We love guest bloggers. This one in particular is from Gerry Barker, friend and avid traveler.
NEW MENU DEBUTS AT 150 CENTRAL PARK
When the biggest cruise ship in the world teams with a James Beard-award winning chef and local Florida farmers offering the freshest seasonal produce, everyone wins, and especially the diners at 150 Central Park on Oasis of the Seas.
The chef is Miami's Michael Schwartz, who brought his extraordinary culinary creations to Oasis in a headline-making partnership with Royal Caribbean last year. Schwartz's restaurants, Michael's Genuine Food and Drink and Harry's Pizzeria, are mainstays in the Miami dining scene.
As June approaches, the winter menu gives way to the summer fare Schwartz and his team have been perfecting. Cruising Squared was among the group that got a "sneak preview" of the new dishes, along with the accompanying wine parings for each.
150 Central Park is, as the name would indicate, one of the specialty restaurants on Oasis in the Central Park neighborhood on deck 8. Surrounded by over 12,000 living trees and plants, the open air expanse mimics much of the ambiance of its New York City namesake.
The venue accommodates some 80 diners, who pay a $40-per-person up-charge for a six-course meal. Add the wine pairings and the total comes to $75. It's booked just about every night, a testament to both the value and the quality. Also, the size of the portions are just right, spaced out nicely over what is a three-hour culinary experience.
As mentioned, Schwartz sources his menu from sustainable local farms in Florida. The result is both fresh and delightfully surprising in the combination of ingredients and presentation. While I'm no Food Network judge, I do know what I like. And this new "Artisan and Meadow" menu is amazing.
Picking a favorite is just about impossible, but for me personally, the roasted black cod with its citrus marinade was simply divine. And what could be better than having Michael personally explain each course, and Eric Larkee, his sommelier, talk about the wine selections.
Michael and his staff will be fine tuning both the food and the wine over the next few weeks, so there still could be changes before the new menu makes its official debut. One thing that won't change: Diners at 150 Central Park will have a meal they will long remember.
More background on the restaurant can be found in this video from Royal Caribbean:
-- Gerry, for Cruising Squared
About Gerry Barker -- I have a middle name, but adventure is the name of my travel game! I have written travel articles for The Palm Beach Post and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A varied and vast professional career in newspapers have been my game and still are, but my travel blogging has arrived. And about my name: It looks like "Jerry" but is pronounced "Gary." No,my parents don't know why.
Like you, we love to cruise. Our travels have taken us from Barcelona and Rome to the Panama Canal. What a great way to see the world, meet interesting people, enjoy great food and experience new cultures. Here on Cruising Squared, we want to both share our experiences and invite you to share yours. And if you want to pass along your favorite martini concoctions, those are welcome, too!
About Pamela Barker -- Adventure is my middle name. Seriously, I don't have one, so I decided on this one. My personal adventure includes many years in the newspaper business, creator of abstract art which resides with collectors in Texas, Florida, New York, Minnesota and Ohio. My eBook, The Bainbridges of the Palm Beaches, is available on the cheap at Barnes & Noble, eBooks. My true adventure rests within the heart and soul of my family; husband, Gerry (Gaz); son, Brandon and daugther, Brittany (okay, d-in-law, if you must) and our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Reggie (she's a she). Travel comes in next. Welcome to my (our) adventure!