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Visiting and fressing in Pennsylvania

Visiting and fressing in Pennsylvania

Old Jun 18, 09, 5:04 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: IAD, BOS, PVD
Programs: UA, US, AS, Marriott, Radisson, Hilton
Posts: 7,203
Visiting and fressing in Pennsylvania

US1023 BOS PHL 0630 0756 734 4A
was 1811 0830 1001 E90 12F

The kiosk offered me the earlier flight at no cost. Hey,
why not. Give me 3 hours to enjoy the beauties of PHL and
do FT at the RCC.

Flight was fine and fast. Courteous though uninvolved
FA service.

Comparison of the RCC versus the USAC (F terminal,
comparable in size).

staff:
UA: courteous if a little gruff; helpful
US: courteous if a little diffident; helpful
Ever so slight edge to US

amenities:
UA: furniture semi-comfy; a bit outdated
US: furniture semi-comfy; a bit outdated
A wash

restrooms:
UA: fairly clean, small, inadequately ventilated
US: clean, small, nicely appointed, airy
Edge: US

coffee:
UA: Bunn-O-Matic regular and decaf, espresso machine,
good selection of teas and herbal teas
US: Flavia system, a couple teas
Edge: UA

breakfast snacks:
UA: pre-staled Sara Lee cake; yogurt, raisins, fruit
US: amazingly underbaked blueberry muffins; yogurt, fruit
A wash

lunch snacks:
UA: cheese, crackers, crudites, chips and salsa, potato
chips, raisins, Sun Chips
US: cheese, crackers, crunchy salty junk, potato chips
Edge: UA, slightly

bar:
UA: decent selection, amusing bartender who can make
fancy drinks
US: okay selection, bartender hardly forthcoming

entertainment:
UA: TV with unchangeable inane programming
US: TV with unchangeable inane programming
A wash

Internet:
UA: free wireless
US: costly wireless (apparently soon to change)
Edge: UA (apparently soon to equalize)

business amenities:
UA: telephones in TV room only; copier; spartan cubicles
with bad temperature control
US: telephones, some of which work; copier, shredder, fax;
spacious well lit cubicles
Edge: US

On the whole, all the fighting about the superiority of one
okay club over the other is kind of silly.

US4118 PHL IPT 1051 1144 DH8 2A was 4F

Unfortunately, this process changed my seat from the exit
shady side window to the noisiest sunny side window, and I
didn't notice. Ah, well, I carry earplugs and eyeshades with
me, and my legs aren't super super long. Which reminds me,
though. My buddies were watching Dancing with the Stars last
night, and I demonstrated my high kicking prowess ... which
would have been fine, except I forgot, in my eagerness to
impress a young lady, that I can't kick my left leg as high
any more. Threw the damned left butt out, and it was pretty
unpleasant sitting in the Dash 8 seat. More Benadryl made
it easy to snooze through the flight, though.

My friends were there to pick me up and drag me to Ichiban,
a sushi parlor run by an assortment of Chinese and
Indonesians. I went against sanity and went for raw fish,
which actually was pretty fresh and pretty well prepared.

The sashimi lunch consisted of three slices each of escolar,
sea bass of some kind, yellowfin tuna, and salmon. All were
good examples, and only the tuna had a whiff of less-than-
freshness. Rice was average, more American than Japanese.
For some reason the escolar didn't have the embarrassing
Olestra-like effects that it usually does. The lunch came
with an average miso soup with lots of seaweed and an
average iceberg salad with an average miso-based dressing.
Billy, being immunosuppressed, looked enviously at the raw
fish; he, Annie, and Merinda all had the shrimp tempura.
I tried this: the shrimp were fine, though the batter
was too thick; vegetables were mostly normal but had a
couple odd additions, including large taro, which someone
pawned off on me as eggplant.

I also ordered an agedashi dofu appetizer for the table,
but everyone else steered away from it; it was of a
decent standard.

Sapporo beer was a good accompaniment to all.
violist is offline  
Old Jun 18, 09, 11:07 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NYC
Programs: AA LT G (1MM);DL G, UA GM
Posts: 2,028
I saw the title and thought you had eaten at one of those Lancaster County monster buffets, always a real fress-out. Didn't expect sushi! But your description of the meal is as vivid as usual.
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Old Jun 20, 09, 5:31 am
  #3  
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: IAD, BOS, PVD
Programs: UA, US, AS, Marriott, Radisson, Hilton
Posts: 7,203
Localish beers:

Yuengling Light - not bad, low hops, clean tasting, good for
quenchment but not doing all that much for the taste buds

Yuengling Light Lager - not surprisingly, similar, but a bit
more cereally

Straub - somewhere between a real beer and an American one,
with a bit of tartness and character; I enjoyed this local
product; a bit of a surprise

Iron City - a big surprise, as it has the reputation for
being cheap bellywash a la Blatz, Haffenreffer, Schaefer,
and so on: turned out to be a decent mainstream brew, not
very characterful, but not Old Frothingslosh either.

Unlocalish beers:
On our trip to Corning, see below, we found Tiger, Singha,
and Sapporo at Wegmans. Annie, who has fond memories of Asia
trips with Billy, bought them out. At least Billy can close
his eyes and think of Chiangmai.

Also, for some unknown reason, she bought a case of Molson
Light in anticipation of a friend who drank cheap light
beer (despite the fact that we had cases of the two light
Yuenglings). I had one - surprisingly well hopped, nice,
clean, refreshing. I'd do it again.

=

Breakfast - with Robbie and Merinda
Annie had bought some fake Chinese sausage - essentially
Italian links with sugar and red food coloring. It tasted
like what you'd think. I had one, Robbie had one, but after
we made funny faces, the rest went begging, especially as
there was an abundance of thick-cut smoked bacon from
Ted's to go with our eggs scrambled with pepper jack.

Lunch -
I wasn't going to have any, but Merinda gave me the fattier
half of her 20+-oz ribeye, leftover from some previous meat
coma session. I also had a couple teriyaki wings, cold, from
yet another oinkfest.

Dinner -
turkey and gravy
sausage stuffing
mashed potatoes
fiddleheads in butter

I made the first two dishes, Annie the others. It was a good
turkey; I roasted it upside-down, so the back skin got all
crispy and nice; then I took the breast skin and rendered
it on the stove to get fat for the gravy. So as well as a
platter of turkey we had a platter of crunchies. I ODed.

The mashed had lots of butter. The fiddleheads as well.

Our friend Holly, who likes green things, brought a lettuce
salad with broccoli bits and other oddities; I tasted it out
of politeness. It was fine but a bit healthy for me.
violist is offline  
Old Jun 21, 09, 8:47 am
  #4  
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Join Date: Mar 2000
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Posts: 7,203
Next day, time to say goodbye to Merinda. She was flying out
of ELM, so we had lunch at Market Street Brewing Company in
Corning. Surprisingly good burgers, which were cooked as
requested (mine bloody rare), with excellent sweet potato
fries or the signature MSBC fries, which are sort of thick-
cut potato chips but with some soft bits. The beers on
offer: a red (like Killian's); a lager (like Bud); a
blackberry lager, which Merinda and I both thought tasted
like butter pecan; a fairly hoppy but a bit too malty IPA;
dark ale (sort of partway between a nut brown and a stout);
Hefeweizen (I hate this kind of beer); and a decent brown
ale that was sort of English, sort of eh. After the sampler
I had a glass of IPA. Dropped Merinda off at the rather
modern (they've fixed up all the local airports, except
for IPT) Elmira-Corning facility, which boasts a surprising
number of flights, Corning being the third largest tourist
city in New York. Then back to Williamsport via the Friendly
Market, a Mennonite-run store that features beef from the
Circle K Ranch, supposedly Wagyu x Belgian Blue. It comes
frozen solid, so we came back with a bunch of beef bricks.

For dinner, Robbie made a superb risotto Milanese, and I
fairly expertly grilled some veal chops. Mushrooms in sour
cream and asparagus in brown butter completed the artery-
stopping meal, which Billy said was the best meal ever.

=

Saturday, Robbie came by bright and early to drag me to the
local farmers' market, where I had an eye-opener of a Misty
Mountain Farms burger - good beefy Angus meat, done from
frozen. I asked for a rare one, which came sort of medium.
It tasted pretty good, nothing special. I should have cooked
it myself.

We chatted with the locals, bought a few things, and then
back to Annie and Billy's for breakfast.

Breakfast.

Ted's sausage, which is tasty but somewhat underseasoned
to my taste and very, very lean, which I don't like. But
it seems to be the regional style - even the supermarket
sausages are lean.

Mountain View Farms is an Amish concern. I got excellent
sticky buns and rich, cheesy soured-cream butter there for
not too much money. Eggs, too, laid fresh this morning,
with bright yellow yolks and a lovely flavor. Also a pecan
pie, which amid all the other bounty got shunted aside,
so I never tasted it.

Bea's Sweet Treats offered chocolate sticky buns, which
I thought an unhappy compromise, being neither chocolaty
nor sticky enough, and a gooey black bottom cupcake made
with cream cheese (also not chocolaty enough).

=

Lunch for me was beer, including a couple Kiuchi Hitachino
Nest products, which are enjoying some vogue, why I don't
understand. A white ale was a citrusy Belgian-style brew,
which I don't favor even when made by Texans or Belgians.
Real Ginger Brew tasted similar, but with strong ginger
notes and weak urine notes.

=

A fried dinner. Annie had pulled out a 2.5 lb box of cleaned
squid from the freezer. She lamented that neither she nor
Robbie had been able to make decent fried squid; I allowed
as I hadn't succeeded in years, either, having forgot the
technique years before my brain had been sucked out of the
top of my head. We decided to try three ways, stopping when
we found success. Method I: cornstarch only; method II:
cornstarch and then tempura batter; method III; beaten egg
whites and then Panko. After a slight contretemps, in which
the Presto Fry Baby refused to come up to temperature,
triumph was had using a regular fry pan on the stove and the
cornstarch method. Yield: crisp tentacles and crisp-tender
rings in a fragile white flaky coating. Delicious. I held
out a pound of squid for the next day, as I thought 13 oz
of fried calamari a person a bit much.

I also made two-side pan-fried garlic noodles.

Some leftover sweet tater fries from MSBC, refried at a nice
350F, completed the picture. Annie said that this was the
best meal she'd ever had, and I pointed out that it was one
of the few meals where she had not been bugged about eating
her vegetables (of which, not counting the sweet fries,
there was none).
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Old Jun 24, 09, 10:52 am
  #5  
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Posts: 7,203
Breakfast: lamb 'n' eggs - fried marrowbone chops and
some more of those Amish eggs over easy.

No lunch.

Dinner. Mike and his wife Jill came over with cucumber and
cream cheese sandwiches and salmon stuffed eggs. We gorged
on these, after which I made kofta kebab, squid satay, and
sauteed fiddleheads. That was for appetizers.

Beaver Run Farms hot sausage was nice (though lean and not
all that hot, truth be told); a Cattle Hill Farms burger,
grain fed Angus, cooked really rare was superb, but as it
had been cooked by loving hands, there was unfair comparison
to the Misty Mountain burger, than which this was a zillion
times better.

Lamb chops in Moroccan seasoning (from Sur la Table) were an
effort to salvage a tray of chops forgotten in the freezer
and only found when the squid came out. They were fine.

I made German potato salad to go with, as I don't care
for mayonnaisey things, and bacon is always a good thing.

Also grilled onions and peppers for those who wished to
pollute their burgers and sausages with vegetables.

Limoncello for dessert.

=

Next day.

Leftovers (abundant) for breakfast and lunch.

Dinner. This was the day for the American Wagyu x Belgian
Blue ribeyes, which we had left as hard frozen bricks a
couple days ago. They now reappeared, thick and gorgeous
20 ozers. Robbie had been invited, but he forgot. Annie was
all beefed out, so there were 4 giant steaks for 2 people.

Annie got Italian sweet sausages for herself from Wegmans:
while the steaks were a-cookin' I had two. They were pretty
good but way too lean.

The steaks were pretty interesting. Mine, rare rare, was
not spectacular; I'd say on the order of a good supermarket
piece of meat, maybe a bit more character. Billy's, medium
rare, was a revelation: full of bloody good beef flavor,
almost livery in its intensity, exceptionally tender (in the
normal way, not in the Wagyu way - there was not that much
marbling in these steaks). One was put away for Billy's
midnight snack; the other packed up for me to take to
Boston (once there, I cut it up for stir-fry, and it fed
three quite adequately).

Along with this: more asparagus and a version of pommes
Macaire using leftover potatoes from the turkey day and an
impossible amount of butter, so they sort of exploded in
the pan. Tasted good, though.

=

Annie had said that there are six airports that I could fly
into and out of, depending on prices, availability, and
schedules: IPT, ELM, AVP, SCE, MDT, and ABE in a pinch.
There was good availability at MDT, so I flew out of there.
Not a good choice: it's actually quite far, largely on
US 15, which can get royally clogged up by a slow truck or
a cop car or a tourist. We allowed two hours, and it took
all of that and more. The airport itself is okay, sleek
and modern with its 8 or so gates, and free Wi-Fi in the
terminal. There's also a Susquehanna Club, which is open
to all fliers on DL, UA, US, AA, or CO who are bottom level
elite or higher. Plus it's honor system - you fill out a
form on your first visit (there was nobody at the desk when
I went in there), and they put you in the database, and all
you do next time is just sign in. I filled out the form and
put it on the desk; got a cup of coffee and did my e-mail
(my flight was delayed), and when I left, there was still
nobody there, so I took the form back and tossed it, as
I'm not likely to go there again soon.

US4596 MDT PHL 1237 1323 DH8 4A was DH3 11A

The flight left close to half an hour late; after 16 minutes
in the air (according to flightaware.com) there was a good
fighting chance for making the Boston connection (three days
a week there's a nonstop; the rest of the time you connect
in Philly); but then we took 43 minutes from landing to gate
- during which I snoozed, waking up a couple times as the
plane started up only to straggle on a few feet; by the time
we got in, I was refreshed enough to be able to kind of
sprint to the next gate.

US 717 PHL BOS 1515 1633 E90 12F was 767 PHL BOS 1415 1533

I ran to B4 - I was the first of at least 3 runners for this
particular connection. They'd closed the doors maybe a
couple minutes before, but the plane was just sitting there
and sitting there. We just stood there and stood there.
Irritating. Why this had to be the one flight of the day
that wasn't affected by flow control I don't know.

Be that as it may, the next flight was fine - I sat next to
a woman who had missed that same flight and was dumped from
F on the 1415 to the exit row on this one. We commiserated.

This flight took off and landed a bit late as well, not
enough to mess up my plans. It was otherwise fine.

When I got back to a scale, I read the bad news: I had
gained a whopping 3 lb, or more or less what I might have
gained on a weekend bender.

-33-
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