2016 was a stellar year for California’s Great America after the introduction of Mass Effect, the Taste of Orleans, and Winterfest. So we are absolutely ecstatic to see the California’s Great America Taste of Orleans return for 2017!
“The response to Taste Of Orleans from our guests last year was incredible and we’re excited to bring back the event in 2017,” said California’s Great America vice president and general manager Raul Rehnborg. “In addition to traditional amusement park fun, Great America is committed to building on our tradition of live entertainment options.”
Taste of Orleans runs July 22-23 and 29-30, 2017 in the park’s Orleans Place area. Like all of these special events, entry is free with park admission. Food and beverage are an additional cost.
Guests can purchase a $25 tasting card which gets them six (6) menu items as follows:
– Crawfish Etouffee
– Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo over Rice
– Hushpuppy Shrimp Skewers with Cajun Dipping Sauce
– Crispy Frog Leg with Creole Aioli
– Blackened Catfish Slider with Tangy Slaw
– Choice of Beignet or Praline Bread Pudding
In addition to the tasting card, guests will also be able to purchase other specialty menu items. The lineup includes Muffuletta Pizza at Pizza Orleans and Bananas Foster funnel cake from Sweet Tooth!
A Mardi Gras party would not be complete without plenty of live entertainment. Live Cajun bands and stilt walkers will entertain guests, chalk artists will create amazing displays, and kids can create masks.
Taste of Orleans will be capped off each night with a 9:45 pm fireworks display.
Review California’s Great America Taste of Orleans
After a successful inaugural year in 2016, Taste of Orleans has returned to Great America. This year sees the return of the delicious Cajun cuisine and Mardi Gras spirit that made last year’s festival such an hit, and adds some of the elements of this year’s Red, White and Brews festival, such as more activities for kids and a significantly expanded focus on money-spinning beer and wine sales.
Great America’s executive chef Erick Ponce built upon last years menu by adding bold new dishes such as frogs legs whilst bringing back perennial New Orleans favorites such as gumbo and beignets.
Hungry yet? Let’s eat our way through the Taste of Orleans menu…
Frogs Legs with Creole Aioli
Just the thought of eating these amphibian appendages can be enough to turn some faces frog-green, but frogs legs are actually rather palatable and despite sounding cliche, really do bear a resemblance to chicken wings. Great America’s chefs elevate the rather simple taste of plain frogs legs by serving them fried in a light batter and drizzling with creamy creole aioli.
Hush Puppy Shrimp Skewer with Cajun Dipping Sauce
Corn dogs are a staple on Great America’s regular menu, so what what better item to give a Cajun twist during Taste of Orleans? The Hush Puppy skewers encase a skewer of juicy jumbo shrimp in light and fluffy corn dog batter. This delicious sweet and savory snack is finished off with a squirt of spicy Cajun dipping sauce. Disclaimer: I am huge corn dog fan so this dish was bound to be a hit with me!
Blackened Catfish Sliders with Tangy Slaw
The Blackened Catfish Sliders are definitely one of the culinary highlights of Taste of Orleans. The catfish, which is a mildly flavored white fish, is dusted with a mix of spices and lightly fried until melt-in-the-mouth ready. A tangy slaw is added to give the sliders a spicy kick.
Crawfish etouffee is a traditional southern dish that mixes crawfish tails in a rich tomato sauce. The crawfish etouffee appeared on the menu at last year’s Taste of Orleans, served over a rather ordinary hotdog bun that soaked up much of the sauce. This year the chef has swapped the bun for a delightful flaky pastry “cup” that can be eaten itself, a welcome improvement to the dish.
Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo over Rice
Great America’s chefs have developed a secret recipe for a zesty, traditional gumbo with chunky diced chicken breast and tangy Andouille sausage. Fluffy white rice accompanies your dish.
No celebration of New Orleans cuisine would be complete with out beignets and Taste of Orleans is happy to deliver. These delicious beignets are prepared fresh at the Sweet Tooth stand where you can press your nose up against the window and see them being fried to perfection. Best eaten hot with a generous dusting of powdered sugar.
Praline Bread Pudding
As an alternative to the beignets try a generous chunk of this lightly-spiced cinnamon bread pudding, topped with a thick caramel sauce and crushed pralines. Rich and decadent, this dessert is a great way to round off your meal.
Get your beads ready, because the California’s Great America Taste of Orleans promises to be another spectacular event!
A special thanks also goes out to California’s Great America for hosting our visit and allowing us to try some of the amazing food offerings!
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