Sunday, July 13, 2008

California Dining

So after all the excitement today of quirky Danish-Dutch towns and bio-dynamic cosmic grape shenanigans tonight we've been invited to dine in the Copper Canyon Observation car; this is the train's equivalent of the Captain's Table. So for the occasion our finery is a little more fine than usual. But glancing around at this evening’s event I notice we’re the only ones not sporting a gold name badge – i.e. we’re not a gold railer, the regular travellers on the Grandluxe train. I suspect we should have received our cream vellum invitation on another evening but we’re here now and if we have to pull out our ‘regular passengers’ credentials we can regale them with tales of the Venice Simplon Orient Express, British Pullman and Northern Belle!
Sadly we’re not seated with the wonderful Miss MJ and Miss E tonight, but another couple who perhaps find us a little too exotic for their tastes. We were so lucky will our seating arrangements on the first night, it could have been so much duller and rather awkward infact if Chad hadn't chosen so wisely. But hey, it was a fabulous menu, way more fabulous than the company so I’ll concentrate on that.
Firstly we tuck into what they call a Burst of Brie – Rich Buttery Brie Cheese baked in Phyllo Pastry then drizzled with a Port Wine Reduction. It is exactly as promised, a square of the flakiest phyllo bursting with an unctuous pool of rich and ever so buttery brie, a prefect little parcel.

To calm us down a bit we enjoy a small bowl of rather pale Roasted Asparagus Soup garnished with Asparagus Tips. Finally they’ve run out of the red vegetables or salad items, fruit whatever, I never bothered to learn how to classify a tomato – the fact that it was related to the deadly nightshade was enough for me frankly!
The next course was a light and refreshing Salad of Baby Spinach topped with Shaved Red Onions, Boursin Cheese, Toasted Walnuts, drizzled with Balsamic Vinaigrette. A like a good balsamic vinaigrette and this was a good one!
For main course we have a choice of Venison, a Barbeque Pork Tenderloin or a Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna. That was easy and I tucked into a delicious Venison Tournedos served with Sour Cream and Green Onion Crushed Red Bliss Potatoes, steamed Broccoli then finished with Sauce Marchancis de Vin. Definitely a nice hunk of full-flavoured meat from a very happy deer!
And for the pleasure is not all over yet because there’s dessert. Well I think there was Shortcake Biscuit and Seasonal Fruit but they had me at the phrase “Chocolate Truffle Torte” and it was was delicious!

One of the main points of the Copper Canyon carriage is its domed glass roof giving us an unrestricted view of the panoramic views outside all around us but sadly we’re not moving during this meal. So we get to see the sun set over a rather non-descript hill and I always like a sunset but a little more variety would have been appreciated. I am not such a diva to demand ‘herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon’ but a little more of the no doubt serene expansive country would have been very enjoyable from our vantage point in the dome. Ah well it was still an interesting evening. To be fair perhaps the combination of the stifling company and the ever so crowded carriage made me yearn to be back in our spot in Zurich but at least it was a change.

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