First and second dinners

Posted at about 5:30 PM local time, on July 9

Tonight, we had dinner reservations at one of the two specialty restaurants on the ship, Sabatini’s. These restaurants charge a cover charge, but otherwise, the food is included as part of the cruise. I made the reservations for 9:30 PM because I thought that it would be nice to have a late dinner.

Having done that, and having completed the vow renewal ceremony for Mom and Dad, I decided that I wanted to go to our regular seating at dinner as well, which is at 6:15 PM. At first I don’t think anyone else was planning on going, but everyone ended up going after I decided to do it. I stuck to three courses for First dinner, which turned out to be a good thing. For my appetizer, I had a mushroom torte with truffle oil. For dinner, I had a salmon steak. And for dessert, of course, I had the chocolate mousse.

When I finished dinner it was just after 7 PM and I decided I needed to relax. I grabbed my laptop, went to the Wheelhouse lounge, and played Solitaire for an hour or two, listening to the live music, which I thought was very good. Then it was time to get ready for dinner at Sabatini’s.

We arrived on scheduled and were seated and they explained to us how it works. We pick our main courses, and then they basically bring us everything else on the menu to try. In essence, it is a 10 or 11 course meal. I know some of you enjoy the descriptions of the food here. If you don’t, you’ll want to skip to the bottom. Here is what I had and keep in mind this is just 3 hours after eating first dinner. I was at my most gluttonous.

I started by having some Prosciutto e Melone, which is Italian cured Parma ham and peppered, sweet melon. With that was Bresaola della valtellina which is an air-dried beef fillet, arugula salad and shaved parmesan. After that I had the Porcini all’ Olio Vergine, which is Porcini mushrooms in an extra virgin olive oil and roasted garlic puree. I also had the calamari fritti, crisp fried with parley, sea salt and citrus Aoili and with that were some excellent zucchini dorati, battered in buttermilk and parmesan cheese. I passed on the crab cakes and flan di ricotta, but I did have a small helping of the delicious insalata di gamberi e carciofi, which is tender shrimp and marinated artichoke with white truffle oil.

When that was all finished, I had a tasty bowl of zuppa di pomodoro con fruiti di mare, or tomato soup with grilled shellfish, gremolata and lemon confit.

I had a small helping of both of the pasta dishes, the pappardelle al sugo di funghi, which is wide egg noodles simmered in a mushroom veloute with tender asparagus, baby spinach and fresh tomato. I also had the most excellent ravioli dish, hand-made potato and ricotta ravioli, truffle and regianno. It was delicious and it was only that the main course had yet to come that held me back from eating more of it.

By now I was stuffed full, but along came the main course. I chose the lobster tail, which was done Italian style, aragosta alla griglia, or grilled cold-water lobster tail with pumpkin risotto, brown butter and lobster sauce. It was all I could do to finish the lobster, but finish it I did.

I was incapable of having even one of the many excellent desserts on the menu. Instead, once dinner was over, sometime after 11:30 PM, I rolled back to my stateroom and immediately collapsed on the bed in a deep food coma. I didn’t think I would ever eat that well again.