Jun. 27th, 2016

yunikoneko: (Default)
Ben's work hosts a yearly holiday party that I usually find very uncomfortable because it's a black-tie event and I know very few of his co-workers. I've muddled through these events with the understanding that dressing up and having awkward social interactions with strangers are the price I'd have to pay for this particular fancy dinner. (The live music and dancing have been fun, too.) However, this year they decided to forego it in favor of throwing a big 30th anniversary party.

What registered when I glanced briefly at the Save the Date postcard was that there would be no holiday party, but instead a party on a boat. I'm not sure why I assumed it was a Hornblower dinner cruise type thing, given the scale of the previous holiday parties and how expensive and difficult it might be to organize such a thing if you had to add in getting everyone boarded by a certain o'clock. It turned out that they had actually reserved the USS Midway. The Midway is an aircraft carrier-turned-maritime museum, permanently moored at the harbor.

Neither of us was particularly excited about the prospect of driving downtown for a dinner party last Saturday, especially since, as Comic Con approaches, much of Ben's free time needs to be dedicated to working on his costume. Ultimately, I said we'd already RSVP'd, and it's free, so we should just go. I'm glad we did, because it turned out to be much more entertaining than the annual holiday party.

We went directly to the top deck, where there were food/bar stations, cocktail tables, and a live band playing amidst the aircraft. You could get your picture taken inside the cockpit, but we skipped it in favor of visiting the many food stations. I have a lot of pictures of food because Katie, who was on her sixth day of recovering from elective surgery, was bored out of her mind, so I spent the first part of the night texting her pictures between making plates.

There were three different kinds of hors d'oeuvres being walked around, but I only managed to snag two of them. I missed the mini quesadillas, but I managed to get a number of little bacon, fig, and goat cheese crostini (not pictured), and this delicious cocktail of shrimp in a green poblano chile sauce. Ben was not a fan of the sauce, but I could have eaten it all night if they did not also have....

Sushi rolls! The choices were cucumber, Cali, Philly, and Spicy Tuna. And I had all of them except for the cucumber roll, because I like to live life.

I saw some people walking around with skewers and was surprised to find out that it was both salmon and Korean bbq. They served it with a tangerine sauce over a bed of couscous. My mouth is watering just remembering it.

I skipped the cuppa salad shakers, but I took a picture because it was clever.

After we finished off the skewers and couscous, we headed below decks where the flight simulators were going. We had planned on looking for more food or dessert, but the line for the sim was pretty long so I said we ought to just queue up and let our stomachs settle before we eat so much food that we couldn't participate.

While we were waiting in line, his Ben's co-worker, Kyle, walked up to greet us. I don't think Ben directly works with Kyle, but Kyle participates in the lunchtime D&D game Ben DMs. The funny thing was, Kyle and his girlfriend totally sat with us at the first company holiday party I attended two years ago. I don't think Ben or Kyle realized it until Kyle said that he recognized me. I remember them as the friendly and cheerfully tipsy couple that made that particular party tolerable, but I completely forget the girl's name. I'm glad they're still together, though. Anyway, the wait was maybe 30 minutes or so. You could hear some people cheering or screaming inside the vehicles.

The only thing I regret is not screaming "Witness me!" as I pulled the plane into a sweet backward loop before crashing it and letting Ben take over steering.

They had a practice console before you went in, but it's tough to get the hang of it in only three minutes, especially since you have to share that time with whoever is riding with you. The graphics weren't super great and it was kind of hard to get an idea of how much to throttle because the plane's reaction time seemed slow. I mean, it's probably close to how it actually feels to pilot that kind of vehicle, but that's something you'd have to learn. And, unlike Ben, I actually was paying attention to the instrumentation.

Even though we ate before flying recklessly, neither of us horked. So after we got out, we headed to the closest dessert station.

We both started out with peach cobbler a la mode, which was delicious but not particularly attractive to look at, then moved on to the stack-your-plate-full-of-mini-pastries. Ben got one of almost everything, whereas I chose this cherry hazelnut velvet square and raspberry twinkle bonbon. Both were tasty, but also so rich and sweet that I wanted to drink a lot of water and eat a vegetable afterwards. I got my water, but we wound up eating whiskey soaked donut holes (also a la mode, served in a martini glass... idk why I didn't get a picture of that!). Then Ben got a horchata milkshake, which I thought was definitely too sweet, but was his favorite thing there.

On the far side of the deck was a braised beef station. It was so tender and delicious. ;_; Ben had a bite of mine but opted for the chicken parmigiana and pasta, instead.

After second-dinner, we wound up back at the French pastry table for second-dessert (third-dessert?). Raspberry cheescake and a lemon cone with fresh berries for me. This was a perfect ender, as it wasn't nearly as sweet as the velvet square and raspberry twinkle, and the tartness of the fresh berries helped cut the sweetness, too.

We missed the keynote speech, but managed to catch the celebratory fireworks.

From ViaSat 30th Anniversary Party

The party was scheduled to go on until midnight. The lower deck was half empty by the time we decided to go home, but the upper deck was still rocking. We left at a reasonable 9:30, but Ben decided to go to one of his many regularly-scheduled D&D games after he dropped me off and didn't get back home 'til about 1:30.

It occurs to me that I must have visited the Midway before, because I distinctly remember the part of the floor that is glass where, if you look down, you can see a mannequin of a maintenance worker many, many floors below, working on the engine. The rest of the ship just didn't particularly strike me as memorable, probably because I have stronger memories of visiting my dad aboard the ships that he served on. The smell is the same, though- the tang of salty air and metal.

All in all, a pretty fun night.


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