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Published: April 24th 2019
Dinner at the Vintage Room:
At 7 we met in the Vintage Room, a small private dining room with wine coolers along the forward wall. There were eight of us, Fran, me and the youngsters; two brothers, Jim and Craig, their wives, Shelley and Sharon, and Craig's best friend, Bill and his wife, Kim. The two brothers live in Olympia, Washington and Bill and Kim, in Walla Walla, the “Onion Capital” of the west. The men all grew up together. They’ve lived in Washington or Northern Idaho their entire lives. All three of them own their own businesses. Jim owns a real estate brokerage company with 40 some brokers. Craig owns a company that makes and sells gaskets. And Bill owns a company that makes cardboard boxes. The spouses have always been stay-at-home moms, but they worked before marriage. Everybody graduated college. They are in their late 40s and early 50s. Their kids are all out of the house in college. They love food and wine. But most of all they seem to be salts of the earth. They are incredibly nice. They were to us, to each other and to the staff on the boat. They smile readily, laugh
loudly and easily, tell great stories and appear to be interested in mine, which demonstrates that they have excellent taste and judgement, and are just fun to be around. And how about their sport coats; custom made for this trip. In case you can't see them well in the photo, two of the coats were pink with red tulips. The other is white with blue windmills. The windmill coat was the alternating one from night to night.
During dinner, another ship arrived. I think they misspelled the name.
The Vintage Room dinner was an optional thing for a minimum of eight people. It is a multi-course food and wine tasting advertised as a collaboration between the restaurant manager, the chef, and the Sommelier. The eight of us were takers on Saturday night. First the menu; six courses beginning with fois gras three ways. I’ll spare you the menu details here, but we have all the information on the menu, courses and each wine. At every course, the chef came in to explain the dish, then Rado, the Sommelier, came to tell us a little about each paired wine and why he chose it for the dish, and then the restaurant manager came in to talk, about what I can’t remember. Since tipping is not expected or in any way encouraged on Crystal (but not prohibited), it would be cynical of me to think that his participation was to angle for a tip. Course after course was presented beautifully and incredibly well done. Wine after wine was interesting and appropriate to the dish. It was a wonderful night. We made new friends, we ate good food and we drank prodigious amounts of good juice. How can you beat that? This night was memorable for all the right reasons.
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