Travel | Anaheim, CA

Monday, March 26, 2018

"It's up to you how far you'll go. If you don't try, you'll never know."- Merlin, Sword in the Stone

Earlier this month, I traveled to Anaheim, CA for 3.5 days. I had been to Anaheim once before, but wanted to explore a bit more than my last stay. When traveling for work, it can be difficult to find the time to venture out of the hotel and have meaningful experiences, other than work itself. Below is my recount of the food I ate and place I stayed, as well as a fun little place to walk around.


Thuyen Vien | I found this vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant on Yelp. Since I'm a huge fan of Asian cuisine, I was super excited to give this place a try. It also got really wonderful reviews, so I was expecting a really great experience.

The day we planned on dining at Thuyen Vien, we called and asked for reservations. They were super laid back and forgot to even ask for our name, which led us to believe getting a table would be extremely easy. However, when we entered the restaurant, we were totally caught off guard. It is a very small restaurant packed with tables and chairs. However, since it is so small, there aren't very many tables. The restaurant seats probably 20 people total. Additionally, all the tables were occupied, despite making reservations. Once we let them know we had made reservations, though, they were able to clear a table of two out quickly.

Dinner was very good. I got the Mango Salad as an appetizer and the Thai Vegetable Curry as my meal. My dinner companion got the Garden Green Salad as an appetizer and Pho as a main course. When placing our orders, I informed the server that I was gluten-free, so she left and got another employee (perhaps the boss?) to take our orders. Although I specified that I wanted the eggplant version of the curry, I received the pumpkin version. But, I was so hungry that I didn't care. Our food was prepared and served quickly and we both enjoyed our dishes.

The restaurant continued to get packed and there were no tables available. When my dining companion finished her meal, the server gave us our check and we paid. However, they could not split our check (which is what we had planned since I was traveling for work) and you cannot use a credit card for orders less that $25. After we paid, I was still wrapping up my meal as well as waiting for an Uber to arrive and did not want to wait outside in the rain. The servers kept pacing back and forth in front of our table, hoping we would leave so that they could clear it for another party of two. Eventually we left when the Uber was a couple minutes away.

The food at Thuyen Vien is flavorful and delicious, portion sizes are generous, and price is extremely reasonable. But, I don't think I'd ever choose to eat here again. I felt very uncomfortable and rushed during the entire experience. This restaurant is not a relaxing environment, especially after a long day of working. I also don't like the stipulations for paying (not being able to split a check, minimum on credit card payments).


Tortilla Jos | I went to Tortilla Jos last time I was in Anaheim and was extremely excited to return. I love this restaurant. Although it is not vegan or gluten-free, there are tons of options on the menu and most things can be made vegan and/or gluten-free. They make their own gluten-free corn tortillas in house (which are so good!) and are gluten-free.

We ate at this restaurant three times in four days which goes to show how I feel about the food and experience. The restaurant is clean and open, the staff is nice, the food is delicious, and the environment is relaxing. On warmer nights, it is nice to dine out on their patio or balcony, which have heaters above the tables.

All three times, I ordered the Portobello Mushroom Fajitias, which comes with a sizzling plate of vegetables, a plate of cilantro rice, black beans, and tomato salsa, and three fresh, warm corn tortillas. The food is consistently delicious every time. My dining companion ordered different menu items each night and enjoyed her meal every time.

The food is a little more on the expensive side ($20 for my meal and $18 for a salad), but the quality and quantity is worth it. Since it is located in Downtown Disney, it does get a bit crowded at meal times and you may have to wait for a table, but our wait was never longer than 15-20 minutes. They actually ask for your phone number and text you when your table is ready, which is nice, so you are able to walk around.


Downtown Disney | Without tickets to Disneyland, you are able to enter Downtown Disney. To enter, you must first go through a very thorough security line where they go through your bags, pockets, wallets, etc. and walk through a metal detector. You definitely feel safe in Downtown Disney, which is good, considering the crowd. 

Downtown Disney is basically a long shopping mall that leads to Disneyland. Its length is probably about a mile. Along the way, there are many stores, including the Lego store, Sephora, and a very large Disney store. There are also a very of restaurants such as two Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Tortilla Jos, and a New Orleans-style restaurant. Kiosks are set up all around selling Disney and/or California keepsakes, as well as snacks like popcorn and corndogs.

Disney music plays over loudspeakers, but not in an obnoxious way. It's decorated very adorably, as you would suspect for Downtown Disney.

I really love Downtown Disney and we walked around every evening for a bit. It's fun, lively, nostalgic, and smells sweetly fragrant.


Disneyland Hotel | I've stayed at Disneyland Hotel and really love it. The staff is super friendly, the rooms are decorated adorably, and it is very clean. The hotel has three towers for visitors to stay. I've been in both the Adventure Tour and Frontier Tour. The rooms remain consistent in appearance and cleanliness.

The hotel has a 24 hour gym, which is small but equipped with a variety of dumbbells, benches, stability balls, medicine balls, cardio machines, and a full wall mirror.

There is no continental breakfast available, but a few options for breakfast if you want to eat at the hotel. Every morning, I walked to their coffee house, which is next to the gym, and ordered a fruit plate. Although it is expensive (about $8), the plate has about three pieces each of pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries, and watermelon, and a small bunch of red grapes. I supplemented this fruit plate with a venti coffee and large banana from Starbucks in Downtown Disney.

There is no complimentary water for the room. However, there are a few gift shops and the coffee house, which sells bottles of water for about $4 each.

Although the Disneyland Hotel does not provide breakfast, water, etc., it is a really nice hotel in which you feel very comfortable and well taken care of as a guest. I really enjoy the atmosphere, cleanliness, and friendliness of staff.



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