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to PacNW for SeaDoo etc. (last August)

to PacNW for SeaDoo etc. (last August)

Old Dec 20, 09, 11:29 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: IAD, BOS, PVD
Programs: UA, US, AS, Marriott, Radisson, Hilton
Posts: 7,193
to PacNW for SeaDoo etc. (last August)

0812 UA 171 BOS SFO 0600 0930 752 2A Ch9 Empower

The choices were: $50 cab ride with a company I don't trust;
$239++ at the Hilton; or get to the airport before public
trans stopped and hang out for 5 hours. After a desperate
look at Hotwire and Priceline, I chose the last option.
There was a bunch of desk work to do, so the time was well
spent, though sitting in a rocker and using my carry-on as a
desk was not ideal; plus I did nod off over the computer
once or twice. The airport is reasonably buzzful all night,
and I wonder why there isn't a bar or cheap diner handy.

After coming to a natural stopping place in my work, I got
my BPs, went through security (two bottles of Bacon Salt
didn't elicit any interest; I'd taken the precaution of
putting them in the outside part of the bag for easy access
if necessary) in mere moments, and camped out outside the
RCC for the wireless access. When the club opened I didn't
bother to go in, staying put until boarding. Blended in
right at the back of Zone 1, despite the open and inviting
red lane.

Periodic testy announcements during boarding about keeping
the aisles clear, getting seated promptly, and there being
no extra seats to switch to, so don't even try. And that
65% of the flight had international connections, which I
thought remarkable.

A pleasant cabin crew who got me Courvoisier whenever I
wanted, which was but thrice.

This aircraft featured particularly fuzzy audio, which was
remedied by turning up the volume a couple notches louder
than normal. Channel 9 was available, as was the choice
of a spinach, artichoke, and cheese omelet or the fruit
plate. I had a double dose of snooze, thanks to my Channel
9 lullaby and the periodic ingestion of calming liquids.

A kiss landing.

We got in a little early, so I had plenty of time at the
club to do e-mail and marvel at the fragrance of the Renewal
Lounge. Got to the gate in the midst of boarding, but as
others were still using the red lane, I did as well.

UA 322 SFO SEA 1015 1213 752 2D Ch9 Empower

Same gate; same aircraft; same audio. I found myself on the
opposite side, so there was no opportunity to self-sight.
The portly gent next to me kept texting throughout the whole
trip, hiding his PDA whenever the flight attendant went by.
The behavior seemed juvenile and addicted, but he didn't get
us all killed. When I fell asleep he was at it; when I woke,
at final approach, he was still doing it. I shake my head.

My buddies met me with a list of lunch places, including
the option of trying something new, which I voted for. This
turned to be a building south of Tacoma with the tantalizing
word BARBECUE painted in fading letters; I'd inquired about
it before, and they'd passed by it hundreds of times, but
nobody in our acquaintance had ever tried it. The Barbecue
Inn, it turns out, has indeed been there a long time, and is
more a Barbecue Bar than anything else. Not a problem, some
really good food comes out of really divey places that
nobody has ever heard of. We were welcomed warmly into a
pretty empty room whose obvious real purpose was to dispense
ardent spirits. Of which I had an amber ale, Annie had iced
tea, and Harry H2O, hold the straw.

I cleverly put my elbows on the table at the exact same time
that Annie was using it to help her sit down, and the table
tipped a bit, and her iced tea went rocketing into space.
Luckily my beer was intact.

She had a smoked beef sandwich, which she pronounced good;
Harry's pulled pork was, he opined, undersmoked if at all.

As it was my turn to treat, I got the fanciest thing on the
menu, the ribs and chicken quarter (dark or light) combo.
Two quite meaty, quite tender ribs, the smoke not apparent,
but fresh meat and pretty tasty. The chicken was smokier
but still mild - juicy, tender, and also fresh.

The cook came out to check on us - not a grizzled old vet
but rather a kid who looked just out of his teens. He seemed
proud of his work and pointed out the pork melted in your
mouth. I agreed.

Sauces on the side. The extra-spicy was mildly sweet with
ketchup in the background, the heat coming from a healthy
dose of chile powder. It wasn't bad, but the meat didn't
benefit much from it, so I used it sparingly.

Every lunch comes with a side: cole slaw was a bit too sweet
for my taste, but not too gooey, so that was points in its
favor; it was also fresh cabbage, reasonably fresh cut,
reasonably freshly made. Black-eyed peas appeared to come out
of a can. Harry hypothesized that at one time it had had a
piece of pork dragged through it, but I was unable to detect
any. My fries ordered well done were well-done fries done
pretty well - a commercial product but nice and crisp; the
extra hot sauce with its not overwhelming sweetness helped.

Back to the house for a rest, then the bus to the park, a
speedy and convenient trip, saving a fortune in parking
and a lot of rush-hour annoyance.

At Safeco we saw a dandy 13 1/2 inning shutout between the
White Sox and the Mariners.

In the middle of this gem, we went out for dinner, Harry
getting a burger with garlic fries, and myself trotting
over to Ivar's for clams and chips well done. His burger
was big, and his fries impressively garlicked. My clam
strips were one notch below Ho Jo's, with an aroma that
reminded me of Snow's minced and an overthick breading.
My chips were from the same foodservice pack as Harry's,
but the well doneness helped a little. I dipped the ends of
a couple in his garlic, and that was plenty of garlic for me.

In the bottom of the 14th, with two on, Griffey came up to
pinch hit for Rob Johnson, who had hit the rocket to Kotsay
in I think the 8th that almost made the extra innings
unnecessary. Willie the seating host pointed out that there
wasn't much in the catching department for inning 15; I
said that this was an obvious win it or lose it on Griffey
move, and to counter it the Sox should have him walked - a
suggestion countered by the assertion from the peanut
gallery that one should never give a free pass to a .230
hitter, no matter his lineage or history. Whereupon the man
lined one into the right field corner scoring Adrian Beltre,
and that was that - and we poured out onto the street after
a nearly 4 hr game that had started out like a 1.5 hr one.

Impressive loading of the public bus: the dispatcher got on
and, after giving standees the opportunity of standing or
catching the next bus in moments, sent us on our way.
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Old Dec 21, 09, 6:12 pm
  #2  
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Breakfast at the Mandolin Cafe, one of many funky places
in the area that has free wi-fi: Bourbon walnut pie, rather
like pecan pie, only with walnuts, flavored with just a tiny
whiff of whiskey. This was matched well by a pale ale that
I'd not heard of (Full Sail was on draft but was off) but
that was pretty decent.

Then to the Ram: Harry, instead of his usual burger, got a
Cobb, which seemed kind of normal; Annie, instead of her
usual burger, got a meatloaf sandwich, which came topped
with fried onion strings: a good sandwich. My surf and turf,
an 8-oz sirloin, medium-rare as or... whoops, I asked for
extra rare but didn't get it, plus three rather overheavily
panko-crusted shrimp, was decent. I substituted Ram chips
for the normal potato. A pint of porter, chocolaty and
rich, was nice but not substantial. I should have had the
1-lb burger, as after all this I was still on the peckish
side. I called over the little blonde waitress and asked
for a supplemental order: the 8-oz burger, rare, followed
by a skinny IPA. I had thought of ordering a skinny blonde
but thought she might be insulted. The burger was fine and
came with more Ram chips (thick-cut house-made crisps);
the IPA was moderately hopped but well balanced. That was
finally enough food, so we went back to the house for a
snooze. I was wakened abruptly with the news that it was
time for the bus again. Tonight, the Yankees, with C. C.
Sabathia matched against some guy named Ian Snell. Perhaps
the public sensed what was going to happen, as the park
wasn't stuffed full. Harry had high hopes for this series.
Wrong-o. Snell got the visitors out in the first, with the
particularly propitious beginning of striking out Jeter;
but it was downhill from there. Carnage was the word that
came to mind. When it became 6-0, Harry and I left Annie
behind and went off to drown our sorrows. I had a Manny's
pale ale, a tolerable brew, not my first choice but what
was at the stand where we got Annie a hot dog; Harry had a
Chivas. By the time we got back to our seats (lovely ones
on the Terrace level), the score had ballooned to 9-1. The
Mariners' only run came from some rookie kid's first major
league hit, an impressive dinger but way too little way too
late. The kid had just been called up because Adrian Beltre
had sustained some sort of ouchish damage in the previous
night's game.

The game not holding our full attention, Harry and I went
wandering down to the first level, where the sushi parlor,
about to close up, sold me a Full Sail pale ale (pretty
nice) and an Ichi-roll, an insufficient amount of shredded
tuna tossed with quite a lot of srirachoid sauce and rolled
with too much cucumber with sushi rice and nori of course.
It was okay. As we were about to run off, I spotted a can
of Hapi brand sriracha peas, which of course I had to buy.
These are sort of like wasabi peas but with a sweet garlicky
hot pepper and vinegary (srirachoid) coating; not bad until
the bottom of the tin, where much of the acid lurked. Then
back to our seats for the 8th, which wasn't nice for us.
When the smoke cleared, it was 11-1, and we decided to
escape, and we got the last 3 seats on a bus that got us
home in jig time. That 11-1 turned out to be the final.

A Harbin beer beer at the house to drown our sorrows: this
is a Manchurian product that was reminiscent of a light,
slightly skunky German beer: Harry thought it was like St.
Pauli Girl.
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Old Dec 23, 09, 7:10 pm
  #3  
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Katie Down's is a waterfront tradition, which, along with
the neigboring Ram, I always look forward to. It's both a
bit costlier than the Ram and also a bit more divey. But
it has steamed clams, as well as things Annie can eat. An
order of crabcakes was half the price of the crabcakes I
am used to; but it also contained less than half the crab.
The frying was well done, though, and the bread cakes were
set on a good-tasting sweet red pepper puree. Annie liked
the dish; Harry and I focused our attention on a couple pounds
of steamed Manila clams; good and plain, plain good. Harry is
a proponent of west coast steamers, whereas I find them to
take a back seat to the easties. I told him that someday I'd
convince him, if it took a couple plane tickets to do so.

On the bus Friday, some lady we got into a conversation with
had said that Katie's pizza was the best in town, and Annie
wanted to test this assertion: a personal pizza with red
sauce and extra cheese, very brown and appetizing-looking,
was deemed good but hardly the best in town. Harry and I
confined our attention to a pitcher of Mac & Jack's porter,
which was satisfying if a little burned tasting and a little
vegetally tasting at the same time. Oddly, the second glass
didn't taste so good as the first.

In a discussion with one of the waitresses we determined
that 1. if we'd showed up half an hour later, we'd have been
able to get twice the clams for the price; and 2. there was
a place at the other end of town, Steamers, that might have
razor clams. We debated either 1. staying there and getting
happy hour steamers or 2. checking out Steamers. We did #2.
There didn't seem to be any.

Instead of going back to Katie's, we decided to self-cater
and so headed to Metropolitan Market, where a free wine
tasting was in full swing. Except the ABC people were there,
and I was denied the pleasure owing to having left my
passport home; I stood there and schmoozed the manager,
Harry's buddy Kelly, while he and Annie tasted fruit-forward
quaffs of various sorts. No great loss, thought I, looking
at the list. I picked up a half pound of smoked mussels, a
promising-looking Snake River Farms American-style Kobe
chuck roast, and a bottle of wine. The market had no problem
taking my money without ID.

A friend of Harry's had bequeathed him with a case or two of
beer, among which were the evocatively named Fat Tire and
Skinny Dip, from the New Belgium brewery in Fort Collins.
These beers are less characterful than their names, and I
don't see that they deserve either the opprobrium nor the
praise that factions of beeries garner them with. They
were fine but hardly more so.

The mussels were delicious; last time they'd been not quite
clean; this time, pretty much perfection. I separated the
chuck roast into three steaky things and pan-broiled them.
Major yums, the Kobeness of the beef manifesting itself in
a sirloin-like level of tenderness and the depth of flavor
that I love chuck for.
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Old Dec 26, 09, 2:00 pm
  #4  
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Posts: 7,193
Next day. To the Sheraton.

Took the bus with Harry, who got off at Royal Brougham to
work the Mariners game. I proceeded to Union and the hotel,
where I discovered my room not ready. So off to Chicken
Valley at Pike Place Market. where the girl mistook my
order for "a little under a pound of gizzards and livers
mixed" for half a pound. She made an executive decision
and gave me all gizzards and one liver. The gizzards were
terrific, the liver kind of grainy and overdone, so maybe
she had been protecting me from myself. Still a little
peckish, I asked for a fried chicken thigh, which was from
the chicken that ate Atlanta and was very delicious. Back
to the hotel, where I was pleased to get a nice though not
large corner room.

As I'd had little sleep over the past few days, I took a
brief nap and then walked a mile or so down to the Tamarind
Tree, where even though early, I was not the first there,
and there was a knot of folks milling about out front.

It turns out that though the owner had taken missy's
reservation, he had not communicated the fact that there
were going to be forty ravenous FTers converging on the
joint. A bit of a contretemps, fixed with comped red ink,
er, wine. We were seated about an hour late, during which
time a certain amount of stain made its way onto a certain
number of pieces of clothing.

We were seated at three or four long tables and were served
a pleasant and sufficient meal.

Vegetarian spring rolls started things off. They were
pretty good but quite starchy, I mean starchier than I am
accustomed to.

Pineapple salad with chicken satay was good, but only 4 or 5
satays came out. I complained twice, despite being one of
the original beneficiaries. Eventually everyone got enough
satay, though the other end of the table had to wait until
almost dessert time to get them.

A bulgogiish preparation of soy sauce short ribs followed;
there was enough of this. It was respectable.

Lemongrass chicken - yummy.

Peppered halibut and mushrooms in clay pot was problematic,
as not only did some of us not eat halibut, some of us also
did not eat mushrooms. The dish was peppery and halibutty.

Garlic green beans and tofu got universal kudos.

We finished with a peculiar take on fresh rolls, an odd dish
that combined rice sheet, vegetables, shrimpy things (I
can't swear to their actually being shrimp), and sweet
potato fries. I'd like to unravel this dish sometime under
more ideal circumstances of undarkness and undrunkenness.

A bunch of 33 beers, which were fine.

For afters, flan, which was a little rubbery but otherwise
fine, and the famous banana cake with peanuts and coconut
milk.

jswong wanted company walking back to the W; I said, why not
go all the way to the Kells, so we did. A quick look around
revealed a noisy somewhat younger crowd, live music of a
sort that tends to make my head hurt, and nobody familiar
jumping out to say hi. So JS said, the bar at the W is nice
(and was only a few blocks away). Unfortunately, though the
bar there seems fine, the waiter who said he would be right
with us left us hanging for 15 minutes, whereupon we decided
to try the lobby lounge at the Sheraton ... which was closed
- so we gave up and said our goodbyes. Anyhow, I'd been
recruited for a Woodinville adventure in the morning and
needed to get my beauty sleep.

But for some reason, I got up at the crack of dawn, went
downstairs, did the mail and the FT, and cast about for some
sort of breakfast. The Daily Grill didn't seem promising,
and after considering breaking into the big bag of Rocas
that I'd got for the party, I decided to hope against hope
and go see if the fryers had been frying all night at
Chicken Valley. Of course not. Ended up getting a pound of
king crab legs at Pure Food Fish Market and a skewer of red
roast pork at the moon cake place (an ounce of the stuff in
a big bun, $2.29, 6-7 oz on a stick, $2.89). The king crab
was fresh, one evidence, beside the taste, being that
afterwards my hands didn't smell fishy; the roast pork an
odd mixture of lean pieces and fatty pieces, but not (the
ideal) marbled lean-and-fatty pieces. The crab was rather
briny, and I looked in vain for a beer at that hour; also,
I got a fragment of body meat, which tasted like gasoline.
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Old Mar 8, 10, 12:06 pm
  #5  
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Join Date: Mar 2000
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Programs: UA, US, AS, Marriott, Radisson, Hilton
Posts: 7,193
finishing this off finally

Back to the room, where there was work to be done, and in no
time I had to go downstairs and rendezvous with the winos,
er, oenophiles.

Present: Jackal [designated driver], Bob W, beckoa, lili,
lili+1 (Nick), nor4, moi.

Our destinations were Columbia and Ch. Ste. Michelle across
the street from it, an easy and jolly half-hour ride from
the hotel (with a quick stop in the north part of Seattle
to pick up nor4).

Columbia has gotten more tourist-friendly since I was there
last, with good food options - free munchies and reasonably
priced flatbread pizzas, impressive function areas, and a
briskly competent tasting room staff.

My scribbles:

Viognier 08 - pineapple, peach; some touch of spice; light
body; citrus on the palate; yeasty, almost bready finish.

Covey Run reserve Grenache (86 Grenache, 14 Malbec) -
blueberry/cherry, spicy nose, tannic but a little dumb or
empty on the palate; spicy finish [of course I can't find
the vintage date in my notes].

Breccia 06 (Sangiovese/Barbera) - this being the house's
Tuscan-style offering - a bit thin; acid - sort of like
unripe blackberries; didn't care for it (though others
among us liked this a ton).

Red Willow vineyard:

Cabernet 06 - a bit hot and green, stemmy, cherries,
strawberries, touch of mint. Not quite ready.

Peninsula 02 - lots of depth but still a little green;
plums; peppery.

Syrah 04 - odd animal smell that didn't ever quite blow
off; plums and spice, medicinal; long finish.

Of the lot, I think I preferred the Red Willow Cab, but
on the whole it seems they don't measure up to the
wines I used to buy here a couple decades ago.

=

Across the street to Ch. Ste. Michelle for the Reserve Room
Tasting, where we were treated to

Cold Creek Chardonnay 07 - theirs: Aromas of apple and lemon
with toast flavors on the finish. Foods: seafood risotto,
salmon, veal; 100% Chardonnay. Mine: pleasant spice and
citrus; too yeasty (the "toast" flavors).

Cold Creek Merlot 06 - theirs: Flavors of dark fruit with
hints of bittersweet chocolate. Foods: lamb, pasta, beef,
fowl; 78% Cold Creek Merlot 22% Cold Creek Cabernet
Sauvignon. Mine: coffee, plum, cherry. Tannic. Didn't
thrill me.

Cold Creek Cab S 06 - theirs: Concentrated black fruit with
aromas and flavors of blackberry jam. Foods: beef, hearty
pastas, veal; 98% Cabernet Sauvignon 2% Merlot. Mine:
beeswax and blackberry, a little tough. Anise in back. I
liked it. Check.

Col Solare Bx blend (Cab S, Merlot, Cab F) 05 - theirs:
Aromas of black cherry, berry and dark chocolate fuse with
smooth notes of vanilla and spice. Foods: beef, pasta,
lamb; 71% Cab S. 25% Merlot 4% Cab F. I found it full of
blackberry and vanilla with big tannin and a raisin vanilla
finish; quite fine. Others supposedly thought it Italianate.
Check.

Chenin Blanc ice wine 06 - theirs: Intensely rich with
ultra ripe melon aromas and flavors with a clean acidity.
Foods: fresh fruits, custards, soft cheeses; 100% Horse
Heaven Chenin Blanc. Mine: green tea, pineapple, apricot;
a little flat with lowish acidity. Less successful than
other stickies I've had from here - they used to make
terrific late-harvest Riesling and Semillon that I drank
a decade or two ago.

Off the tasting, but we were allowed (probably because of
Bob W) into the club area for a sneak preview of the

Canoe Ridge Cab S 06 - pleasant, spicy, black pepper, black
tea, blackberry, black everything. Quite nice. Not ready.

Ethos Merlot 06 - less fruit than I'd have expected; a
little open alcohol; spicy; blueberries and cherries with a
dried blackberry finish.

On the whole I liked these wines better than the ones across
the street - the reverse of my preferences in the '90s and
earlier '00s. Columbia really appears to have fallen
behind, and I'm not sure why.
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Old Mar 8, 10, 12:07 pm
  #6  
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Posts: 7,193
We'd been pretty expeditious and on schedule and stuff, so
there was time to stop by the tasting rooms of Mark Ryan and
J. Bookwalter, which are right on the highway.

A festive buzz at Mark Ryan - apparently a fashionable house
that has gotten quite a lot of press recently in the big
name journals. I found the wines worthy but not maybe so
exciting as others have; and the prices are really high.

Long Haul 06 (mostly Merlot with some Petit Verdot and Cab
Franc) - very tannic yet a bit sweet, powerful, a little
green, blackberries prominent on the finish;

Water Witch Bordeaux Blend 06 (Cab S, Merlot) - vanilla,
blackberry, rather like a milkshake; didn't care for it;

Dead Horse 06 (Cab S, Cab F, Merlot, Petit Verdot) acidy
nose, cedar, mint, blueberry, blackberry; a powerful and
interesting wine;

Wild Eyed Syrah 07 - smoke and blueberries; interesting;

Dissident Red 07 (Merlot, Syrah, Cab S, Petit Verdot) -
too sweet; coffee, blackberry, a kick of anise;

Dissident White 08 (Viognier, Chardonnay) - tropical
fruit and apple, a bit too sweet.

Next door the Bookwalter room was uncrowded and relaxed by
comparison, despite a pretty nice product and a very
glamorous young blonde pourer.

Foreshadow 06 (Cab S, Petit Verdot, Malbec) - coffee,
toffee, chocolate yet not overrich; good black currant;
a pretty nice wine;

Columbia Valley Cab 05 - the usual berry-cherry axis, good
oak, more what I expected than the above. Also a good wine,
but the Foreshadow seemed to me to have more character;

Protagonist 06 - acidy bright, which I didn't really
appreciate, but balanced with high tannin. Too unripe
for me - my opinion is atypical, though;

Novella 06 late harvest Sauvignon Blanc - floral nose,
citrus and stone fruit. I thought this one a particularly
terrific bargain and so bought a couple.
-
There were sundry messages on various phones from Fred
Martens inviting people to his place for a pre-party wine
event. So we went. Copious rather mature wines from Spanish-
and Portuguese-speaking countries. I didn't take notes,
having burnt out on that and enjoying the company too much.
-
To Missy's, where we were greeted by her smiling self,
several dozen smiling cohorts, the fanciest port-a-potty
in Christendom, salmon, tri-tip, and turkey. My small
contribution: Almond and Cashew Rocas; Oremus Tokaji late
harvest 05; and the Bookwalter LH SB that I thought so
interesting at the tasting room. The Rocas have a story.
Apparently Fred Haley had the good idea of donating Almond
Roca to be included in the rations of the Pacific Theater
GIs, who, in addition to becoming addicted to the sweet
little things, used them as good-will attracting devices
among the natives. They acquired a reputation among Asians
(Chinese in particular) for being a high-prestige item,
and among Chinese expats climbing the American economic
ladder they became one of the few house gifts that actually
got consumed. Two asides from 1960-ish. My father once
opened a box of chockies that had been given to us as a
hostess gift, and guess what, it was several years old and
quite bizarre in every way; I still tried one; it was nasty.
Another gift on another occasion was a box of Almond Roca,
which was opened avidly and consumed avidly; I asked for
one and was told that these were for adults only: on
persistent inquiry I was granted a one-time exception,
whereupon I discovered that they were for adults only,
and I was an adult. Fast forward 38 years, when at my
reunion a certain lady and I found a mutual attraction, and
we started going out, and guess what? She was a Roca
heiress, and I became reacquainted with the crunchy treats.
Subsequent ladyfriends have forbidden me from Rocas owing
to this association, and as I was relatively unattached at
this Do, I felt free to go to the store and buy about 10 lb,
of which a third went to the party.

Nobody seemed to be familiar with the Oremus . I suppose
that that's not a big surprise in this era of regional
pride and specialization.

The Bookwalter late harvest SB didn't get opened, but I'm
sure it will be appreciated where it ended up.

I got pretty muzzy and didn't take - or at least keep - any
wine notes.
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Old Mar 8, 10, 12:07 pm
  #7  
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Join Date: Mar 2000
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Posts: 7,193
Caught a ride with dedehans and Hans, and we repaired to the
Lobby Bar for drinks. In bed at an unconscionably early hour
... but then got up at 2. Words of experience: there's
nothing to do around the Sheraton at 0200, unless you want
to get in major, major trouble.

monitor called around 9. There was a ride to be had to the
airport, if I wanted to get there early. Fine with me, more
time to schmooze.

Got to the airport in jig time, said bye to monitor and
Franny, and arranged to check out the Board Room with lili
and Nick, who had invited me to join them. Screening was a
snap, and I was in front of the room in about 10 minutes,
but owing to a security breach and accompanying lockdown, I
didn't find them until after 11. I'd even had them paged and
everything.

Turns out that even with her first-class ticket and numerous
elite status she doesn't have guesting privilege, so I ended
up springing for a day pass (she felt guilty for not being
able to follow through on her invitation and split the cost
with me).

We ran into Cholula and his lovely wife and chatted with
them for a good long time.

There's a 3 drink max at the club! Oh, well. I had one of
lili's and one of Nick's, as they headed off fairly early,
and stole one, and ended up with 6. I am mildly fond of
Alaska Amber, and after dropping the dough I felt entitled
to as many as I could choke down.

At noon soup comes out. This day it was "basil chicken chili
with beans," but despite that inauspicious monicker it
turned out to be filling and fairly decent, though rather
bland - a dose of hot sauce would have helped quite a bit.

Up to the N gates, where I bade goodbye to Cholula and +1.

The RCC men's room has three sinks. Two were inop, and the
other was clogged with blown chunks. What a classy airline.

0817 UA 980 SEA DEN 1438 1815 752 2A Ch9 Empower

A full flight, mostly smooth and uneventful, it seems: I
must admit that I slept from before the safety briefing
until the meal order and then from the conclusion of lunch
to touchdown.

The meal was the deli plate that I recall from numerous
redeye flights: one slice of salty but real roast beef; two
of smoked turkey; one slice each of very bland semisoft
cheese and very bland yellow Cheddar; one slice each of
watermelon and pineapple; and a spray of grapes. Not bad,
but not first class, either.

UA 980 DEN BOS 1905 0053 752 5D Ch9 Empower

A peculiar dinner, served on one tray:

hummus and crackers - this came without explanation, a big
ball of the stuff on a lettuce leaf, more than your average
diner would want to eat, unless a middle easterner, in
which case it would be the whole meal; the stuff was okay,
somewhat underseasoned and underlemoned;

chicken teriyaki with vegetables (green beans, red Bell
peppers, carrots, zucchini) and soapweed rice - a half
breast, surprisingly tender, with a sweet ginger glaze;
okay veggies, too much cilantro in the rice;

mixed fancy greens salad with red Bell peppers and dried
apple - pretty standard, served with that Asian sesame
dressing;

crumbly, slightly stale Black Forest cake.

The red wine was a weird, cooked-tasting Zin whose identity
I didn't run out to seek; speaking of running out, it did,
whereupon it was replaced by a Malbec, but I was on
Courvoisier by that time.

We landed a bit late, but that's not a big deal as I didn't
have anyplace to go.
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