You're in Downtown Disney. You want a cocktail. Maybe a bite of something small. Something like tapas. Is there tapas in Downtown Disney? Yes, in fact, there is. And it's been here all along. Catal Restaurant has offered a Spanish-leaning menu since there was a Downtown Disney. Sure, they call the patatas bravas "Brava Potatoes" just so it's a little more tourist-friendly, but it's served with toothpicks, a piquillo pepper-tomato coulis and slathers of garlic aioli. There's chorizo and chimichurri stuffed into the calamari, and goat cheese stuffed into the piquillo peppers. There may not be paella, but the rest of the apps is very Spanish where manchego and catalan olives rule.
And for drinking there is, of course, sangria–two kinds, in fact. But with the weather outside balmy you want something even more refreshing than sangria. Enter the Cucumber Collins, a drink that the menu actually bills as "the official drink of summer."
It's tall, cold, icy. There's gin in it. Some lemon juice and club soda. It's refreshing as lemonade, strong, a bit bitter and piney, but also as effervescent as variants of Tom Collins and summery gin drinks like this are. Best of all are the bits of cucumber micro-diced to such a size that it can be sucked up your straw. You could, by the way, order the same drink, eat the same food at the outdoor Uva bar. It'll even cost you the same, but you're likely have to wait in line and be without air conditioning. Catal is better. They have plenty of seating and accept Open Table, which can sometimes be better than a FastPass to Splash Mountain.
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.