Alaskan Cruise Pt. 1: The Food

Since I had around 2200 pictures that I took during my Alaskan vacation (who knew I would take so many pictures of a block of ice?!?) I’ve decided to break down my pictures into several groups, with today’s being FOOD.

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This is my third cruise, and I have to say that the food during this cruise was pretty awesome. However, having been on Norwegian’s “FreeStyle” cruise last year, I think I prefer not having a set time to eat. You see, for most cruises, you have a set dinner time that you have to attend, which I can understand - so they can make all the food all at once. Also, you’ve got assigned seating. I guess you can request to have a private table, but that’s unlikely to happen. In our case, we were seated at a table for 10, but there were actually 12 of us there since the other group that was seated with us had two children. If you’re a social person, I guess sitting with strangers for your whole trip isn’t a big deal, but when it comes down to it, I suck at small talk. Luckily, my mother in law is pretty good at it.

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Now you don’t have to eat in the main dining room for the general sitting time, you could always go to the cafe and eat, but the food isn’t as good, and there isn’t much selection. It was pretty much pasta or pizza, with some exceptions.

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But as I said before, the food was pretty incredible. I think I only had one dish that I wasn’t incredibly fond of, but everything else was tasty. Our waiters were great - you get the same waiter for the cruise. He got to know Ben and that he was pretty much going to have a hot dog every night, as well as chocolate ice cream for dessert. Outside of the main dining room, the food was still excellent. There were many choices for breakfast (we had it in the cafe, not the main restaurant) though I’m a little disappointed that Eggs Benedict wasn’t an option. Ben enjoyed pancakes, fruit, eggs and bacon every morning and I swear it’s the most I’ve ever seen him eat - he had to have gained at least 2lbs during the trip!

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Outside of the cruise ship, the food was great as well. We had crab legs, fresh steamed crab, salmon sushi and all sorts of great stuff. However, I would have to say that the most disappointing thing I had during my trip was salmon chowder. It was pretty much potatoes with a dash of salmon. Eh!

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So without further ado, here are my food pictures, starting off with my favorites:

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Mussels in Puff Pastry with Sauce


Poached Pears with Blueberry Sauce and Ice Cream


Escargot with Garlic Herb Butter

…and here’s the rest:

Mussels in Puff Pastry and Sauce Chicken Coq Au Vin Poached Pears in Blueberry Sauce DSC_8271 French Onion Soup Rose Wine Sorbet
Beef and Chicken Medallions Chocolate Mousse Cake Seafood in Broth Escargot in Garlic Herb Butter Braised Lamb Shank Tiramisu
Whole Crab Lunch Beef Carpaccio Fruit Cup Beef Stew Bread Pudding with White Chocolate Sauce Salmon Chowder
Seafood Ceviche Lobster and Shrimp Baked Alaska Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese Prime Rib with Yorkshire Pudding Ice Cream Cream Puffs and Chocolate Sauce

A New Member of Our Family

Just wanted to introduce y’all to my new nephew, Brody. My brother-in-law has himself a new son!

He’s actually had Brody since around March, he was a wee little thing back then. He’s about five times as big now, and is definitely a handful. When he was younger, he’d chase Ben around and jump on his back. Ben, in a way, was his favorite toy. Now he’s used to Ben. Ben can walk around the place without Brody jumping on him the whole time - only part of the time now. Ben LOVES seeing Brody, and he’s able to tell when it’s safe to go up to him and pet him - he especially loves touching Brody’s tail (who doesn’t mind). He also knows when Brody’s fiesty and when it’s best to just leave him alone. It’s nice to know that they can coexist with each other.

Happy Bokeh Wednesday!

Fun with Sparklers

It’s 3am and I’ll probably be taking a turn driving tomorrow (er, today) to go back to Chicago, but I wanted to post a couple pics from this weekend. After Claudine and Dan’s big 4th of July bash, we decided to finish off the rest of the fireworks. After blowing most of them we realized that some delayed shutter pictures would look pretty cool. So here’s a sampling of our night’s shanigans…more tomorrow when I get back home.


Fata makes some circles with her sparkler


I had Fata, Claudine, Tall Steve and Dan run around the backyard with sparkers…it turned out pretty cool. The shutter is open for more than a second, so you only see the light, not the people.

Ben’s New Look

Now that it’s summertime, I thought it would be good to get rid of Ben’s old hot Zac Efron shag and bring in the Maddox Jolie-Pitt baby faux-hawk. The actual haircut itself was not fun, since Ben doesn’t like people touching his hair. He was screaming like a banshee as they were cutting his locks off - at least I don’t have to worry about another haircut for a while!

It’s In the Air

I finally feel like Spring is here. There’s a cool breeze in the air, the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and things are good. Here’s some pictures that I took the other day at the botanic garden that I hope you enjoy!

Lonely Yellow Wide Field of Tulips Susan Magnolia Bud Urumiya Tulip Pasque Flower
Spiral Ginger Weeping Redbud Orange-Red Tulip English Daisy Some Sort of Pansy
Giant Grape Hyacinth Peony Virginia Bluebells Tower of Jewels Susan Magnolia

Yay!

First Cubs Game of 2008

Last Saturday we headed out to our first Cubs game of the season. It’s still pretty chilly in Chicago, especially nearer to the lake, so we made sure to dress warm. Even in our sweatshirts, it was pretty cold. Poor Benjamin’s fingers were cold, but that didn’t prevent him from having a great time. All the kids who went to the game got little bear webkinz that we’ll go online later to take care of. The guys who were sitting in front of us had a blast with Ben, calling him “the coolest little guy” as Ben gave out hi-fives after homeruns and danced to the YMCA during breaks. By the end of the game, Ben was hi-fiving everyone in the area, including the guys in the standing room only.

The game was a great - Dempster did a good job, and it got a little nervewracking by the seventh with the Cubs down 2 to 1. But they came back with some awesome hitting. Fukudome, the crowd favorite, capped it all off with a homerun in the bottom of the seventh, which led to the crowd chanting his name for several minutes. In the end, we won 7 to 2, leaving in a crowd of smiles singing “Go Cubs Go” and thinking that maybe, just maybe, this year really IS next year.

Are You Sure That Was a Strike? Dempster's Pitch Catch ...and he's OUT! Sliding...
Bunt! Soriano's Back! Pitcher's Mound Conference Always a packed house! Watching the Game
Three Generations Carlos Marmol      

More pics can be found on my flickr site here.

UPDATE: Since Redpac is whining, THANKS to him, we had tickets for today, and several other games this year!

Drinks in Columbus

It seems that I have a lot of pictures of liquor from my trip to Columbus (I’m still here, but leaving tomorrow). It only looks like I’ve been drinking a lot, but really, I haven’t. Well, not compared to other times that the ex X-Systems crew has gotten together in situations like this. Anyway, here’s a run-through of some of the delicious libations we’ve had this week:


Beer Samplers from BJ’s


Car Bombs


An Electric Lemonade, held by Monkey and Volcano Juice in the back

Redpac later found a drive through liquor store. “What’s that?!?!” you ask? It’s like a car wash, but instead of big brushes and water being squirted around, you’re surrounded by alcohol and a man comes to your window to take your order. Crazytown, I tell ya!


Our “server” completes the transaction before us


The view outside the window

Can’t wait to go home - I miss my baby boy!

Also, please don’t forget to sponsor me!

Goodbye, Car Kabob

Berwyn Car Spindle

Yesterday, after a lot of news coverage, petitions, and people reminiscing about “Wayne’s World”, the Spindle is a sculpture in the Cermak Plaza in Berwyn was taken down. Why? To make room for a Walgreens, which there are 10,000 of in Chicago. I’ve never beet there, but I’ve seen it on TV and in pictures, and to me, it’s a landmark in Chicago. But I guess the petitions weren’t enough, and it was taken down.

So here’s my little tribute to the Spindle:

Happy Earth Day


The Grand Canyon from a mile up


Caribbean Islands

Wordless Wednesday

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