PHOTO GALLERY: Eating Our Way Through a European Cruise

 

My Top 5 Bites on our European Cruise (described in 3 words)!

We set sail on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas in October 2017 for a 5-night cruise around Northern Europe. We explored Amsterdam, Bruges, Normandy and the Palace of Versailles … eating and drinking along the way. Here’s a recap of the best bites during the journey — both on and off the ship.

 

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#5 — Baked Jumbo Shrimp: Buttery. Substantial. Luscious.
at Giovanni’s Table on Independence of the Seas

 

 

 

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#4 — Bitterballen: Crispy. Velvety. Snack.
at Café De Zwart in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

 

 

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#3 — Gold Beach Normany Oysters: Salty. Plump. Cold.
at Las Palmas in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

 

 

 

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#2 — Flemish-style Beer-stewed Rabbit: Rich. Supple. Warming.
at Brasserie Mozarthuys in Bruges, Belgium

 

 

 

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#1 — Succes Noisette: Hazelnut. Praline. Ganache.
at Angelina at the Palace of Versailles, France

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Bayou Classics: Shuck N Dive Cajun Café

 

It’s officially Mardi Gras season, and so I felt it was only appropriate to finally share with you about my love affair with Shuck N Dive. Situated in a nondescript shopping plaza off Federal Highway near downtown Fort Lauderdale, this lively Cajun café is one of our favorite restaurants in all of South Florida. The interior is decked out in LSU and New Orleans-style knick-knacks — and there’s always either zydeco music blasting through the speakers or a sports event shown on the bar’s TVs. My husband has also noted the “flashy”, shall we say, Bourbon Street photos that adorn the men’s bathroom walls.

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Boiled Crawfish

This has to be the restaurant we’ve visited the most since moving to Miami. And we can’t get enough of their food. We have our standards, like the 3-Way Oyster Platter (Black n’ Blues, Oyster Rockefeller and Oysters Bienville) and the pork boudin, which is flown in from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, a small town across the way from where I was born. There are also a few items we’ve tried only once, but overall enjoyed — fried pickles, naked chicken wings, red beans and rice. The “Larry” Cobb salad delivers a huge portion topped with chicken and Gulf shrimp, and during season they typically have boiled crawfish, most of which have been decent size.

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Crawfish Etouffee

I enjoy their hearty portion of crawfish etouffee, albeit it’s a creamier version than those you’ll find in Louisiana — and nearly every time I go to Shuck N Dive I have a cup (or bowl) of either their Country Gumbo (pulled chicken with andouille and okra) or their seafood gumbo (shrimp and sausage), which is probably my favorite dish they serve. Nine times out of ten my husband orders the fried gulf shrimp po’boy — he also asks for it to be tossed in buffalo sauce, which adds some nice heat to an already overstuffed sandwich.

A couple Abita or Nola Brewing beers and some Zapp’s chips, and you feel as though you’re in any old roadside dive in Louisiana. But here you won’t find a drive-thru daiquiri stand or snowballs for dessert. When we can’t make it to my hometown of New Iberia, Louisiana, or I’m not up for cooking my Cajun family’s recipes, Shuck N Dive certainly delivers that taste of home, no matter how far away.

PHOTO GALLERY: Eating Our Way Through The Pacific Northwest

My Top 5 Bites in the Pacific Northwest
(described in 3 words)!

We spent 10 days in November 2016 traveling along the west coast of the U.S. We started in southern California by celebrating the wedding of good friends then spent time hiking through Los Angeles with family before wine tasting in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and enjoying a few fun days in Seattle.

 
 
 
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#5 — Copper Creek Dip: Homemade. Hot. Comforting.
at Copper Creek Inn in Ashford, WA

 
 
 
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#4 — Dungeness Crab Cocktail: Fresh. Delicate. Succulent.
at Shuckers Oyster Bar in Seattle, WA

 
 
 
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#3 — Oysters Cabarian: Creamy. Briny. Sumptuous.
at Blueacre Seafood in Seattle, WA

 
 
 
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#2 — House Smoked Salmon Toast: Pure. Whipped. Crusty.
at Red Hills Market in Dundee, OR

 
 
 
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#1 — Dungeness Crab & Iberico Ham Benedict: Velvety. Crabby. Indulgent.
at The Georgian Restaurant in Seattle, WA