August 02, 2004
Fruit Salads and Avoiding the Crowds

The turbulence is starting to get to me; I've felt a bit nauseous for the past hour. Nevertheless, we are at lunch, this time at Aqua (one of the three "traditional" restaurants). Al has ordered a papaya filled with exotic fruits and ginger yogurt and a pork and shrimp udon, and I have ordered a Key West salad and the variety of Mediterranean vegetarian treats. After lunch, it's on to the Chocoholic's Buffet. :)

The papaya and salad just arrived. The papaya is pretty good, though the fruits it's filled with are hardly exotic—watermelon and cantaloupe. My salad is more interesting—avocado, orange, and watermelon over butter lettuce, raddichio, and endive. I was expecting a lime vinaigrette, but instead there's a creamy lime dressing. A bit sweet, but a refreshing starter.

Al has declared his udon noodles "a bit overcooked, but quite yummy." Udon is a dish that demands to be eaten with chopsticks, but when we asked for some we were told that they didn't have any because "this isn't an Asian restaurant." (As opposed to Bamboo, the "specialty" Asian fusion restaurant with the $12.50 cover charge.) Our waitress did offer to try to find us some, but we declined, given that she'd probably have to go far afield while the noodles cooled.

The tabouleh on my plate is surprisingly good, especially since I don't usually like tabouleh. The dolmas are also excellent—which is good, because they're the reason I ordered this dish. (They're also a source of amusement, because they remind me of the time Al asked our 7-months-pregnant friend Jean whether she was going to have a dolma at the delivery. He meant doula.) The hummus and tzatziki are a bit over-garlicky and could use a wedge or two of pita to go with them, but they're not essential, given the zillion other food options on the ship. The nice thing about "free", unlimited food is that you don't feel compelled to eat anything you don't like. There's always some other option ahead of you.

We were warned about how crowded the restaurants could get, but so far the only restaurant we've found to be consistently mobbed is the Garden Cafe. I'm not sure whether it's because it's a buffet, it's kid-friendly, it's adjacent to the Oasis Pool (the only other area of the ship that's almost always crowded), or whether everyone else has discovered what we have—that it offers the best food despite the low-key atmosphere. We'll probably give the Venetian a try sometime this week, but after lunch yesterday and (two) breakfasts this morning, we're looking forward to seeing what the Garden Cafe has on offer for dinner.

Posted by Lori at August 02, 2004 12:25 PM

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