Taste of Knott's Media Event
8039 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620
When people think of amusement park food they probably think of burgers, hot dogs, and cotton candy. Knott's Berry Farm, an amusement park built around a restaurant is trying to change peoples mind about what they think of when amusement park food is brought up. We recently were invited to a media event to try all of the new food that is being offered throughout the park.
Knott's is a real OC success story. Walter and Cordelia Knott moved to Buena Park in the 20's. Walter was a farmer, and helped to bring a new berry to life. It was a cross between a red raspberry, loganberry, and a blackberry. He named this new hybrid berry, the boysenberry. With a family of six, they had to look for ways to make ends meet during the depression. Cordelia started selling pies, jams and sandwiches to help the family get through the lean times. Then in 1934, Cordelia served eight chicken dinners on her wedding china, at an amazing 65 cents apiece, thus Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant was born. From such humble beginnings to present day, where they now seat 900 guests at a time, and serve 1.5 million guest a year, Knott's Berry Farm and food go hand in hand. It is no surprise that they are also spearheading a campaign to change your mind about what you think about when your thoughts turn to amusement park food. We were lucky enough to get a firsthand look at all the new offerings.
Okay, these are not new offerings, but I feel it would be disrespectful to not showcase the food that started it all 78 years ago, the food from Mrs. Knott's Chicken Restaurant. They have not changed their fried chicken recipe in any of these seven plus decades. For $16.90, you can have either the Mrs. Knott's Fried Chicken Meal, or the Chicken Pot Pie Dinner, both of which comes with a soup, salad, or cherry rhubarb; sweet corn or cabbage; biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy, and your choice of desserts, which we will get to later. Quite a bit of food for well under $20. Biting into the fried chicken was like stepping back into my childhood. It really tasted the same as when I used to come here as a kid. Each time I got up to try some new food, I always returned here to get another taste of the fried chicken. I could not resist their homemade biscuits with boysenberry butter either. Very good start to a wonderful night.
The food from Fireman's Brigade BBQ really got some kudos at this event. These BBQ classics are available in Ghost Town, near the front of the park. The Slow Cooked Rib was one of the best I have had in a long time. The rib had plenty of meat on it, and came right off of the bone. Very tender, and it is easy to tell that these are smoked for 11 hours. These ribs are served with garlic bread toast and a baked potato for $11.99. The Flank Steak Sandwich ($13.39, with chips and a drink), was another favorite. Knott's marinates their flank steak over 24 hours, and serves this sandwich on a jalapeno and cheddar roll. Big time flavor!
Also located in Ghost Town, at the Ghost Town Grill are these healthier options. Katie really enjoyed the fresh ingredients used to make Goldie's Honey Garlic Salmon and Baby Spinach Salad ($13.99). The fish was cooked well, and she was also impressed with the honey soy dressing here. I am not going to be turning vegetarian anytime soon, but I was thoroughly surprised that I enjoyed this Black Bean Burger ($13.49, with a side item), so much. The spicy black bean patty had enough flavor to keep me interested, and the mayo and provolone cheese were great additions here. Not a bad burger, but don't tell any of my friends I liked a non-meat burger!
When we showed up at Knott's, these would be three things I would have bet that I would not have been writing about. Located right across GhostRider, Spurs is serving up three small plates that you would normally not associate with an amusement park. The Bruschetta was comprised of fresh tomatoes, red onion and Parmigiano Reggiano $7.99). The Cajun Lime Salt Riblets ($9.99), had a citrusy taste, that went well with the natural saltiness of the riblets. I could have eaten a lot more of these. The Hawaiian Ahi Poke ($11.99) was a real surprise. Sashimi grade tuna , green onions, avocado, sesame vinaigrette, and wasabi cream was placed on a fried wonton. The result was multi layered appetizer, that let all of the flavors shine. Not too bad, and totally unexpected.
Located in the Boardwalk area of the park is this offering from the Hollywood Hits food stand, the Meatball Sandwich ($7.49). This classic meatball sandwich had a good, tangy sauce to go along with flavorful meatballs, and the melted mozzarella cheese on top of it.
The last time I was at Knott's there was no Soak City. Yes, it has been a long time. The water park got into the culinary action by preparing foods that can eaten easily by the wave pool. Deli Sandwiches ($7.99) are always a great option under the sun. At Soak City they offer roast beef, turkey, or ham sandwiches, with all of the accompaniments. For healthier eaters there is the option of having the Veggie Wrap Sandwich ($7.99). This wrap was stuffed with bell peppers, cucumbers, cheese, and tomatoes.
All of the food was really good up until this point, but for some reason I can not get this burger out of my head. This is the Coasters Cheeseburger ($13.99) from the Coasters food stand, which is next to the Xcelarator on the Boardwalk. What made this burger hard to forget? First off the worker put this together so carefully, almost like he was working with precious metals. The burger had all the usual condiments added, but the thing that set this burger apart was the crunchy jalapeno chips that were added on top of the burger. They added a real pop of flavor to a well cooked and seasoned patty. I did have to share this with Katie, but I could have eaten another one of these for sure.
Last but not least it was dessert time. Desserts are very important at Knott's. After all, it was a dessert that really got things going for the Knott family. The Cookiewich ($5.49) and the Fresh Fruit Cups ($4.69) are both offered at the Chowhouse stand, across from the Calico Saloon. I passed on the fruit cups in favor of the Cookiewich, (I am sure you are surprised about that, right?). The cookies were very fresh and the soft serve ice cream was very light. Not a bad dessert at all, and big enough to share between two people. I am sure you can tell that the pie above is the world famous Knott's Boysenberry Pie ($3.95 per slice, or $11.65 for the whole pie). This Knott's original dessert has finished off many meals at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Restaurant throughout many generations. The perfect way to end this Taste of Knott's.
As you can tell from this post, we were really pleased with everything we tried at Knott's on this night. It is really a refreshing change that an amusement park is really stepping up their game culinary wise. You get a sense that the people in charge of the food at Knott's are really thinking outside of what is considered normal at amusement parks, and going for it with their new food items. Big flavors and well prepared food will be a big hit with everyone.
A big thanks goes out to everyone at Knott's Berry Farm for a really great night of fun and food. We even found a little time to get on a few rides after eating all the food. Nothing too scary though! Thanks again Knott's. We can not wait to come back again and see what else you will be cooking up.
For more information about Knott's Berry Farm, click here: http://www.knotts.com/