So, the Bon and I were in Anaheim, CA the last week of 2010 to celebrate her Birthday. And, among the many challenges of our fun filled mini-vacay (wind and rain, crowds that actually closed entrance to the park) we, additionally, had the challenge of finding places to eat during the busiest week of the year at Disneyland.
On the evening of Bon's actual Birthday, and after about 14 hours of park hopping and standing in mega huge lines, we were starving and were just hoping for a place where we could actually sit down to eat. I initially wanted to find a nice place for an elegant Birthday dinner, but the wait at most of the restaurants was about 1.5 to 2 hours. However, when we asked about the wait at the House of Blues (in Downtown Disney, a separate outside shopping mall adjacent to Disneyland) we were told that there was no wait at the Bar and that they served a full menu. At this point that was a bonus so we headed in.
My first reaction to walking into the House of Blues was disappointment, it was like any other restaurant/bar chain. There was no "magic" in the air, no sense of the mysterious, no aura of the Rock Gods that I know have played there...The only difference from any other eatery, that I could see, was the little room that sold music and movie memorabilia and House of Blues merchandise.
Really Big Sigh. I guess it wasn't my night to bump into Axl Rose, Paul Rodgers, Sebastian Bach or Bon Jovi who would fall madly in love with me at first sight and whisk me away from my regular life to join the band on tour. I am a Band-Aid (groupie) at heart and of course my life long dream has been to proclaim to one and all (and really, really mean it) that I am with the band! Wait, what was I talking about?
Oh yes, food. Sooooo anyhooo, amid my disappointment the Bon and I bellied up to the bar and Bonnie ordered a lemon drop and I ordered water (what else?) and we asked for menus.
Our bartender (I cant remember his name) was really nice and pleasant and he asked all the right questions...He wandered off and another extremely nice bartender arrived and took our order. Bon and I opted to split an app and a burger, specifically, the Spicy Calamari which was tossed with a chili sauce, kalamata olives, parmesan cheese and lemon olive oil for $9.99 and The Bleu "Blues Burger" with sauteed onions, bleu cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion for $12.99
About 20 seconds after we placed our order the calamari arrived and lordy was it GOOD!
Now, I'm not talkin' good as in it was alright, or it was passable or even enjoyable, this was seriously GOOOOOOOOD! The squid was all chillied up and tossed with kalamata olives and drizzled with cheese and olive oil...It was a plate full of lip smackin' yumminess to be sure.
During this enjoyable app-fest a new bartender (Matt) arrived and the fun was on! There is nothing better than a good bartender; a guy or gal who can get your drink right, can makes you feel welcome, can make you laugh, and make you want to come back for more...That was our guy Matt. Matt even offered to buy/make Bonnie a special Birthday shot which she gladly accepted.
In a surprisingly short amount of time (considering the full to capacity crowds) our burger arrived and it was superb! I couldn't find a picture but basically it was a giant burger piled with blue cheese, cooked to perfection and served with yummy straw fries. Bonnie and I both loved this burger and raved about it for days.
You know its funny how first impressions really can be wrong. When I walked into the HOB I had great expectations, then I felt a sense of being let down, but at the end of the evening the House of Blues had given me even more than I had expected. I really had a great time! The bartenders were awesome, the drinks (according to the Bon) were excellent, the service was quick, and the food was fabulous. Plus, I think I might have seen Elvis peaking around a corner winking at me as we exited the building.
See? Dreams really do come true when you visit Disneyland and the House of Blues!