but in addition to that, there are two restaurants onboard that are available for date nights. they're located in the 18+ only area of the ship, and you have a choice between palo, which offers italian fare, and remy, themed after the movie "ratatouille" and serves french cuisine. we'd planned on the hub and the old lady and i to have a fun grown-up evening together at remy, and we were looking forward to it. the dress code calls for a bit more formal attire - cocktail dresses for the women and at least a sport jacket for the men. the old lady and i were excited to have an excuse to get a little dressed up, although the hub was a little less enthusiastic about it.
except that as we were in the dreaded packing process, the hub decided that he didn't want to pack the required jacket after all. and so we decided that the old lady and i would keep the reservation while he got some one-on-one time with the bean at their regularly scheduled dinner. no biggie. and then it turned out that my co-leader and her husband were also planning on doing a fancy dinner, and they invited us to change our reservation and join them.
of course, as we made our way to the restaurant, we got lost. the old lady and i never did get our aft from our forward straight, let alone bow and stern. all we knew was that our stateroom was midship. heh. anyway, it was fine. getting lost on a disney cruise ship isn't all that bad, and we got to see fun little touches that we'd not noticed before, like this:
and then we finally found ourselves headed in the right direction:
we stepped inside, checked in at the desk and then made our way into the bar to wait for our dining companions.
it really was super fancy inside the restaurant. like, so much so that i felt kind of weird taking pictures. the staff was almost all french, and they greeted us with smiles and nods as we made our way to our table. as we passed the wine cellar, we caught a glimpse of the $25,000 bottle of chateau coeval blanc 1947 - the very same wine that the food critic orders in the movie. this i did manage to snap a quick shot of, because i had to:
our server kicked things off with a fantastic champagne cocktail named after colette, the female character in the movie. i don't actually remember what she put in there besides strawberry, mint and and taittinger champagne, but it was pretty. the little nugget of dried apricot added a fun bubbly effect and it didn't taste like ass, like champagne usually does to me.
the plates at remy are fabulous, with a very subtle nod to the rat himself in real gold:
and my white napkin was quickly replaced with a black one since i was wearing a black dress.
we were given a menu to select our water - still? sparkling (ew, never)? from which country? so many choices! i think we went with croatia, but it's all such a blur now.
our first "surprise" of the evening came in the form of an amuse bouche from the chef - and while it didn't look like much, it was ah-MAY-zing. this little cube was a spoonful of tomato soup which had been covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. that's right. DEEP FRIED TOMATO SOUP.
it was meant to be eaten in one quick bite, and let me tell you, i could have happily devoured a dozen of those things. it was delicious, and we sat there and tried to figure out how they accomplished such a thing as we waited for the next thing to arrive. i thought maybe the soup was frozen into a little cube before it was covered in the breading and then dropped into hot oil, but what do i know?
oh, and check out the killer view we got to enjoy:
then it was time to order. it's basically a tasting menu set-up, with two options. the restaurant has two chefs - one french, one american. and so that's how the choices were set up on the menu:
we were given the option to swap things out if there were items we didn't care for on our menu, and i encouraged the others to just be open-minded about it all. the old lady isn't a seafood eater, but she was game to try new things, and i was proud of her for just going for it. the only thing the chef had to work around was my co-leader's husband's shellfish allergy, and he was assured by not only our server but the chef himself that there would be no issues with cross-contamination in the kitchen.
our first course was something that involved foie gras foam, salted caramel, and macadamia nuts. we were instructed to dig to the bottom and pull up a bit of each layer so as to get the full effect, and i dug in happily.
she looks happy here, but she (along with the rest of the table) was fully grossed out by it. i think i heard "this tastes like what my dog's breath smells like" and a couple of very quiet "ewwwwww"s. whatever, i loved it. it was sweet and savory and crunchy and delicious. i'd totally have eaten everyone else's if it wouldn't have looked so unseemly.
meanwhile, the hub and the bean were enjoying their time together.
our server detected the displeasure of the group over that foie gras (well, except for me since my glass was completely empty. they're lucky i didn't lick it), and quickly offered a replacement course in the form of...ratatouille. it was a mixture of vegetables like tomato, zucchini and eggplant that looked like remy himself had used a rat-sized knife to chop into tiny pieces, and served with a dollop of olive oil ice cream that was so tasty it could bring tears to your eyes. this was most definitely a plate of happy right here.
the old lady had gone with the american menu, which started off with a serving of delicately prepared tuna. it wasn't her most favorite thing ever, but she tried it (and ate it all).
from the french menu, this was the crab course. i'm being really bad with the descriptions here, but i was so happy to eat it that i didn't retain the details at all. sorry. it was fresh crabmeat, something crunchy (a radish? hell, i don't know) and topped with some sort of savory foam. and the little circles? uh...i think there was a lemon cream and the pinkish one was kind of jelly-like. trust me, it was damn tasty.
next was the lobster. this was the old lady's dish, and while she wasn't a huge fan of the texture, she gave it a try. then when she just couldn't do it anymore, i gave in and just poked my fork in and took it. of course, it was delicious.
this was my lobster. holy mother of god, this was delicious. i tried so hard not to devour it so as to make it last longer, but it was so so so so good.
and it came with a little sidecar of lobster claw meat. YUM.
this pretty little plate was the old lady's chicken course. she said it was really good, and it looked like it.
guys, i don't remember even one thing about this dish. it looks like meat...i guess? i don't know. i remember eating it and enjoying it, so i guess that's all that matters.
meanwhile, the sun had finally disappeared into the ocean. we were having a blast, although we hadn't realized that it was going to be such a lengthy meal.
okay, this i do remember. i'm not typically a veal eater, but like i'd suggested to the others, i was keeping an open mind and trying everything. and i have to say, it was really good.
so our server had tried to upsell us on the wine, a caviar course that started at $99 per serving, and then she busted out a description of something she referred to as "happy cow." even fancier than kobe beef, she explained that these cows were pampered with regular massages and given lots of sake. i don't know, man. it was crazy and came with a ridiculous price tag of $55 for two ounces, but we fell for it...and it was the best two bites of meat i've ever had. this is the full serving, which we divided equally for the four of us. haha!
with all of our courses completed, she rolled up with the cheese tray. since we didn't have any preferences, she hooked us up with a plate of all sorts of deliciousness.
while we munched on it, we were treated to some live violin music.
coffee? tea? while i typically don't indulge in post-meal caffeine, i had to go with the monkey picked oolong. i mean, when else am i going to have a chance to drink tea that has been handpicked by trained monkeys? seriously??
it wasn't very exciting, by the way. very mild and just...meh. but still, i enjoyed it because monkeys.
the old lady's dessert involved pastry and some sort of delicate cream, topped with some edible gold. fancy.
mine was all chocolate, all the time. haaaaayyyyyy.
and we were also treated to more sweet surprises from the chef. don't ask me what these all were, because i don't remember anything but that they were all yummy.
and a sweet greeting for the old lady. we'd told them that we were celebrating her 21st.
when the check arrived, it came with a very heavy, very fancy pen. and no, i didn't swipe it.
we were sent off with a box of chocolate for my co-leader's husband and what we dubbed "club roses" - you know, like those flowers in a basket that they try to sell you when you're out in da club? yeah.
it was a very lovely evening indeed, and well worth the expense. dinner at remy's is $85 per person, plus whatever wine and other extras you decide to add on. but hey - now the old lady can say she's been to a michelin-starred restaurant. you know, if she ever wanted to say that.
and we were greeted by this funny little thing when we got back to our room:
oh, those towel animals. gotta love cruising.