The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2015

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Page 54 of 120

54  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2015 HOT PROPERTY S tepping aboard the RMS Queen Mary is like stepping back in time; a famously imposing figure in the Long Beach Harbor, the Queen Mary was an English ocean liner in the 1930s, and is now a popular hotel and tourist attraction. The ship is said to be haunted by spirits of those who have passed away onboard; however, ghosts aren't the only things that draw visitors to the ship. With the Queen Mary featuring three restaurants—the upscale Sir Winston's, the seafood-based Chelsea Chowder House & Bar and the casual family-friendly Promenade Café—and the gorgeous Art Deco–themed Observation Bar, as well as a Tea Room, Malibu Wines tasting room and a coffee shop featuring Starbucks coffee, there's guaranteed to be something for everyone. As we tour the ship with Hamed Anwari, the Assistant Director of the Food and Beverage program, he notes the ship's popularity with a smile: "The ship's various banquet rooms host a staggering 220 weddings a year." After touring the kitchen, supposedly haunted by an irate former chef from the 1940s, we spent the evening eating in Sir Winston's romantically candlelit dining room. We sampled tasty dishes such as their famous beef Wellington wrapped in flaky pastry, a deliciously buttery Dover sole meunière and Santa Monica Seafood briny oysters, beef carpaccio with crispy capers and a delicate soufflé, which was brought out on a trolley, then ceremoniously opened and a creamy Grand Marnier sauce was poured in. It is little touches like this, as well as their tableside Caesar salad, chocolate-dipped strawberries presented at the end of the meal and an icy Champagne sorbet palate cleanser, that make eating at Sir Winston's a destination dining experience for locals as well as tourists. As we ate, we spoke with Anwari about how the Queen Mary's food program has changed since his company, Evolution Hospitality, took over three-and-a- half years ago. "We really wanted to do something special and unique with our beverage program," Anwari explained over a glass of Queen Mary sparkling wine. "Twain Schreiber [Director of F&B] worked together with Young's Market Company to custom blend a Sailor Jerry rum, Jack Daniel's whiskey and Herradura tequila that are part of the private Queen Mary label." Queen Mary uses these brands to host special dinners focused on the specific spirit, pairing them with food and even cigars. They also have a mixology event planned, with a live cocktail shake-off, Iron Chef–style. It's these innovative ideas that keep a classic attraction new and keep consum- ers—and even some ghostly spirits—coming back for more. Hamed Anwari, Assistant Director of F&B and Twain Schreiber, Director of F&B, with their custom-blended spirits at the Observation Bar aboard the RMS Queen Mary. All Aboard with Spirits VISITING LONG BEACH'S LANDMARK RMS QUEEN MARY by Jesse Hom-Dawson PHOTO COURTESY OF THE QUEEN MARY PHOTO COURTESY OF THE QUEEN MARY

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