December 17, 2016

Plus 1 trip to Vietnam day 2: dinner under the stars

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I wasn't very hungry yet.  After all, it's only been 4 hours since we finished our late lunch, and I haven't done very much other than getting myself a massage, and hanging out by the plunge pool of my villa while tuning the pictures I had shot earlier today.

But Michael had prepared a treat for us tonight.  One of the specials at Princess D'Ân Nam Resort and Spa is the barbecue dinner on the beach, featuring a range of local seafood as well as other meats.  As much as I had wanted to try out more Vietnamese dishes they had on offer on their menu, dinner on the beach was something I hadn't done in quite a few years.

The setting was really lovely, and we were literally just steps from the surf.  Listening to the sounds of the waves while feeling the cool breeze hitting my face was a pleasure I'd not had in quite some time... and it felt really, really nice.  Now, if only this had been a table set just for Hello Kitty and I...

We started with a range of salads, which included cucumber, tomato, and mixed salad.

There was also a range of grilled vegetables, which included carrots, potatoes, onions, zucchini, and eggplants.

The local seafood was as fresh as I could have asked for, and arrived at a nice and leisurely pace, accompanied by a range of sauces to choose from...

Grilled sea scallops with spring onions - I took one quick look at the five scallops on my plate, and became totally dismissive of them due to their small size.  Then I took my first bite, and my opinion of the dish did a U-turn. Yes, the spring onions made a difference, but what made this into an AWESOME dish was the presence of a few cubes of deep-fried lard.   Forget those scallops with bacon wrapped around them.  THIS IS DA SHIT.  I wanted more.

Grilled squid - nice and smoky, and definitely very fresh.  But a pain in the ass to get this off the stick...

Grilled prawns - these were very, very good.  I didn't even need any of the sauces provided.

I didn't find any sand or grit on the back of these prawns, which was great.

Grilled lobster - these lobsters were caught in local waters, and while they were completely different from the wild Atlantic lobsters I had been having lately, they were equally tasty in their own right.

Grilled cobia fish fillet - I don't think I've ever had cobia before, but this fish features prominently on the resort's menu.  Consistency-wise this kinda reminds me of cod, but a bit more firm.

We were getting a little stuffed at this point, and asked the staff not to send us the additional chicken, beef, and pork dishes.  Michael had wanted to show us the full works, but I guess we Asians just have small appetites...

I decided that I wanted to have some wine tonight, and told Michael that I'd treat the group to wine.  I asked Michael for his preference on whites, and picked out a bottle of red from the wine list that I thought was drastically under-priced.

2013 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre - mineral, almost green apple notes.

2001 François Lamarche La Grande Rue - decanted and served 70 minutes later - which was definitely too long and not the original intention.  The nose seemed fine while decanting, but clearly this was a wine that did not need much aeration.  When we drank it the wine had lost its freshness, and had gone a little soft on the palate.  There was some astringent tannins along with the acidity, and showed a little smokiness as well as some stewed fruit.  The wine died quickly in glass.  A little disappointing, but not too surprised.

We adjourned back to the restaurant for coffee and dessert.  Yes, even though I was kinda full, there was no way I was gonna pass up more ice cream!

Fresh mango

Fresh strawberry and Grand Marnier

This was such a nice and relaxing evening!  I went for a quick walk along the beach, letting the waves wash over my feet.  I've been staying away from beach resorts for way too long, and it was nice to get a taste of it again.

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