Sunday, February 22, 2009

Food, Glorious Food

We returned last week from another cruise. This one was aboard the Celebrity Millennium to Australia and New Zealand. Those of you who follow our blogs know to expect a lot of photos...coming in another day or so. This was my 26th cruise. I don't know Tinker's count. We take advantage of all the bonuses and perks we get for being frequent cruisers. Tinker searches for the best deals and gets us great accomodations, onboard credit, and assorted other goodies as we travel.

Even if you have never cruised you know that the food is abundant on a cruise ship. You can find something to eat (included in the price of your trip) any time day or night. After 26 cruises, the food is not as big an attraction as it used to be. Most of our cruises have been on Royal Caribbean, and we know what to expect from them. We get lots of perks as Diamond Members. Since we cruise two - three times a year, if two of those are RC, we're likely to see the same menu. When an RC cruise lasts two weeks, the second week's menu is likely to be the same as the first week. Of course, you have lots of choices. The dinner menu will have a choice of a vegetarian, pasta, fish, poultry or "meat." And there is a daily alternate menu that gvies you a choice of salmon, New York Steak, or chicken breast.

This was our second Celebrity cruise. Celebrity was bought by Royal Caribbean a couple of years ago, so we get the same level of frequent traveler benefits on Celebrity. The service on Celebrity is a cut above the service on Royal Caribbean. More personalized service in the stateroom, buffet dining, main dining room, and room service. On a two week cruise, there is no repeating on the menu.

I always use a cruise as an opportunity to try foods I wouldn't likely order in a restaurant. If it turns out I don't like it, I can order something else, no charge. I got Escargot out of the way years ago. Don't need to do that again.

This time I had Osso Buco, braised veal shanks. You can't find that in our local grocery store. It was tasty, but I don't feel like I was deprived all these years not having it.

And Sweetbreads. I knew enough to know that it's not sweet or bread. I knew it was some kind of organ meat, but couldn't remember which organ. It was rather fatty, lightly battered and fried, and tasted like fried chitlins. Then I found out I had eaten a thymus gland. EH, ECH, PHFT!

Of course we had to try the Australian critter fare. Crocodile, Kangaroo, Emu were cooked up at lunchtime, and I had to taste. The crocodile tasted like chicken, the kangaroo was like tough beef, but the emu was tender and delicious. Yes, I tasted roo!!

There used to always be a Lobster night. The rising cost of Lobster has eliminated Lobster night on a lot of cruse ships. Royal Caribbean has a lobster night on the 14-day or longer cruises. On this cruise we had lobster with shrimp and scallops. The tail was smaller than what we used to get.

And the desserts. I always look forward to the cherries jubilee, bananas foster, and baked Alaska. This time the Baked Alaska was all meringue and ice cake. But it was good all the same.

We gained only 2 pounds this cruise. I'll walk it off at the Bobcat's Arena in Charlotte at the CIAA Basketball Tournament later this week.

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