25th Anniversary at the Grand Californian, Day 2: Lunch at Craftsman Bar & Grill (Review)

By Rich

At the Grand Californian, the redesigned pool area has good news and bad news. The bad news is, the creation of the Craftsman Bar & Grill and the adding of cabanas has encroached on the pool so much that there is barely any room to sit by the pool in a lounge chair. And the food and drink service is only for the cabanas now.

The good news is, the Craftsman Bar & Grill is fantastic. The design and atmosphere near the pool is quite lovely, and the food and drinks are superior. (The Charcuterie Pizza we mentioned at Hearthstone Lounge on Day 1 was made here.)

We were seated at a shaded table near the bar with a relaxing view of the pool. It was a relief to sit down after a morning in the park.



Coke/Diet Coke


Cali Sliders
American Wagyu Patty, Oven-roasted Tomato, Vegetable Relish, Spiced Hollandaise, Swiss, Artichoke Aïoli, and Pickled Vegetables

Shawarma Chicken Skewers
Arugula-Fennel Salad with Radishes, Roasted Tomatoes, Pita Bread, Lemon Wedges and Tzatziki Dip


Mini Cupcakes

The Cokes were a welcome refreshment since we were hot and parched. Our server kept bringing refills as we were dining.

The entrees were well-crafted with interesting and varied ingredients. The sliders had a great balance of savory, spicy, and creamy. And the shawarma spices on the chicken skewers were perfect, freshened by the tzatziki dip.

We were quite satisfied with our lunch when our server surprised us with a couple mini cupcakes to celebrate our 25th Anniversary (something Napa Rose never seems to do). It was a beautiful touch, and the cupcakes were delicious.

This lunch was a nice respite by the pool with great service and wonderful food and drink. This is definitely a place we will be returning to.

“A Taste of Fall O’Ween” Knott’s Berry Farm Trip

Knott’s Berry Farm plays a huge role in my childhood:

  1. The first time I knew (from the back seat of the car) what the parents were spelling and it happened to be Knott’s Berry Farm
  2. The celebration place for winning the 6th grade spelling bee
  3. The meeting place for family get-togethers (sitting with cousins after school)
  4. Me in 2020, sitting (without thinking) in the same place as I did back in 1961-62

Two months after our wedding, we’d just bought a new Mustang and headed down to Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland to test drive the car. It’s been 24 years since then and our last trip to Knott’s Berry Farm (other than breakfast at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.

Knott’s is doing a fabulous job with contactless temp and bag checks. We didn’t even know it was happening. Arriving at opening, the crowds were low and we felt safe throughout our visit. The food was awesome, especially the Pastrami Tater Tots and Apple Cheesecake Trifle. We even did the Trick or Treat trail (and why didn’t Disneyland do this? Too busy playing the “all or nothing” game, as we see it.).

We brought back some Boysenberry Turnovers (2 for the room and 2 to take home), and a box of Chicken to go. We also finally got the Kitty Clock we’d had our eyes on since that first trip – boysenberry to honor our Knott’s Berry Farm trip (plus a couple of T-shirts and some Boysenberry Taffy).

We’re still hoping Disneyland offers something like this during the holidays. If not, we may be back for Knott’s. I’m pretty sure they’ll transition into the holidays once Fall O’Ween ends on November 1st.

Here are a few photos and more in today’s YouTube video: