Friday, July 19, 2019

Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA

I had a couple hours of free time in Seattle before leaving on a cruise. With that time, I decided to explore the Pike Place Market. This huge market sold everything from produce to seafood to flowers to gifts. 
The fruits and vegetables were very pretty in the market. 
The retro neon signs all over the market were very cool as well!
Seafood was fun.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Poutine at a Canadian McDonalds in Victoria, BC

I was in Victoria, British Columbia while on a cruise ship stop. While sightseeing, we spotted a McDonalds with a maple leaf on the sign. Out of curiosity, we went inside to see if Canadian McDonalds have any interesting menu differences compared to the US for horrible food.
Canadian McDonalds does have a menu difference. They serve Poutine. I had to try some going in with the lowest expectations. My low expectations were met with some of the worst poutine I've ever sampled. It was so bad half the box ended up getting thrown out. The fries tasted stale. The gravy didn't have much of a flavor. The worst offender was the cheese. I'm pretty sure these weren't cheese curds and were instead chunks of mozzarella. McDonalds, you make Canadian food look bad...

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Cruise Ship Food Aboard the Norwegian Bliss

I recently went on a cruise aboard the Norwegian Bliss from Seattle to various ports in Alaska and British Columbia. While I did eat off the boat, this post will focus on food aboard the ship.

Garden Cafe:

This is the main buffet on the Norwegian Bliss. While the Garden Cafe did a good job with their food for the most part, sometimes certain foods were hit or miss. I found the breakfast buffet got repetitive with the same several items repeating themselves over and over again with certain items that they could never get right (good luck finding a piece of crispy bacon on this buffet). Breakfast also seemed to lack certain items which seemed standard on every other cruise I've been on (lox/smoked salmon at breakfast). Lunch and dinner buffets had a nice selection with a good number of items that changed from day to day. There was an after hours buffet in the Garden Cafe which was quite sad. Seemed like hamburgers, hot dogs, and a few select leftover items from dinner.

Various Breakfast Foods:

There were certain genres of food that the Garden Cafe did consistently well. For example, they always had really good Indian food. I'd rank the Indian food at Garden Cafe up there with some of my favorite Indian restaurant lunch buffets!
Tried some of the items when Garden Cafe had a seafood themed dinner buffet. Fish cakes, seafood casserole, and salmon bisque.
There was also an Asian noodle soup station which I enjoyed. There seemed to be some daily variation here in terms of broth and noodles. I saw udon, ramen, and pho.


The Local:

This was the only restaurant serving food 24 hours a day on the Bliss. I enjoyed almost everything I ate at The Local with one exception.

Rachel Sandwich and Pretzel Bites.
Caesar Salad
Watermelon Greek Salad and Turkey Pot Pie
Fish & Chips. This was the only meal from The Local that I didn't enjoy. The batter on the fish was thicker than the fish itself and was soggy rather than crispy. The french fries were also on the soggy side.
Taco Salad. Beef, beans, salsa, guacamole, and cilantro served over rice, all in a taco bowl.
Watermelon Greek Salad. This was one of my favorite salads I had on the Norwegian Bliss. The sweet watermelon mixed with the salty feta, kalamata olives, and vinegar was very nice.
Carrot Cake

The Manhattan, Taste, and Savor:

These were the three main dining rooms on the Norwegian Bliss. These were the fanciest restaurants on the boat which didn't have an upcharge. Each location had a different name, but each had the exact same menu for each day. Like the Garden Cafe, some foods at these restaurants were hit or miss.

Breakfast was consistently better at Taste and Savor compared to the Garden Cafe. You got service, presentation, and items that didn't make it to a buffet.

French toast:
Bagel with lox.
Eggs Benedict.
Strawberry Yogurt Parfait.
Smoked Salmon and Dill Spinach Pancakes. This was my favorite breakfast aboard the ship. I am a big fan of savory pancakes, and this combination of spinach-green tinted pancakes, salty fish, and sour cream topping was delicious.
Breakfast Casserole. This seemed like an interesting variation on an English breakfast. Baked beans and sausage topped with a poached egg. Not my favorite, but it was interesting regardless. 

I think I preferred breakfast in these restaurants a bit more than dinner. Dinners weren't necessary bad, they just had the feel of mass-produced convention center type food. I had an appetizer with every meal in these restaurants at dinnertime. Here's some of them:

Fig and Goat Cheese Flatbread:
Baked Brie:
Matzo Ball Soup (I question the Kosherness of this soup):
Stuffed Mushrooms:
Tostadas - I think nachos would be a more appropriate name since these were basically tortilla chips topped with stuff:
Spring Rolls:
Vegetable Tempura Rolls:

Here's some of the dinner entrees I ate:

Lamb Shank:
Shrimp and Grits:
Eggplant Parmesan:

Pad Thai:

Various desserts from Taste, Savor, and The Manhattan:

Overall, the food on the Norwegian Bliss was decent. There were definitely some hits and misses when it came to menu items, especially at dinners in the dining rooms. Definitely better food compared to what I've had on Carnival ships.


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