Thursday, August 10, 2017

Escaping Insanity: A Cruising Trip Report. Chilling at Sea (Part 3)

Part 2 can be viewed HERE.

Once the trivia was done, we all made our way back to our stateroom to prepare for our first specialty restaurant – Moderno Churrascaria.  The boys were REALLY looking forward to experiencing meat sweats.   We had 5:30 reservations…right when it opened.  We got there around 5:28 and only had one party ahead of us, though it was a large party.  It sounded like there was an issue with trying to seat them, but it took about 5-7 minutes to take care of them.  No worries at all, though!  We ended up being seated in a perfect location…far aft to see the wake and next to the windows looking down into the Manhattan Room.  It was the unofficial formal night (“Dress Up…or Not!”), and there were a few parties dressed to the nines in the restaurant.

Prime Meridian Bar

The restaurant itself is on Deck 8 aft, situated next to Cagney’s Steakhouse.  The Prime Meridian bar lies in between the two restaurants.  If seated near the aft-facing windows, the light from the outside definitely brightens the interior.  With the sun down, though, I think the restaurant would be warm and very inviting for a meal.

The awesome servers took our drink orders, and we were released to head to the large salad bar.  I warned the boys that they did NOT want to fill up here and to save room for the meat.

I would have had better luck speaking Portuguese to the fern in the corner and having it understand me.

They came back from the salad bar with loaded plates.  I told them that I didn’t want to hear anything about them hurting after this meal.  Meanwhile, I sat down and started working on my loaded plate…

The sides came out next…mushrooms, mashed potatoes, rice, fried yucca, and the ever-popular cheese bread.  I took a bite of the bread and was immediately transported to Epcot from the previous fall when I sampled cheese bread at the International Food and Wine Festival.  I’d say that both Moderno and Disney nailed it…this version was just as good as the Epcot version, and I attempted some modicum of self-control to not go all cookie-monster on the bread and eating them all in a frenzy.  Our server then asked if we were okay with the meat being served at a medium-rare to medium temperature, and we all said yes.  This is important here, because wifey often orders her steaks at “shoe leather” temperature, and I was wondering if she going to be able to handle a little rarer temp.  FYI: they will have servers (gauchos) with more well-done meats walking around if you prefer meat a little more cooked.

I noticed something at both the previous meal at the Manhattan Room and here at Moderno: with no internet service, the boys were talking to us!  Yes, they had apps on their phones that did not require internet service; however, our evil plan of this being a FAMILY vacation was working (muahahahahaha).

We took a couple of pictures (Sheri loved the glassware that they used), and our server offered to get a family pic of us.

Aside from the light REALLY highlighting my gray hair, I thought it was a really good pic of us.

We only had to wait a couple more minutes before the meat started coming.  The way that Moderno works is by using a cardboard “button” with red and green on it.  If the green side is facing up, then it signals the servers with the meat skewers to come on over and offer some to you.  Red mean “no mas”.  Oh…the meat skewers…it’s exactly as you would expect!  The meats were sliced off at the table, and each person had a small set of tongs to grab the meat as it was being sliced.  With only around 4-5 tables in our area seated, the meat came out at a rapid pace.  We all grabbed a little of everything they had to offer: 5 types of beef, at least two pork offerings, two types of lamb, and a couple chicken servings.  We had so much on our plate that we forgot which was which after a while.  I remember being surprised at how much I liked the picanha (top sirloin).  As a lover of lamb, I was loving those offerings, too!  The boys’ eyes were rolling back into their heads with each bite.

Then…came…the grilled…pineapple.

After the first bite, I could have died happy right then and there.

We recently bought a new grill just a couple of weeks before the cruise (pellet grill…Anniversary/Father’s Day gift from Sheri), and I was in full-on planning mode to see if I could replicate the pineapple…the beef…the pork…heck…I wanted to replicate ALL of it!!!

I think I was the first to flip my card over to red.  One of the gauchos walked by as I turned it over, and he smiled and said, “I win!”.  Not being competitive at all, I jokingly turned it back over to green.  Soon after, though we all flipped our cards over to red.  That’s when we noticed the pictures on the cards, and we started having a bit of fun with them.

Of course, as we were doing that, the restaurant manager stopped by our table (probably wondering just what was wrong with this family) and asked how everything went.  We all raved about how we all loved it…especially the pineapple.  Of course, he immediately tracked down the pineapple gaucho and asked him to visit our table one more time.

They win.

But Wait…There’s MORE!!!

Our server then handed us the dessert menu.

Not sure if I would be able to fit through the aisles and door to get out, I looked at the window that overlooked the Manhattan Room (complete with couples dancing to the band that recently started playing) and contemplated just jumping through the window to make it out instead of being rolled out by the gauchos with their skewers.  If I jumped at the right angle, I thought I might have been able to land on the piano, which might have slowed my fall enough to survive.

We all agreed to get one of each kind; however, that plan was foiled when Aaron ended up ordering the same thing as Sheri.  Our server, not missing a beat, brought out the last dessert for us to try, too.

Coconut Flan

The coconut flan that I ordered was good, but nothing to write home about.  Tasting what the others had, I would also give a similar review for those.  The extra dessert that we got, however, was simply amazing!  I honestly wish I could remember the name of it, but I can’t, and I didn’t get a picture of the dessert menu, either.  The flavor of the fruit was great, and the texture, while hard to describe, was very refreshing!

The entire meal took about an hour and a half, which is what we were expecting.  While food is always subjective, I would have no reservations at all in recommending this restaurant to clients – even without a specialty dining plan.  I definitely think that there is value here.  Excellent food, service, and atmosphere combine to make this a great place to eat.

All of us were hurting tremendously, but we found the energy to get out of the chairs and eventually leave the restaurant.  I dropped a hint that we should head to the spa to check it out so Sheri could see what it was like.  Besides, we needed to walk off some of the food.  We worked our way to Deck 16 forward and walked through the fitness center.  I could see Aaron sizing up some of the lifting machines they had there (he had been lifting for football over the summer and knew how to safely use the machines); however, being only 14, he technically was not supposed to use the center (the policy states that guests had to be 16+).  Luckily, he didn’t ask us to go to the center to work out during the cruise.

The spa entrance was just past the fitness center.  We asked if we could look around the thermal suite for a brief minute.  The boys weren’t allowed in, so they grabbed a seat and pulled out their phones (which I couldn’t argue with at all).  We tried to keep the pictures to a minimum to avoid disturbing anyone, and we made sure we didn’t get any pictures of anyone in there.

After our quick tour, I could tell Sheri was interested, but I also got the vibe that she wasn’t going to take the plunge and spend some of our Nassau day in there.

We collected our belongings (they didn’t whine too much) and made our way back out.  The boys wanted to explore the arcade a little more.  It was good timing, because we didn’t want the boys around at that moment (just kidding…mostly).  We threatened them with their lives if they overdid it with the money, and they left, talking about dropping a couple thousand at the casino.

We then headed up to O’Sheehan’s bar to see if we could grab a seat for the upcoming “Newlywed Not-So-Newlywed Game”, which was set to start in about 30 minutes.  We only had to wait about ten minutes before a couple of chairs overlooking the atrium opened up.  We enjoyed listening to Groove Addiction doing their “Romance and Love” set.  As they broke down their set and prepared for the show, the boys returned.  The Newlywed Game show was listed as PG-13, but they were mature (immature?) enough to handle it (to my delight/horror, they’re starting to nail “that’s what she said” jokes), so they stood behind us to see if they were going to like it.  They egged us on to try being on the show, and, having researched it a little, I knew that there was no way in Hell that we’d try with the boys watching.  The therapy bills alone would bankrupt us.

Tyler started the show by finding the couple married the longest and the finding the couple married the shortest.  Then he called anyone else who wanted to be in the game onstage for a contest to pick the third couple.  All I can say is, “watch the video!”.  We saw our neighbors try to make it, but they ultimately weren’t selected; they were having fun, though!

The women went off first, and the guys answered the questions as best they could.  The hilarity hit a new level when the girls came back to answer the questions.  Again, I refer you to the video.  If you don’t want anything spoiled (my assumption is that they use similar questions for all the cruises), then I’d skip that part; otherwise, go ahead and watch a couple of minutes from the game show that will help explain why nearly everyone in the audience had tears in their eyes from laughing so hard.

I have to tip my hat to the couples on there.  They put it all out there, (hopefully) knowing that they were going to have to deal with the results of the show for the rest of the cruise.  While all three couples were awesome, the newlywed couple, hands-down, provided the most laughs.

After the show, Sheri was tired and decided to head up to the room.  It was around 11:15, but the Mushmen weren’t quite ready to turn in, yet.  I decided to head us up to Tobacco Road to catch a little bit of Orly’s set.  As we walked up and grabbed a seat, Orly, in the middle of a song, smiled and said he was glad to see us again.  The boys got another caffeinated beverage, while I grabbed a Jamison on the rocks to sip while listening.  While listening, Aaron divulged that he wanted to take his guitar playing to the next level.  Though I know a few chords and played just a bit while in college…

I'm on the better shape than I am now.

…Aaron is pretty much self-taught.  He can read tabs really well.  He wants to know more about it, though – especially after watching Orly’s playing on some latin music (which, by the way, was absolutely amazing!).  After about 20 minutes, the boys were starting to falter, and they headed back to the room.  I decided to watch the end of his last set, and, after he finished, I gave him a big thumbs-up mouthed an “awesome job…thanks!” to him as I left.  He came over and said that he was going to be in the District the next evening, and I said that we’d definitely be there if we could shed the kids away from us for a while.

Sheri was not quite asleep, but close, and the boys had finished getting ready for bed – that’s what I was hoping for by lagging back for about 10 minutes.  This was an EXCELLENT first sea day for us, and I think we were all looking forward to the next day, which, as luck would have it, was another sea day.

Day 3 starts HERE.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Having only cruised on the Wonder (and with our next cruise booked on the Magic), these references to deck numbers in the upper teens is slightly mind boggling!

Great report, as always!