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Henri, and his apprentice, Jose, are at the door. We have a nice chat. He fills out our paperwork and gives us our wristbands. We give him our request for a bottle of Havana Siete (really, shouldn’t they have it waiting in the room for me by this time?) and pillows – down for me and firm foam for Zung, 2 each please.
There is, as always, a lovely flower arrangement in our room.
Also, as they have done for our previous two visits, there is a plate of cheese and meats with a basket of crackers, along with a fruit basket. This is so incredibly appreciated. Our last meal was breakfast and we are always ready for something to eat by the time we arrive. There is also a welcome letter and a lovely bottle of wine that we will take to a dinner later in the week.
We have a snack. Zung has his, “I’m on vacation moment,” when he puts on the robe.
We unpack, rest a bit, and I try to put our valuables into the safe. I keep getting an error code. Bugger.
We get ready for our first vacation dinner, which will be at Haiku, the Asian restaurant. The Havana Siete is delivered right before we leave for dinner. That’s nice because I can pose for it in my dinner dress up clothes, in front of the lovely flowers.
We take the elevator down and see Henri. I tell him our safe is not working and he promises to take a look at it. We walk to the restaurant, but they are always happy to give you a ride in their carts. We will take advantage of that many times during the week. Tonight though, we enjoy the walk, a bit cool though, it is.
We are seated at a Teppanyaki table. Sometimes I will ask to sit at a regular table because the Teppanyaki experience is a very leisurely one. Tonight we are just going with the flow.
My vacation style has evolved over the years. When our kids were younger we used to go to Disneyland a lot. I had years when I read books and comprised rigid schedules that included which way to turn and which ride to go on first and how fast to walk to it. That kind of thing resulted in getting to go on a lot of rides. However, the years when we arrived and said, what shall we do first? were a little more relaxed and a little more enjoyable. I find that if I don’t get too worked up about things like which restaurant I’m going to eat at where and which table I’m going to sit at, I end up enjoying it more. I don’t mind the reservation system they have at the Grand. I would rather do a little planning and know when I arrive I will be seated right away, as opposed to resorts that do not require reservations and then you may have to wait for a period of time (I’ve read, up to an hour or more) if the restaurant you chose that night is busy. This is an individual thing. Some people can’t stand the thought of having to have any kind of schedule on vacation. Fortunately, there are hotels that accommodate this. The Grand is not one of them. I think though, if I were to design the perfect hotel I would have some restaurants that required reservations, and some that did not. The Grand has the buffet, which does not require reservations, but I am so over dinner buffets.
But I digress.
We are seated at the Teppenyaki table and service is initially slow. Very slow. No water, no drinks. This is an unusual lapse. I am really pretty go with the flow, but you gotta give me a drink to maintain this attitude. I am starting to feel a little annoyed when someone comes by to take our drink order. We ask for a wine list and order a bottle of Daimon Rioja. We had this wine when we were here in June and really liked it. It is just as good this time. I love the label. After a few sips I am back in the go with the flow mood.
They take our food order and bring us a plate of assorted sushi.
The chef arrives and he does some show cooking. He uses lots of oil to make big fire. There are two grills and he uses both of them. We are on the wrong side and don’t really get a good view.
He makes the fried rice first. However, even though we ordered it, he doesn’t give us any. Fail! Our waiter notices right away and gets us some from the main cooking area. They have a sushi bar and there are chefs there that cook for the regular tables.
Our chef makes the veggies while the proteins are cooking and we get the veggies next.
Finally we get our proteins. I ordered lobster. Zung ordered the lobster and chicken. The lobster wasn’t quite as overcooked as it usually is.
The very first time we stayed at the Grand, our very first dinner was at Haiku, so we usually eat here first. It’s kind of a tradition. It is decent food. The Teppanyaki dishes tend to be a little overcooked, but the wok dishes are really quite good. I like some variety though and this was a good dinner.
The night was still young though.