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Thursday, April 12:  Tonight my friend Mario and I meet in Muscat at Al Qurum Resort’s Jade Garden for the Thursday night Sushi Buffet.  We sit outside where white lights are strung in a kind of open-air gazebo pattern over a lush green lawn.  A swimming pool and walls of bougainvillea and other flowers create a garden-like atmosphere. It’s actually quite humid tonight in Muscat, which makes it a little uncomfortable.  Luckily, the food and wine make it all just fine.

on the lawn at Jade Garden

When the waiter comes to pour our water, he accidentally spills it in a big splotch on the tablecloth.  He apologizes profusely, asking us if we’d like to move, but Mario tells him instead he can just give us a free bottle of wine.  We order a bottle of Chianti and when he brings it and pours it, using a little wire basket with a handle, we remind him that this bottle of wine is free!  He laughs along with us.  Sadly of course, the wine is not free (It’s 13.5 rials plus tax, or over $35), but we continue teasing him nonetheless.  And we enjoy the wine despite the high price. 🙂

Chianti in a wire basket

Mario at the Jade Garden

We enjoy grazing on all the sushi offerings from the extensive buffet.  Various types of nigiri (shrimp, salmon, tuna), unagi (fresh water eel), maki (salmon rolls, California rolls, tuna rolls, vegetable rolls, chicken and mango rolls), and other items such as beet salad, miso soup, salmon salad, and hard-boiled eggs with fish roe are all in abundance.  It’s a sushi-lover’s dream, minus some of the fancier offerings I’m used to at sushi restaurants in the USA.  One thing I really miss are shrimp tempura rolls, which are conspicuously absent.  It’s still delicious however, and of course things are always fun with Mario.

This is my third plate… yum… 🙂

It is only after eating my third plate of sushi and making a trip to the ladies’ room that I notice a huge dessert table.  I return to the table and inform Mario about it.  He is surprised I hadn’t noticed it before.  We go back and sample bread pudding, flan, mango mousse, and lime & kiwi mousse with decorative chocolate pieces in it.

Overall, with the 10 rials each for the sushi, the 13.5 rial bottle of wine, the bottle of water, and the taxes, our entire bill is 42 rials, or 21 each ($55).  It’s never cheap to eat in Muscat.  It was well worth it though, especially just the chance to enjoy Mario’s company with good food and wine.

Sadly, I have to drive back to Nizwa after this feast.  Mario has smartly arranged a room in Muscat so we part ways and I drive the long drive back home alone.  It’s tough to stay awake on such a full belly!!

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