Tuesday, June 7, 2011

50's Prime Time Cafe

Restaurant Name: 50's Prime Time Cafe
Fare: Home cooked specialties that will make you want to slap your mama
Prices: $-$$ (entrees starting at $14.99)

My favorite person on Earth is my Grandma Emily. She's kind and patient and I'm pretty sure she's up for sainthood next year. The best part about my Grandma? That woman can cook! She also has an impressive array of knick-knacks that I adore asking questions about.

"Where did you find this cool plaster Cocker Spaniel, Grandma?"

"Oh, your Daddy won that in a Bingo game when he was seven."

See? That is pretty awesome. I've always had an affinity for plaster animals (and yes Josh, I'm still mad that you wouldn't let me buy that giant concrete hippo for our living room).

So, 50's Prime Time Cafe at Disney's Hollywood Studios is obviously one of my favorite theme park restaurants EVER. It combines two of my most favorite things about my Grandma into one package deal: tasty eats and cool, vintage decor.

When you first arrive you'll be directed to wait in Dad's Living Room. I don't know what kind of junk sale Disney hit up to find all of the stuff filling this space, but it's pretty cool. Dad's Liquor Cabinet, for those who are so inclined, is located off of Dad's Living Room.

Unless your ADR (Advanced Dining Reservation...and yes, you'll need one) is spot-on, you'll have a few minutes to explore Dad's Living Room before you hear a shrill voice call, "Callicutt Kids? Dinner is ready!!!" That, people, is your cue. As you follow the hostess you'll literally feel like you're stepping back in time. Many of the tables have an old black and white television where you get to watch clips from shows like The Mickey Mouse Club, Dick van Dyke, Donna Reed (favorite!), and Leave it to Beaver.

Once you're seated at your table, your server will introduce themselves. Each server (see, Steph? I said server...not waitress!) is somehow magically related to you. On our honeymoon we had the privilege to meet our long-lost cousin. At Christmas last year, we met a great aunt who definitely had it out for my actual Aunt Pam. It's all in good fun and if you don't like to play along, too bad. You're on vacation, Calvin.*

Typically, you have to set the table yourself after your Aunt/Uncle/Cousin takes your drink order. Please, please, please don't pass up the chance to have a malt, milkshake, or flavored soda. The malts and milkshakes are HUGE and they usually bring the metal blender cup out as a sidecar to the actual beverage. The Vanilla Coke is delicious, and I'm a Cocoa Cola expert. Just ask my jeans that no longer fit.

For appetizers (appies), we always go with the onion rings. While they are certainly no match for the Varsity's o-rings, they are still big and greasy and served with horseradish sauce. We also typically split the wedge salad because we don't pass up a chance for blue cheese.

Entrees are the main event at 50's Prime Time Cafe and because I'm a creature of consistency, I'll usually go with Dad's Traditional Meatloaf. I consider myself a bit of a meatloaf connoisseur and this one is definitely up to snuff, especially when covered in Heinz ketchup. Mashed potatoes and green beans accompany this dish. The potatoes are fine. The green beans are not.

Allow me to explain why the green beans are not fine. I'm a green bean snob. I do not eat green beans that were not grown and canned by my Grandma. I do not order green beans at restaurants. I do not eat them at other people's houses. I have never once eaten a green bean from the grocery store.

Tangent over. My apologies.

I've also tried Uncle Charlie's Grilled Tuna Noodle Casserole. I quite enjoyed this dish, but the portion size was too much for me to handle. Mom's Old Fashioned Pot Roast and Aunt Liz's Golden Fried Chicken were given two thumbs up by Josh.

Be sure that you eat all of your veggies, lest your Uncle/Aunt/Cousin airplane them into your mouth. Don't believe me? Just try it. Once, when I refused to eat the aforementioned green beans, instead of the dessert I ordered, I received a plate of green beans with whipped cream on top. Another time, my Aunt Pam hid some grapes beneath her napkin and she had to hold a sugar packet to the wall with her nose! And regardless of who our server actually is, they always nag my brother Grayson about his mop of long, messy hair.

For dessert, I've never ordered anything besides the s'mores. Why? Because I love s'mores and these are delicious. I've also heard good things from my Dad about the brownie sundae. Either way, there is chocolate involved.

Would I recommend that you eat at 50's Prime Time Cafe? Yes. The theme in this restaurant is incredible and for the most part the food is pretty tasty. Avoid the green beans like the plague, order a malt/milkshake, and be sure to eat your vegetables and you'll certainly enjoy this restaurant. I guarantee it!

*An explanation of the phrase, "You're on vacation, Calvin."

My Dad and Aunt Daphne grew up in a time when playing cards was considered sinful. I'm not even joking! So, here's my Dad and Aunt Daphne in the backseat of the car on the way to Charleston, SC to visit my great-aunt and my Dad sneaks into a gas station and buys a pack of playing cards. Gasp! David Phillips is a sinner! He climbs back into the backseat with my aunt and quietly unwraps the cellophane from the packaging, my grandparents none the wiser. He divides the cards into two equal stacks and shuffles them. Rrrrrrippppp. Then the bridge. Pfft, pfft, pfft.

"David?" says my Pop Calvin in a stern voice. He's looking in the rear view mirror. Dad knows he's totally a goner. Pop Calvin was in the Army so of COURSE he knows what shuffling cards sounds like!

"We're on vacation, Calvin!" my Grandma Emily says with a huff.

And that's that. Cards were no longer sinful and I've seen with my own two eyes my Pop wipe the floor with my Dad and Uncle Stanley during a rousing game of pinochle.

So now whenever we're on family vacation if there's a whiner or a complainer, somebody (usually my brother) will snap, "We're on vacation, Calvin."

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