Friday, February 27, 2015

Top Chef at Sea...last day at sea, 11/21/14

So, it's been quite some time since I had a chance to continue our journey!  We were away on another trip...which I'm super excited to share as well!  

But first, there's still a few more days left on this trip to experience!  So let's move along! I'm always a bit down on the last day of the cruise! Aren't we all? But today would be a pretty exciting day, as far as Top Chef activities go, so that had something going for it. I really didn't take too many pictures though because pretty much they really all started looking the same! We really covered most of the ship, and the cooking demos looked about the same, just different chefs!

But we did have a great day! So - to start off, I'm sure we had breakfast in the buffet. That was our thing and we always tried to get a table outside. Based on the pictures, we ended up on the lawn. I do believe we went out there to try to play bocce. However, no one knew where the balls were - we asked and were told that "someone" would get the balls so we could play, but no one did. Which honestly I guess was just as well, because the area where the bocce could be played was lined with people sitting and smoking. Sort of an odd set up. My kids are super sensitive to cigarette smoke, and they really wanted no part of being there with the smoke. 

So, we hung out up on the lawn for a bit.

These are the alcoves you can pay to reserve for the day if you'd like

It must have been staring at the Lawn Club Grill that gave Alex the idea, but tonight Keith and I had reservations for our Top Chef dinner. The kids were supposed to just go to the buffet on their own. But Alex and Megan really enjoyed their dinner last night, so he asked if they could possibly go the the Lawn Club again tonight, on their own. Really? Well....ok - I would just have to figure out how they could pay for it since neither of their Sea Pass cards are activated to charge and I didn't want to give Alex one of our cards since if they do bring up a picture it wouldn't be him. So I went over to the restaurant and talked to someone there and they of course were thoroughly confused. I guess a 15 year old and 13 year old dining together was something totally new to them! They did assure me that if I gave Alex Keith's card he'd have no problem, but I was still hesitant. I decided to go to Guest Relations and just authorize Alex's card for charging, it was the last night and really - he's pretty trustworthy! Now, Megan on the other way! Too many high end stores for her to shop in!

So I was pretty happy actually that the kids were going to have a nice dinner and Keith and I were going to have a great one!

So, our next stop was Casey's cooking demo!

So in going back over my pictures of this day, I mentioned I don't have many. Turns out I have exactly one from Casey's demo. I guess at this point, the demos really did start to look the same from a "picture" perspective, even though they all were really unique to attend. If you are into cooking that is!

So here is Casey talking about her dish and cooking

I remember loving her demo. She made Coq au Vin, which was a great change of pace from the last two fish dishes. It was so "homey" and elegant at the same time! She told us about how it was a personal favorite dish of hers, not one that she just threw together at a quick fire. It was a family dish that she loves, not just ingredients she threw together.

However, being this chicken dish, no one from the audience got to go up to taste it because there was no way it was cooked through in that short time! But it sure looked and smelled good!

So, after her demo, we finally made it out to the pool. This was the first time the entire cruise we made it into the pool! And wouldn't you know it rained! But we made the best of it! The four of us played some volleyball - in the rain, in the pool. It was quite difficult, being that there were only 4 of us, and we're so not skilled at this, and it was raining! But we had fun!

And then before long, it was time for Shirley's demo!

She made a take on a traditional Chinese egg and rice custard type dish. And her sort of twist was to have someone from the audience come up to help her with her dish. 

Overall all four of the Top Chef demos were really fun. I loved the audience interaction with the chefs. And each dish they made was really unique. These demos were a great addition to our time on board!

Our last big event was our dinner with the Top Chef. We had chosen our Private Dinner with Casey. These were extra charge events, where the demos were free for anyone on board. The dinner was held in the Tuscan Grill and while Casey wasn't cooking the meal, she had met with the chefs in the restaurant and they would be preparing the dishes she chose for us. She and her boyfriend ate with us, and there were 5 other couples dining with Keith and I, so it was a really nice, small group. The dinner was amazing. Not just the food, but the conversation we all enjoyed.

Casey did feel that the food wasn't prepared quite as she would have made it, but she admitted that it's difficult to give up control and be a guest while others prepare her food! Everything was cooked very well, and if we didn't know what she would have done differently, we would have thought the meal was cooked to perfection. She didn't provide us printed copies of the menu, so I really can't remember exactly at this point what we had - but I do have some pretty bad pictures of what we ate. I didn't bring my good camera, and this one just doesn't take the best pictures!

So this was a lobster risotto, and there were even gold flecks on it!

I want to say this was a Bison Steak with mushrooms and fingerling potatoes, the sauce was fantastic! And the steak cooked to perfection.

This was a panna cotta with a granita topping. There was some fruit on top, which I can't remember. There was something missing that Casey told us was supposed to be there, as well - but again - it's been months since we had it! But it was really great just as it was!

We had wine throughout the meal, and like the cooking class, got another Top Chef apron! This may have been quite an expensive dinner, but again, we did choose this cruise because of the Top Chef events, and for us, this was really a fantastic meal and conversation. Well worth it for us!

After dinner we went back to our cabin, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed their night out at the Lawn Grill. They ended up with the same waiter we had the night before, so he remembered them and took care of them. They made their own pizzas again, and this time tried some different sauces for their steaks. 

Now it was time to pack. Tomorrow, we say goodbye to our cruise. Sad...but we do have one last day and night in Miami!

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