time to love someone. It’s long enough to have ups and downs, to see people change and grow.
Well, it’s been 10 years since we first met and it’s amazing how far we’ve come and how close we are. This picture below was when we went to Disneyland for the first time, and then we re-created the image 10 years later! Can you tell which one was from 2004??
My uncle (Thank you Uncle Hung) was able to arrange a very special dinner for us at the exclusive Club 33 at Disneyland, an exquisite restaurant that is shrouded in urban legend and mystery. We heard that it was also recently renovated and they changed the front entrance. Here is the original entrance that is located to the right of the Blue Bayou Restaurant (which is also a nice place for a romantic meal).
And here is the new entrance located further down to the right. They took over what used to be an open plaza with a wonderful curved staircase. That used to lead to an employee-only staging area, which is now all part of Club 33. Now the metal gates to that plaza are replaced with opaque glass barriers on both sides, with the center being this door below:
The thing you will notice about Club 33 is that there are details everywhere and attention was paid to everything. The emblem is on many items and placed throughout the restaurant. Here it is on the glass above the entrance.
And here is the infamous intercom, the gateway into an exclusive and private dining experience. We had our reservation for 6:30pm, but they let us in at 6:15pm (another party next to us came to early and had to come back at the correct time).
I was a little camera shy at the start, so we didn’t take photos of the main stairway at the beginning. At the end you can see images of the staircase and entryway as we left. At the top of the stairs, there is this hosting area:
And to the left is a wine cellar to a lounge area.
And to the right is the main dining area, which is right above Cafe Orleans I believe.
Again, here are the details that you will see around the restaurant. Clockwise from the top left: the gold-embossed logo on the first decorative plate, the dinner menu for that night, the corner of the wine menu had this embossed detail, and this is a tile mural at the top of the staircase before the hosting area.
The one thing that really surprised me is the selection of unique drinks that they had especially for Club 33. The drinks almost all had something that made it special, whether it was the unique glasses, recipe, garnishes, or even using unique ice (diamond ice cubes and crushed ice for the amazing mint julep).
Here is my Mint Julep, so smooth yet strong. It was served with crushed ice atop a distinct metal tin cup. To the right is a pre-appetizer (or teaser hehe), of which I can only remember that it had bone marrow with the beef on top of a crunchy crouton base.
Here was our first course. To the left was “Lobster Rockafeller” with crispy oyster and lemon hollandaise. To the right is Prime New York of Beef seared black and blue with tarragon-roasted garlic puree.
And here is the second course. The to left is the soup of summer corn broth, green tomato relish, Andoille sausage, and gulf shrimp. To the right is the watermelon salad with southern orange creme fraiche and petit greens.
Here is the Vieux Carre, which is whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters.
This is their Diamond Martini, which we had to get just because of the glass and the diamond shaped ice cube.
And here is a nice picture of it using only cellphone LED lights to light that baby up. Lighting is everything!
Here is the third course of Grilled Diver Scallop and Gulf Shrimp with cheesy grits and buttery shrimp nage.
The other third course meal was the Butter Poached Lobster with braised leeks and minted English pea puree. Next to it was the sorbet served before the fourth and main course.
For our main courses, we went with beef and duck. To the left is the Petit Angus Filet Mignon with tasso ham scalloped potatoes and collard green pesto. To the right is the Sassafras Dusted Duck Breast with duck confit and morel mushroom sauce. Note that the duck confit, which is well-cooked, was in the center and wrapped with the duck breast.
Here is the Absinthe Frappe (which is just Absinthe, simple syrup, and soda water). It is very heavy on the anise flavor, but then again Gavin will drink Absinthe straight and on the rocks. For desert, we had the Vanilla Mascarpone Velvet and the Vanilla crème brûlée. Normally, we wouldn’t order Crème brûlée, since we order it every time we get the chance. But this time I wanted to see what they would do different and they didn’t disappoint. The presentation was awesome as they torched it right in front of us to perfection.
They also included a selection of candies (truffles and jellies).
And here is the staircase as we left. One other interesting note is that this was at 9pm, where Disneyland had already been closed for an hour. We had an escort out through the empty and eerie streets. We didn’t get to see any of the infamous Disneyland cats, though.