Tuesday, May 31, 2016

2016Feb.Istanbul 26 - United 59 FRA-SFO (2)

I was disturbed by a light turbulence around here...
...and I still didn't remember I missed my ice cream sundae at this moment. Therefore, no panic has happened. (LOL)

When nature called me, I checked the mid-flight snacks too.
Nothing attractive to me... I was being a good boy, went back to sleep.

Then, about 1.5 hrs prior to arrival, 2nd meal service has been started. There were two selections.
 - Grilled Salmon (hot meal)
 - Cheese and Charcuterie Plate (cheese and ham, cold meal)

I went with hot meal although I'm not a big fan of salmon.
Bingo!  I hit the United's "Weird In-Flight Meal". (LOL)

The grilled salmon is assorted with Udon Noodle Salad and Teriyaki Sauce. I even saw bunch of edamame soybeans on there...
Hope the passengers of United understand this is not a Japanese meal. It's somewhat inspired but badly mistranslated. The good side is; you don't die if you ate these foods, and there are certain amount of calories. The only hope in this Pandora's Box, the teriyaki sauce wasn't too bad. Actually, it was better than ready-made teriyaki sauce by Kikkoman which is being sold in American supermarkets.

Two chocolate truffles are NOT from Lily O'Brien, who was the supplier of candybox for United for more than a decade, surprisingly. These are by DreiMeister. The name suggests they are German speakers, so this might be FRA route only.
However, these white and dark combo were relatively better. Sometimes this part was sad with high calories...

Munching chocolate truffles with black coffee is a fun. It always gives me the feeling of "the end of the trip".
The coffee this time wasn't illy brand yet. But no significant difference I already found after the change of the brand. -sigh-

Before approaching SFO, we could see the downtown of San Francisco.
Tall buildings are the financial district, wide vertical boulevard is Market Street. Bay Bridge and Treasure Island are also seen.

Just after the touch down, I texted my spouse J. But... Kin-san (means Ms. Gold), our Lexus RX, parked in domestic parking lot.
So I took the AirTrain which connects SFO terminals.

International G gates to Domestic F gates is just one stop.
I could see Kin-san from AirTrain.

It took about 10 minutes from deplaning to be here. Thanks to Global Entry by CBP, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
I returned home and fed the kitties and humming birds, took shower and jumped in bed.

Thank you for reading. I'll resume writing my blog when all the issues and problems have been settled, so please stay tuned.

Monday, May 30, 2016

2016Feb.Istanbul 25 - United 59 FRA-SFO (1)

Returning to SFO by United departs from Z gates, where is located above A gates. A gates are inside of Schengen Area, and Z gates are outside.
There is an atrium hanging Lufthansa's Airbus A380 mockup model. The people on lower floor are inside of Germany.

Now arrived at gate Z19, where UA59 departs.
United flights are coming from Washington Dulles, Chicago O'Hare, Houston and San Francisco. Only SFO route uses Boeing 747-400 and the rest are Boeing 777-200, basically all ex-United 3-class equipment. FRA is a lucky hub of United – not contaminated by Continental yet. (umm... I need better expression. Sorry to ex-CO people, I love you guys too.)

I was successfully upgraded and my Goddesses at FRA kindly assigned me seat 6B. Furthermore, Goddess R has shown up the cabin so we could hug each other. It is always fun to see the top managers of FRASW, whom I call as Goddesses. They know me "a long old fan of Tulip Logo" so that we can chat about good old days of United (before merger). ☺
Seat 6B is not an upper deck but isle side seating. Isle side is more important to me because I really feel guilty when I stride over the next passenger for bathroom access, raiding the mid-flight snacks and a cup of coffee. This time, the passenger next to me was a real gentleman, Mr. G.V., who is a big shot of an IT specialist. We enjoyed chatting until departure and he even demanded to see me again if I have an opportunity to stay in Frankfurt.

Safety video had been started. Btw. Not this time but in May, I was requested to not taking safety video pictures because of the concern of safety, when I took UA927, the same route FRA-SFO by B744. Then I had to delete the pictures in front of her to show those are not remaining in my SD card...
That was a bit ridiculous because this video is totally open at Youtube over the Internet to everybody, so it doesn't make sense at all. However, the rule is rule, it's up to United. Therefore I sincerely apologized to the cabin attendant and told her I would take a screen shot from Youtube video. :P
...anyway, the illustration of B744 looks very chubby stubby and ugly. This is exactly what I wanted to show. (LOL)

At the beverage service,  I do know this is a hopeless endeavor but I asked non calorie soda.
Sprite Zero with United's signature 'warmed nuts' which was lukewarm.  No, I didn't ask attendant to warm my nuts. (I heard this mistranslated hilarious phrase from Japanese businessman on UA837, flight for NRT.)

I still don't understand why United titles this salad as "Fresh Seasonal Greens."
As a in-flight meal, it's not significantly fresh, nor seasonal either. I believe I asked creamy yogurt dressing but what I received was vinaigrette, I guess.

The appetizer was somewhat different this time, not smoked salmon but Italian ham.
Prosciutto with grilled asparagus, onion chutney and garnishes. Nothing special but it was good to meet something different.

Bread varieties are remaining the same. This attendant kindly helped me taking pictures. (Some CA's are strict and say No.)
Pretzels and garlic toasts are my 1st and 2nd favorite, followed by whole wheat.

The choices of main course are four:
 - Tenderloin of Beef
 - Breast of Chicken
 - Thai-style Fillet of Tilapia w/Shrimp
 - Porcini Mushroom-filled Tortellini

The fish and pasta options are both attractive, but sometimes United's paste ←correct Italian plural are sadly overcooked, so my 1st choice was Fish. After I achieve 1KMM, I usually receive 1st choice then after I made 1K2MM, some attendants don't even ask me the 2nd choice...
Fillet of tilapia with shirimp, Chile-coconut sauce was in good flavor, didn't betray my expectations. Crispy fried potato straws, garlic sprouts and basmati rice are very nice sides, I liked them.

After the main course, International Cheese Selection was served.
Unfortunately, very unfortunately, I don't remember after this dish. Surprisingly I recorded this cheese dish, but I didn't continue the rest of first meal service and went unconscious. That means, I don't remember whether I ate this cheese plate, and... I MISSED ICE CREAM SUNDAE!! (continued)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Postings might be suspended...

Attention please.

Eventually, postings might be suspended because of my personal, urgent and critical issues. Unexpectedly, several unfortunate and sad issues are happening to me.
I will try posting articles as many as possible, but if it's suspended, sorry for the inconvenience in advance.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

2016Feb.Istanbul 23 - Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge IST

My short but memorable stay in Istanbul in February is over. Now going back to California...
The taxi driver was the same guy who took his good effort to find a good hamam for me. He kindly parked just in front of the entrance door for the passengers of Turkish Airlines.

Winter schedule was early. Therefore the passport control was easy, I didn't have to take Fast Track. Fast track is separately located, designed for First/Business and Star Gold passengers. In May trip I certainly used the Fast Track lane.

After the double-checking security (the first one is at the entrance of airport building), I rushed into Turkish Air's CIP Lounge.
There is a gate to prevent cheaters. If the boarding pass is issued by TK counter and F/C/*G level, you don't need a check-in at the reception.

After the gate, the inside is HUGE. I think this might be the world's biggest airport lounge.
Can you imagine one more level exists underneath... this is really a phenomenal.

Movie theater is nice for napping, if you have enough time. ☺
...yes, popcorn is essential, of course! (LOL)

Variety of soft drinks are everywhere like this.
Unfortunately, my favorite cherry juice has been replaced from Cappy to another brand. But sparkling one is also available.

Designs are changing corner by corner...
It's so wide, I didn't have enough time to take pictures and lost a motivation to go downstairs.

After all, I found the window-side would be comfortable.
Got here, with a can of cherry juice and a piece of panini.

Meals - fruits, olive bar, hot snacks, incredible types and amounts of meals are being served.
Even TK staff themselves are picking some fruits... ☺

What I got are these.
A panini sandwich ('un panino' is the grammatically correct Italian but I am American), banana, Arnold Palmer (mix of lemonade and ice tea) plus a can of cherry juice. Panini sandwich was well done. Nice and crispy outside with fluffy texture inside with good melt cheese and tasty ham. Nice quality overall.

Oh, btw. This is the picture of the downstairs from atrium.
Some day, I have to try downstairs too... then I will have to leave the hotel 1 hour earlier, which would be quite a tough deal.

Well, that was a short stay. I spent most of the time for taking blog pictures.
Now I gotta go. Heading to the departure gate...

Friday, May 27, 2016

2016Feb.Istanbul 22 - Karaköy Lokantası (3)

The final evening in Istanbul. Karaköy is a newly redeveloping area, good restaurants and accommodations are opening...

However, I kept eating the same place. I have one more series of dinner pictures of Karaköy Lokantası.
The corner of the building is always being displayed something cooking tools or utilities. This time, that 'white flowers' are made with sauce dispensers. I'm quite sure you DO know the dispensers of Red tomato ketchup or Yellow mustard. This is the white colored ones. Owner told me they have a great artist who makes those series of installations for them.

Now foods. But no difference from last time though.
"Yoğurtlu patlıcan salatası" is the Turkish title of Eggplant salad with yogurt and spice. This is my must-have item.

In this evening, I asked sheep.
Izgara Kuzu Pirzola, Grilled lamb ribs. Nicely sauteed and grilled, comes with barley, green pepper and tomatoes.

Each rib is kindly covered with aluminum foil, so it can be a fingering food.
It was late February, started a milk fed lamb season... very tender and yummy here. I'm such a predator.

Then... I cannot resist asking the season's special fruit compote.
The quince compote is only available in this season. When I come in May, this menu changes to fig compote which is dangerously good too.

The cut side looks like this...
Nicely colored and very exquisitely flavored. I do like quince in syrup, bu tthis is way better than such.

I have enjoyed my dinner at this lokanta, as always.
At the final, they serve a bowlful of clove... but I can go back to my room at 6th floor and use whitening Listerine instead. ☺

I ate too much again, brushed teeth, got quick shower and jumped in bed.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

2016Feb.Istanbul 21 - Karaköy Lokantası (2)

At 8 pm, dinner time.
Galata tower is always lighten up as a symbol of new town. Very pretty.

I kept eating at Karaköy Lokantası, the hotel restaurant. Because it's the closest, food and wine quality is exceptional, price is very affordable and the staff knows me very well. I stay only 4-5 nights, why do I have to eat at anywhere else?
Because I said I never been to the 1st floor (2nd Fl. for US/Japan), they kindly assigned me the first floor. Now I understood perfectly, why I wasn't invited to here. The tables are mostly for party of 4 or 6. I'm attending solo, so I felt a bit guilty about my selfish request...

However, they treated me as usual, very warm welcomed and greeted.
Bread and olive oil are automatic. The yogurt eggplant spicy salad is 'compulsory' for my series of orders. ☺

The 'salad' is applied over the toasted bread with olive oil & sun dried tomato...
It looks like this. Can't I say this would be the Turkish version of bruschetta?

And the main dish this evening was, Köfte!!
Sometimes it called as meatball, or hamburger steak... but probably lamb blended meat with exotic spices make the cooking very unique, in my humble opinion. Also, I DO love this grilled, long shape green pepper very much. It'a perfect accent to this meatball (LOL) dish accompanied with ripe tomatoes and potato.

I requested chocolate soufflé when I made the first order, because this dish takes time.
Perfectly cooked soufflé. The center is still soft and goo, comes with heavy cream. This is a dangerous dessert but I ask at least once an every stay.

When my sweet tooth has been satisfied, ending with double-espresso.
I didn't ask "double" but the restaurant staffs remembers me always ask it. I'm so happy people here remember me very well.