James Rao

Published: November 5, 2009 at 7:07 PM

Great report, Anthony! Thanks for the info and pix.
Robert Niles

Published: November 5, 2009 at 10:01 PM

The scalping thing should be a slam dunk to stop: Sell event passes like they distribute FastPasses: you can get one for each theme park ticket you present. If it's a tough ticket, you could limit each person to presenting (and then buying) four tickets, but I think the first requirement would be enough to stop the scalping.
Anthony Murphy

Published: November 5, 2009 at 10:24 PM

Rao, go to Julian's and tell us how it is! I hear she walks around and talks to her customers. I at least have the Hearty Boys opening in Chicago. Its a really fun time at EPCOT because you really get to talk and meet some cool chefs. Very Ratatoule-ish going on there.

And Robert, you got it exactly right. I think Disney was testing out the theory of charging for tickets. For the most part, it worked pretty well and you could pick up all your tickets in the morning if you reserved them. However, like I mentioned, you really do not know what they are going to cook for you and they put no limit on the amount of tickets you could get. I think this could be easily fixed if they limit guest tickets to around two or three a person. I think another issue with the Irvine meal was that it had the largest amount of Disney World Cast Members in attendance (and they get a discount!)

As for the fastpass thing, I am a little apprehensive about that based upon a bad experience I had at DHS for Star Wars Weekends. They had it at the front of the park and all I could get was standby tickets for Captain Typho meaning he didn't have to sign ours if he was tired. He was the nicest guy in the world (like Irvine) and he agreed to sign everybody's photo. I like the idea Robert, but Disney has done that idea and it really didn't work. Then again, do not put it in front of the park's front gate and give limits.

James Rao

Published: November 5, 2009 at 11:26 PM

Anthony, her restaurant is in Brookside, on the other side of town from where I work. I have heard a few notable things about the place, but have never had the chance to visit. The menu looks fairly intriguing, so I will try to check it out and get back to you. You do understand I will have to go out of my comfort zone, as my normal stomping grounds include simple pleasures within walking distance of my office: Raglan Road, Famous Dave's, and McFadden's. It is often hard for an old dog like me to try new food stuffs!

Interestingly enough, another new restaurant just opened in our downtown Power & Light district called Fran's Classic Diner. One of the featured menu items: the classic Monte Cristo Sandwich. Guess where I will be heading sometime in the very near future....

Anthony Murphy

Published: November 5, 2009 at 11:52 PM

Well apparently her style of food is comfort with a twist. I do not go that far out in my liking of foods and I think I would pretty much love anything she puts in front of me. I am following her on twitter and one of her specials this week is Country Fried Steak.

I will go to the Hearty Boys new place and tell you how it is!

James Rao

Published: November 7, 2009 at 7:44 AM

PS Went to Fran's last night after seeing A Christmas Carol (which I loved). The food was rich, flavorful, and definitely not something in anyone's day-to-day diet plan. The Monte Cristo was so rich I only ate half of it and let my kids share the rest. Burgers and Fries were very good, too. I guess you would consider the place to be an upscale, gourmet, old-fashioned diner, if there is such a thing. The service was spotty, but the place is not yet officially open, so for a test run, it was an overall pleasant experience.
Anthony Murphy

Published: November 7, 2009 at 12:09 PM

Celina Tio's motto is "Feel Good Food" which usually means not for dieters. Sure, she probably has some really healthy stuff at Julian and I know she uses very fresh and natural ingredients, but that Breakfast for Dinner looks like it could clog an artery or two. Still, I loved every bite of it!
James Rao

Published: November 7, 2009 at 1:20 PM

I will check out Julian's in the next few weeks. I am sure it will be delicious.