Wine – Dinner – and Ghosts!!

My husband and I are members of the Malibu Wine Club. We have been proud members for the last couple of years. The winery is located the Malibu area of the Santa Monica Mountains. They produce some very excellent, award-winning wines. Although I prefer Reds I did enjoy their Sauvignon Blanc (lightly chilled… mind you). Chris favors the more full-bodied wines. Malibu winery has a very nice area located in the Santa Monica Mountains with tasting bars, a nice picnic area and a stage for live music. Over the past year it has become a very chic place to hang out for an afternoon. It is extremely busy on the weekends. They do, however, have several tasting rooms located around the Los Angeles area. As an active producing winery they look for ways to promote their wines and membership into their wine club. Queen MaryThey sponsor many wine theme events. We recently participated in one by spending a delightful weekend on the Queen Mary.

For those whom may not know this is the grand ole’ lady, HMS Queen Mary, the epitome of luxury ocean travel through the ’30 – ’50’s. She has found a permanent home in Long Beach, California where she has become a world-class tourist attraction, museum, and five-star hotel with on board dining.

This particular wine club event was wine tasting of the latest vintages followed by a  ship wide scavenger hunt. As an incentive, the Queen Mary offered an excellent overnight room rate. So hubby and I decided to take a “Staycruise” for the sole purpose of trying out the restaurants and having a run of the ship …. Oh! and of course trying some new wines.

We started our Staycruise with checking into the hotel. We had one of the first class staterooms ($132 including fees and taxes) that had been restored to their opulent beauty. The rooms are elegant with dark wood paneling, armoire for clothing, tubular air vent that provided fresh sea air or warmed air from the engine room, clips on the floor to lock your steamer trunks in place and a shower that gave you the choice of bathing in fresh water or salt water. Salt water considered to therapeutic at that time. We found the accommodations charming and comfortable. The ship amenities included three onboard restaurants; The Promenade Cafe, Chelsea Chowder House and Bar and the five-star, Sir Winton Churchill.

Our dinner reservations were for Chelsea’s Chowder House and Bar. Chelsea BarWe were expecting a nice seafood faire unfortunately that’s not what we found. While there were couple of noteworthy sea food dishes (excluding a standard fish and chips) it was more or less a of a family restaurant theme with burgers, Mac and cheese and salads and a few higher end non-seafood choices.

For dinner I had the Cedar Plank Salmon ($26) consisting of Salmon broiled on the cedar plank served on a bed of brussel sprouts, bacon and acorn squash.

Fish

Hubby had the Pan Roasted Chicken ($24). A half roasted chicken, served with roasted pee wee potatoes, ratatouille with a lemon herb pan jus.

chicken

Both meals were good but nothing to really write home about (so I blog it – go figure!). The salmon was prepared well, but the brussels sprouts were a little bitter and overpowering. There was lots of bacon but just laid on top in an unceremonious fashion. Chris’ roasted chicken was a little dry but the ratatouille with the lemon pan jus was quite tasty. Clam chowderChris also had a bowl of Clam Chowder (after all it is Chelsea’s Chowder House). The chowder was probably the best dish of the meal. Nice chunks of clams in a creamy silky soup. With drinks, wine and a split Caesar salad the meal came to about $109.00 including tax and tip.

Now, I don’t know why hubby wanted to do this but after dinner we went ghost hunting (ugh!). It is said that there are many spirits on board. So off we go with our loaded Proton Packs (who you gonna call?) but found none. My dumb-**** husband challenged them to come out. Literally going down the hallway daring them manifest. None did, thankfully, but we did find his bottle of mouthwash turned upside down in the sink in our room.

Disappearing Hallway
Disappearing Hallway

One of the fascinating things on board is that the ship is bowed or curved from bow to stern. You can stand down at one end of the long hallway and watch some one disappear from the hallway at the far other end.

After ghost hunting we decided to grab a night cap in the 1st class lounge. The lounge is a perfect example of the Art Deco period.Bar We spent a lovely hour tossing down gin and tonic’s and Screwdrivers ($35) and listening to a Jazz Band. It was a good thing we only had to walk back to the room as my husband was listing – he blamed it on the ship.

Next blog – Breakfast on the Queen Mary and the scavenger hunt that took us over the entire ship.

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