Day 5 - Costa Maya
Today we are in Costa Maya, a port we have all been to a few times. We decided to have a make your own sea day today. We thought about the Crazy Lobster but our friends said it was very similar to Mr Sanchos. Our plan was to the Patio which has a nice infinity type pool, comfy loungers and hot tubs.
It was easy to find great loungers together which were super comfortable. Everyone read while I wrote. We tested out the pool and the loungers that are in the shallow water. The water was very cold so we did not stay too long. We all tried out the hot tub next and it warmed us up from the pool. Afterwards, we warmed up at our loungers until it was time for trivia.
We played two games of trivia, general and food trivia. Since it was at tables outside of Pig and Anchor, we got some Guy’s burgers to eat while we played. I tried just mushrooms and onions and no burger to make a veggie sandwich and the others did burgers. We all enjoyed our sandwiches. Trivia was fun but we did not win, we scored about 15 on both.
We went to Havana to have a drink and dip in the pool as it was much warmer today. It was still pretty cold but it was refreshing as it was much warmer today. After enjoying the sun, we went back to the room to relax and prepare for our Chef Table at 6:30 that we were super excited to try.
We met up at the Brass Magnolia for a pre dinner cocktail. The band played Joe and Ammie’s wedding song and they wanted to dance. They danced in the hallway because the Mardi Gras lacks any true dance floor anywhere. We do miss that and think that such a nice location like the Brass Magnolia should have more than about a 3 foot triangle in front of where the band sets up for those who would like to dance. The drinks, service and music have been really nice at this bar. Milo is a great bartender who makes some proper Louisiana cocktails.
The four of us went to the meeting point for the Chef Table and were escorted by the chef to the cooking demo room where the dinner was hosted. Everyone starts in the demonstration area where a tower is stacked in front of each person. Champagne is poured and the chef makes a toast to start the evening. Then the gastronomic journey begins and the tower is deconstructed by a server and starters are revealed. The chef explains each item in the order you eat them. The first was a marinated cucumber followed by a cheese crisp. Both bites were so flavorful and tasty. It was followed by a crab salad which was heavenly. The last was a magic tea that changed colors in front of you eye to cleanse your palate. All of the starters were delicious and after we finished, a server escorted you to your seat at the table.
A wine steward explains the two choices for wines, a white and a red. The white was a Kendall Jackson Chardonnay and the red a Cabernet, Casillero del Diablo. All four of us started with the white as recommended then switched later to the red. The wine were readily poured throughout the evening. The choices were not pricey wines but they paired nicely with each course.
The first thing they brought over was the bread and butter. They had two breads, a Parmesan brioche and a lavosh. The butter was also Parmesan. One of my pandemic hobbies was bread making and this brioche was unlike any I have ever had. It was not as dense as typical brioche and was layered like a croissant. I was very impressed by it.
The first course was shrimp with seared pork belly. I have never been fan of pork belly but this was amazing. It was so crispy and not overly fatty tasting. The shrimp was cooked in a lobster broth perfectly. What made this course truly shine was the sauces of butternut, miso and merlot jus. I was worried about the pork belly but after tasting this I really knew this meal was going to be special.
I had watched videos on You Tube of this meal and I was also worried about the second course which was two types of duck. My husband loves duck and has encouraged me to try it at numerous meals when he has ordered it because he thought it was delicious. Every time, I disliked it and he finally had given up trying to make me like duck. I decided to give it one more go. It was prepared two ways, confit and pan grilled. It was paired with a carrot, cider onion and a dark cherry glaze. The big question, did I like it? Was it pawned off to someone else’s plate? Well, I ate every bite. The confit was like no duck I have ever tried, succulent and so flavorful. The pan grilled duck was also good, not gamey or fatty tasting at all. This must be a magic dinner for me to enjoy this course.
Next up was the fish course which was sea bass. It was such an amazing presentation with a bubble infused with rosemary, compressed cucumber to cleanse your palate, salmon bacon and a cauliflower cream. It was one of the best presentations I have seen and tasted phenomenal as well.
We switched wines at this point in the meal for the lamb course. It was a tender piece of lamb served with three sauces as well. There was a gruyere fondue, deconstructed sriracha and a blueberry browned butter. All were perfection with the lamb.
In between courses, a magician performed a few tricks for the table. He did some nice card tricks and slight of hand. He was very funny and I enjoyed the little show. If you have read other trips, you know I can be a tough critic on magicians since I have seen so many shows thanks to my husbands magic obsession. My husband thought it was decent table magic as well.
The chef presented the next course, salt baked beets. He cracked the huge layer of salt in front of us and revealed the beets inside. It was served with a miso glazed eggplant and a hon shimeji emulsion. This might have been one of my favorite courses so far. At home, we eat plant based, so I am always excited to have them prepared new ways. Some at our table were scared of this course but ended up enjoying the beets.
Next up was the beef course which was a prime sirloin. It was a fairly large slice of meat. It was paired with pear umami, horseradish, sherry and mustard. Each sauce was better than the next. I was getting full so I did share the rest of my beef.
We made it to the dessert courses. First was chocolate, coffee, cocoa which was a like flourless tart covered in delectable coffee crunchies. The ice cream was separate near the top flanked with shortbread. I am not the biggest chocolate lover but this dessert rocked my world. It was so balanced, not too sweet and not too bitter. The last course was two beautiful pastry type cookies both very delicate and a great ending to a spectacular meal. I would highly recommend this to any foodie.
After such a filling meal, we went for a stroll around the ship to help digest. We had some time to kill before going to see the show for the evening, M Theory. I will stop writing and let Chris take over to discuss this show. We chatted about it already and I agree with his assessment.
Hello, Chris here. As a magic enthusiast (I’ve even performed magic at a party recently for Halloween) I was in for the magic show on board. I believe most of the entertainment on board has been underwhelming and M Theory was certainly lackluster. To start there is a focus on the large LED screen and graphics and quotes that just seem to be odd choices. 100 people are given 3 playing cards when they enter the theater to do a self working trick during the show. The issue is that the 1,000 other people are just excluded from the experience. If you don’t want to foot the bill to supply the show with enough cards for all to have the magic happen in their hands, why bother at all. The whole show revolved around one kicker effect that was a pretty standard prediction routine I have seen performed within other magic shows so I got the feeling that this production is a built stage show that Carnival casts different magicians into. I must say that the performer who was the main magician in this show had very little personality and wasn’t incredibly engaging. There were 2 or 3 effects that he performed that required a bit of skill but overall I found the magic pretty uninspired. The magician returns on 2 more days of the cruise for a 15 minute and 10 minute set so more to come on his performances.
After the show, we grabbed a nightcap to wait for the comedy show in the theater. Tonight was Jim Brick and Percy Crews 2. Both did good sets and we laughed quite a bit. It was midnight so we all decided to go to bed after the show.
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