FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - 2010 ASTA (string teachers' association, not travel agents) convention
Old Mar 14, 10, 10:34 am
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: IAD, BOS, PVD
Programs: UA, US, AS, Marriott, Radisson, Hilton
Posts: 7,198
At 0530, disaster struck in the form of room service
pounding on my door and shouting. Someone had ordered
coffee, and the hotel thought it was I. It wasn't. I told
whomever rather gruffly to go away and tried to get back
to sleep; when that failed, I rather gruffly called guest
services and complained; then tried to get back to sleep.
When that failed, I rather gruffly went downstairs and
complained to the night manager, who offered to comp my
lunch; I said that all I wanted was my too affronted sleep,
so give me free Internet, a glass of brandy, and 6 pm
checkout, potentially corrective of the situation and
costing the hotel almost nothing. This was all granted.
The brandy was a double, something really nasty and not
either of the brands advertised on the room service menu;
the Internet connection thought that was a
phishing site and cut my speed to 56K because of it; but
the late checkout was much appreciated and taken advantage
of. I finally did get to sleep after breakfast, and that
was good.

Speaking of which, breakfast was at 1130. I'd made that
valuable Open Table reservation and appeared for lunch only
to be told that it was breakfast until noon. Okay, whatever;
I ordered the least breakfasty thing available - a facsimile
of Joe's Special, that Bay area peculiarity of scrambled
eggs, ground beef, and spinach. The good thing was that the
extraneous cheese that sometimes comes with didn't. Less
good things: the portion was smallish, and the taste was
bland. An undercooked, prebuttered English muffin came
with. I had a beer with this, which added substance and
flavor (as did about 10% of a bottle of Tabasco). Service
was good.

At almost 6, my friends JT and the Cab, fresh from playing
in the opera pit for Boheme, came to take me to dinner and
my next destination, the Homewood Suites, essentially
apartment blocks by the airport run by Hilton. Turns out
this facility is right by the light rail, and I could have
saved a fair amount by booking here rather than the Hilton.
Or better, I could have alternated and gotten 4 stays
instead of 2.

JT popped in to look at (pass judgment on) my accommodation:
a fairly comfortable 1-bedroom apartment that one would pay
several times as much for in New York, but that's the beauty
of this kind of place - they get to rent space in less
promising parts of the country for big city prices, and I
bet if they get 25% occupancy they're happy.

A sizable living room and kitchen area with a full-size
fridge, full-size nuke, 2-burner range, pretty good cooking
stuff, corkscrew (important!), and dishwasher. The bedroom
was of generous size with a firm and newish king bed
(there's less and less difference among the sleeping
accommodations as places gradually are renovated and conform
to some kind of no doubt researched standard). Bathroom
quite spacious and clean. I dropped off my gear and then
off to dinner at Siena in Willow Glen.

We got there and it was closed (Sunday night), so we tried
Vin Santo across the street, which has a family-style AYCE
arrangement for $20 a head on certain slow nights, plus it's
iDine as well.

We asked for the pear-walnut-spinach-Gorgonzola salad to be
served with the cheese on the side, and it was, and
everything was quite good, down to the balsamic reduction
drizzled over. Next came eggplant Parm, which was lighter
than the norm, also good. The pasta course was two dishes,
rotini with wild mushrooms, mostly oyster, in a cream sauce
that was understated and delicious, and penne Bolognese,
in a robust red sauce that was overstated and delicious,
with chunks of Italian sausage instead of or perhaps
augmenting the usual ground mystery meat and parts.

Our secondo was chicken piccata, tender and lemony, with
lots of capers; on the side, garlicky broccoli saute and
roast potatoes.

For afters, tiramisu of an industrial sort, but palatable.

Maley Merlot 2004 was sort of old-tasting, sort of cooked-
tasting, but pretty brambly and okay. This didn't come with
but was something like $30.

My friends dropped me back at the motel, where the bed did
its work effectively.
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