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Saturday 22 December 2012

The appetizers of Royal Caribbean cruise - standouts: escargot, fruit soups, arancini, and crabcakes

Well, we've talked about all the foods we've had when we stopped in the ports of St Thomas, St Lucia, Antigua, Guadeloupe, St Croix and San Juan... but what about the times we actually ate on the ship?  Well, we have a fair amount of pics, so divvied it up between the appetizers and soups, the entrees, and of course the desserts.  As we found the food quality in the buffets have decreased compared to the past, we stuck mainly to the formal dining room for dinners.  Food variety varies based on which cruiseline you're on, as well as how big the ship you're on.  We compared notes with other cruisers as we noshed thru the food.  We were on one of the semi-older mid sized ship named Brilliance of the Seas.
Every night, there was a selection of freshly baked bread with a few new ones rotating to keep things interesting.  Our favs was a super moist tender mini banana muffin and the crusty exterior and tender interior sour dough roll

Shrimp cerviche.  While not a true cerviche in that the seafood wasn't cooked but merely flavored with citrus juices, it was a refreshing yet savory few bites.

Beef carpaccio.  Limited by the fact they couldn't actually serve extremely rare meat on the ship, this beef carpaccio was more of a thinly sliced roast beef on a bed of spring greens.  The salad with freshly shaved Italian cheese easily overshadowed the beef

Mushroom stuffed arancini.  One of our favs out of all the appetizers.  Thin crispy layer of rice wrapped around...

A really tasty aromatic mushroom stew interior. Mmmm!

Crabcakes.  These babies had a good ratio of crabmeat to filler, with just a hint of heat to bring out the sweetness of the crab.  They were on the too crumbley side for me, but my boyfriend really enjoyed them.

Wild mushroom puff pastry. I love mushrooms, so bit of a bias here.  Liked the rich creamy sauce it was in, the puff pastry seemed like it was frozen grabbed out of the grocery aisle variety.  Would have liked to see porcini or some chanterelle mushrooms added in as we mainly only tasted the run of the mill brown mushrooms

Seared scallops with bacon crumble.  This one was a hit a miss depending on who happened to sear your scallops as this dish bore evidence of batch cooking - several folks had a nice caramelized sear with the scallop just barely cooked (yum!), while others had it overdone, or very underdone and served almost sashimi style.  The finely crumbled bacon bits mixed in with seasoned bread crumbs gave a nice salty smokiness when used sparingly, but when heaped onto other plates, it completely smothered the delicate flavor of the scallop.

Escargot in butter.  Generally executed well, with small unsandy sweet morsels swimming in hot butter and a light coating of cheese.  Only one of our table members had to send hers back as it came out cool-lukewarm.

Beef broth with mini gnocchi.  A not too memorable salty beef based broth with pasty textured mini gnocchi.  I think my boyfriend only ordered it as he loves gnocchi.

I think this was a spicy vegetable soup of some sort.  All I remember was the chilis more or less overwhelmed anything remotely subtle in this tomato based soup.

Strawberry chilled soup with mint foam. I think it was mint :p  A delightful chilled soup that tasted of fresh strawberries.  Almost like eating melted strawberry icecream, but not as cloyingly thick nor sweet. Yum!

Cream of mushroom soup.  Pretty standard.  Kitchen should have decided between really blenderizing the soup to a more smooth consistency, or add in slices of sauteed mushrooms on top, rather than the slightly gritty texture of the soup caused by under blenderizing.  Could have upped the bar by adding in a touch of flavored oil to finish - truffle oil is predictable, oil infused with a bit of saffron or chili would have been nice.

I think this was the roasted chicken consomme I had the one night my tummy was feeling grumpy.  Don't really recall other than it was simple flavors.

French onion soup.  Broth was really over salted, and stale toasted bread needed to be sliced thinner as it was near impossible to break up and eat without removing it from the soup, and using a knife and fork on the tough bread.  We salvaged the cheese and abandoned the bread as it was super tough despite a good soaking in the soup.

Chilled pineapple lychee soup with Malibu scented cream and toasted coconut.  The cream garnish is light and didn't overwhem the refreshing lychee flavorm, which shone through without being too artificial tasting.

Cream of chicken soup (I think - this wasn't mine!)  Creamy and pretty standard fare.

Chilled mango soup.  Again, a nice refreshing chilled soup with fresh fruit flavors shining through.

Next post, the entrees!

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