Cruising right along...Gourmet meal in speicalty restaurant...Off the ship today in St. Thomas...

 Please excuse the poor quality of our photos.  I'm still learning.
Mushroom Cappachino that I was served last night as an appetizer.  Unbelievable!
One of the main reasons Tom and I seldom attended concerts, sporting events or live shows was our mutual aversion to standing in a long lines.  As much as we strive to be tolerant and flexible as we travel, we still avoid waiting in long lines, especially for food.

Luckily, so far, the lines for immigration and boarding over the past four ships have moved quickly enough that we've hardly noticed, chatting all the while.
 Tom's appetizer:  Tenderloin Steak Tartare with Creamy Parmesan topping
Last night, we witnessed a line that was, without a doubt,  not one we willing to join.  Designated as "dress-up night" with lobster tail as the main item on the menu in the Golden Olympian Restaurant, the "included in cruise fare" dining option brought passengers out in droves.

As described in yesterday's post, the lobster option hadn't been mentioned to me when placing my order for my restrictive food, the required one night in advance.  The thought of standing in a line of hundreds of passengers for one or two hours, dressed to the nines, for my previously ordered grilled chicken breast was definitely unappealing.

Condiments served at our table:  exquisite tasting unsalted butter, eggplant ratatouille, and a delicious sun dried tomato pesto.
I didn't say a word to Tom, in an effort not to complain after all we've experienced since boarding on April 9th.  He suggested we get a drink at the bar providing us with a clear view of the line as it progressed, deciding on our next move.  I happily agreed. 
This platter of fresh meats and lobster tail was presented to us before we made our menu selections. The entire dinnerwas fixed price enabling us to choose any items on the menu.
With the food issues of the previous night, I would've been happy to make a salad in the buffet and call it a night.  I wasn't looking forward to a dry chicken breast while others ate lobster with a buttery bread crumb topping.  But, more importantly, the thought of standing in line for two hours while the first batch of diners had dinner, didn't appeal to either of us, regardless of the food.

Ordering our drinks, we looked at one another, thinking the same thing;  let's make a reservation in the Diamond's Restaurant, a fixed price menu in a "reservations only" elegant restaurant on board.  At $35 per person plus drinks, and tips, Diamond's was the same price we'd paid for dinner at Robert's Grove buffet in Placencia, Belize on Saturday nights. 
My second appetizer was Marinated Pesto Jumbo Shrimp.
With our budget on track, we decided to go for it.  Finding a house phone, I called to make our reservation.  It was now 6:35 pm. They could either take us right away or we could wait until 8:00 pm.  We opted to go right away.
 Tom's second appetizer:  Garlic Butter Infused Escargot in Puff Pastry!  He loved it!
As soon as we entered the elegant restaurant, a wave of comfort washed over me.  Looking around at the plates arriving at other guest's tables, we quickly made an assessment that we were up for a special dinner.
 Our salads:  Caesar made tableside without croutons plus extra anchovies for me. 
And special it was!  Most of the items on the menu were already gluten and sugar free.  Our wait staff consisted of four servers, each with their own specialty, all well aware of their gluten free offerings.  I freely ordered off the menu, excited over the prospect of a satisfying gourmet meal.

Sitting side by side on the banquet, we lingered over each course, tasting each other's choices (as allowed for me) marveling over the exquisite offerings, presentation and service.  Tom enjoyed three cocktail while I drank the best iced tea I've had in years, light, refreshing with lots of ice and lemon.
Tom's 18 oz. "Cowboy Steak" was tender and cooked to perfection, ordered medium rare.
Every couple deserves a special night and yes, most nights are special for us in our new lives.  But last night's romantic environment coupled with our dress up clothes, and our relaxed demeanor resulted in a memorable evening we always cherish in our fast growing repertoire of great experiences.

Tom's four chocolate desserts in small crystal glasses, each a unique concoction of homemade ice cream, chocolate, cakes and cream.
Today, we sauntered off the ship to explore St. Thomas and, for me to visit with my long time friend Colleen who moved to St. Thomas, from Minnesota twenty five years ago.  Over the years, we've stayed in touch, seeing each other every few years when she's visited Minnesota.  Finally, I was able to see her home, her turf and the island she has loved for so long. 

Tomorrow we'll post photos of our visit to St. Thomas, its rolling hills and panoramas of the Caribbean Sea.  Perhaps, someday, we'll come back to stay a little longer.


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