Cactus League 2010

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by violist, Apr 1, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    was
    US2127 BOS LGA 1200 1314 E90
    US4151 LGA BWI 1459 1627 DH8 4A

    So I tried to check in at 24 hours, and US had lost my
    reservation. Half an hour with the Gold desk yielded
    nothing - I'd lost my confirmation number and am wondering
    why the US .bomb had done its worst on me without my
    noticing. Well, the instant fare was $65 more than the
    advance-purchase, and if US had been willing to knock it
    down to the price I'd agreed to paying a week ago, I'd have
    stayed with it; the attitude I got coupled with the fact
    that CO was $10 cheaper ensured that I was going to make my
    first trip on CO since its joining Star. Fine; I'd generally
    been treated well on CO anyhow.

    CO3265 BOS EWR 0930 1045 DH4 2A
    CO2355 EWR BWI 1315 1415 CRJ 6A
    (this written before the merger)
    The MBTA bus actually got me to the airport early, and so
    a nice checkin lady chatting with me as I fiddled with the
    kiosk suggested that I go on the 0830, a mainline aircraft.
    But as I am not a CO elite, I apparently am not yet entitled
    to upgrade under reciprocity with UA, even though I was on
    an instant-upgrade-for-elites fare. And I'd never been on a
    Q400 before. And I'd never seen the PC at the new Terminal
    A before. So I said that all in all I'd rather stay put.

    Meanwhile, the kiosk asked if I'd be willing to accept a
    bump on EWR-BWI for $150. I said no.

    Security was a total snap. For some reason the other line,
    which was labelled expert traveler or something, was full of
    kettles, pardon, infrequent flyers, and mine wasn't.

    The PC is a cavern: I think it's quite unwelcoming and quite
    uncomfortable. Plus juice is behind the bar, and almost
    nothing else is (beer and wine only here, it appears). The
    catering made the RCC seem like Lutece by comparison. The
    atmosphere was made even less attractive by various cleaning
    and other workers jabbering away loudly while the patrons
    slaved quietly at their laptops. The desk staff were fine.

    Wireless connection was, as I've discovered at PCs, chancy,
    but there were carrels (29 of them) with Ethernet cables.

    Back at the gate, the agents were a little grumpy - not mean
    or nasty, just grumpy. Considering this was Continental, I
    was expecting better. Of course, the inbound was nearly half
    an hour late, and the turnaround is scheduled at half an
    hour, so that might have contributed.

    The Q400 is marginally quieter than the older Dash-8s and
    maybe the regional jets. It bounces around on the currents
    just like a Dash-8, though.

    The FA was extremely jolly; she could hardly keep a straight
    face when doing the demos and announcements - the pax in
    row 1, two women of about my age, were doing their best to
    make her lose her composure. It was rather fun for a while.

    I dozed through the flight, waking occasionally to hear
    giggles up front. We landed just about on time, as the
    flight is scheduled at an hour and change, but flying time
    is about half an hour.

    To my happiness, we landed right by the A terminal; to my
    chagrin, we drove past it and ended up at C105.
     
  2. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Gallagher's is at around C120. I'd heard bad things about
    it, but I was there, and the proximity made me want a nice
    piece of bloody red beef. So I presented myself at the
    front station at 11, got seated at a deuce right near the
    entrance, with my back to it. I corrected this. A simple
    order: 12-oz minute steak, blue rare, creamed spinach,
    Larressingle VSOP. It is interesting that the minute steak
    is cheaper by the ounce than the 18-oz strip; so I figured
    it would be a shell steak or something (which I don't mind
    at all); turned out it was a thinnish bone-in strip. It came
    out medium-rare, but it was actually quite a good piece of
    meat, and more than 12 ounces, so I didn't send it back.
    The creamed spinach looked to be an enormous serving, as it
    ought to be for $10 - but in reality its bowl had a hugely
    thick bottom, and the serving was less than it looked: it
    seemed to be a pint or more; in fact it was more like a cup
    and a quarter. It was also very bland, which was partially
    remedied by the salt substitute that I always carry with me
    nowadays. The waiter had no idea what I was talking about
    when I ordered the Larressingle, and I had to walk him to
    the front and pick up a booze menu and show him, to which he
    showed surprise and almost gratification at having learned
    something new this day. It wasn't so nice as what I get
    under that name in France, but it was fine. A 1-oz pour is
    $9, but it comes warmed in a snifter. One oddity. The
    charge card machines were down, and they ran my card through
    one of those old imprint takers. This is a little anxiety
    producing, but as vendors have ample time to take down my
    information anyway, should they want to do nefarious things,
    perhaps apprehension is uncalled for?

    Of course, my next flight was way off in the distance. CO
    ought to do better on the signage for the A-gate shuttle: It
    had been a while since I'd done it, but I did sort of recall
    where it was. I'm sure others have trouble. The operation
    itself was smooth; and looking around I noticed that there's
    a shuttle as well between the UA and the CO A gates, in case
    anyone's interested.

    The PC: I discovered I'd been here during my short term as a
    World Club member. It's okay, the appointments not so nice
    as a RCC, but I guess that the free alcohol guarantees good
    reviews from FT people. I had a glass of extremely nasty
    red wine, whose bright cherry-cough-syrupness put me off
    booze for the rest of the day.

    Back at the gate, the agents were a little grumpy - not
    mean or nasty, just grumpy. Considering this was Newark,
    this was better than I was expecting.

    They were looking for one volunteer, offering $200 now and a
    seat on the 1315 to National. I jumped on that, as it's just
    as easy to get where I was going from DCA as from BWI. But
    alas, as I waited, it became apparent that one couple had
    gone AWOL. The plane took off with one empty. Oh, Nussbaums,
    how I wish you had shown up.

    While I'd been waiting around the desk for news on my bump,
    various people came up to inquire what this VDB stuff was
    all about. One of them was this guy having major anxieties:
    he said that his mother was dying of cancer, and he'd just
    missed a previous flight to Washington, and he was hoping
    that he'd make it in time. After I took my originally
    assigned seat, I found him one row back on the opposite
    aisle. He collared the FA and asked for a Jack and Coke;
    chagrined that CO doesn't take cash, and he doesn't have a
    credit card, I offered to do the cash/card thing, ah, what
    the heck, your mom's dying, I'll buy you a round. Don't know
    if he was just conning me into buying him a drink, but his
    anxiety sure looked real. Speaking of anxieties and things,
    our FA was a very nervous middle-aged guy who was being
    shown the ropes by the other FA. I wonder what the story was
    - whether he was a new hire (I doubt) or someone transferred
    from a desk job or perhaps an executive seeing how the other
    half lives. He was not unwilling or unhelpful, just a bit
    scattered and inefficient: not good for a 35-minute flight.
    Mr. Nervous #1 got his Jack and Coke from Mr. Nervous #2
    about 15 minutes before landing.
     
  3. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Aloft (a W product), Nursery Rd, Linthicum - I'd been at an
    Aloft, in Denver I think, before; this one was a mirror
    image of the other. Last time I'd just had time to sleep and
    run; this time I had a luxurious 12 hours. The Heavenly Bed
    lived up to its lofty reputation; though there were only two
    small pillows for the giant bed, I slept for 11 of those
    hours. (Note: since becoming Starwood Gold shortly after
    this trip, I've stayed at several more Alofts, mostly
    identical, and enjoy them. The staff tend to be very young
    and not very efficient, though.)

    UA 441 BWI DEN 0942 1148 752 5B Ch9^^ Empower:td:

    Myra, who worked the RCC when there was one, was behind the
    desk. We chatted; one of the other folks came by with the
    hot new info that they were reopening the MSP club. Ah well,
    if it had been hot new info that they were reopening the BWI
    club, I'd have been happier and more edified. At the end of
    Myra's break, I tore myself away and eyeballed the zigzag of
    the polloi line at security before taking the fancy folks
    line, which had 1 other person in it. No advantage - I was
    funneled to the rightmost line, which had 3 toddlers. This
    took 5 minutes or so, maybe a hair longer than the other
    lines. The (black) TSA person pointed to the (white) kids
    and asked if they were mine. I turned to the mom and noted
    that that should have been obvious from observation. That
    didn't earn me a red card either from the mom or the TSA,
    so I figured that it was the start of a good day. A lot!
    of people at the gate area (more reasons to feel sad for the
    late RCC), so I sat at the Valujet area, where there were a
    family of kettles waiting for Zone 6. Well. All the earlier
    zones were called. Zone 6 was called, but they apparently
    didn't hear. Zone 7 was called, and there was consternation
    on my left, and one of them, who looked more intelligent
    than that (appearances can be deceiving), started talking
    about another flight she'd taken where they'd done the same
    thing, skipped her zone. I reflected on the kind of phobia
    that this must signify and wondered if I should point out
    what I'd heard but decided that I'm not my brothers' and
    sisters' keeper. The gate area cleared. Finally, this odd
    foursome (couple and parents of one of them, it appears)
    ambled to the gate and got on the plane.

    Back to the UA area, where there was chaos at the checkin
    station, caused by people too eager rather than too
    reticent. I parted the waters and went on to my seat - I
    actually switched to an aisle, as my Lasix had kicked in.
    There were 4 empties, though the back apparently was
    quite full, the overheads filling rapidly.

    Amidst boarding, some guy came forward and put his bag
    above row 3. The vigilant FA made him move it, whereupon
    the guy blew up. The FA said that she couldn't allow him
    to do this while there were still people expected in F,
    and how would the person in 4C feel if the overhead were
    gone? Whereupon the guy said, what about how I feel?
    Which is poignant if irrelevant. The seat and its overhead
    ended up empty anyhow, and I wonder if the guy hadn't been
    such an entitled butthole, his bag might have ended up in
    that space after all. Or maybe even himself.

    Channel 9 was on and louder than all the other channels
    for a change. Call signs heard around Denver that I hadn't
    heard before: Keylime, Lindbergh, and Swiftflight.

    The trip was uneventful if a bit bumpy in spots. Brekkers
    was either the wonderful spinach-cheese frittata with home
    fries and sausage or the famed fruit plate; neither of these
    appealed, so I asked for a Courvoisier and a croissant.
    The croissant tasted as if it had been dipped in banana nut
    muffin juice (obviously the other choice).

    My Courvoisier came as a double; soon I was fast asleep.
    Snow in Denver. I had a couple hours to kill, so I headed
    out to Timberline down in Terminal C.

    Tip: the 18-oz porterhouse costs several dollars less than
    the 12-oz sirloin strip; mine was somewhat over 18 anyway
    and gave me a good 10 or 11 oz of strip and a sizable chunk
    of filet as well. I asked for mine extra rare; it came
    raw in the middle, barely seared, pretty much perfect. Next
    time I'll ask for it without Montreal steak seasoning, which
    is okay but way too salty for me. A Stone IPA went well.

    UA 259 DEN PHX 1423 1519 320 2A Ch9:td: Empower:td:

    The person next to me appeared to be in a trance: she
    turned out to be perfectly agreeable if a bit spacy.

    I find the scenery on this route to be exceptionally fine.

    More Courvoisier as a matter of course, and the flight was
    soon over. We parked next to N589UA, a wingletted 57.
     
  4. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    TW1 was at the RCC to greet me - he'd gotten a gate pass, so
    I was escorted in style out into the Arizona sunshine. He
    spirited me away to the Four Peaks Brewery, one of his
    haunts, where we whiled away the afternoon comparing the
    merits of the two IPAs on offer - the dry and delicious Raj
    IPA and the thicker, very fruity Hop Knot, which is more an
    American pale ale.

    Self-catering was the order of the day, so we got a beef
    tenderloin from Costco and some mixed veg from Trader Joe:
    a simple but satisfying meal. The Wellington Karren Vineyard
    Cabernet (Sonoma) 05 was pleasantly cedary, some black fruit
    and tobacco; little of the green that I used to so dislike
    in California Cabs.

    A simple dessert, too - strawberries, brown sugar, sour
    cream; Lang Riesling Eiswein 01 was an unctuous apricot
    richness that underscored the brown sugar well.

    -

    Today was our day to investigate the new Camelback Ranch.
    TW1, using ninja hotelier skills, snagged us first row
    seats behind home plate, where we were met by Jan_AZ.
    The Dodgers beat the Brewers with a big 6th, 7-3. I can't
    speak for the others, but I find the LA teams' parks
    more characterless than the others? And though Tempe Diablo
    has good beer, I couldn't find any here. It's an okay
    stadium, I guess not worth the gazillion dollars it cost,
    but the real killer was the hideous traffic pattern: took an
    inordinate time to get out of the lot and onto the street.
    And then, with everyone turning left to go into town, what
    a nightmare, not just for us, but for the through traffic
    on Camelback (I presume that's what it is).

    Tuck Shop, one of those funky places that TW1 is such an
    expert at finding, was our tuck stop.

    A nice juxtaposition of sweet and salt, with a touch of
    tart from the sausage and a tiny touch of bitter from the
    cheese - Medjool dates stuffed with chorizo and topped with
    melted Gruyere: quite interesting.

    Fried shrimp and okra came with warming and cooling dips,
    one a riff on Jufran sauce, the other a chipotle yogurt.
    A nice dish, though the sauces didn't add a whole lot.

    Citrus-brined fried chicken seemed altogether too normal;
    it came with waffles and honey butter (didn't notice), and a
    very nice black-eyed pea succotash. Acre Cabernet (Central
    Coast) was a relative bargain - good acid, a little low in
    tannin. TW1 put the bartender through his paces with his
    order of a Sazerac cocktail. The bartender failed a couple
    times, and TW1, whether out of mercy or of thirst, drank the
    last failed effort.

    When we got back to the house, I browned up some short ribs
    from the Costco expedition and set them to cook at minimum
    heat overnight with the Fetzer Valley Oaks Cab that we'd
    bought to spare the Stump Jump Shiraz that I'd previously
    got for the purpose but that we deemed good enough to drink.
    Also a couple onions and I seem to recall carrots and
    maybe celery.
     
  5. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Next morning the short ribs were done, so I slurped some
    down - they were very satisfactory.

    TW1 had had to go to work, so I took a multibus itinerary
    to Ho-Ho-Kam Park for a game.

    It was signing day - for some small fee, part of which went
    to charity, one could get downtrodden stars of yesteryear to
    sign your baseball, trading card, whatever. I certainly hope
    the multimillionaire stars of today don't have to stoop in
    a decade or two to charging ten bucks for signing your
    tuchus. Present for this: Bert Campaneris, George Foster,
    Fergie Jenkins, Pete LaCock, Rollie Fingers. A fairly august
    crew. The Cubs played a tight battle against their guests
    the Athletics until the 9th, when the house of cards fell
    down: 5-2.

    Another completely different multibus itinerary to get
    back. I thought about dining at one of the many Mexican
    places along the way but ended up traipsing down to Fry's
    for a steak, which I washed down with Lagunitas IPA, a
    nice floral resiny beverage.

    TW1 eventually showed up from work, and later his friend
    Michael came by for cocktails. I got to taste the rare
    Dutch specialties paradieswijn and (Bols) oude genever.
    They're old style. TW1 likes things in the old style.

    Being hungry, the two of them got into the the stew, siding
    it with mushrooms and spinach sauteed with garlic and white
    grits. Of course I had to join in. Neuhaus chocolates and
    the rich toffeelike sweet and briny Scapa 16 rounded out
    the evening.

    --

    Next day a revisit to Ho-Ho-Kam Stadium to watch the Padres.

    I was early so had lunch at the Salvadoreno Restaurant #1,
    an unassuming little stripmall place at the transfer point
    between buses. I was looking forward to chicharrones, but my
    attention was stolen by lengua guisada, stewed beef tongue
    in a light tomato sauce. It was quite good, the only issue
    being that the tongue was fresh from the fridge, and the
    tomato sauce (very mild, but that was easily remedied)
    didn't do an adequate job of hotting it up. Alongside were
    decent, slightly oily rice and some slabs of fried yuca. I
    had a big serving of horchata - described as "morrow seed
    drink" - the Salvadoran interpretation of which involves
    ground squash seeds, so it was a bit slimier than what I'm
    accustomed to.

    Waddled to the transfer, caught the bus to the stadium, and
    settled in for a really slow game. At some point, bored, I
    went down to look for my friends Annie and Billy's old bud
    George, who works there; we had a chat, and I encouraged him
    to get back in touch. When we finished talking, the score
    had edged up to 2-2, where it stayed. At some point TW1
    came in for the end of the game.

    After, we had time before dinner so knocked down a couple at
    Papago Brewery, which in addition to its own products offers
    tons of other stuff. From Bell's came a middle-of-the-road
    IPA. Of the native offerings, I tried an assortment of
    oddities: chocolate coconut stout, coffee stout, and the
    so-called robust porter. The first two were oddities, the
    last a misnomer. I wasn't thrilled and had seconds of none
    of these. Noisy, beery-smelling and not in a good way. I'm
    not eager to come back.

    Which was fine, as our next stop was the Phoenician for a
    festive and costly wine dinner.
     
  6. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    The menu, complete with misspellings, is listed here.

    Jordan Wine Dinner at Il Terrazzo
    March 27, 2010 - 6:30 P.M.
    The Phoenician welcomes Jordan's winemaker, Rob Davis

    bites
    OYSTER: Crispy Kumamoto, Smoked Yukon, Guanciale, Chive
    MELON: Compressed Melon, 25 Year Balsamic, Ricotta Salata
    MUSHROOM: Morel Arancini, Locatelli, Wild Thyme
    DUCK: Prosciutto, Crispy Tallegio, Sweet Corn, Aged Sherry
    The oyster was fine though small. The Yukon could just
    as well have been yokan - it tasted like nothing. A tiny
    bit of guanciale didn't rescue things. The melon I passed
    on. The arancini were little fried balls with a nice
    mushroom flavor. My favorite. The duck was insignificant.
    Duck should never be insignificant, but this could have
    been Any Cured Meat.


    J. SPARKLING
    Way too sweet, flavor sort of neutral; good bubbles. Not
    offensive but not particularly interesting. I saw others
    lapping it up and asking for more. Why do bubbles make
    people go gaga like idiots?


    beet
    SALT ROASTED BEET: Smoked Salmon, Meyer Lemon, Pickled Fennel
    4 kinds dehydrated aioli
    This was sort of cute. The salmon, thank goodness, took
    over the dish. I didn't get what the dehydrated aioli was
    all about.


    '07 CHARDONNAY
    Unfortunately, we were served with unrinsed glasses,
    which I believe had been washed with Sunlight. I complained
    to little effect. It took a while for the dishwasher
    detergent to blow off - honey; good pineapply Chard nose,
    restrained oak. The wine tasted slightly tired, despite
    pineapple, grapefruit, and a lot of honey. Bleach
    (dishwasher?) masked a bit of an empty finish.

    I continued to make a thing of it, and the officious young
    maitre d' (who had some silly credential, chaine de
    rotisseurs or some crap like that) started getting hot
    under the collar. Henceforth I swabbed clean all the
    glasses using the water we'd been given.


    fish
    STURGEON
    Applewood Bacon, Carrot, Crispy Sweetbreads, Fava Bean
    So strange - very carrotty, with a weird drizzle that
    smelled putrefied. The fish was all right, bacon and
    sturgeon being a good combo. The best part of the dish was
    the crispy sweetbreads, of which one didn't get enough.


    '05 CABERNET
    Cedar and plum; kind of dumb; good tannin, so I figure a
    decade or so to be ready. Should have been served with a
    more robust dish, I think.


    pig
    BERKSHIRE PORK CHEEK
    English Pea, Parsnip, Ricotta Gnocchi, Black Truffle
    Of course this should have been my favorite dish; but
    in common with current fashion, the cheek was hardly cheeky.
    As with spicy, fatty, over the top in any way foods, people
    like to brag that they've eaten them but can't take the real
    thing, so dishes such as this, with all the distinguishing
    features edited out, have evolved. And to add insult to
    injury, the black truffles could just as soon have been
    rubber tire bits.


    '99 CABERNET
    This made the evening. Big plum and black cherry
    presence, great balance; a cedar component came out later,
    not that that's a great thing - nor a bad one.


    cheese
    TASTING OF AMERICAN BLUE
    Rouge River
    Westfield Farms Goat
    Smokey Oregon
    Point Reyes
    Jasper Hill Farms, Bayley Hazen
    For obvious reasons, I ate none of this.

    '91 CABERNET
    This was billed as '81 in the advance publicity materials
    - oh well. Anyhow, lots of cedar, a little sweet; citrus?
    Though the color had begun to lighten, it presented itself
    way young, very puckery, what's that all about. Rather
    enjoyed it, though.

    I did bring it up, and the young maitre d' seemed to be
    at the point of throwing us out - if it hadn't been for the
    facts that 1. that's what the initial publicity had clearly
    said and 2. it was just about the end of the meal, perhaps
    he would have tried, which would have been fine.


    dessert
    A blend of Fruits and Spices, as interpreted by Executive
    Chef Roy Pell, complements this Alexander Valley Wine.

    Things I tasted, in order of preference:
    macadamia praline, linzer dough
    honey mousse with peaches
    cinnamon creme brulee, ginger sugar
    goat cheese, acorns?, caramelized pears
    vanilla nougat, streusel

    Turns out the creator of these things, one of TW1's former
    associates, was there and greeted him like a long-lost
    brother. TW1 told him that he should have been in charge of
    the whole meal, not just dessert. The guy beamed.


    '82 RIVIERA RUSSE
    This is really called Riviere Russe. It's a Sauternes-
    style heavily botrytized mix of Semillon and Sauvignon
    Blanc, dark in color, extremely rich to the palate overload
    degree, with honey, almonds, raisins, apricots, all good
    things in much profusion. Most enjoyable.


    On the way out, the young maitre d' bade us a fond
    farewell with a courtesy that he had hitherto not shown.


    Kyle Lipetzky, Chef de Cuisine
     
  7. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    TW1 was working again, so I was on my own again. No biggie,
    as it was straightforward getting to Tempe Diablo Stadium
    to see Cleveland and the Angels. Then the plan was to check
    out Yo Mamma's, which I had noticed before during our
    wanderings.

    A really easy bus ride - catching the first up the street,
    and being let off a couple miles north, then transferring
    to the one that goes on Southern, and presto. The final stop
    is a couple blocks from the gate, which is up a set of
    stairs in a Mussoliniish approach.

    Lots of beer, mostly Mirror Pond Ale. It's way too sweet,
    but quite good otherwise.

    Spectators were beginning to trickle out after a pair of
    6-run innings; this Korean kid Choo went 4 for 6 with a
    couple of doubles as the Indians won 15-5. A long game.
    There was no way to get to Yo Mamma's by closing, which
    was 5 or 6. So on the computer I found Fat Daddy's, in
    the other direction, and resolved to try it. The bus
    connection at Baseline was enormously long - one must not
    have run - and I would have stopped by the Sonic right
    there but for the ever optimistic it might come any time
    syndrome. Evenually arrived at the address and found it
    vacant with a landlord's lien notice on the door. Whoops.
    I guess Fat Daddy wasn't Rich Daddy.

    The nearby Gallagher's was an iDine place, so that was a
    plus. Open was also a plus. I had a burger rare (pretty
    good) and tried a very citrusy Ranger IPA from New Belgium
    - not a match made in heaven. For seconds I had an Arrogant
    Bastard, which was rich, smooth, and extremely bitter with
    loads of grapefruit and a touch of sage; better beer, not
    better with the food. Bus back on Baseline came on time
    and took me home quickly.
     
  8. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    SEA@OAK 1p, Phoenix Municipal. This ended up a satisfying
    3-2 despite Ken Griffey coming up with the bases loaded and
    no out, and the M's managing not to score. Obviously,
    eventually they did.

    To AZ Wine, where we bought some wine (see below) for dinner
    from a clerk labeled Michael who looked at us with odd
    suspicion. Had he been at the dinner a couple nights before?

    And then Costco, where the difficult question was prime or
    choice? Where prime cost 1.7x as much but didn't look all
    that much more marbled. Worth the chance? No.

    One good thing about Costco. There are numerous touts
    stationed in various places, offering samples of greater
    or lesser generosity of numerous foodstuffs; with care and
    persistence, one can make a meal here for free. Things
    tasted: tangerine juice (good); California chicken salad
    (pretty good, sort of like what you'd get at Wolfgang Puck
    Express at the airport or maybe on the plane itself, if you
    were lucky); lobster ravioli (tough wrappers, filling
    tasted of fish); spinach-artichoke dip (your normal). So
    when we bought the most expensive beef in the house, we
    were by no means driven by hunger.

    The wine department is a bit of a surprise: some top-notch
    products were available - Silver Oak Cab, Pichon-Lalande 05,
    as well as a raft of things a level or two below but still
    quite respectable. Prices not bad, and one of the wines we'd
    picked up at AZ was available here for a couple bucks less.

    For our appetizer, I suggested we look at the grocery in
    the Chinese Cultural Center, which we found out is now
    called the Ranger Market. It had head-on shrimp with roe,
    very nice, which went into gambas al ajillo, also very nice.

    Saintsbury Carneros unfiltered Chardonnay 07 - pleasant,
    balanced, lemony; some oak but not too much, manifesting
    in a vanillary nose and some texture on the palate.

    With our prime ribeyes (cooked to perfection by chef TW1),
    Saint Cosme Chateauneuf du Pape 03 - minty, sagey, cooked
    fruit, a little thinner than I had thought it would be,
    but I expected more oomph from a Parker 91 rated wine.
    Went well with the meat.

    Desert was the Patricius Tokaji Aszu 4 Puttonyos 00 -
    not too sweet, green tea, (i.e., tannin) apricots (i.e.
    acid), almonds, and a reasonably long finish. Considering
    how much we'd eaten and of what richness, I figure this
    was perfect.
     
  9. violist
    Original Member

    violist Gold Member

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    UA 264 PHX DEN 0610 0853 752 2C Ch9:td: Empower:td:

    I completely slept through this flight from wheels-up to
    landing.

    UA 584 DEN BOS 1010 1604 320 1B Ch9^^ Empower:td:

    An ex-Ted aircraft but with a working oven. A quite leggy,
    attractive FA of about 40 summers waited on us hand and
    foot, or so it seemed. She offered a roast chicken sandwich
    or a steak salad. I said I'd take either or neither as the
    case may be.

    Minestrone was a fairly nice starter, though the beans were
    somewhat tough. It sided a large salad with about 3 oz of
    gray-cooked beef that seemed to be the same cut that has
    variously been described as sirloin and short rib. Not
    inspired. For dessert, a plate that included okay grapes,
    very mild white and yellow Cheddars, a dried mission fig.

    Later on, the wished for chocolate chip cookie. The flight
    was over too soon.

    US1153 BOS PHL 0630 0757 319 1C
    A quite bumpy flight, most of which I slept through.

    Strolling down the corridor I noticed the dulcet tones of
    Rhapsody in Blue and wondered if this was an echo of some
    forlorn hope ...

    US3031 PHL BWI 0930 1021 ERJ 9A
    Another quite bumpy flight, most of which I slept through.
     

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