Tuesday, August 30, 2011

European Adventure: Anniversary Dinner at NCL's Le Bistro

We would have never guessed that we would be having a sophisticated meal at a French restaurant while sailing the Aegean Sea on our second wedding anniversary. Yet, that was the case on May 16, 2011. We are truly blessed to have had the opportunity to celebrate in a way that some people only dream of.

Le Bistro is NCL's French restaurant and it is one of our favorite dining options on board. One of the ship's fanciest locations, Le Bistro was the best choice for our special night. For only $20 per person cover charge, it was definitely worth the splurge.

We started off our dinner with an appetizer from the chef: a salmon spread topped with dill and capers served with toasted bread. It was the perfect way to start off our meal.

Mr. P ordered escargot with garlic herb butter and Mrs. P ordered the cream of mushroom soup. Both appetizers were so good that we decided to share and taste a little bit of both.

Our entrees were very similar but had distinct flavors: Mr. P ordered the "Fruit de Mer," which is lobster, shrimp, scallops and fennel wrapped in a puff pastry with vermouth and chive cream. You can't go wrong when ordering anything wrapped in puff pastry and covered in a creamy sauce.

Mrs. P had lobster, potatoes and artichokes. Both dishes were excellent, but the Fruit de Mer was the best. ** There is an extra $10 charge for both of the lobster dishes.**

We were pleasantly surprised with an anniversary cake from the cheerful crew who sang a romantic song while presenting us with our special dessert! Check out the video!

Monday, August 29, 2011

European Adventure: Corfu, Greece

Our first stop in Greece was Corfu. The island is located at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. We booked a Norwegian Cruise Line tour, which included a trip to the Achillion Palace and Corfu Town.

The grand palace was built in 1890 as a summer retreat for Elizabeth, the Empress of Austria. It is filled with all of her past treasures and favorite things such as statues, gardens, art and photographs.

After a stroll around the gardens and museum, we were off to Corfu Town for lunch and shopping. Our tour guide recommended Rex Restaurant for lunch and we are glad she did. The food was fresh and absolutely delicious. For the first time ever, we had a true Greek salad. Not the American kind made with lettuce! Crisp green peppers and red onions laid on top of a block of feta cheese, which is piled on top of cucumbers tomatoes and olives. A light drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper season the salad.

Next we shared baked feta cheese. We had never tasted something so delicious, yet so simple. All they did was bake a block of feta cheese in some olive oil, chopped tomatoes and green peppers. We loved it so much that we made it a few days after we came back home from our vacation.

We shared a Corfu speciality for lunch: pastitsio, a tubular pasta dish topped with meat and tomato sauce. It was hearty and filling, perfect for an afternoon of sightseeing.

After lunch, we explored the narrow streets of Corfu Town. One of Corfu's most popular souvenir is Kumquat liquor. Kumquat is an olive-sized fruit similar to the orange. The liquor is sweet and can be poured over vanilla ice cream. We are looking forward to opening our bottle soon.

To see more photos of Corfu Greece, Click here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

European Adventure: Eastern Mediterranean Cruise (Day 1)

We had always dreamed of visiting the Greek islands, and at last our dream came true in May 2011 when we celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary onboard the Jade. Mr. P did his research and found that NCL had the best Greek itinerary for us. The cruise departed from Venice, Italy on Saturday, May 14 and made a round-trip voyage through the Greek islands in 7 days. We visited Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Olympia (Katakolon). Santorini and Mykonos were the top two places in Greece that we wanted to visit and NCL was the only ship that visited those two islands in one trip.

The first night we were invited to a cocktail party with the ship's captain in one of the ship's lounges. We had a few hors d'oeuvres (our favorite was the canapes stuffed with prosciutto, cream cheese and dried fruit) and drinks before heading out to dinner at Paniolo Tapas & Salsa.

Although the restaurant sounds Spanish, it actually serves Mexican food, which happens to be one of our favorites! We went a little overboard when ordering food but here is what we ate (of course we didn't eat it all!)

From the chef: Nachos with a trio of dips, including fresh salsa dip, cheese dip and a mango, tomato and lime dip
Cristy's appetizer: Taquitos with pulled pork, beans, jack cheese and ranchero sauce

Cristy's salad: Ensalada Tostada - toasted flour tortilla filled with lettuce, corn, avocado, tomatoes, black beans, cheddar cheese, eggs and strips of fajita beef

Michael's appetizer: Pulled ranchero beef quesadilla with Monterey jack cheese

Michael's soup: Sopa de Tortilla - chicken broth, cheddar cheese, chicken croutons (square chucks of chicken breast), avocados and tortilla chips

The waitress at the restaurant recommended the Il Popo as an entree and said it was big enough to share. Thank goodness we did, because it was a huge! It came with grilled chicken and skirt steak, peppers, onions, tomatoes, pineapple, jalapeno, Mexican rice, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream. We loved the presentation of the dish and tried to figure out how we could replicate it at home!

For dessert, we had flan with dulce de leche and a caramelized margarita tartlet.

Next we will blog about our first stop: Corfu, Greece! Stay tuned!
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