Old Jan 14, 17, 5:42 pm
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: DL PM, UA Gold, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 11,338
UA 418: EWR to SFO
January 13, 2017
Boeing 777-200 (sUA 3-class, J cabin), Dinner

This was actually my first time flying backwards, which was a little disconcerting on takeoff and landing. The 2-4-2 cabin is definitely cramped, but I can see how it was a big step forward over recliner J. Some nice food and stellar service helped make this a nice flight.

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As always, the good old menu removes any miscommunications, and also helps avoid problems with the occasional surly FA who offers "steak, chicken, or fish". It's a nice, inexpensive touch with elevates the p.s. experience.

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The appetizer continues to be by far my favorite part of the p.s. meal service. This month's duck with potato salad was admittedly a rather strange flavor set in my opinion, but the awesome part about small plates is that you don't get overwhelmed by a flavor monotony. One can comment "oh huh, duck and potato salad, that's weird" and move on. The duck was rich and quite tasty, and the pairing was interesting if not extraordinary. Really, I think UA missed a great idea here - take three of the appetizer plates, add a small serving of each main course, and bingo you have something like a ten course meal service for int'l F. Ah well, one can dream

This month's salad was... interesting. It was a very unique flavor profile with the seaweed providing a deep umami not usually found in a salad. It felt like it had a lot of potential, but it fell a little short. It was either missing a bold flavor accent (lemon olive oil is about the most uninspired dressing for this I can imagine), or the portion was simply about ten times too big. By about halfway through the salad, the edamame had me feeling like I was chewing through the entire Pacific Ocean before I could get on with dinner.

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised that UA food would even get me to think that critically about it. The salad has a lot of potential, but I think it's still missing a few things. At least the front of the cabin means bread basket => pretzel roll

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I was not terribly enthusiastic about any of the mains, but I opted for the steak to see how it would come out. The steak itself was actually fantastic. Unfortunately, I don't really care for its accompaniment. I'm somewhat biased by never having liked sweet potatoes, but both of the sides seemed to be vast flavor sinks which overwhelmed the steak and its seasonings. It's one of the only times I've ever opened my salt on a UA flight, and even that couldn't really salvage the beans and potatoes. Too much painfully blank starch, and not enough expression. Something more traditional like garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus would do much better.

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Hard to criticize the full sundae cart. I'm a purist, so it's vanilla with a splash of strawberry for me.
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