Cruise Day 9 – At Sea

Three weeks ago today we were at sea and all anyone could talk about was how great zip lining was the day before. It was that good. I really do want to go back and stay at Hotel Vista Golfo.

It was a very relaxing day. The only thing I noted down that we did on this day was have dinner at Olympic – which works nicely with my plan to tell you about the Chef’s Table since the food is similar.

Let’s start with Chef’s Table since it was on October 11th and Cruise Day 9 is actually October 15th. Before departing for the cruise we had heard that there may be an option to attend chef’s table. I was a little put off by the cost, but Richard said it sounded like fun. A cruise critic thread said that chef’s table only happened if there was enough interest and that maybe getting a group together to ask about it would be a wise approach. However, we found out on board that the maitre’d was not interested in talking to groups at all – he would only take requests from individuals or couples. No matter, we asked our butler to inquire about chef’s table and we got an invite.

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

By definition from Wikipedia: A chef’s table is a table located in the kitchen of a restaurant, reserved for VIPs and special guests. Patrons are served a themed tasting menu prepared and served by the head chef. Restaurants can require a minimum party and charge a higher flat fee. Because of the demand on the kitchen’s facilities, chef’s tables are generally only done during off-peak times.

On the Millie the chef’s table begins in the wine cellar of The Olympic dining room with champagne. Once the group has gathered and been introduced you walk through The Olympic into the galley. The staff all stop and cheer for the guests as you walk through to your table. The galley is all stainless steel, lots of noise, and a flurry of activity. At the time of our seating it was the lull in between the early and late dinner seatings, but while we were enjoying our meal the galley was pushing out dinner for the late dinner.

Our food was prepared (or at least finished) by Executive Chef Jason Banyon, table side. Joining us at dinner was Food & Beverage Manager Evan Willemse. We were presented with a tasting menu in which we could choose from 2 options for our appetizer, soup/salad, main, and dessert course. Two wines were served and glasses were refilled frequently. Unfortunately they would not let us keep the menu – I don’t understand why as they supposedly print menus on board. What you see below is from memory so I may not be exactly correct on some of the dishes.

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Amuse-bouche – this was a bite of sausage with some type of foam on top.

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Appetizer – Smoked Salmon & Peekytoe Crab Parfait, layered with avocado, salmon caviar, creme fraiche, petite greens. Available in Olympic.

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Soup/salad – Wilted salad greens with deep fried goat cheese. Fairly similar to Qsine Greens.

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Palate cleanser – if memory serves this was mango lime sorbet with a raspberry and chocolate swirl.

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Main course – I’m pretty sure I had Loup De Mer, grilled Mediterranean sea bass, red pepper melange, crispy eggplant, balsamic syrup, sauce ni├žoise. Available in Olympic.

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Richard had red meat that I believe was Steak Diane or maybe in this case Filet Diane. I love how they presented the vegetables with this.

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Dessert – Floating island with chocolate cream sauce. Available in Blu.

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

With the first few courses we were served Kistler 2006 Sonoma Chardonnay. Looking at their website I realize I don’t know which chardonnay it was. This was followed by La Braccesca (Antinori) 2008 and that’s all I’ve got. It was red. Both wines were very good, in contrast to the rest of the less-than-impressive wine that was being served on the ship. Seriously, if it was by the glass it was not very good. And if they served it at a wine tasting – forget about it, total waste of time and money. The only good wine on the ship had to be bought by the bottle.

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

It was a fun night and worth doing one time. However, I don’t think I’d do it again. Seeing the dining room in full operation was the great part and talking with the other guests was interesting to say the least, but the food was not significantly different than going to Olympic. That is why I wouldn’t do it again – I wanted the food to be truly special too and it wasn’t.

Along with the dinner and wine pairings you get a copy of Excite the Senses. Cost was $279 per couple.

Celebrity Millennium: Chef's Table

Dinner at Olympic

We had dinner for 4 at Olympic a few nights later.

Honestly, the way I feel about Olympic is that there is some very good food available, but you have to be VERY CAREFUL about what you order. If you are not you will be served so much rich food that you will feel sick (many people I talked to felt sick after eating here). Too many dishes on this menu are based on heavy cream, creme fraiche, or goat cheese. It is overwhelming. Even some of the dishes that aren’t dairy based are overly rich.

I had: Warm Goat Cheese Souffle, Heirloom Tomato & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad, Olympic Lobster.
Richard had: Diver Scallop Wellington Style, Hazelnut Coated Lamb Rack.
Others in our party had: Smoked Salmon & Peekytoe Crab Parfait, Crispy Pork Belly, Les Petits Filets.

The dessert menu, from what I remember, had several liquor souffles, a sampler of many desserts, and the most basic choice which was ice cream and sorbet.

Would I eat in Olympic again? I suppose so, especially because when you book a suite you get 1 or 2 dinners included at no charge. If I were to go again I’d try the Quail and Arugula Salad and the Crispy Pork Belly. Many of the entrees looked good and were not overly rich – really, the one to avoid was the lobster which was cooked in heavy cream.

*Please forgive the photos. That hazy, dreamy look is because we used Richard’s cell phone which has a cracked lens.

One Response to “Cruise Day 9 – At Sea”

  1. Anne Says:

    HAHAHA – I’m scrolling down and read “Palate Cleanser” and then there’s the pic of the nice-looking guy with the cute dimples. Took me a minute on that one…..

    Bummer about the wines – you’d think they would all be at least “good” even by the glass!

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