You guys. Candied pistachios. How have I never eaten or contemplated their existence before? As much as I want to talk about these delectable little nuts, we first need to talk about where I discovered them.
A few days ago I received a text from my dear friend Mindy inviting me to be her date for dinner at Club 33 in Disneyland. I’ll admit, I had to Google it. I had never heard of Club 33 and, as I read about it, I found out why. It’s a “secret” restaurant in Disneyland located directly above the Blue Bayou restaurant and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. As I kept reading I realized that I absolutely needed to accept Mindy’s invitation, drive to Anaheim, pay to get into Disneyland and join her for a 5-star dinner at this mysterious restaurant for fancy mice.
Walt Disney had Club 33 built so he could have a quiet and elegant place to host sponsors of the park. He took great care in planning the details, including replicating a Parisian elevator that he and his wife loved dearly. Sadly Walt passed away before the restaurant was completed, but it opened nonetheless. It has a “secret” entrance with a doorbell that you ring to announce yourself. And, if you ask Disneyland employees about Club 33 or where the entrance is, they’re supposed to act like it doesn’t exist. Kinda fun, huh? It’s also the only place at Disneyland that serves alcohol…very expensive alcohol, I imagine!
The windows in the second story of that building in New Orleans Square are the Club 33 lounge. Now you’re in on the secret, too.
Mindy’s parents are members of the club and they were kind enough to have me join them for dinner on Tuesday night. (I’m super glad Mindy’s husband had to work this week! Thanks, Tyler!). Club 33 was updated a few years ago so now it includes a lounge and bar area in addition to the restaurant. The lounge and bar are stunningly beautiful, with all kinds of fun details, like paintings that magically change over time.
When Mindy and I arrived, she let me ring the doorbell (hence, the “ooooo!” face I’m making). We were then escorted up a beautiful staircase to the lounge area. When it was time for dinner, we entered the dining room, where the tables were set with Club 33 china. Everything was beautiful (I know I already used that word a million times, sorry), with great art on the walls and “fanciness” abounding.
The food was delectable. Truly. We had 6 courses and dinner was 3 1/2 hours long. Even after eating over that long time period we were still STUFFED. Everything we ate really was beyond delicious (hello, tender filet mignon, I am in love with you) and the waitstaff was lovely. My meal consisted of such goodness as cornbread coated fried portobello mushrooms, scallops on a bed of deliciousness that I have no idea what it was made out of, filet (I already professed my love), molten lava cake that was as good as what I make at home (that is the highest compliment I can give a lava cake) and more. It was a fantastic dinner!
Side note: the bathroom wasn’t anything to sneeze at, either. In fact, I could live in it. Happily. Forever.
One of our favorite parts of the night was when it was time to leave. The park had been closed for almost 2 hours at that point, but we soon learned that all the lights stay on at Disneyland through the night (insert everyone making the same jokes about electricity bills and solar panels). One of the Club 33 employees had to escort us out of the park, I presume so we wouldn’t get into any mischief with Goofy or something. Walking through the streets of Disneyland with everything aglow and not a person to be seen was, well, magical! (Come on, I have to use the word magical at some point in this post, right?) When we walked by the Mary Poppins cafe, I half expected Julie Andrews and the penguins to come dancing by. And, no, we were not allowed to take photos, which was killer!
I owe Mindy and her lovely parents a huge THANK YOU for a wonderful evening I won’t soon forget! I even came away with a special treat for you, too – candied pistachios! My second course for the meal was frisée salad with avocaodos and strawberries, which was topped with a wonderful buttermilk dressing as well as candied pistachios. How have I never thought to candy pistachios before? They are, hands down, my favorite candied nut and should be served on all salads from now until the end of time.
Enjoy your candied pistachios and know that this is what the fancy mice eat.
- 1½ cups raw, shelled, unsalted pistachios
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Mix together the sugar, water and salt. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- When oven is heated, stir sugar mixture well then add pistachios. Stir to coat all the nuts very well. Spread pistachios evenly on the baking sheet, spooning them onto the tray rather than pouring straight from the bowl to minimize extra sugar mixture pooling on the tray.
- Bake for 8 minutes. The sugar should be bubbling on the tray.
- Remove from oven and immediately stir the nuts around on the tray with a rubber spatula, making sure all those nuts get a nice coating of bubbly sugar. Spread the nuts back out evenly so they are either not touching each other or just lightly touching. Let cool completely.
- Serve over salad or ice cream or cake or whatever suits your fancy! At Club 33 they served these nuts on a salad with avocado and strawberries and a buttermilk dressing I wish I could replicate.