THE HOWARD– Travelogue
Travel Review–Anthem of the Seas
Howard Steven Frydman
Ahoy Mates and Mateys! We be aboard the most excellent cruise ship that ever sailed the seven seas – Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines “Anthem of The Seas” – and after a “so hard day” of cruising, island hopping, shopping, shopping, shopping, and now as promised, it is time to “chow down me hearties”!
From my very first cruise – these following words still hungrily come to my mind- “The King and I Dining Room” is now open for your culinary enjoyment” – in other words “Lets Eat”!
Well let me tell you – if you enjoy discovering “the” finest food dining opportunities – then look no further to a sea cruise for luxurious culinary experiences – and believe you me – the Anthem Of The Seas definitely does not disappoint – it’s a YUM moment from day one! From Breakfast, mid morning snacks, lunch, mid afternoon snacks, dinner, after dinner snacks and yes there is always pizza or even a turkey club to nosh on – and folks if you don’t find that exact nibble you so eagerly are searching for, just ask – in other words YOU WILL NOT GO HUNGRY ON A SEA CRUISE!
A quick pause before you read on- I would be remiss in not stating that on this day, December 1st, our ship is currently harboring in the beautiful Caribbean isle of St. Kitts & Nevi, Basseterre. Current position 17*17.29 N, 062*43.34 W, speed 0.0 kts, course 180. Present air temperature 84 degrees. We have traveled 1790 nautical miles. And now please hunger no longer – my tales of culinary wonderments awaits readers below.
For this third Travelogue- I will be exploring luxury dining at its finest aboard ship. However I will mention that within the Anthem of The Seas – breakfast, lunch and dinner is served in four main dining venues including Silk, Chic, The Grande and American Icon Grill. The menus are the same in each of the above mentioned restaurants. Additional dining areas abound including, the Windjammer Marketplace, (all you can eat buffet), Solarium Bistro, Cafe Promenade, Cafe@Two70, Sorento’s Pizzeria, Brass & Bock (hearty beers and nibbles), Johnny Rockets ( Authentic Burgers, fries and ultra thick shakes), SeaPlex Doghouse ( Hotdogs and all the fixings), Coastal Kitchen – which is for Grand Suite Guests and above and Pinnacle Members serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, La Patisserie, and of course room service. I have room service bring me blueberry pancakes for breakfast almost every day and for an afternoon snack a icy cold, ultra thick, decadent chocolate milkshake. Yesiree- it be grand – but please don’t tell my cardiologist Dr. Corcoran.
And now I so proudly present for your culinary enjoyment – the simply sumptuous speciality dining options aboard the Anthem of The Seas – Chop’s Grille, Jamie’s Italian, Wonderland, and Izumi.
First up – think of the finest steakhouse restaurants known, be they in New York, Texas, Kansas City or Oklahoma and now transplant them to a cruise ship- for prime beef – this culinary achievement is “Chops Grill – The New American Steakhouse” ~ undeniably delicious! Let me tell you – steaks perfectly seared, juicy, mouth watering selections of hand-selected USDA Prime steaks. Chops Grille is my first choice in specialty dining – it is indeed a gleaming crown jewel in at sea dining experience. Atmosphere warm, dark, comfortable, inviting – essence of grilling intertwines in the air. As expected, first-class service, opulent side dishes and desserts, noble wines, and a beefeaters paradise.
My personal selection:
Salads – definitely indulge in the “Crispy Goat Cheese Salad”, includes green apples, candied walnuts, cranberries with balsamic dressing.
Signature Appetizers- I say go for them all – but I did sample the “Grilled Black Pepper Bacon” – reminded me of a BBQ strip; “Colossal Shrimp Cocktail”- indeed massive, presented with horseradish cocktail sauce and sliced lemon – would have liked presentation draped with a bit of shredded iceberg lettuce- instead of the bowl of plain ice. And now I want you to listen to me – if you only get one appetizer – make darn sure you select the “Jumbo Lump Crab Cake” served with a corn chipotle aioli – THESE ARE WONDERFULLY DELICIOUS – I suggest you ask your server for not just one on plate but several – they are that good!
For my dinner selection I go with the 9 oz Angus Filet Mignon. I ask my server to prepare it medium, non-pressed and not butterflied. At arrival – prepared just as required – oh so tender, juices cascading outward and oh so flavorful. All steaks come with several steak sauces – I just enjoy a bit of “A1”. For my steak side companions, a simple baked potato suffices with a dollop of sour cream. But you have a myriad of choices from; cream spinach, asparagus, Mac & cheese, sautéed mushrooms and so much more – and if you don’t see it on the menu – just ask your server. Bottom line 5 stars all the way!
“Jamie’s Italian” – offered by famed British chef and restauranteur Jamie Oliver. For those not familiar with Oliver, he is well known for his BBC television show, “The Naked Chef”, his number 1 bestselling cook books of the same name, which was then followed up by the television documentary “Jamie’s Kitchen”.
And now Chef Jamie’s culinarily creations can be found aboard the Anthem Of The Seas for everyone to enjoy. Somewhat akin to a local Italian neighborhood Bistro, located midship on deck 5, is the quaint Italian Bistro Jamie’s Kitchen – and I like it! Like family it is home to familiar tasty offerings. From good sources, I am told that Jamie frequently makes visits to his signature restaurant at sea, making sure quality stays constant, and providing instruction and inspiration.
By the way all pasta is made from scratch each and every day.
My personal selection:
Antipasti- the Ultimate Garlic Bread- fresh from the oven and like eating a cloud, plus I sample the Prosciutto and Melon- mini buffalo mozzarella- you can tell this was made fresh today as well. For my entree I have two selections, “Chicken Al Mattone”, a whole marinated chicken – oh so tender and flavorful, and the not to be missed- “Gennaro’s Tagliatelle Bolognese” – tender pasta, draped with a flavorful pork and beef Sunday gravy – a Howard and Jamie’s Best Bet.
IZUMI JAPANESE CUISINE
Izumi Japanese Cuisine – occupying a secluded corner on deck 5, this is a fun and creative place to enjoy a light lunch or fun Asian dinner experience – they additionally offer several classes per cruise instructing passengers on how to create their own signature sushi rolls and sashimi. Edamame – boiled salted soy beans are offered complimentary.
My personal selection:
Feel free to order numerous starters from the extensive menu offerings, including, Shrimp Firecracker Spring Rolls, Pork Gyoza Dumplings, and the Mixed Poke. My soup selection includes the delectable “Nabeyaki Udon” – a brimming bowl of shrimp tempura, chicken, udon noodles bathed in a delicious spicy broth. My choice for signature rolls includes the Crispy Spicy Tuna, the Izumi Spider Roll and surprisingly delectable “Surf and Turf” Roll.
And now lastly, “Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine” – as the name implies, at times you may feel that you have fallen through author Lewis Carroll’s looking glass in search of the elusive Alice, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts. As the name implies, this is a most Whimsical and so creative dining opportunity aboard the Anthem of The Seas. Upon seating, your host, will present you with a paintbrush in which you literally paint a small picture frame that slowly unveils your Wonderland menu choices of Sun, Ice, Fire, Sea and Earth.
My personal selection:
Sun: Baby Vegetables in the Garden- it actually looks like a small garden with soil and pebbles- very creative.
Ice: Crispy Crab Cones- delightful mouth munchers.
Fire: Buffalo Chicken Eggs – egg-quisite! I actually order two!
Sea- liquid Lobster
Earth: Terroir Beef – a slow cooked London Broil served with river stone potatoes and a light Bordelaise Sauce – a unique culinary experience.
And now from our Executive Chef we proudly present this Anthem of the Sea recipe you can make at home.
Hopefully our good friend and cardiologist Dr. Patrick Corcoran does not get the opportunity to peruse this part three of my Travelogue- but you dear reader, I hope you do get the chance to dine at sea and sample many of the culinary delights found aboard the Anthem of the Seas. Enjoy!