To say I was spoiled on my trip to Alaska would be an understatement. I've never been on a cruise [unless you count the slightly sketchy boat I went around Greece in- I definitely don't put them in the same category] so I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew that every facet of our stay would be planned; from where we visited, the food, the entertainment and so on. I'm incredibly independent when I travel and I hate being overly scheduled and planned. I love having the freedom to jump in a car and discover places on my own [or if I'm in a city- walking is the preferred mode of transport], so I was really skeptical of this cruise business.
But a free trip is a free trip. There are some definite perks to being the daughter of a doctor. I don't know any other profession that pays to send their employees on cushy vacations all over the world [but usually to Florida] and all they need to do in return is sit in a conference room for a few hours listening to a lecture [this one was on allergies, which according to my Mom, is extremely fascinating- no sarcasm intended]. So I'm happy to forego my independence for a week and live the easy life on a boat [an exceptionally swanky boat].
Far and away the best part of being on this cruise was the food. I'm a foodie [the kind that photographs basically everything she cooks or eats] and I loaded up the camera on this trip. Every dinner, we were treated to a five course meal at the ship's restaurant, Blu [our cabin was in some section of the ship that allowed us exclusive access to this restaurant- it was an upgrade to foodie-town and I wasn't complaining]. I made friends with the sommelier who was from the Philippines [it helps that 70% of the ship's crew was Filipino, so me and my Mom were a big hit] and he taught me about pairing so many of these dishes with wines. I was on vacation, but I definitely learned a thing or two.
One of the first things I ate on the trip turned out to be one of the most delicious. It was a very simple first course: a lobster salad, infused with lemon, chives [chives being one of my top ten ingredients to cook with], and a hint of garlic. Instead of using mayonnaise like you would traditionally in a lobster roll [God, I miss Boston], this was very light, with just a hint of oil. It was a light oil, maybe grapeseed? and this allowed the flavors of the lobster and seasonings to come through. The salad sat on top of sliced jicama [another ingredient I love- so crunchy]. The plate was garnished with microgreens and the salad was topped with salmon roe, which I'm not usually a big fan of, but it worked well since the lobster wasn't heavily seasoned, so it imparted a little salty bite to the mix.
The wine I had with this was a Kendall Jackson 2010 Chardonnay, which had notes of lemon oil [according to my sommelier friend] that paired beautifully with the lobster.
My normal 'foodie' behavior is very rustic, unfussed with food, and although all these ingredients were high-brow, I still found it to be a very simple, pure dish. I know that the wealthier set rarely eats everything off their plate [even though the food seems to come in miniature portions] but I had no shame, and would have licked the plate clean [if I was in the privacy of my own home, of course].
I don't know the last time I ever purchased lobster for cooking- it must have been a Christmas or two ago, but I'm seriously considering attempting to recreate this dish. I just need a good excuse to celebrate something worthy of such a big-ticket meal...hmm.
*Note: If you don't know the reference made in the title of this post, see for yourself here.