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Old 01-22-2013, 12:02 AM   #1291
eandesmom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rentayenta

I didn't notice the paper at all.

I always feel so sloppy trying to navigate French onion soup. I try to twist but it never works. Michael makes it with Gruyere. He also makes this insane grilled cheese with Gruyere with béchamel sauce. O.M.G. It's heavenly and probably the most fattening thing I've ever had. Add a small sandwich with the soup or really big croutons.
I usually feel sloppy too! I did a different recipe tonight and it wasn't nearly as stringy yet still fabulously cheesy, In large part due to using parm instead of gruyere but also I think as the croutons has been baked/toasted with olive oil, salt, pepper and cheese first and oh they broke up so perfectly in the soup it was insane. I don't know if the actual soup base ingredients can effect how the cheese reacts (chemically) but it was a big change from the last one I made. Definitely switching to this version from now on, the crowd went wild . Spot on flavor, I might add a little gruyere on top for token stings next time.

Jeff of course needed a sandwich with it and happily used up the rest of the baguette but the rest of us were good with soup and salad, it's so rich.

Bechamel, just reading the word adds calories I think! That sounds insane.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:55 AM   #1292
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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post

It's funny, I broke the news to the E's about Aualni last night, as in going without them. Eric was pretty bummed and I spent some time reminding both of them how they were in Nassau and at Vero for the beach part, especially Nassau and I think he's over it. I hope to give them a love of the beach but the reality is right now they have a love of the sand and (swimming in) lakes, far more than the ocean and I hate to spend that kind of $$ and take them somewhere, where to really enjoy it, we'd need to have some serious outings planned, which then adds to the $$ even more. We will see.
Maybe you can do a consolation day/weekend trip doing something fun close to home shortly before or after you go? Much less money, and you still get your 'away' time.




Quote:
Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
I did a different recipe tonight and it wasn't nearly as stringy yet still fabulously cheesy. Definitely switching to this version from now on, the crowd went wild . Spot on flavor, I might add a little gruyere on top for token stings next time.
Are you willing to share this fabulous crowd-wowing recipe? Please???
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:18 AM   #1293
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Great pictures of you and your family!

Okay, so how did you prepay for a photo package? Where did you find the packages at online? Shutters was pure mayhem the last night of our cruise. I will NEVER wait until that night again. It was pure madness.

I was glad to know that we weren't the only ones where they took individual pictures at Royal Palace. Seemed very odd when I noticed some families were getting the entire family. Maybe they asked for it.

I loved Royal Palace. It was my favorite restaurant on the ship.

Thanks for posting the rotation. I didn't request one which we were only on the ship 3 nights so it didn't really matter. What did you mean by the show at Animator's Palatte? I think I missed something here. I was really looking forward to eating here and was honestly quite bummed. Nothing happened. I thought the walls changed and their outfits did too.

Great update! Can't wait to hear about your day at sea.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:15 AM   #1294
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Originally Posted by MeMom View Post
Maybe you can do a consolation day/weekend trip doing something fun close to home shortly before or after you go? Much less money, and you still get your 'away' time.
Maybe. The reality is, is that there are tradeoffs. Both boys have winter and summer camps and sports etc that well, they add up. We've had the conversations, basically we can let them do those things or look at a night or 2 away for mid winter or spring break but can't really swing both and I let them have input. Church and Scout Camp has won for both boys.

Sometimes we can swing a night or 2 away like that, but with saving for the NYE trip, 1 college tuition and all of K's soccer costs at the moment we really can't. We wouldn't be doing Aulani had it not been for a series of really fortunate events. Other than food and car, the whole thing is $400 OOP for both of us, just a little bit more than one of the boys park tickets will be!

We are hoping to go to Denver this summer to visit Jeff's mom but the kids aren't aware of that yet, it will be a last minute thing based on flight costs if we can. We will, weather willing, have a Mothers Day hike nearby but somewhere lovely and they will love that and if the weather is nice it is possible we will head up to the cabin during spring break on the weekend but with baseball, Kendall's soccer and Evan's play, it's hard to fit that in. Eric ends up with outings probably 2x per month for scouts so he is definitely not deprived.

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Are you willing to share this fabulous crowd-wowing recipe? Please???
Absolutely! I'll try posting the link and if that doesn't work, I can post the whole thing. It is very easy, takes some time but that's just a matter of it all cooking down, not any real work. A little over an hour from start to table. I wasn't sure what the boys would think, I'd made it for Jeff and I before but they'd never had it.

This is the Barefoot Contessa version.

French Onion Soup

A couple of notes, use the big sweet onions instead of small regular yellows. I used chicken stock in place of veal and substituted 1/2 red wine/1/2 water for the white wine it calls for simply as that's what I had (a little bit of red left in a bottle lol).

In the cookbook she calls for topping them with Parmesan croutons (they don't mention it or have that online), which is what I did and then I added some grated parm on top of the croutons and put it all under the broiler just for a bit till bubbly. If I had Gruyere I'd likely have added a little more of that on the top as well to get it a bit more coated and stringy but it was surprisingly good with just the Parmesan (and a cheaper/easier as I always have a block of that handy).

3 croutons per bowl fit perfectly on top in a soup crock and is how a restaurant I used to work at did it so I just copied that, they will basically cover the top of the bowl. I do fill the bowl very full first as the croutons are thin.
  • 1 baguette
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plain or flavored with garlic or basil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. slice baguette diagonally into 1/4 inch think slices
  3. lay slices in one layer on a baking sheet and brush each with olive oil
  4. sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper
  5. sprinkle with shredded parmesan

bake toasts 15-20 until browned and crisp

I did a half batch of these, which was 3 for each of our soups and left a nice piece for Jeff's sandwich. I should have made a little more as the recipe made enough soup for 5 crocks total. 15-20 seemed really long to me but you do want them almost on the verge of burned to really soak up and break up in the soup without turning into mush so they are quite golden and crisp. My oven runs hot so it was 15.

If you wanted to do a full Beauty and the Beast themed dinner you could flesh out the menu with a couple of my other favorites from the Barefoot Contessa

Sole Meuniere which might not be for everyone but we love it. The soup is so rich, and this is light so they could be nice together.

French Apple Tart This is one of Evan's favorites, he's helped make it many a time and fora couple of years was his request to bring to school for his birthday to share with the class. Back before he was a big kid that is. Sniff. Though I don't miss sending birthday treats lol!

Of course all we did last night was have soup with our normal spinach salad with balsamic, which isn't remotely french or anything in particular but it tasted good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremysdisneymom View Post
Great pictures of you and your family!

Okay, so how did you prepay for a photo package? Where did you find the packages at online? Shutters was pure mayhem the last night of our cruise. I will NEVER wait until that night again. It was pure madness.
The problem is, sometimes you don't have all the pictures to look at on that last night. You can still buy early am on debarkation day I think but it is insane there. I can't stand the way the do the whole thing. They used to have a package you could buy a head of time, a 10 credit one I think, whereas on the ship 20 is the entry package. I have since learned they don't do that anymore. With a 4 night cruise I didn't think that we'd use 20 (10 8x10's I think) so got the 10 credit one and then purchased 2 more 8x10's for a total of 7. Which didn't cost that much less than the 20 credit one but there weren't 3 more pictures I wanted, nor did I want to wait for reprints (did that on the Wonder for pickup on debarkation day, nightmare as well). It's a racket, who uses 8x10's? I have most of them framed as I feel guilty otherwise but it's more about scanning them and reprinting smaller versions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremysdisneymom View Post
I was glad to know that we weren't the only ones where they took individual pictures at Royal Palace. Seemed very odd when I noticed some families were getting the entire family. Maybe they asked for it.

I loved Royal Palace. It was my favorite restaurant on the ship.
Well they take the picture on the "dress" up night, wherever you are and I do think the individual versus family is luck of the draw on the photographer. I'd have liked one of just the 3 kids but oh well. If the E's didn't have to go to the bathroom so badly I'd have gotten one too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremysdisneymom View Post
Thanks for posting the rotation. I didn't request one which we were only on the ship 3 nights so it didn't really matter. What did you mean by the show at Animator's Palatte? I think I missed something here. I was really looking forward to eating here and was honestly quite bummed. Nothing happened. I thought the walls changed and their outfits did too.

Great update! Can't wait to hear about your day at sea.
Hmmn. There is a "show" on the 7 night and the 4, I'm not sure how it works on the 3. I didn't actually see it on the Dream as that was our Palo night but I'll ask the kids, they did tell me it was really cool! They really liked it and I was a little bummed we'd missed that to do pirate night but I had to choose one for our Palo night. On the Wonder the walls did change, the outfits did and Sorcerer Mickey came by in a parade with the staff.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:29 PM   #1295
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Bikes and Bubbles

Today was our at sea day. Our plan was to not have much of a plan (a bit of a recurring theme for the trip if you haven't noticed)! Basically to let everyone do whatever the heck they wanted to all day. This does mean however, my notes aren't quite as great as I’d like.

According to my notes the first thing we did was hit the gym. We meaning Jeff and I only. I didn't note that we had coffee or went for a walk on the promenade, maybe we did, maybe we didn't, I don't know! However, if memory serves, either before or after going to the gym I/we did go by the teen spa to sign Kendall up for her birthday treatment. She really hadn't weighed in on what she wanted, I think the options intimidated her a little and so I went ahead and signed her up for the Ice Cream Mani and Pedi. Honestly, I am not sure of the difference between that and the regular. It cost more, sounded cooler but I can't really speak to what makes it worth more but my guess is I somehow was convinced by the Chill Spa desk that it was worth the upgrade. I am fairly sure we did this before the gym as we were worried about openings as this was really the only day to do it. Sure enough, there weren't many spots so I took what I could and we hoped it would work as (I'm almost positive) there was a no cancellation policy when made that close to the appointment. We didn't want to wake her to check but still, it was a bit risky as we hadn't yet touched base to see what she and the other teens had concocted for the day.

We then hit the gym. It was interesting to me to compare the gym on the Dream with the gym on the Wonder. It is on the side of the ship, not the end so the view while lovely of course, was not as vast. It also (and I don’t know if this is true or not) seemed smaller. I imagine in SF it isn't, but where the Wonder’s was long with lots of view space, this was a bit more compressed and deep. Still very nice of course. However, I had issues with the machines. Sometimes I will find an elliptical that seems to be in need of service. The one at my physical therapist acts up sometimes, with the resistance self adjusting for no reason or getting “stuck”. For some reason Life Fitness ones seem to not like me, giving me more issues and for some unknown purely subjective reason, I just don’t like them as well as the Precor versions. I am 100% sure it's a user issue but still, they just aren't my favorite machines. Given that it was my 3rd Disney fitness center of the trip, I knew what I'd find but while there were a lot of treadmills, there were fewer bikes and ellipticals. I found myself fighting with it for a bit (and think maybe the other one was in use?), giving up and moving to a bike which bored me out of my mind so had a hard time getting into it. I spent the rest of the time doing weights (for which there wasn't much space) and stretching (even less). Definitely my worst workout of the trip. Still, better than nothing and definitely a requirement for the day as our next agenda item entailed heading back to the room to shower and change for ....Palo Brunch!

Here is where truly the day gets fuzzy (or the notes are awful, or the pictures I didn't take don’t help). I do know that either K was gone, or still asleep (my bet) and so we left a note on the inside door whiteboard about her appointment, which was for around 1 or something like that (we had a board on each side). We weren't too worried as we figured we had plenty of time to touch base and make sure she got there. I cannot imagine that the kids were up unless they were vegging watching TV which is possible/probable. The important thing is…we made it to Palo! We had an 11am reservation which for me, is perfect. It's brunch! A 10 am brunch and I might want a late lunch, 11am and that will get me through most of the day with maybe just a snack. They don't even open until 10 so I wouldn't have thought that meant we were late. Amazingly to me, the place was practically deserted. I don’t get that. At all. Were they all there at 10 and gone? On the Wonder, folks would talk about not being able to get a ressie, I know I couldn't until close to the trip when something opened up and it was a similar thing, never all the way full but this was significantly more empty. I don’t get that. At all. Why wouldn't they be filling the restaurant up? It’s a pretty small surcharge but still, you’d think they make money off of it. Is it the fact that on a 4 nighter there are more first timers and folks just don't book it???

Check it out



Jeff doesn't look quite awake yet does he?



You know what will wake you up? Coffee and Food! We ordered coffee and they offered us a choice of a glass of bubbly, or a mimosa (I don’t recall getting a choice on the Wonder). We both opted for a mimosa and were given a tour of the set up. On the Wonder it was at the back of the restaurant, in front of the open kitchen so you saw some activity on the Dream it was in what seemed to be a back room. I liked the set up on the Wonder better, Jeff couldn’t have cared less. LOL!

My first plate



Some antipasto (cheese, marinated mushrooms, meats), caviar & toast, tuna tartare (I think there were 2 kinds blackened and not and I had both), muesli with berries, prosciutto and melon, a shrimp "bloody mary" and gazpacho.

Jeff’s



Interesting combo of pastries…and salad. Looks like some antipasto, and asparagus/prosciutto in hollandaise as well.

For our entrée’s I chose (again) the Eggs Florentine. Which is really “egg” as you only get one. Blurry picture.



Jeff went for some kind of frittata, fairly sure it had Italian sausage in it but I’m not sure what else.



At our servers urging (insistence actually, as in you HAVE to try it), we also got one of the pizzas to share. Which we hadn't done before so was fun.



½ and ½ margherita and grape/gorgonzola.

Amazingly, we had room for dessert

My plate



Chocolate Pot De Crème, Mango Panna Cotta, White Chocolate dipped Strawberry and…something else lol I want to say it was an apple pandowdy-ish kind of thing but really have no clue.

Jeff’s



No clue what the giant strawberry sundae looking thing is and clearly some kind of dense chocolate cake of some sort. And a strawberry, Those strawberries were AMAZING!. I am usually not a huge fan of white chocolate but...yum!

And yes, we had a new cup of coffee to go with it to combat the sure to follow sugar coma.

An official lousy picture of me ( I swear, Evan does better)



We had a lovely server, whose name escapes me at the moment (I want to say he was Russian and it’s going to bug me so I’ll ask Jeff...fairly sure he was Eastern European) and enjoyed chatting with him. He had actually come from a 4 or 5 star restaurant in either London or France to work on the Dream and it was his first season. Truth be told, as we had him for dinner as well, I cannot recall when we chatted about all of this and whether it was at brunch or dinner but it was pretty interesting to hear why he decided to do it, how some of his "peers" viewed his choice and what he thought of it so far.
How was the food? Ahhhhh. Palo. So incredibly yummy! For some reason I enjoyed my first plate here much more than on the Wonder and I couldn't say why, perhaps I just made better choices? The Florentine was equally as delightful and dessert…ahhhh. That pot de crème I had remembered from before and it was just as heavenly. My only compliant, and it’s as much as an observation as a complaint is that both times we have been to Palo for brunch we have never been asked if we wanted another glass of bubbly, mimosa (the first is complimentary) or to order a bloody mary. Which seems pretty standard for a nice sit down brunch and to me seems like leaving money on the table. It wasn't a big deal either time but both times, had they asked, we’d have ordered one. Stuffed to the gills we headed back to the room.

Oh wait, check it out, we must have left everyone in bed. BUMS! Or watching TV. Look a note on the door!



Apparently "Just Evan" went out for breakfast. Nice healthy eating habits Eric and Kendall. Sigh. Jeff and I had discussed this actually and had decided they were 1) all old enough and 2) knew where all the food was and so were 3) capable of finding themselves food on the ship without us forcing them to go anywhere for breakfast. Oh and look, we’d told the sleeping bums where we were! The last note I think was for K, or at what wave phone number we could reach her maybe?

A blurry pic of our already re-filled FE



In the room…we found Eric. No Kendall, No Evan. At least we knew where Evan was.

What next?

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Last edited by eandesmom; 01-29-2013 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:24 PM   #1296
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Oh wow! Brunch at Palo looks absolutely delicious! I have to agree with you...where are all the other people? With food that looks that good, you'd think there would be a full restaurant.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:33 PM   #1297
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Yum, Palo brunch!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are going to be there in just 29 days!!!!!!!

Cynthia, I am so with you, I liked the setup better on the Wonder too! And we were kind of talked into having a pizza with our hot course as well. Seems to be the norm.
I couldn't agree with you more about offering a second drink, but maybe it is because you would have to pay for it. I know, one year we sailed with a couple whose anniversary was on that day and we offered some bubbly to toast them. We were reminded about 5 times that it would have to go on the bill.

Can't wait to hear about the rest of your day.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:01 PM   #1298
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That all looks so yummy! What a treat!
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:38 PM   #1299
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Your report is great I found it this weekend and just finished. What a beautiful family you have. Thanks for sharing
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:27 PM   #1300
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Awww.... "Tracy's" dress... looks cute on both of you. I love it. Palo looks AMAZING!! I can't believe how empty it seems as from what I've gathered through trip reports it is a tough reservation to get. Definitely going on my list if I ever cruise.

Fingers crossed K enjoys her first spa experience!

Thanks for the Barefoot Contessa recipes. Is absolutely frigid here in CT - teens/single digits - so some french onion soup may be the perfect weekend dinner. With some champagne, of course...
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:44 PM   #1301
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Cynthia that food looked amazing !!Can't wait for May when I will be on the Dream and sampling some wonderful food !!
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:16 PM   #1302
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That Palo food looks amazing. It's official. I want brunch there. Looks so amazing.

Love the dress.

Love the door!
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:51 AM   #1303
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Brunch looked delicious. It is not offered on a 3 night cruise so it a must do the next time we cruise.

Wow, your fish extender was full!

Can't wait to hear how you spent the rest of your day at sea.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:24 AM   #1304
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She really hadn't weighed in on what she wanted, I think the options intimidated her a little and so I went ahead and signed her up for the Ice Cream Mani and Pedi. Honestly, I am not sure of the difference between that and the regular.
They paint your nails in ice cream?

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Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
Here is where truly the day gets fuzzy (or the notes are awful, or the pictures I didn't take don’t help).
The first rule of vacation is to enjoy it. Taking notes is way down the list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
Amazingly to me, the place was practically deserted.
Nice! Private seating!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eandesmom View Post
How was the food? Ahhhhh. Palo. So incredibly yummy!
Glad you enjoyed it! I couldn't pronounce half the foods there, but it looks like a fun meal!

Do they have any burgers?
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:20 AM   #1305
that's nice
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I guess to be able to experience all the 'adult' parts of the ship we need to either- wait till the kids get older, or leave them home!

Palo looks really good.. personally I would of skipped the caviar.

Wonder why the restaurant was so dead? Did you have to pay extra for brunch there?
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