Monday, June 16, 2008

Cruise Day #4, Dinner @ Jasmine

Unlike prior days, we opted for a later dinner around 8:30 this evening. Wanting something a little different, we opted to try Jasmine (surcharge $15/pp; 2-for-1 special before 6:30) the Jade’s Asian-fusion restaurant (much like P.F. Chang’s). Wow! It was absolutely fabulous! We started with a trio of appetizers: a barbecue pork bun (similar to something we’d once eaten in Seattle a few years ago called a “Hum Boa” -- though I’m not sure of the spelling), salt-and-pepper calamari, and Tse’s chicken in soothing lettuce wraps (actually rather spicy – yummy!). Libby then had a Chinese chicken salad, which was served stacked like a sandwich with multiple layers separated by flat but fried Won Ton skins. I hadn’t planned on a salad, but our waiter (Narciso) insisted that I try the shrimp salad (and I’m glad that I did). For our entrees, Libby had a version of Kung Pao chicken, and I supped on Sichuan braised beef (which was also properly spicy—something you tend not to get much on cruises, sadly). We were also given fried rice and lo mein. For dessert (which we almost didn’t order until Narciso urged us on), Libby had an order of banana pancakes, and I had a trio of Asian-inspired crème brulees (ginger, green tea, and something else… sorry, poor reporting). I have to say everything I ate was simply excellent. And, Libby seemed to feel the same way. This was our favorite meal of the cruise thus far. Indeed, the quality and service in Jasmine was good enough to compare favorably with land-based restaurants of the same genre. That is to say, if Jasmine were a restaurant at home, I would skip over some of our preferred Asian options in order to eat there. That’s very high praise. Indeed, while we really enjoyed Cagney’s and Le Bistro, I wouldn’t make the same statement about those venues.

As an aside, I’ve been typing this on the balcony while the sun has been setting over the water and (in the distance) mountains in Spain. The sky is cloudless but slightly hazy near the land creating a kind of vibrant, yet almost ethereal, vista that looks like it’s been carefully created by a masterful artist blending oil paints into one another using a wet-into-wet technique. In short, it is one of those magnificent, yet achingly beautiful sights that make you pause in order to just be thankful that you’re alive and fortunate enough to experience it firsthand.

A suitable way to end the day, I should think…

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