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2022 Let's Eat - United First, United Business, & Premium Transcon Service

2022 Let's Eat - United First, United Business, & Premium Transcon Service

Old Nov 19, 22, 3:02 pm
  #1651  
 
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Originally Posted by seanp7 View Post
Given how much onion is in that thing, it's surprising it's unlisted on the pre-order menu.

I, too, wish the chicken curry noodle was the Thai version from 1-2 years ago but alas...for my next flight, Falafel it is.
No thanks to the Thai chicken !! Weve been over-served that on transcon Polaris flights (EWR-SFO/LAX) over the past few years !
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Old Nov 19, 22, 9:33 pm
  #1652  
 
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The cauliflower salad thing. I will say that the only flavor it featured was pepper, and that I do not plan on ordering it again in the future.
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Old Nov 20, 22, 1:34 am
  #1653  
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Originally Posted by unitedbusiness View Post
No thanks to the Thai chicken !! Weve been over-served that on transcon Polaris flights (EWR-SFO/LAX) over the past few years !
I think OP is looking for the Polaris Thai chicken dish, with the delicious lemongrass broth, as opposed to the mushy faux-Pad Thai that's being served today.
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Old Nov 20, 22, 10:28 am
  #1654  
 
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Flight: United Airlines Flight 242
Aircraft: Boeing 737-900 (twin-jet) (B739)
Departure: San Francisco SFO 2:43pm (local time)
Arrival: Houston IAH 8:24pm (local time)
Date: Saturday, November 12

I was actually quite pleased with some elements of this flight - great crew, and the pre-order falafel really wasn't bad!
==
Overall service: I was not greeted nor welcomed in any way when I boarded, nor when I settled into my seat. A PDB was offered after the boarding process completed, but just plain water or "sparkling wine". I did ask for sparkling water, and my FA obliged. I really appreciated it. No little water bottles waiting for us at our seats. We boarded exactly on time, pushed back 2 minutes before departure time, and had a reasonably short taxi before takeoff. The flight was smooth. We even landed early. But alas, once we landed, no gate was available, we spent 30 minutes waiting for a gate to be free, etc. My flight crew was actually wonderful. I was beyond shocked, but they were totally on top of things, amazingly kind and thoughtful, and generally just made the experience actually pretty nice.

Food: Pre-order choices of chili & polenta, falafel bowl, or burger, plus the standard Impossible meatballs or chicken on board. I pre-ordered the falafel given the decent reviews here.

Tray. Meals were delivered row by row on a tray, with everything at once (bread, starter, main, dessert), along with an empty glass (which was never offered to be filled), salt and pepper, butter, and an extra hand wipe. Everything was piping hot. The dessert and roll shared a plate.

Warm Wheat Roll. The rolls on United flights always surprise me. They are served warm, and seem, well, fresh? Most airlines have awful bread, even ones with good catering, and yet United, with generally poor catering, has decent bread. No choice given, and I think it is always the same, a hearty wheat roll. Nice chew to it, slight crust, soft inside, bits of texture from the grains. Considerably better than most airline bread. Served with a pat of butter, but I think it would go better with a little quality olive oil. I should remember to bring that next time ... ***+.

Mozzarella Salad. The starter, or side dish, finally changed in November on United flights, after months of being a fruit salad that at least had decent grapes and blueberries before. Sadly, it didn't change to being an actual salad, no fresh greens, but rather, mozzarella. The FA had to explain it to everyone. The mozzarella side likely goes well with the Impossible meatballs and red sauce, and the standard chicken orzo, but seems a bit odd to have with my main dish choice, the falafel bowl. Really not a pairing that makes any sense at all. I think it would be likewise a bit odd with the chili, although I do always want cheese with my chili, just not generally mozzarella.
Anyway, the mozzarella was ... ok? It was pretty average, certainly nothing like the quality burrata I've had on Delta or JetBlue. But it wasn't trying to be burrata, it was just mozzarella. It came with sundried tomatoes on top, which paired well, but it screamed out for a drizzle of oil and balsamic. If you are flying with United in the next, oh, 6 months or so, chances are high you'll have this starter, and so protip, bring some oil and balsamic along ...
I still would have preferred a green salad, or vegetables of some kind, but this wasn't bad. ***.

Main: Falafel. “Hearty grain bowl with Mediterranean vegetables and falafel.”
Now, I can't say I was excited for this dish. I'm not really into grains, nor falafel. But, I was curious about the veggies, and whatever sauce it may have, and like I said, people seemed to say this was decent. I had my own hot sauces (from Oren's Hummus), my own garlic potato dip (from Sajj Mediterranean), and my own pita (also from Oren's), along with extra veggies, all of which I thought would go well with the meal. I was (over) prepared!
This dish was an adventure, really. First, it looked, well, awful. Really, awful. But it wasn't. For me, it was a mixed success, with some components that I actually enjoyed (!) and the rest mostly mediocre, but just not things I tend to like anyway.
The base was mixed grains. Some had a nice chew to them, other sections were kinda mushy. But they were hearty, flavorful grains, with some bits of herbs and veggies mixed in. Not my thing, but, the portion was generous, and they were mostly decent. **+.
Then, the "Mediterranean vegetables". Ok, well, this is where things got interesting. And looked a bit scary. What *were* those vegetables? I could tell there was cauliflower, that was pretty mushy, a bit gray in color, and had a rather sour taste to it, in a way that sorta seemed like it had gone bad, but I think was actually just some odd marinade or something they used? Cauliflower, yeah, not good. *. There was some pieces that I first thought were cauliflower, but I then realized might be potato cubes? More mushy than other pieces, and cube shaped. I didn't explore the cauliflower further, after a few bites, all of which were not good. There was also pieces of bell pepper, that I didn't try, as I don't care for bell pepper. And that seemed to be it for Mediterranean vegetables. I certainly would have liked a more generous veggie component, but if the cauliflower had been palatable, it would have been fine. The sundried tomatoes from the starter were good mixed in too.
Next up, the mystery components. While the cauliflower looked (and tasted) a bit off, the rest of the dish really truly looked mysterious, and really truly looked bad. There was what seemed to be a pink-ish soft crumble, tiny bits of pink ... something. It was like a sauce that had curdled, or, something. I had no idea what to make of it. I tentatively took a bite, and it wasn't bad. A bit, uh, bouncy? Even better was the other crumbly substance, that one was white, and I thought it would be feta, but it didn't have the sharp taste of feta. But it had a nice bouncey bite, and I enjoyed it. There was also a tiny smear of something softer, which I think was supposed to be hummus. Or it might have just been super mushy grains, but I think it was a distinct component. There was literally less than a spoonful though. So, although these elements were not identifiable, um, I did like them, and wished for more of both the bouncy ones. ***.
And finally, the falafel. Now, as I don't really care for chickpeas, I never really like falafel all that much. But the falafel in particular is what people had said was surprisingly good. And ... they were right. I expected mush, chickpea flavored mush, but this was actually good. The outside was lightly crisp, the inside soft but not mushy, with clear texture from the bits. Sure, it wasn't freshly fried falafel, but it was far better than I imagined it could be. Huh. ***+.
Overall, this dish was so much better than I expected. If you actually like Mediterranean food, and grains, I suspect this would be a real winner. The portion was good, the elements all went well together. Even though I do like the United wheat rolls, I did use a little of my own pita with it because it went so well with it, and I did use my own hot sauces as it didn't have anything like that, but, if you aren't a ridiculously over-prepared person, I think this would eat just fine as served. Flyertalk folks were right on this one, and I'm glad I listened to their advice, and was willing to eat even the scary, unidentifiable elements.

Pie in the Sky: Chocolate Chip. "Is there anything better than a warm chocolate chip cookie? Turns out, there is. Our incredible pastry chefs have whipped up the ultimate twist on an old classic, tucking decadent chocolate ganache inside a brown sugar chocolate chip cookie crust."

The dessert was the infamous "Pie in the Sky", which I've never had on a United flight before, but I know the product well - they are made by Eli's Cheesecake, and I used to order them for my work group all the time. I dubbed them "cookie pies" back then, and really did enjoy all the varieties I tried. I was eager to see what variety we had, and how they fared on board.

Our pie of the day was chocolate chip, not a flavor I've had before, as Eli's doesn't have these on their normal foodservice menu (although you can buy them direct. I'd only had apple, cherry, and pumpkin previously, all of which used a regular sugar cookie crust, this one had a chocolate chip crust, and chocolate filling). The pie was served warm.
I've had a lot of these Eli's pies in other flavors before, and this was by far my least favorite. It was much more like just a cookie, rather than a pie. Basically, the crust was studded with tiny chocolate chips, making it like a chocolate chip cookie, but with less chocolate, and a very hard style rather than soft and gooey. Eh. It was filled with chocolate, so I did get my hit of chocolate, but again, it was basically just like a chocolate chip cookie. ***.
As always, I was prepared with my own whipped cream, which definitely added to the experience. My FA was so amused by me, that she offered me an additional pie. I did not say no. She later brought me a Christie Cookie Company cookie from her own meal, because she saw I had a sweet tooth, and she said she'd had so many she was sick of them. It was so thoughtful, and so, sweet (literally). I know United generally isn't known for the service, but, this crew was fantastic.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 10:27 am
  #1655  
 
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Flight Details

Flight: United Airlines Flight 598
Aircraft: Boeing 737-900 (twin-jet) (B739)
Departure: Houston IAH 4:47pm (local time) scheduled 5:18pm (actual)
Arrival: San Francisco SFO 7:08pm (local time)
Seat: 3E

Boarding was started right on time, although we had far too many big bags, and drama ensued as so many needed to be gate checked. No PDB was offered, and no little water bottles were at our seats. I was parched! We pushed back from the gate relatively on time, but, then sat to the side, and then had a looong taxi and wait, I think due to rain delays. It was nearly 30 mins from pushback before we actually took off. Once underway, it took nearly 45 minutes before they came to take our beverage orders. They weren't delivered until our meal trays were, so, more than an hour into the flight before I was able to get a sip of water, which after the lack of PDB made me fairly grumpy. The flight attendants overall weren't particularly friendly nor proactive, and everything just felt delayed.

Cuisine

Menu options for the return trip were identical to the ones I had going to Houston. Literally, the exact same. Same entrees, same salad. United ... not so good at the variety! I pre-ordered again, given that the only onboard options were the same Impossible meatballs that were sadly not good, and a chicken dish. For those who didn't pre-order, they ran out of the Impossible meatballs after row 2, which was surprising to me, given that all of row 1 just opted for snack boxes instead (from economy). For everyone else, once they had chicken as the only choice, the purser did offer to get them the burger, salad shaker, or tapas box from economy. I was actually tempted to get the falafel again, as the falafel itself really was good, but, I wanted to mix it up.

Sparkling Aha, Red Wine. My beverage selection was the same as my previous flight, given that it was a success: sparkling orange grapefruit Aha, and "red wine". The Aha came with far too much ice this time, which made the liquid portion run out fast, but also, diluted it considerably as it melted. The wine was fine, drinkable, but not great.

Meal. As always, the meal came all at once, with the same exact mozzarella starter I had a week prior (no choice), the same wheat roll (that is always actually kinda good), and the same flavor of pie-in-the-sky. Our drinks were finally delivered along with our meals.
I wish I could say this meal was as successful as the falafel, but, it wasn't.

Whole Wheat Roll. The roll was served cold, even though alongside the warm pie. I heated mine in my portable oven, as I had it ready to go, and that worked well. I do actually really like these rolls, but I wanted it warm. ***+.

Mozzarella Salad. The mozzarella was just as lackluster this time as the last - not very soft, not very flavorful, and the dish really just felt like it needed seasoning and oil to drizzle over. Meh. **. I was again amused by how many people seemed to not understand what this was ... I think the hard texture of the mozzarella throws people off.
Vegetarian Chili and Polenta Cake. "Vegetarian chili and polenta cake with ripened tomatoes, kidney beans, bell peppers, onion, chipotle peppers, and soy crumble."

I had to laugh at the portion when my entree was set in front of me ... a hearty bowl of chili this was not! I'd consider this a polenta cake, with a little chili as garnish, really. That said, I didn't mind, but if you wanted a substantial meal, definitely do not go for this option.
I was hesitant to order this dish because I don't really like chipotle, and although I like Impossible meat, this had "soy crumble" instead (the meatballs use Impossible meat), and I definitely was not excited for that. I was right to be skeptical. The chili had a few beans, and a little tomato, onion, and bell pepper, but was mostly the soy crumble. It tasted like fake meat, the kind that gives fake meat a bad reputation. It was lightly spiced, so there was some chipotle to it. Meh. I did not like the chili. I had my own cheese, and red pepper flakes, with me to jazz it up, but I couldn't escape the fake meat taste, and quickly gave up on it.
The polenta cake was fine - it was cheesy, creamy, good texture. Entirely unseasoned, but, I had my own seasoning to add. I wouldn't mind eating this again. ***+.


Chocolate Chip Pie-in-the-Sky. The cookie-pie was the exact same I had the week before, the chocolate chip version, basically just a hard chocolate chip cookie filled with a little more chocolate. Not nearly as good as the other flavors Eli's makes, and I was sad that I didn't get a chance to try one of the cheesecakes, as I know United serves them on some routes. ***.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 11:18 am
  #1656  
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Originally Posted by jewree View Post

Chocolate Chip Pie-in-the-Sky. The cookie-pie was the exact same I had the week before, the chocolate chip version, basically just a hard chocolate chip cookie filled with a little more chocolate. Not nearly as good as the other flavors Eli's makes, and I was sad that I didn't get a chance to try one of the cheesecakes, as I know United serves them on some routes. ***.

This is the only version being served on UA. Cheesecakes are only available on premium transcon flights between EWR and LAX/SFO (for now, until they bring back the ice cream sundae).
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Old Yesterday, 7:50 am
  #1657  
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IAH-BOG
Nov. 20
"Ricotta salata and wild honey manicotti"

Wasn't terribly sure what to expect with this one, I mean that name is a bit of word salad, but pre-ordered to try it. The only evidence of it I could find was some pre-Covid trip report on a random blog which didn't even describe how it tasted. I thought it was pretty good, sauce had a nice flavor to it. Salad was decent as well. I saved the cookie for later and ate it on an Avianca flight. Also good for a packaged cookie.

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Old Yesterday, 12:30 pm
  #1658  
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Originally Posted by krazykanuck View Post
IAH-BOG
Nov. 20
"Ricotta salata and wild honey manicotti"

Wasn't terribly sure what to expect with this one, I mean that name is a bit of word salad, ...
Ricotta salata (salted ricotta) is an Italian cheese with a crumbly texture.
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Old Yesterday, 6:44 pm
  #1659  
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Originally Posted by krazykanuck View Post
IAH-BOG
Nov. 20
"Ricotta salata and wild honey manicotti"

Wasn't terribly sure what to expect with this one, I mean that name is a bit of word salad, but pre-ordered to try it. The only evidence of it I could find was some pre-Covid trip report on a random blog which didn't even describe how it tasted. I thought it was pretty good, sauce had a nice flavor to it. Salad was decent as well. I saved the cookie for later and ate it on an Avianca flight. Also good for a packaged cookie.

I'm usually all-in on pasta, especially where cheese is involved, so this looks quite good to me, although a third ravioli would be appreciated if it didn't dent Kirby's bonus check. However, woof! that salad looks like something dumped into a trough at the local farm for the animals to peck at. Why can't UA make an appealing salad? It's one of the easiest things in the world to make, but their salads consistently look horrible.
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Old Today, 12:37 pm
  #1660  
 
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Woah wait since when did they bring back the globe salt and pepper shakers? Or is this meal presentation specific to Bogota?
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