We had reservations to go to Tam O’Shanter in January, but those were cancelled at the height of omicron. We were staying nearby in Glendale so this was a perfect opportunity to give the restaurant a second chance for a visit.
We were intrigued in learning more about the history of the Scotch-inspired steakhouse that is celebrating 100 years in business this year. While prime rib isn’t our thing, themed environments are and Tam O’Shanter really delivers. While we were seated outside under a charming tent and nearby an equally tranquil garden, we also got to peek inside at the myriad dining rooms inside. Frequented for many years by Disney animators and Walt Disney himself. Table 31 was Walt’s favorite and there are carvings in the table done by Disney animators.
We went in a turkey direction for our meal, but I decided to test the unfamiliar waters of Tam O’Shanter’s vast Whiskey collection. Walt Disney’s favorite cocktail was a Scotch Mist so I figured this was a good choice for the occasion. I asked for a Scotch that wasn’t so “peaty” and the bartender used Cutty Sark which was just fine with me. Scotch, ice, and a twist of lemon.
The service was great and we enjoyed the food. Being able to score a reservation inside would be a priority for future visits, since the interior is so elaborately themed.
Inside, the bar was not busy so it was a perfect time to cool down inside with a cocktail. Skipper Nate was working behind the bar and I ordered a Mai Tai with Appleton Reserve rum. Nate checked the order, “classic style?” which I took to mean no Agave Syrup that they use in their standard house Mai Tai. “Yes, sir,” I said. That Appleton Reserve Mai Tai was faaantastic, and I was more than happy to compliment the Skipper when he asked how it was. Very rummy, but also a wonderful flavor profile – not too sweet, not too sour. Great mouthfeel.
Second Round, Better than the First
For the second round, I asked Skipper Nate if they had something a little more funky, and he suggested Hamilton Pot Still Blonde rum. I said that would be great – a half Appleton Reserve and half Hamilton Blonde Mai Tai.
It was one of the best Mai Tais I’ve ever had.
The funkier rum really added a nice punch to the cocktail, and elevated what was already an amazing Mai Tai. On this day it was damn near perfect.
Thank you Skipper Nate! I will follow you into battle anytime.
That day it really came together at Trader Sam’s: relaxing in the immersive space, exotica music playing, and the light hum of conversations and laughter.
Disney has an interesting and useful new way of getting into standby lines at dining locations at Disneyland. If you’re in the vicinity of the location you can tap on the location in the Disneyland app and request to be added to the walk-up waitlist. This worked great for us on an evening last week when we got into Oga’s Cantina after just a short wait.
Looks like they’ve refreshed the cocktail offering at Oga’s, though everything still leans super sweet (even for me!). I quite liked the Coruscant Cooler with Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Cranberry Juice, Lime Juice (left in photo), and thought that Mrs Mai Tai’s Tarkenian Night Flower with Gin, Elderflower Liqueur, with flavors of Ginger and Huckleberry, garnished with Sweet Hibiscus Flower was also quite nice (right in photo). Our son had the non-alcoholic Jabba Juice, Simply Orange with Pineapple, Kiwi, Cantaloupe, and Blueberry Flavor-filled Boba.
Less good was the Takodana Quencher with Bacardi Dragonberry Rum, Bols Blue Curaçao, Simply Orange with Pineapple, Kiwi flavors. Sickly sweet and the fake OJ really made this taste like it came from a large jug at 7-11.
I’ve come around on Galaxy’s Edge. We did enjoy our visits this last trip, perhaps greatly influenced by me being a pilot on the Millennium Falcon ride. There were a lot of character interactions that we saw, including R2-D2, Rey, Chewbacca, and Kylo Ren with Stormtroopers. Having the characters makes the whole land seem much more alive and organic, and gives you something to do while drinking Blue Milk or stumbling out of the cantina.
Our family had a lot of great memories at Bug’s Land at Disney California Adventure, and a few even before that when it was the Bountiful Valley Farm, so I was bit sad when it was razed to make way for Avenger Campus that opened last year. And as a California native I regret that DCA’s initial “California” theme continues to be watered down. But, with adult children who love Marvel movies, it wasn’t like we were spending a lot of time in Bug’s Land anymore.
We gave Avenger’s Campus a try this trip. I enjoyed the Spider-Man attraction far more than I expected; it was lots of fun. And we gave the food eatery a chance this time too. Pym’s Test Kitchen is a counter-service restaurant with the gimmick that the food has been altered by Ant-Man shrinking/growing tech. Hence the gigantic pretzel or their chicken sandwich that has a tiny bun but an over-sized chicken patty. I even did a kids meal with make your own PB&J. Pretty good, and both walk-up and mobile order worked great for us on this trip.
Pym’s Tasting Lab is a bar that is adjacent to the Test Kitchen. This is where they offer beer, wine, beer cocktails, and cocktails. I decided to go with the Honey Buzz, which contains Gin, Lemon, and Honey, along with a “honey straw” that is basically a stick of honey. Otherwise known as a Bee’s Knees, this was a very sweet and easy to drink cocktail. I liked it a lot and ordered it again on our second visit.
We also tried The Regulator, which is a beer cocktail with Patrón Silver Tequila and Golden Road Mango Cart Wheat Ale, with Mango and Habanero Syrups, and Mango Flavor-filled Boba. The Habanero was tempered enough for me to drink it, but still was too spicy for me.
Disney has been chasing the rabid following of Universal’s Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for years. I didn’t really care for the Apple Freeze at Cars Land, though I thought the Berry Freeze at Fantasyland was better. But for sure none of them were universally hailed as Butterbeer.
Star Wars fans have dreamed of tasting Blue Milk ever since it appear in 1977’s Star Wars movie. And with a Star Wars themed land being added to the parks in 2019, Blue Milk is available for purchase. But the beverage actually doesn’t contain any dairy. The concoction is described as being a “plant-based blend of Coconut and Rice Milk with alluring fruity characteristics.” There’s also Green Milk that is described as “plant-based blend of Coconut and Rice Milk with zippy citrus and tropical characteristics”. Plus, I’m sure, some food dye.
While Blue Milk doesn’t quite match Butterbeer, I have grown to like it a lot and make it a key stop on my visits to the Star Wars land at Disneyland. It is cold and refreshing and easy to drink, with a mild flavor that I find pleasant. Even better is the Blue Milk with Rum option at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida.
I didn’t care for the Green Milk, but Mrs. Mai Tai likes the Toydaria Swirl, which is Green Milk swirled with savory Fruit Sauce, Mango Jellies, and topped with Chili Lime Seasoning. Sort of like a spicy Lava Flow, so it is right up her alley.
Found this 1963 tome at an antique store. This seems like a tween novel version of one of Annette’s movies (at one point she even breaks out in song, I’m not kidding). The plot involves Annette and her blonde friend Babs who “borrow” a small ship from their boyfriends Rod and Neil and then crash the ship on rocks in Smuggler’s Cove. There are subplots involving the planning and execution of Annette’s big Luau party and a stolen painting that has connections to exiles of a Central American country.
Smuggler’s Cove is described as a local Southern California cove where “rum-runners had a shack there during the prohibition era many years ago. The palm trees had been a landmark.” It is far less exotic than the title of the book suggests. There’s a Spanish-speaking family living nearby that help Annette and Babs after they crash land, but (spoiler alert!) are also connected to the exiles.
It’s all very melodramatic and features plenty of casual white privilege seen in early 60’s media.