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Old Apr 12, 07, 1:18 pm
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: IAD, BOS, PVD
Programs: UA, US, AS, Marriott, Radisson, Hilton
Posts: 7,203
flight back

... and forgot about Daylight Saving Sunday.

Got up at 8, caught the RER at 9, checked in at 10:20, and
hoped for a chocolate croissant and a Remy at the club, but
it turned out it was really past 11 (I wonder how many
others had been caught by the time change); the check-in
agent highly discouraged our showing up at the club, so we
raced through emigration and got to the gate 11:30-ish. Huge
security line, and various other lines to get into, and we
were the last to settle into the middle cabin.

UA 943 CDG ORD 1210 1429 763 5EF

Warm nuts, hot towels, Channel 9, but the quality of the
sound was bad enough so it was virtually useless. Service
was okay but much better for the middle seats in row 5,
where the (male) passengers flirted heavily with two (male)
flight attendants who looked like twins.

to begin
Smoked salmon and coppa ham with arugula creme fraiche,
grilled pepper, kalamata olives

The salmon was less tasty than usual and the coppa was
more putrefied than usual. Good olives, decent boletti of
mozzarella, okay if slimy grilled pepper.

Fresh seasonal greens, peppercorn or balsamic vinaigrette

A chopped salad of mostly very bitter chicory; the real
selections were Asian sesame or balsamic. Apparently there
had been some catering cock-ups (I heard the F flight
attendant telling all those guys that their menu was
completely wrong, and they had a choice of filet or chicken,
take it or leave it).

main course
Pan-seared filet mignon with Madeira cafe de Paris sauce,
macedonian potatoes and sauteed spinach with garlic

I told the FA that I preferred this, and she smiled and
said, "and that's what you will get." There are some small
perks to being 1KMM.

My steak was done medium, which was okay, but wasn't a
filet at all! but rather a thinnish sirloin folded up to
resemble a thick chunk of meat. It had come undone sometime
during the preparation, and what I ended up with was a funny
Arc de Triomphe-shaped sculpture. The sauce was sugar water.
What are macedonian potatoes? Reconstituted hash browns with
lots and lots of bacon. The spinach was salty enough to give
you high blood pressure if you didn't have it before.

Filet of cod with zucchini thyme sauce, curried vegetable
couscous with pine nuts and asparagus, carrot and red
pepper saute

Porcini stuffed panserotti with creamy herb sauce, minced
vegetable ratatouille

To my surprise, Carol ordered this, and it was nasty. The
half-moon pasta were almost raw; the parsley sauce horrid.
Interestingly, the filling had a strong cep flavor, and if
one cut the pasta up and ate only the filling, that would
have been okay.


International cheese selection: Brie, Morbier

These were really Camembert and some other white moldy
thing, unlabeled.

Haagen-Dazs ice cream

Vanilla was very wimpy, and the other boule was vanilla
with candied pecans, pretty good (I tasted Carol's, didn't
have dessert of my own except for what ended up being most
of a bottle of Port).

midflight snack
Assorted treats are available between the two main meals.

The assortment: Toblerones and Walker's shortbreads.

prior to arrival
vegetable and cheese calzone, red bell pepper coulis

Cheese plate with fresh seasonal fruit: Cheddar, Brie,

They served back to front, and we were not offered the
cheese, which I think was pre-plated anyway. The calzone
was, oddly, not too bad, ratatouille and mozz in a doughy
but not horrid shell. The promised sauce was extremely acid
tomato with what appeared to be reconstituted minced onion.

featured wines
Billecart-Salmon Brut NV

Duval Leroy Brut NV

The usual, lemony, rather nothing. Interestingly, the
preflight pour was something strange, the first pour in the
air was a nice nutty thing, presumably the Billecart. And
after that, the Duval, which costs less.

White wine
Jaffelin Rully 04

I remember Jaffelin Burgundies as being very lightly oaked.
This tasted primarily of oak with just a tiny bit of lemony
Chardonnay character peeking out. Not bad but not what I'd

Estancia Pinnacles Chardonnay 04

Red wine
Chateau de Villegeorge 2004 (Haut-Medoc)

Warburn premium reserve Shiraz 05 (SA)

Very oaky, lots of blackberry fruit, not a bad wine all
told for the price, which was of course zero but which
I estimate at about $6-8 a bottle retail.

On the whole, I'd say that the meal and the service on the
flight didn't venture far above "barely acceptable." The
booze was acceptable.

Airshow claimed we were going to land at 1 pm, whereas we
actually landed at 2 pm, still early - the time change thing
had apparently foxed it as well; we cleared immigration and
customs in a jiffy (I'd checked yes for meat - cans of pate
and fritons), and after a quick consultation with a
colleague the guy sent me on my way). The first couple dozen
bags all came out bearing priority tags, ours amidst them.

Tried to get on the 3:45, but as we had checked bags, that
was deemed impossible. So off th the club to do a couple
hours' work and e-mail, which was fine. Carol, convinced
that as she was 0 for the last 3 on getting food in first
between Chicago and Baltimore, plied me with vast amounts
of carrots and raisins, the healthier and less disgusting
snack offerings, the others being Tillamook medium Cheddar
(actually not so bad) with Pepperidge Farm crackers, very
hard plums, very beat-up looking oranges and yellow and
red apples, Twix bars, and a couple kinds of granola and
breakfast bars.

UA 138 ORD BWI 1835 2126 752 2AB

This flight loaded up more or less on time and sat on
the taxiway for half an hour owing to what the captain
announced to be an inefficient runway pattern (he didn't
elaborate on that).

I was distinctly unhungry when supper was offered, but for
science's sake we tried one of either of the meals.

My Southwest chicken salad was surprisingly palatable -
better by far than any of the transatlantic offerings. A
half chicken breast rubbed with cumin, coriander, and what
tasted like ginger and lemon grass, warm and surprisingly
tender, over nondescript leafy greens with kernel corn,
black beans, American cheese bits, and fried noodles,
served with ranch dressing. On the same tray served at the
same time were a cup of warm mixed nuts, a tasteless
focaccia, and a little square of very sweet chocolate cake.

Carol had a hot deli turkey and provolone sandwich, which
she pronounced palatable.

We arrived at 9:41, suspiciously exactly 15 minutes later
than schedule.
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