Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Temporary Executive Lounge, Sheraton Airport Hotel, Paris

During one of my visits to Paris this past year, we decided to stay two nights at the Sheraton Paris Airport hotel, since we had an early morning flight, and wanted to avoid the transit time from the city that morning, and had planned a day trip out of the city the other day, from a station located at the airport.  The hotel is, literally, inside the airport.  If you ever have an early morning flight to take out of Paris, it works well.

Being a Sheraton, they have an executive lounge serving breakfast and evening canapes, but, unfortunately it was closed for renovations during our visit.  Instead, they set up a temporary lounge of the side of the public bar area.

We visited for evening canapes both nights.  It was ... lackluster.  I have no idea what it is like when they have a real lounge, presumably closer to cooking facilities, but this was basically an abandoned corded off area, with no one attending the space, no way to keep hot foods hot, cold foods cold, and no signs labelling anything.

Drinks


Instant coffee and tea.  Yogurts and butter.
For hot drinks, there was a box of tea bags, and packets of instant coffee.  I hope that the real lounge actually has a coffee maker?

In a bowl next to the hot drink station was a couple yogurts, and three types of butter, just set out on ice to keep cool.  Yogurt as part of the evening canapes seemed odd to me.
Cold Drinks, Wine.
For cold drinks, there were a few soft drinks, a few juices, and a few beers.  One choice of white and one choice of red wine.  No hard alcohol.  No bubbly.  Very weak offering.

Snacks

Fruit and Bread.
We were in France, so there should be good bread options, right?  Nope!  A basket of rolls, with no tongs to serve them.  There were perhaps three different types, but all were rock solid.

The fruit selection was whole fruit: apples, oranges, kiwi.
Hot Foods: coconut shrimp skewers, potstickers, spring rolls.
The lounge had 3 quasi-hot offerings.  The first time I visited, there were coconut shrimp skewers, potstickers, and spring rolls.

The coconut covered shrimp were inconsistent.  One had a bunch of shell(!), and was rubbery, truly awful.  Another was ok.

The potstickers seemed to be pork?  The filling was mushy and not very good, but the shell was kinda crispy and good enough.

The spring rolls seemed to be chicken, with a bit of mushy vegetables inside too.  The spring roll wrappers themselves were super mushy and not good.

The biggest issue is that all of these items were lukewarm at best.  They had no heat source available, so the canapes were in metal pans with lids, but I'm pretty sure the had been sitting there for quite a while, losing heat.  I hope that when they serve in the real lounge it is better than this.

Later on that night, they swapped in tandoori chicken skewers.  The tandoori chicken was decently spiced and had a bit of a grilled flavor.  It wasn't awful, but, it was chicken, which I don't care for in general.

The next night, the options were spring rolls, coconut shrimp, and ... the most interesting curry I've ever countered.

The curry was a chicken curry.  With dried apricots. And prunes. And crunchy pistachios.  And crunchy cashews.  The flavors were decent, there were tons of textures.  It was interesting at least.
Condiments.
The condiment line up was ketchup, mustard, and mayo pots.  I'm not sure which of the items those were supposed to go with.

There was also a bottle of sweet chili sauce, that would have been nice with the spring rolls and coconut shrimp, except, it was empty.

I looked around for someone to refill, but, there was never a staff member in sight.

The next night, they had sriracha instead of sweet chili sauce.  Sriracha with spring rolls and coconut shrimp?  Interesting choice.
Night #1: Cheese, Sandwiches, Pasta Salad.
Another metal tray had chilled savory dishes, on some melted ice.

The pasta salad had a few assorted mushy cooked vegetables (tomatoes, zucchini, and perhaps something else).  The veggies had a bit of flavor but were oily, and the pasta was entirely boring.

The sandwich I tried, yes I know, shocking, because I don't like sandwiches.  Why would I try it? Mostly because I was just sad by the offerings.

It turned out to be the best thing.  Sundried tomato bread, some kind of cheese spread, and some kind of meat.  The bread was pretty flavorful, and I'm not opposed to cheesy spread.  The meat was tasty in places, but flabby and fatty in others.

The cheese was some kind of triple cream, unremarkable but not bad.

Later in the evening, the sandwiches were replaced by smoked salmon and cream cheese on a fluffy naan-like bread.  The bread was actually really soft and good, the smoked salmon fine.
Night #2: Cheese, Sandwiches.
The next night, the cheese was chunks of Swiss. It was ... fine.  Nothing special.

Sandwiches were again the sundried tomato bread, cream cheese spread, and meat sandos, plus a new addition, on dark rye bread.  The filling seemed to be cream cheese with nuts?
Night #1: Tarts, Sandwiches.
Another tray of the same sandwiches was alongside some slices of tart.

There were 3 types, and of course I tried them all.

The first one had slices of almonds on top.  I expected this to be the best.  It was ... odd.  It seemed to have ginger in it?  My second favorite.

The next one was a real surprise.  It was ... mandarin orange.  So weird, my least favorite.

Finally, apricot.  Soft, sweet, decent enough apricots on top, glazed.

All three had the same base, like a soft cake crossed with a cookie.  Kinda hard to explain.  Not quite a tart shell, not quite a cake.  The crust was decent, it tasted a bit like a shortbread cookie.

But overall, clearly, these were not good.
Night #2: Paris Brest, Tuna Rice, Cous Cous.
The next night, the dessert was mini Paris Brest.  I was fairly excited about these, not that I like Paris Brest that much, but, well, they are so French!

They were ... not very good.  The pastry was the real problem, incredibly soggy.  This is not an item that should be soggy.  It also was just a fairly thin cookie, not an airy choux pastry.  The chestnut cream filling was ok though.

Later that evening, the paris brest were replaced with cream puffs.  The puff wasn't soggy, but it was eggy in the way that I don't like choux pastry.  The filling was sweet cream, not pastry cream, almost mascarpone tasting perhaps?  Decent.

The other two items looked the same, until I looked closely and realized one was cous cous and one was rice.  I didn't try the cous cous.

The rice one had flaked tuna in it, along with some veggies, and, just like the pasta from the previous night, it was very oily.
Night #1: Fruit Dessert.
Later on the first night, additional desserts were brought out.  They were ... fruit covered in strawberry sauce?  The fruit was actually fine, although I guess hard to really evaluate given that they were absolutely coated in the sauce.
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