what a ride!
we’ve been through almost every detail of my vacation. did you feel like you were there with me? that was my intention: to describe it and share it in such a way that you felt involved. i hope that in your eyes, through my eyes and words, you were able to do just that.
so let’s get you what you want. i know you’re waiting to hear about the food. at least, that’s what Charles keeps asking for. 😀 thus far, my sharings on the meals and culinary delights has been minimal and that is for one good reason: it wasn’t that great to me. say whaaaaaat? yes, it’s true. while i have heard many legends about the food, i have to be truthful and admit that it was not all that it had been cracked up to be. i know, i know.. but let me explain.
- my tastes are simple. the bestie says “you have a child’s palette”. and she’s right. i have no room in my flavor saver for anything out of the ordinary and that’s a huge separation in my world.
- i do not like condiments. this includes most actual “condiments”, as well as the majority of dips, dressings and sauces.
- if i don’t know what it is, what it contains or how it was prepared, i will not consume it. period.
now, i know what you’re thinking: “what a fuddy dudd”. and you’re right! i’m the first to admit it. chef skills are wasted on me. good flavor is all i need. techniques, skills and the sheer fabulosity of five-star dining is not for me. i’m a simple girl where food is concerned and when it comes to eating out, i stand reserved. if coerced into going to a fine dining restaurant, i am usually uncomfortable — feeling pressured to enjoy the experience and “try” something but so apprehensive that i stick to any and everything that appear to resemble something i am already familiar with. i know, i know..and to think.. i once wanted to be a chef.
while the entire menu everyday was not stellar, to my boring standards, i did find the many options, the endlessness and the made-to-order dishes quite divine. i didn’t sleep that much, so every few hours i would cruise the buffet and find something to nibble on. that was the best part. there was always something. always.
i started my mornings with a made-to-order egg white omelet with peppers and a little cheese. after the first morning, i never had to say it again. the young man who fashioned this marvelous breakfast treat for me each day knew what i wanted when he saw me. i am still amazed at the service. i don’t know how he was able to remember MY request while serving two thousand nine hundred twenty-eight other people… i’d like to think it’s because i’m unforgettable (hahhahahhahhahahah). along with my beautiful HOT well done omelet i added two slices of wheat toast, strawberry yogurt and a wedge or two of both cantaloupe and honeydew. there was plenty of options for the rest of the cruise to choose from: bacon, sausage, pancakes, scrambled eggs, oatmeal with the deluxe fixins (brown sugar, raisins and the like), grits and cold cereal. that’s just what i can remember! i know there was more.
my aunt ordered her breakfast in and enjoyed it in the stateroom while preparing herself for the day. they would leave the door hanger menu each day and you could order as much as you wanted. this was not my interest, mostly because i do not like food served to me that has been under a lid — cooling off, or warming up and sweating all over itself. but! that’s just me. my aunt loved her breakfast and reminded me that i didn’t have to get up five minutes after i had laid down. hahahha. after the first two mornings, i made an effort to be up and up before 8 or 9 when the majority of the boat was attempting to dine. at that time, the omelet line would be twenty or thirty minutes long. i found my quiet early morning, poolside, breakfasts quite pleasurable. i met several like-minded diners and enjoyed first morning conversations with them.
with breakfast secured, i often went poolside to catch some morning-turned-midday sun. this is not a surprising fact. as the day wore on, the satiety would subside and the hunger would surface. i mostly skipped over the lunch buffet with the day’s masterpieces. i think i ate at the burger bar everyday. that is where my other friend would greet me with
“hello ma’am. veggie burger with cheese, right? no onion?”
how did he know that??!?!?!? there was a line of hungry folks in front of me and twice as many behind me. but no matter what, the same smile, the same question and the same acknowledging head nod. super fantastic! next to my condiment-less veggie burger i would pile golden fried chicken strips that weighed no less that half a pound each. followed by beautiful crunchy skinny french fries and topped off with a pile of chips drowned in bubblin’ hot nacho cheese. most times i would fill a plate with the little plastic cups of water and then place my plate of food on top to maximize my trip and to always have enough to share.
since i have such simple tastes and prefer the simplicity of food, i CHOOSE not to try things that i am almost certain i will not like. i know that takes the adventure out of it, but what can i say? it’s just not my style. i can assure you that i gave everything a good long glance and considered several new things. perhaps my creature of habit habits talked me out of actually taking the plunge and TRYING everything. we’ll never actually know. don’t be too disappointed. i had fun, i enjoyed myself and i didn’t starve. i also did NOT gain the expected complimentary five to ten pounds that most people gain on a cruise. yay, me!
every night, we attended the formal captain’s dinner. this is pretty much the only reason that i was not poolside. i would retire to the room about 5 or 6 and give myself time to get pretty for dinner. i was delighted that i did because it was so much fun. there was a theme every night and each night there was a standby menu (just for folk like me) and the day’s menu holding all of the food secrets and surprises for that specific night. it might not be obvious at this point, but i pretty much stuck to the same ole things. on day two, i was spoiled ROTTEN by our server Tatiana. i arrived each night to find a cheese platter just above my place setting so that i might enjoy that huge chunk of bleu cheese with my salad. i have yet to find a bleu cheese that i enjoy as much as that one. she spoiled me to the hilt.
my favorite dinner was the vegetarian black bean enchiladas. they were truly delicious. i left thinking about them and spent a couple of days surfing the internet, the Carnival website and the cruiser blogs until i found the recipe. i have yet to make it, but you can be assured that when i do, you will know about it. they really were good and with my eccentricity where food is concerned it takes something quite amazing to knock my socks off. my socks were off! my eyes were closed and i’m pretty sure i was drooling and groaning like a toddler just getting control of her hands. they were goooooooooooooooood. but, the rest of the days… ? meh. nothing to take note of except…. dessert.
the real treat for me was the treats. i have a wicked sweet tooth. wicked. and every evening there were three new yummies to choose from. Tatiana is a dessert lover and she and i would discuss the dessert menu at length with one another before i made my choice. the best recommendation, the best choice and the best dessert was the crème brûlée. hands down. i do not have any photos of the foods i ate, but we’ll make do with this one:
and while we’re at it, let’s get a definition of it:
Crème brûlée ( /ˌkrɛm bruːˈleɪ/; French pronunciation: [kʁɛm bʁyle]), also known as burnt cream, crema catalana, or Trinity cream is a dessert consisting of a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel. It is normally served cold. The custard base is traditionally flavored with vanilla. The earliest known reference of crème brûlée as we know it today appears in François Massialot‘s 1691 cookbook.
sweet candy and Jessica Tandy! (thank you Donna Tubbs-Brown). now. tell me, what is not delectable and inviting about that photo? tell me you don’t wanna bite it. i do! i can almost taste it right now.. that rich vanilla custard base, so smooth and flawless. covered by the thinnest layer of heaven, i mean, burnt caramelized sugar and topped with a few berries. oh lord it was good. how could you deny a recipe that’s eighty-five years older than the country we live in?? — well, that i live in??? and truth be told, this was my FIRST crème brûlée. before i dove face first into the shallow dish, i had flashback from a favorite movie, Amelie, when she discusses her love of the little nuances in life; including cracking the caramelized sugar with a spoon:
and immediately looks into the camera to ensure that you share her excitement.
i know that when Tatiana placed the dish before me i sighed. she said “and for you, crème brûlée” with her estonian accent and that added to the loveliness. as she walked away she said “enjoy TAH-knee-SHUH” and winked at me. i sighed again, picked up my spoon, closed my eyes and took a second to revel in the anticipation of the delight before me.
3, 2, 1 — SMACK! the crunchiness crunching and then the first bite. oh, heavenly goodness. so rich and delicious. it was everything i had hoped for and more. the joy of cracking the caramelized sugar was fun and i think i wore that same smile. i don’t know if there was conversation. i didn’t feel the boat rocking or moving as i did at every other sitting. i didn’t see or hear anything. the crème brûlée devoured me, and i in turn, devoured it. i wish i had one now.
so, all in all, i had basic breakfasts and lunches. nothing outstanding or rare. i had one memorable dinner and one unforgettable dessert. i have no complaints. at all.
my darlings! we have come to the end of this cruise adventure. the elation of the vacation has come to an end. thank you for walking slowly with me down this detailed recount of everything that i could remember. i know that i will think of more later and perhaps, there will be a part six. only time will tell. i so appreciate your time, effort and attentiveness in continuing to return for more.
the cruise is over, but the memories are forever burned into the soul of Brown Sugar Britches. this was an experience unlike any other. i am grateful for having had the opportunity. i am more grateful now that i’ve had time to simmer with the ideas and relay the awesomeness to you. until next time… do stay sweet!