REVIEW: ¡Viva Navidad! at Paradise Garden Grill for 2022 Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure

¡Viva Navidad! at Paradise Garden Grill is boasting an almost entirely new menu for the 2022 Festival of Holidays at Disney California Adventure.

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The “Encanto” logo is under the ¡Viva Navidad! sign, but the only real “Encanto” thing in the area is the Mirabel meet-and-greet.

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Menu for ¡Viva Navidad! at Disney California Adventure Festival of Holidays 2022

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Food:

  • 🆕 IMPOSSIBLE Albondigas Soup – $12.49
  • 🆕 Loaded Yucca Fries – $12.49
  • Pozole Dip Torta – $12.99
  • 🆕 Chicken Tinga Arepa – $7.99
  • 🆕 Chicken Tinga Burrito – $12.99
  • 🆕 Mango Tres Leches – $6.49

Beverages:

  • Watermelon Candy Cocktail – $17

Photos of Menu Items from ¡Viva Navidad! at Disney California Adventure Festival of Holidays 2022

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*NEW* IMPOSSIBLE Albondigas Soup (Plant-based) – $12.49

IMPOSSIBLE meatballs in a vegetable soup

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This was fantastic. We’ve always liked albondigas soup, and this iteration with the Impossible meat is no different. This isn’t just “good enough despite the Impossible meat,” it’s actually a great albondigas soup that happens to have Impossible meat.

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The classic flavors we expect from the soup are all present, and the meatballs crumble perfectly into the soup, making for an unmistakable comfort food that we won’t soon forget. One note, however — we can’t really tell why there is so much oil on the surface of the soup, as it usually comes from the beef. But it’s not unpleasant, and it completes the whole dish as it is supposed to be.

Overall, we enjoyed this soup heartily and will definitely be returning for it again soon.

*NEW* Loaded Yucca Fries – $12.49

with arbol chile cheese sauce, carne asada, guacamole, sour cream, and pickled red onion

We were super excited to try these yucca fries, and they did not disappoint. Upon receiving the plate, the hefty amount of cheese sauce made us nervous, but it ended up being the star of the dish. The delicious spiced cheese covers everything and works well with the sour cream, which adds a lighter and fresher note. The pickled onion and pico de gallo bring a bright pop of freshness and acidity that helps to cut through the cheese sauce. And the yucca fries were cut thick, almost like potato wedges, and stood up to the sauce and toppings very well. This is a unique take on loaded potato wedges and one that we prefer to the norm. We will definitely be revisiting this one again soon.

Pozole Dip Torta – $12.99

Pozole-braised pork torta with hominy spread, cabbage, radish, cilantro, and jalapeño served with a side of pozole consommé

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This pozole dip torta left us a little cold. The bread was so overpowering that it was hard to register the flavors of the sandwich. It’s a nice delivery device for the pozole consomme, which helps to bring some flavor to the bread and, therefore, the sandwich overall, but still not enough to really satisfy.

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The pork was also a bit of a letdown, even when eaten on its own. Very little of the pozole flavor came through in the pork, and in fact, not much flavor other than plain pork came through either. The torta was not wholly unpleasant, it just wasn’t anything amazing, and with some really great items on this menu, it seems like the weakest link.

*NEW* Chicken Tinga Burrito – $12.99

Chicken Tinga, rice, and beans in a flour tortilla served with corn tortilla chips

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This burrito was among our favorite dishes on offer here at Paradise Garden Grill. The chicken is tender and delicate, with a hefty dose of red chile that imparts flavor without a terrible amount of spice.

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We do wish there was maybe a little more salsa or something running through the burrito, but as it stands, everything was well constructed, and the flavors that were present worked well together, so best not to mess with a good thing. It’s hearty, it’s filling, and we walked away satisfied.

*NEW* Chicken Tinga Arepa – $7.99

Handmade arepa topped with refried beans, chicken Tinga, cabbage, avocado, and queso fresco

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Another dish using the same chicken tinga, but this time to a less impressive effect. It is smaller than the burrito and served open face atop a tiny arepa. Guacamole is always welcome, though in this case, it does overpower the chicken tinga, and that’s a flavor we don’t want to miss.

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It feels strange to say, “we wish it had less avocado” in California, but the chicken tinga is great, and we would really like to see that shine through the most. This is a nice version for someone who wants a snack, whereas the burrito is better for a full meal. Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong with this fantastic chicken tinga.

*NEW* Mango Tres Leches – $6.49

Tres leches parfait with white cake and mango purée topped with caramel Chantilly,  green whipped topping, and sprinkles

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The first time we came to Paradise Garden Grill, this was sold out and we see why. This little cup of cake is phenomenal.

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The tres leches soaked cake layers sit atop the pineapple mango layer, similar to a fruit on the bottom of yogurt. The diner needs to eat through the top to access the fruit beneath, which is no chore at all.

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The frosting on top is the only less-than-spectacular aspect of this, as it doesn’t really need it and just kind of coats the tongue before the cake and fruit can register on the palate. It’s not bad frosting, it’s just unnecessary.

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The cake is super moist from the tres leches soak and it doesn’t try to bring too many disparate flavors to the mix. It’s a good cake, it’s nice and moist, and that’s enough. This allows the tropical fruits on the bottom to come to the fore and play nicely with the cake itself. Overall, this is a well-balanced and well-constructed dessert that we thoroughly enjoyed.

Watermelon Candy Cocktail – $17

Tequila, watermelon schnapps, and pineapple juice with a Chamoy and chile-lime seasoned rim

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This one really does taste like a watermelon candy. And for those unfamiliar with the watermelon candy flavor, the drink is served with a lollypop as a swizzle stick to refresh your memory. Whether it’s sour gummies, lollipops, or any other iteration of the candy, that artificial watermelon flavor is represented here fully as a liquified version.

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It sounds odd to describe it, but in execution, it really is a tasty cocktail. It’s very sweet, a real sugar bomb of a drink, but that’s what one wants from candy.

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The alcohol is nigh undetectable, which is a dangerous aspect as one could easily drink several of these sugary cocktails in a sitting. We enjoyed this drink, and although it was great the first time, and we are glad we had it, it may be a one-and-done visitation because, towards the bottom of the cup, it became too sweet to handle.

Watch our video review of all the Festival of Holidays marketplaces:

The Festival of Holidays runs from November 11 through January 8 at Disney California Adventure.

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