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The Queen Mary

Are you looking for an authentic art deco experience wherein you will dine upon an elaborate gourmet feast? Tired of arguing on where to go to make everyone happy, even the pickiest of eaters? (Opening photo: The Grand Salon from the grand past.)

Look no further than the impressive Queen Mary Sunday Brunch in Long Beach, California. Including tip, this will be the best $35.00 each adult can splurge as they gorge on such outstanding fare at such an historic location in Southern California. Sporting its own harp player during buffet hours, you'll feel as if you're in a dreamlike state with the soothing music being a welcomed treat for your ears.

If we were on the Queen Mary when she was an ocean going vessel, our white table clothed table for two would have been a perfect, romantic table with a view by our own porthole. We were seated in the massive art deco tiger wood paneled Grand Salon. Grandiose ceilings with original ornamentation from a bygone era set the tone for our late Sunday brunch. Now, not being afraid of good food at a ritzy buffet, we both were perplexed at where to start round one of what would be many.

For me, I traditionally start with my favorite food that I don't get at home: omelets made to order. I made a beeline to the omelet station and would peruse the numerous other stations upon subsequent rounds. Tomatoes, cheese, and mushrooms were cooked to perfection and lightly browned in what quite possibly was the best omelet I've ever eaten. Since my plate still had a few available inches, I browsed and chose two fresh juicy strawberries filled with brie cheese and roasted pistachios.

What next? Oy veh! Mini bagels with cream cheese, stacked high with smoked lox, lots of salty capers and a smattering of thinly sliced red onions. Not too shabby for round one I thought as I quickly squirreled my finds back to our table. Hmm... attentive service and never ending champagne, iced tea and fresh squeezed orange juice made for tasty libations to wash down these tasty morsels.

Kim chose a different attack: she fully perused all the food stations and then made her selections. Her perpetual favorite is the lightly seared Ahi tuna thickly crusted in coarsely ground black pepper. With a dollop of mango chutney on the side, it helped to ease the tearing eyes and runny nose. Three words: hot, hot, hot, but great, great, great.

Kim, likewise, selected a generous slathering of fresh cream cheese, lots of lox, some capers, onions piled high atop a few mini bagels. They were barely recognizable under the condiments galore. But, that's the way she likes it: a little bagel with her cream cheese. Next, Kim had a few boiled jumbo shrimp and a shot of cocktail sauce for dipping. I always loved that oxymoron — jumbo shrimp. It brings a smile to my face every time I think or say it.

But wait, my smile of happiness quickly turned to envy when I spied the fresh cheese blintz with cherry sauce she located from one of the chafing dishes. Man, that's the first thing on my list for round #2, just as soon as I finish chowing down on my enjoyable beginning. Being a beef eater, Kim had tears of joy from her thinly sliced roast beef, which she promptly smothered in a shovel full of horseradish. Lastly, Kim said her sliced roma tomato with a slab of buffalo mozzarella cheese, and basil that was doused in olive oil was outstanding.

Did I hear a bell ring and signify the beginning of round #2? Sure I did!

The Sunday Champagne Brunch
at The Queen Mary in Long Beach
offers cooked-to-order cuisine.

I took a detour to the cheese blintzes and spied freshly made Belgian waffles that could be graced with strawberries, whipped cream, and syrup. They looked good, but I decided to play hide and seek by opening chafing dish after chafing dish. Like a child at Christmas, I saw eggs Benedict, a bounty of crisp bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, and a breakfast bounty to feed an army.

This thought may not have been too far from reality since the Queen Mary used to transport troops during World
War II. Pastry and muffin aficionados take note: they have everything you could care to tempt your taste buds with. As I mosied further, I saw a fruit, cheese and salad bar to make any vegetarian drool like Homer Simpson when he thinks of a ice cold Duff beer. Arrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Quickly snapping back to reality, I cruised around and saw the massive Grand Salon buffet's individual stations: a fresh pasta bar, fully stocked Chinese, Italian, and Mexican food stations with everything under the sun. Chow Mein with an egg roll, or fresh pasta and any of a myriad of sauces, or cheese enchiladas? I wasn't sure which country I wanted to travel to gastronomically, so I went to investigate the kid's buffet.

Being a full house, with what appeared to be a number of regulars, including a number of families with little tykes, the Queen Mary certainly knows how to appeal to that target audience. With a lowered buffet station all to their munchkin selves, all the staples for a kids tummy were present: grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, cookies, hot dogs, hamburgers, and lot of other good foods. I admit, that I got busted lifting the lids on their chafing dishes as a pushy eight-year-old gave me the stink eye for being at "his" buffet. Well, suddenly it was time for me to be moving on.

Desserts are usually the best part of any meal. Yet, with all of the numerous Queen Mary buffet items, the meal itself could easily give dessert a run for its money. The separate dessert bars were laden with loads of fresh, sliced fruits like watermelon, melon, cantaloupe, strawberries, etc. One of my all time favorites was Robert, manning the crepe station, where warm crepes are filled with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and smothered in any of the sauces, ranging from Scotch Cherries Jubilee, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, sprinkles, ad finitem. The crepes are worthy of at least another round.

You know, you've got to check to ensure that quality control remains high from each round of the same item. Yes, I'm pleased to announce that the crepes passed the test with flying colors. The white and dark chocolate dipped strawberries were absolutely huge! Maybe carrot cake, fruit tortes, flan or just plain old ice cream suit your fancy. Go for it!

If you should have to courage to subject yourself to the torture of the Queen Mary Champagne Sunday Brunch, I'd whole heartedly recommend it. So, you fast before hand, or allow carbs for one day. You know, you can start training for _________ (fill in the blank) tomorrow. You go ahead and do that. I'm heading back to the buffet to see what Kim has collected on her next plate. Gotta go.

Read the Jetsetters Magazine feature about "Ghosts and Legends of the Queen Mary", and "The Scottish Highland Festival and Games" hosted at the Queen Mary.

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