Friday, October 2, 2015

Living the Dream: 2015 Disney Cruise Line Trip Report - Day 2…I Dream about Magic (I Wonder if it’s Fantasy?), Part 5

The previous installment can be found HERE.

As we started unpacking everything, we noticed that there was PLENTY of storage space for two of us, and I think that we could have fit four people’s clothes in what we had pretty easily (within reason…so long as they all didn’t bring their entire wardrobe).  We did notice, though, that the last bag to arrive had a little moisture on it, along with an interesting aroma.  I wonder if someone had something break in their suitcase and had the resulting liquid land on our case.  No major worries, though (hakuna matata, right?), as the contents of the bag were almost completely dry.

Sheri went to freshen up a little, while I headed out to the verandah to watch the Florida coast slowly fade away.  I then grabbed our phones, turned off the cellular service as well as any roaming capabilities, connected us to the ship’s Wi-fi, and signed up for the free 50 MB of data.  When I checked the Disney Cruise Line App on the phone, I noticed that it came alive once I was connected to the ship’s network.  That being done, we chilled for about 20 minutes and looked at the current day's Personal Navigator until it was time to start getting ready for our meal at Remy.

Around this time, Sheri started making these phantom jerking motions, quickly followed by, “did you feel that?”  Feeling nothing, I assumed dementia was setting in…oh, okay, yes, I could feel the ship moving a little, but it was nothing major.  It was more of a lateral shimmying that we felt.

It took a bit of research (and a lesson from Don, our Skyline bartender), but I found that ships might have some motion when they’re heading away from and towards Florida.  The Florida Current, which connects to the powerful Gulf Stream Current, flows between Cuba and Florida from southwest to northeast.  Cruise ships leaving Florida are cutting across this current, which, if my maritime understanding is correct, can lead to a little motion (I was in the Air Force, not the Navy, so don’t be too upset if I’m wrong).

We donned our Remy clothes, and, at 6:45, we made our way up to Deck 12.  We checked in, gave our bottle of 2013 Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon to the hosts, and were seated in Meridian, which is a nautical-themed bar located between Palo and Remy.  The motion was a bit more pronounced up here, which made sense, since we were another 40 or so feet higher.  She was definitely feeling it, but it appears that either she wasn’t the sea-sick type or the scopolamine patch was working.  There were only two other parties in Meridian at the time, including a larger party of eight who appeared to be celebrating someone’s milestone birthday.

We were seated next to one of the windows in the restaurant that overlooked the water, and it was apparent that it was a lighter reservation day for Remy.  We were one of three tables seated in the room.


Alexia, from Marseilles, France, was our server, and she quickly introduced the concept of Remy as she created our first concoction: the Colette Cocktail.  This was a flute of Taittinger Champagne with pear-infused vodka added.  An interesting note: when vodka is added to a sparkling wine or champagne, it kills the effervescence.  To counter this, they added a small cube of dried pineapple, which provided the bubbles that one would expect to see.

This was an EXCELLENT start to the meal.

After this, we had new silverware placed in front of us (yes, true SILVERware).  Then, a small spoon with a large crouton cube was placed in front of us.  I knew exactly what this was, and I could not wait to try it.  It is an executive chef’s interpretation of tomato soup, flash fried.  The instructions were to eat it all in one bite, which we both did.  Ooooohhhhhh, man….it was just as good as I had anticipated!

The plate and spoon were removed, and, after bread was offered, a martini glass was then placed in front of us.  This was foie gras with macadamia nuts over a caramel base.  With my lineage coming from the Alsace-Lorraine region between France and Germany (where foie gras is king), I knew I had to try it.  The foie gras was whipped to a mousse-like texture, and we were instructed to eat it from the bottom-up (making sure we got caramel, which cut the saltiness of the duck).  It……was….abso….lutely….a….maze….ing!!!!!  The meal had already paid for itself, even though something was missing.

Has anyone else noticed that we haven’t ordered our dinner yet?

The champagne, soup, and foie gras were all from the kitchen…extra courses in the experience.

Alexia returned with a special menu to see if we might be interested in a Kobe beef and/or a caviar course, but we passed.

She then presented us with the bi-fold menus and explained how the menus were created.  Chef Arnaud Lallement from l'Assiette Champenoise -- a Michelin three-star restaurant in Reims, France (that’s the highest rating in the Michelin system), teamed up with Walt Disney World's Grand Floridian Executive Chef Scott Hunnel (of AAA 5-Diamond rated Victoria and Albert’s and multiple semifinalist for the James Beard Award) to come up with a French menu and an American menu, where guests could pick and choose between them for each course.  At Alexia’s recommendation, each of us ordered one “country.”  Sheri took Lallement’s French menu (Saveur), while I ordered Hunnel’s American fare (Goût).

Soon after, the sommelier on duty that night stopped by and let us know that he had our bottle but also inquired whether we wanted to try a separate glass of wine to go with the early, lighter courses.  We let him pick, and he returned with two glasses of Chardonnay that paired very well with the seafood…VERY well!

The first courses came out, along with more silverware.  Sheri received langoustine (aka, Norway Lobster), and I had Gulf shrimp with a nice herb sauce.  We each tried our own and then the other’s plate, and we reported to Alexia which country won the battle for that particular course.  This course was a draw.  The langoustine was soft, buttery amazingness, but the shrimp….yumm!!!

The next course came out, and I’ll be honest…I can’t remember what I had, nor could Sheri.  I didn't want to take pictures of each course in a restaurant like this (sorry, folks).  It was around this time that the sommelier decanted our cabernet, and it sat nearby, just out of reach, mocking us.  I remember that this course was another draw between France and America.

The next course paired an amazing lamb from America (for me) with the best flippin' piece of fish (for her) that I think we have ever tasted…it was a halibut served on some sort of confit.  Viva la France – they took the lead (much to the delight of our server).  This course was presented with a little flair, where the plates were covered and revealed to both of us at the same time.

As this course was being served, the cabernet was served.  I may or may not have shed a tear or two of joy when I tasted the lamb with the Chappellet.  We offered a little to the sommelier in case he hadn’t yet tried this winery, and, as we expected, he was already familiar with their wines.  You know what that meant....more for us!

They cleared that course's plates and silverware out and presented yet another main course (complete with another simultaneous reveal).  I think my course was a short rib with a Bourguignon sauce (I could have died happy after this meal), and I think Sheri had her own different lamb course, because I remember her commenting that she had eaten more lamb today than she ever had before.  Another draw.

Following all these courses, we thought we were done.


It was time for le course du fromage.

Alexia cut off 10-12 different cheeses for us to try, ranging from the mild to the stronger bleu.  We loved nearly all of them!  I think that both of us selected a brighter orange cheese that came from the Normandy region.

The wine was gone, but there was still coffee to enjoy as we began the dessert course(s).  There was so much that we simply couldn’t remember exactly what we had.  I’m pretty sure that one of us had a plate that included custard served inside an egg shell, a raspberry mousse, and a light chocolate square.   Another dish had several small French pastries called canelles with rum and coconut.  Finally, there was a plate with two different mini-pies (or tarts)…I’m not sure what they were, but they were great.

The meal was winding down, but it wasn’t over yet.  We engaged in a short conversation with one of the two other tables to be seated after us.  They were celebrating their 22nd anniversary at Remy and were doing the same thing that we did (each selects a country’s set of dishes and shares).  They agreed that France narrowly defeated America.

The chef behind the doors stopped by to check in on what we thought of the meals that he and his staff created for us.  I almost hugged him.

The last item before the check was presented: a couple of lollipops, a small box of fine chocolates, and a rose for Sheri.

Alexia should have dropped the mic and walked off.  The meal was about as perfect as it could have been.  We settled up on the check and got a picture with our fantastic server.

Thanks, Alexia and the rest of the Remy staff…it was truly a fantastic meal.

We decided to call it a night after such a great experience.  The ship’s movements seemed to be much more muted (perhaps we’ve made it through the current?).  When we opened the door to our stateroom, we found the next day’s Personal Navigator, a few additional chocolates, and the ever-popular towel animal.  Another nice touch with the turndown service was the accent pillow on our bed, which was turned over to display, “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”.

It was time to see if the motion of the ocean helps or hinders sleep.

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