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Old Apr 6, 07, 9:08 am
  #2  
violist
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: IAD, BOS, PVD
Programs: UA, US, AS, Marriott, Radisson, Hilton
Posts: 7,203
France with my sweetie

UA1215 BWI ORD 0900 1011 733 2AB

No food, in fact, no service to speak of, on this flight.

UA 942 ORD CDG 1916 0940 763 5AB

The wines we had were a nice lemony Duval-Leroy Champagne
(available at the local Casino supermarket at E30 for two
bottles, so good price-performance ratio) and an Haut-Medoc
that was Cabernetty but otherwise certainly not worth my
remembering the name.

Hot towels, warm nuts. Service okay, not much more.

to begin
Smoked salmon, pate en croute with pistachio, Wensleydale
cheese and vegetable crudite, Parmesan pepper sauce

This was actually pretty decent, the salmon being a nice
thick slice of quite good fish; the pate was respectable
though tiny. Cheese: Cheddar, the same stuff as they were
serving for dessert under the name Kerrygold. Crudite was
pretty dried up - carrot, pepper, and something else I
forget, one baton each, and a tiny asparagus spear that
wasn't raw. The sauce tasted just like ranch dressing.

Fresh seasonal greens, buttermilk ranch or balsamic Dijon
vinaigrette

I had my salad dry. It was salad.

main course
Boneless beef short ribs with port wine sauce, twice
baked cheddar potato and green beans with red pepper
and marjoram

The meat was, as before, tasty and slightly fatty, the sauce
unduly sweet. It wasn't the exuberantly giant serving I'd
had before, in fact just enough, about 5 or 6 oz in one long
strip. I gave the potato to Carol and feasted on the green
beans, some of which were fine and some of which were old,
yellow, and nasty.

Pecan-crusted chicken breast with black peppercorn cream
sauce; rice pilaf with caramelized shallots and mixed
vegetables

The chicken was not badly cooked, but the crust was soggy
and tasted like varnish. Instead of rice, a potato as above
came; I'd arranged with Carol to switch her rice for my
potato and decided to give her my potato instead without
recompense; after one taste she refused mine, so I tasted
it: it was like wallpaper paste, only perhaps not so good.

Pasta rotollo
Egg, tomato and spinach pasta filled with ricotta,
mozzarella and Romano cheese and spinach with marinara sauce

The only one I heard ordered was the kid on the row 5 right
side window, and that was too far to snoop (we were in 5AB).

Please advise the flight attendant if you prefer to have
sauce served on the side

Express Dine
Today's Express Dine features an appetizer, a fresh entree
salad topped with a hot pecan-crusted chicken breast and
served with classic Caesar dressing and Eli's Creme Caramel
cheesecake for dessert.

dessert
International cheese selection
Kerrygold Vintage Cheddar, Port-Salut

The Cheddar didn't look like the Kerrygold they've served
in years past but was exactly like what had come with the
appetizer. I had had enough food so just had a Courvoisier.

Ice cream

prior to arrival
Continental breakfast featuring a fruit appetizer, yogurt,
breakfast bread and fruit preserves

I didn't have this, but it looked below average.

We arrived a little early, and we were pretty much first off
the aircraft and first through immigration (this was the
first time I've ever had my passport stamped in France, but
still the formalities took maybe 10 seconds). So we were
first at bag claim, first to get our bags, and first out of
there. A few minutes to get cash at the machine and to find
the shuttle bus to the RER (I guess I hadn't taken the RER
in a while, and the shuttle stop had changed). The station
itself was exactly as I remembered it a decade ago, and
there was a train presenting itself in just a few minutes.

So we got to Gare Austerlitz a bit early and wandered around
translating signs for practice until it was time to meet our
friend Denis's daughter for lunch.

It has been 6 years since we'd seen each other, and it was
hard to recognize Marlyse, who was a chubby adolescent back
then but who has grown into a cute young version of Philo,
her mother. Carol has cut her hair, and we both are a little
fatter, so the meeting was delayed by a few minutes while we
wondered whether we were us. Eventually we figured it out.

There are a lot of somewhat overpriced places near the
station, of which I picked the Relais de l'Auvergne. Not
a bad choice, but too much money for what we got.

Carol ordered the aligot, which wasn't nearly hot enough
and thus not nearly stretchy enough. I found it tasteless
(I'm not a Cantal cheese fan). It came with a saucisse de
Toulouse, rather porky but otherwise not interesting.

I got gesiers confits en salade, gray old duck gizzards
supplemented by pink new duck gizzards in a walnut-oil
vinaigrette over frisee lettuce: not bad. And then a
rather smelly andouillette made of at least three kinds
of tripe, the white honeycomb and two brown ones.

Marlyse had smoked salmon followed by her favorite food,
lasagne; she professed satisfaction.

Saint-Pourcain L'Ouvree 2004 was a light red wine, almost
a rose, not unpleasant but not at all notable.

After lunch we strolled through the Jardin des Plantes
until it was time to return to the station for our train.

SNCF 3655 PAR BVE 1647 2106 2/83-84

It hadn't cost a huge amount more for first class, so we got
that. There's not much difference: seating 3 across instead
of 4, 220V at every seat (but this day it wasn't working at
our places), somewhat comfier upholstery, but no free food -
just the man with the cart hawking Cokes, ice cream, ugly
sandwiches, and the lot. There are oddities of seating, too,
that I don't recall from second class, including facing
pairs of seats with legroom for one only - something they
seem to have sold with alacrity to unrelated parties, with
the frequent result that one person kept his legs in the
aisle at all times. The journey was okay and we arrived more
or less on time.

Ian and Jacquie were there to meet us in the snow and
freezing rain and take us the 40 minutes eastward into
the Correze. The main order of the day then, after a
quick wash, was what they described as "a light supper."

Started with Don Cavala pale dry - a pleasant and typical
Sherry - for aperitif, followed by magrets au gros sel in
a white wine - honey - thyme sauce that Ian generously gave
me credit for (apparently we'd discussed the ideal sauce
for baked duck some time ago). With this went potatoes fried
in duck fat with cepes and a salad with Jacquie's stunning
walnut oil balsamic vinaigrette. For afters, a sticky toffee
pudding. With this meal, we had a Merlot from the Charentes,
Domaine Grollet Merlot 2004, quite attractive, not very
acid, but the notable thing was it was bag-in-box.

For afters we did a comparison between a private bottling,
Calvados Yvonne et David 1964 hors d'age, pretty nice, and
an oak-aged English apple brandy, Somerset Alchemy 15 years
old, which was oaky, appley, leathery, and stunning and blew
the other away.

We toddled off next door to sleep in Room 1, the usual.
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