Chowing Down On The Carnival Sunshine (And Lovin’ The Wow Factor)!

I was lucky enough to be invited to a press luncheon for 35 journalists on the Carnival Cruise Lines’ Sunshine when it was docked at the Carnival Terminal on the West Side recently. I have not been on a Carnival ship in over five years, so I was thrilled to take in all the sites on a private tour before everyone sat down to eat at the modern and airy Farenheit Steakhouse on board the ship. This is an eatery where there is a $30 “charge up” for passengers–but it is so worth the extra “bread”! You get white glove service and a three course steakhouse meal on a five star level. The chef always throws in something extra at the beginning of the meal and in my case, we got a small lobster salad sandwich that has already become legendary in the cruise cuisine world! I have to mention that they have truly unique breads infused with herbs that are in fabulous shapes including spirals (a la a cinnamon roll) and unusual angular shapes. You get three choices of butter and EVOO in fancy white China mini-gravy/dressing boats.

I started out healthy with the delicious beet and berry wild greens salad (featuring beets shaped like butterflies) but you just knew I had to follow up with a delicious nine ounce grassfed filet mignon (aged 21 days) served medium rare with Chanterelle mushroom sauce. It was over 4″ tall! The mushrooms were actually very lightly sauteed in EVOO so I would not exactly call it a sauce, but they tasted fresh picked and complimented the meat perfectly. Next time I go on board, I am going to try the Bernaise or peppercorn sauces just because I bet that they are excellent as well. There are several sides recommended to ocmpliment your steak ranging from creamed spinach with garlic to Yukon Gold Mash With Wasabi Horseradish. BTW, there are 18-ounce Ribeye and cowboy steaks available for those he-man or she-woman appetites!

I had the unique Baked Figs for dessert which was quite a large portion and very filling. The figs were baked until an awesome “carmelization” kicked in–I have never had something quite like this but it is very “stick to your ribs” and flavorful. The Carnival Cruise Line is famous for their Warm Melting Chocolate Cake which is their version of a molten chocolate cake–it is served in a small ceramic container and features six very simple but very delicious ingredients (dark chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar, flour and powdered sugar). This is so gooey and delicious you won’t care about the calories, LOL! This cake is so popular that they hand out recipe cards at the end of the meal in case you want to try to make it at home. If I ever make it back onto this elegant ship, I would like to try the cheesecake with hazelnut biscuit and caramelized Washington apples (baked in a puff pastry dome)!

The good thing is that Carnival has plenty of activities to help you burn off the 1,500 calories a meal like this runs! You can run along the outer periphery of the ship or take a dip in the pool. And yes, they have gambling (including a machine that actually doles out stacks of $2500 in cold hard cash), karaoke and even art auctions, but those only burn 40 calories per hour, LOL! For more info on Carnival’s food choices and ship activities, go to www.carnival.com. There are great deals around this time of year, which i would call “back to school time”). As part of the regular meal plans, they have numerous food bars with the greatest diversity of cuisines assembled on one ship–and yes, they even have Guy’s Burger Joint by the one and only comfort food king Guy Fieri on board.

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