1st class dinner, April 14, 1912

On Sunday night, RB and I went to a restaurant in central California to indulge in a recreation of the last meal served on the Titanic.


The restaurant, called the Vintage Press, has a dining room modeled after the Titanic’s own dining room. The interior was magnificent, and a five-piece string quartet set the scene with renditions of “Nearer My God to Thee” and other period favorites. RB and I considered for a brief moment dressing in period costumes, but then decided that would be a little too flip for what was, after all, a memorial dinner.

However, there were others at the dinner who did dress up, including a guy in a captain’s uniform, women with elbow-length gloves and floppy hats, and one joker in a life jacket. RB and I accepted a glass of champagne upon entering the dining room and then settled into our seats at a lavishly set table.

My place setting, with tiny crab cakes hors d'oeuvres


The dining room





The "captain" being interviewed on local television


The dinner on the Titanic consisted of about 10 courses and various other hors d’oeuvres, but the chef at this restaurant decided an abbreviated version of the meal would suffice. Each course came with a wine pairing – sherry, white wine, red wine and finally port. Which prompted the evening’s somewhat unfortunate tagline, “All the way to port!”

The courses were these:



Consomme Olga


Salmon Mousseline with cucumber


Fennel salad (not on original menu)


Punch romaine (palate cleanser)


Filet Mignon Lili


Chocolate eclair


It was a lavish, sumptuous, completely delectable meal. And fortunately for us, the other couple seated at our table, a professor and his wife, were friendly and very excited that we had come ALL THE WAY FROM LOS ANGELES for this extravaganze. They introduced us to everyone they knew at the dinner, which was just about everyone at the dinner. It was delightful.



The professor leapt up at the end of the meal to offer a toast to the victims of the disaster, which seemed an appropriate way to end the evening. And then RB and I wobbled a few blocks back to the hotel we’d booked for the night. Thank you, good people of Visalia.



7 responses to “1st class dinner, April 14, 1912”

  1. FPS says:

    I was disappointed to find, in googling, that just what the hell Waldorf Pudding is has been lost to history.

  2. josh k-sky says:

    Google Books is your friend. Apples to fill a baking dish, crumbs over top, bake until soft. Then add eggs, milk and cream, according to 1899’s smash hit “Vermont Cookery.”

  3. J-Man says:

    Sounds like great fun! Did you feel any sort of pall cast over the evening because of what was being commemorated?
    That dining room looks beautiful – I’d love to go there someday. I’d probably take the 170 to the 5 to the 99, or I could take the 170 to the 5 to the 99 to the 65 and then head West.

  4. Tim says:

    That’s a four-fork place setting! Was there anyone available to assist in sorting out which fork was proper for each course?

    Thanks for sharing the experience with us. Looks like a lovely time. Very nice to have enthusiastic table mates, too, I’m sure.

  5. LP says:

    1-2: Mmm. I wish they’d served that.

    3: Ha! Nicely done. The 99 is the magic road. And no, there was no real pall on the evening – once people were into the second course, they’d already had 3 or 4 drinks, so it was pretty boisterous, actually.

    4: I started on the outside (with the forks) and went in. That’s the way to do it, right?

    Dave, you may be interested to hear that in lieu of actual champagne, New Mexico’s own Gruet was the bubbly of choice. It was delightful.

  6. Dave says:

    This looks fun and weird all at once. So, double fun! And yay for the Gruet.

    Did you all see the Twitter tweets by kids who apparently just found out that the Titanic was a real ship and not just an emotionally manipulative blockbuster movie?

  7. swells says:

    I did see that Twitter thing. I was teaching a Hardy poem about the Titanic last week (completely coincidentally, i swear) and I brought the Twitter thing up to my students, who reacted with the same indignation and surprise that I had. I was actually testing them to see if they knew it was real, but they seemed insulted that anyone their age wouldn’t (to my relief).

    As for this party, it looks fancy and fun and I don’t mean to be a spoilsport, but I can’t help being pretty troubled by it. I don’t want to be the one to say “What’s next, _____________ ?” . . . actually, any kind of mass-death-themed party I can think of to put in there (and there have been a few things) are in such poor taste that I’m not going to. I hate to say it, but I feel a little bit this way about this Titanic party.

    So, in hopes of counteracting my pinchedness, I hope you all have seen this: http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/03/30/kate-winslet-titanic-my-heart-will-go-on-celine-dion/