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Saturday, November 20, 2010


Yes, I say goodby to Rome, noting that the taxi ride from the St. Regis to the airport was half what I paid coming to the hotel.  Careful which transport company you select.  My final worry was that I kept seeing Leonardo da Vinci Airport and not Fiumicino.  Turns out the same airport goes by two names.  The United lounge (which was shared by around 20 airlines) was the next worst to the one in Nairobi.  Good thing there was no alcohol, for I made up for that omission the rest of the day.

The United flight started with a Henriot Brut Millesime 1998 Champagne (1).  The plane actually left the gate five minutes early.  A 2009 New Zealand Kapuka Sauvignon Blance from Marlborough (2) was served with the chicken tikka potato cup and feta cheese plus tomato cumin remoulade.  Came a 2007 Clement Chardonnay (3) with a cremy potato leek soup, a bit salty, but good.   I then had a terrific seasonal grens salad with creamy peppercorn dressing.  I was served a 2007 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir (4) from Russian River Valley and Chiant (5, forgot the brand) with a grilled filet mignon demi glaced with roasted garlic and lyonnaise potatoes.

Dessert was vanilla ice cream with hot fudge and Kahlua (6).  Dana Bleu and Parmesan cheesed came with a Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Port (7).  

This was a 10 hour trip, but I only added a Glenlivet (8) and coffee with Bailey's Cream (9) for the rest of flight.  All in all, not a bad United experience, which has been reduced to near ridicule these days.  Of course one clear other difference, especially compared with Asiana and Qatar (although none of the stewardesses were Qataris) airlines was that the United staff in First Class were almost all old and, hate it say it, but, FAT.

 I was picked up by Suresh Patil (he is one of the co-founders of Hawaii Biotech, and I served on their board for a few years), and Claudia served a Mumms Napa sparkling wine (10) before we went to dinner at Mc Cormick and Schmick's Seafood Restaurant in Reston, where Claudia and I shared a bottle of Parducci Sustainable White (11-12), while Suresh drank beer, for he was driving.  It turns out that both 2008 Parducci Sustainable White Claudia and I have crustacean allergies, so we warned our server about this.  My dinner of excellent scalops came with a tossed green salad, and only after eating some it realized that there were generous quantities of crab.  We alerted our waiter, who got immediately concerned, and the manager came by to say that the wine was on them.  Then at the end, our waiter indicated that there would be no charge for us.  We were discussing who was to pay, so that was conveniently decided by M & S.

At their home (Suresh and Claudia above), Suresh opened a bottle of Bowmore Single Malt Scotch (13-14...maybe even 15).  This breaks my 15February2010 record, as reported in the Huffington Post.

Next I have my annual chat with Gloria and Joe Vadus, plus Judy and Cliff McLain, perhaps over our traditional triple martini, or two.  I need to get home soon to live a more simple life.


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