Insignia cuisine

Every night I read the menu for the following day, tucked into the "Currents" newsletter with information about the next port-of-call and the day's events and right beside the bedtime chocolate.  On one side, the lunch menu for the Grand Dining Room spelled out the possibilities of lunch, from frugal to gut-busting (the correct if crude term). On the other side, Healthy Lliving Choices offered a balanced menu from CanyonRanch (the franchise whose spa we enjoyed), with the calorie count for each of three courses, above a Menu Degustation, a gourmet tasting menu with the appropriately paired wine for each course.  The options, from appetizers, through soups and salads, main courses and specialties with the side dishes always available, appeared on the right hand side of that page. Lots to think about: I folded the paper and tucked it into my bag to keep studying the next day as I decided what I wanted.  I had to be careful not to miss the caviar frequently offered as an appetizer, either with three mini blinis and the appropriate condiments, or on a little cup of seasoned (aioli?) mashed potatoes. Other treats included gravlax, compressed into small squares with the dill mustard presented as artistic circles around the plate.  (I think the plate artist must have taken a course in food presentation.)  Initially I chose the CanyonRanch menu because of the calorie count and because it usually offered fish, a great variety and deliciously prepared. Just when I was tiring of fish every night, I was offered lamb chops so I hung in there.  But after a while I ventured further afield, e.g. osso bucco, which I love and make myself when I can find veal knuckle in the meat section of my grocery store. I developed some good habits: consommé every night as one of the courses. Wonderfully hot with interesting little lumps in it, the consommé , whether chicken, beef or oxtail, made a good base  and prevented me from eating too much. I love piping hot soup, so it was very satisfying.  The salads were varied and interesting, as were the appetizers. I'd like the recipe for the heart of palm rémoulade.  I opted for scallops every time they were offered: big, beautiful, lightly grilled, each one set upon a matching round of potato, which I rarely ate. 

I never ate dessert, just three over the three months (a minuscule crême brulé that I ate with an Espresso coffee spoon) and one chocolate bombe that looked better than it tasted, so I left it.  I am no longer tempted by dessert, I'm happy to say. I prefer a glass of wine. For dessert, if forced, I would have a skinny latté, but latterly one or two of the waiters would bring me one chocolate truffle from a cake tier of petits fours. I do like chocolate. You have to consult someone else about the desserts, specifically my most frequent dinner companion who had chocolate profiteroles every time they turned up.

There are four restaurants, plus an outdoor grill, on the Insiginia: the Waves Terrace Café with an outdoor deck, is a lavish, generous buffet with sushi every night and special menus honouring  various countries and always a carving board with gorgeous meat or salmon (coulibiac!), and a wealth of choices.  To me, it was a glorified cafeteria; I like to be served.  The Grand Dining room is complemented by two smaller specialty restaurants available by reservations only: the Polo Grill, featuring, as you would suspect, grilled meats and fish; and the Toscana, concentrating on Italian cuisine. My favourite item, besides the crême brulé, was the roasted garlic, offered on the bread basket.  I ordered another one for my dinner mates and ate a whole one myself, without bread.  NUM.

I'm happy to report that I ate well, had a great time, and lost four pounds.  Who could ask for anything more?  

Next time.