Thursday, December 27, 2018

Blackbird Doughnuts, Boston

Every town has its iconic doughnut shops, some are the mom and pop variety, the ones that have been there for a zillion years, and of course, then there are trendy new artisanal ones.

Like Blackbird Doughnuts, in Boston, MA.
"Blackbird Doughnuts, located in Boston’s South End, is dedicated to creating unique gourmet doughnuts from scratch.  We are the only artisanal doughnut shop in Boston that bakes on site! We aim to take the pastry craft to the next level by combining interesting flavors with classic favorites, while using as many natural and locally sourced ingredients as possible. Come by and check out our bakers in action."
Blackbird has a few other locations around the Boston area as well, including one in Cambridge.

My local friends know that I'm a bit of a donut lover, so they of course have recommended Blackbird to me as long as I can remember.  But, to be honest, I kinda though "eh, just another donut place that locals love, I have other priorities".  I can't say I've been blown away by other similar recommendations like Top Pot in Seattle or Doughnut Plant in New York.

I didn't seek out Blackbird, until an event at the office I was visiting had extra, so I tried one.  I immediately went back for another, and regretted not discovering them sooner.  I can't wait to try more!

Along with traditional doughnuts (cake and raised), Blackbird also makes doughnut cakes (stuffed with seasonal jam, topped with cream cheese buttercream), and mini doughnuts.

Cake Doughnuts

" Often referred to as “Old Fashioned”, cake doughnuts are made in the style of a traditional cake batter with butter, sugar, eggs, and dairy – we use buttermilk and sour cream. Our cake doughnuts have a tender crumb and a rich, yet delicate taste. We make frostings and glazes to complement the texture and style of our cake doughnuts."
I was not really into cake doughnuts for years.  I definitely thought I was a raised doughnut girl all the way (or really, a fritter girl ...).  Why have a cake doughnut, which to me was essentially just cake without the part I actually like (frosting)?  But in recent years, I've found myself enjoying them, like the Wild Blueberry version from Doughnut Plant in NYC, most of the chocolate cake donuts from Dynamo Donuts in SF, or the amazing old fashioned at Johnny Doughnuts in the Bay Area.

So the first doughnut I selected from Blackbird was actually a cake doughnut.  

Blackbird rotates flavors often, and when I had them the first time (December, 2018), they had 10 cake doughnut varieties, some seasonal (like gingerbread), others fairly classic (but sold in mini size, as a stack), and some vegan.

[ No Photo ]
Cookie Milk Cake Doughnut.

"Our signature vanilla cake doughnut, topped with a glaze made of milk infused with oreos and chocolate chip cookies finished with housemade oreo cookie butter and cookie chunks."

I didn't take a photo of this doughnut, as I just though "oh hey, random donuts", and didn't think I'd be reviewing it.  I had no idea what I was about it experience, clearly.

This was crazy good.  Crazy crazy crazy good.  Dense cake base that had some depth of flavor to it, from the buttermilk and sour cream.  Slightly oily but only in that you could tell it was fried awesomeness, not off putting.  Really a great base.

Then, the toppings. The glaze was sweet and covered it well, and the bits of cookie (oreo and choc chip) added a nice touch, as did the actual chunks of cookie stuck on top.  Did I get the "milk" aspect of it? Nah, but it was a good glaze.

The center of the doughnut was the best though.  It looked like a chocolate donut hole perched in the center, and it turned out to be a ball of Oreo cookie butter (!), and it was the things dreams are made of.  It was just ... soo good.  Soft, almost like ... half-baked Oreo brownie dough.  It was amazing.

I was fairly blown away.  I want another of this, or any cake variety!

Raised Doughnuts

"The trademark of a raised doughnut is its airy, fluffy texture. Our raised doughnuts are made with a brioche dough and topped with a variety of house-made glazes, frostings, and toppings. Brioche is a rich, tender, yeast dough made with eggs, milk, and butter. We stick to the basics and only add a few secret ingredients so our soft, fluffy, buttery dough pairs perfectly with any topping."
Since the cake doughnut was so good, I quickly went back to get another, and this time went for a raised doughnut to compare.

The pickings were getting more slim at that point, so only the basic vanilla glazed, chocolate sprinkle, and marshmallow coconut remained.  I snatched up the coconut to try something slightly unique, but I wished I could have tried the fascinating sounding "Everything Bagel Doughnut" though, a stuffed doughnut with whipped cream cheese inside, and all the classic everything bagel toppings on top (garlic, onion, sesame, poppy seed).  While I have a serious sweet tooth, the idea of a savory doughnut did intrigue me.
Marshmallow Coconut.
"Fluffy raised doughnut base glazed in marshmallow coconut and topped with coconut shavings, like freshly fallen snow."

The raised doughnut was less exciting.  The base was a fairly standard raised doughnut, not too greasy, but not notable really.  It was ... just a raised doughnut.  

The topping though was what I was interested in, although I knew it might e a mixed success.  And, it was.  The marshmallow glaze was great, and, as you can see, it was very well coated.  Sweet, marshmallow glaze.  Nice.  

The coconut shavings really were generous as well, but that was the problem.  Sometimes I just don't really care for coconut, the texture just bothers me.  And that is how this went.  I didn't want a furry doughnut!  

So, I didn't love this.  A fine doughnut base, but not special, and well applied toppings that I just didn't really want.

I'd like to try another raised doughnut of a variety that is more appealing to me.
Blackbird Doughnuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Good Culture Cottage Cheese

Pretty sure you never expected me to review cottage cheese, right?

Bear with me.

Good Culture is a brand of, yes, cottage cheese.  Just cottage cheese.  Premium cottage cheese.
"Cottage cheese, but better. Real food, simple ingredients, no artificial anything."
They make two product lines, one with whole milk (organic) and one low-fat (natural).  Not sure why they choose to make only the whole milk line organic?  Each line comes in different fruity flavors, along with classic plain flavors.

I haven't had cottage cheese much (at all?) in at least 15 years, but, when I was younger, I actually ate quite a bit of it.  I loved it drizzled with Catalina dressing (ok, smothered by), and served alongside some sprouts.  I think my mom got me hooked on it at some point.  So when I had the opportunity to try Good Culture, I said yes, wondering if I'd find myself liking cottage cheese again.

I tried several varieties (and no, I didn't smother it in Catalina, although I did try adding thousand island, since that is what I had on hand ...).  It didn't re-inspire me to eat cottage cheese,so I shared the rest with my family.

My sister quite liked it, and shared a bite with her 11 month old, even though she had never liked cottage cheese before.  And ... she liked it!  My mother also enjoyed it, and she too gave some to the baby, who again accepted it.  So while it wasn't the product for me, I was glad to see it appreciated by others.

Certified Organic, Whole Milk, 4% Milkfat
"We've got the goods. A thicker, creamier, simple ingredient experience." 

I had only the fullest fat option, the 4% product line, all organic.  Available in "classic", strawberry chia, blueberry açai, pineapple, and mango.
Packaging.
The flavored versions all come in only one size, a single serve, loaded with 17g of protein!  The classic flavor is also available in a larger format.  My sister loved the size, calling it "perfect for a snack."
Pineapple: The Curd.
When you tear off the lid, all flavors look like plain cottage cheese, as all varieties have the fruit on the bottom, in a layer at the base, like "fruit on the bottom" yogurts.  You need to mix in as you please.

Which of course, for me, meant that first I'd try the plain cottage cheese to evaluate it.

The first thing I noticed is how small the curd is.  Very, very small.  A bit too small and mushy for my preference.  I like to see distinct curds!  I think this is the aspect of it the baby liked though, and both my mom and sister said that while it was different, they didn't mind.

The cottage cheese to me was ... fine?   I mean, it was cottage cheese, not particularly exciting as a concept.  Creamy, sure, but I didn't taste anything particularly notable about it, and thought I'd taste more difference from the fuller fat content.
Pineapple: Compote.
"Paradise awaits! our organic pineapple is a tantalizing tropical temptation for your tongue (cabana boy not included)."

The first flavor I tried was the pineapple.  After much digging, I was able find the fruity compote at the base.

It was good.  Sweet, fruity, some chunks of pineapple.  Not too sweet, not a goo.  The pineapple and cottage cheese were a nice, classic pairing, something I used to make on my own from regular cottage cheese and canned pineapple actually.

The layer of fruit compote was pretty thin though; I would have liked more.  It also was hard to reach, just like those fruit on the bottom yogurts - personally I prefer the style with the mix-in on the side, so you can access it immediately and add it in as you please.

So, overall, a good flavor, standard cottage cheese, good for what it was.
Strawberry Chia: Compote.
"In the mood for something sweet? our strawberry chia blend is sweeter than a pile of kittens snuggling a pile of babies. yeah, believe it."

Next I went for strawberry chia.  This time I knew what to expect.  Same basic small curd cottage cheese that was fine, but still cottage cheese, and still a smaller curd than I wanted.

In the base, the fruit, this time, strawberry chia. I didn't care for this at all -  the strawberry was just kinda sweet, not chunks of fruit as I was hoping, and, well, I don't really like chia.  I also didn't find the cottage cheese + strawberry combination to make sense in my head.
Blueberry Açaí Chia.
"Good things come in threes.  Organic blueberries, açaí berries, and chia seeds make for the perfect trifecta on your tongue."

The blueberry açaí chia was slightly better than the strawberry chia.  At this point, I knew what to expect with the boring small curd cottage cheese, and went right for the goodies on the bottom.  While I didn't think blueberry and açaí would go well with cottage cheese, I do like those fruits and was interested to see what this was like.

I was pleased to find a more substantial layer of the fruit than in the other varieties.  It did have a few small whole berries, plus a little bit of the chia seed, in a blueish-purple goo.  Fruity, sweet, but not what I wanted with cottage cheese.  The chia was fairly insignificant, so if you are looking for crunch from chia, you won't get it here.

Another one that just wasn't for me, but this is the flavor my sister and her daughter particularly enjoyed.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

JetBlue Mint, Flight 334, SFO-BOS (July 2017, December 2017, August 2018, December 2018)

I now regularly fly JetBlue Mint when I visit the east coast, which I do twice a year to see my family, usually once in the summer, once over Christmas.  This is a compilation of reviews of all of those flights for the past few years, as I seem to take the exact same flight every time: flight 334, from SFO to Boston Logan.

Summary? JetBlue Mint continues to impress, particularly when you get a single suite, and particularly when they serve amazing pasta.  The other food can be hit or miss, but the wine and ice cream are always winners.


July 2017 Flight

Flight Details:

Departure: SFO, 11:51am
Arrival: BOS, 8:38 pm
Duration: 5h 47m
Seat: 2A (single suite)
Class: Mint

Another day, another flight on JetBlue, in Mint.  As I said before, I'm ruined at this point.  I can't go back.  Also, on many, many occasions, you can score Mint for less than Virgin America main cabin, which, is just ridiculous.  (To be fair, I've still only ever flown Mint when I've found the $599 fare, I haven't quite bridged that hump yet, so I'll fly slightly less convenient days just to do get that fare!)

Skipping all the regular details since I've reviewed the Mint experience a number of times now.

I was able to score one of the suites (2A), which was again such a treat.  Seriously, pinch me, how is this real?  Sooo much space, so much privacy, and dramatically better than other Mint seats, even though all are the same price.

My flight started very smoothly.

Our flight boarded right at the time listed on my boarding card.  Everyone got on quickly.  We pushed back early.  We got in line for takeoff, we were number 3.  Everything seemed to be going well.

And then, after we had left the gate, after electronics were put away, the PA system came on.  "We regret to inform you that there is no wifi today.  We'll have free movies instead".

Fuuu.  I don't care how nice the seat is, the food is, everything else is.  I was supposed to be working.  I had things I needed to get done before the next day.  I didn't even have a magazine with me.

So, yeah.  Let's just say my flight went downhill fast.

My in-flight crew also seemed relatively new.  They didn't do little things like remove the trash from the blanket packaging, and didn't know how to close the suite doors.  They were friendly enough, but, just not really knowledgeable.

Amenities
Amenity Kit.

The amenity kit was Hopper branded, with things like a toothbrush and paste, mints, lotion, lip balm, ear plugs, eye mask, and a moist towel.

Blankets and pillows were waiting on the seat, soft and comfortable.

Food & Drink

Menu & Ordering

As I settled in, the menu was distributed.  Again, same as before, appetizer, and then choice of 3 out of 5 dishes, 2 of which are chilled, variety of hot dishes (one veggie, one chicken, one seafood).  Dessert is ice cream, provided by a local ice cream shop in each port of departure, so, for this flight, Double Rainbow, apparently from SF, although I've never had it.  I was a little surprised it wasn't Humphrey Slocombe, Bi-Rite, or some other well known SF ice cream shop ... 
Lunch Menu.
The menu was as follows:

WELCOME TASTE
  • BASIL DIP WITH BLANCHED VEGETABLES
DELISH DISHES
Choose three. Please note: The first two dishes listed below are chilled
  • WATERMELON SALAD / feta, micro basil, toasted pepitas, shichimi togarashi
  • TUSCAN KALE SALAD / cashews, apples, cotija, tahini cashew dressing
  • ZUCCHINI LASAGNA / ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, tomato caper sauce
  • GRILLED CHICKEN PAILLARD / arugula, tomatoes, kalamata olives, parmesan
  • PAN-SEARED SEABASS / parmesan risotto, broccolini, carrot-chardonnay sauce
SWEET BITES
  • ICE CREAM: Double Rainbow, San Francisco, CA
WHEN YOU RE-TREAT
  • COOKIE, milk bar, NYC and beyond
Since I have a severe watermelon allergy, that dish was obviously out, and I don't like chicken, so, my selections were easy: kale salad, zucchini lasagna, and seabass.  I wasn't necessarily expecting good fish in the air, but the cheesy risotto and carrot-chardonnay sauce sounded potentially tempting.
Wine List.
The wine list was new to me for this flight, as they always mix it up with the menu change.  Still one sparkling, one white, one rose, and two reds, but, different offerings.
  • SPARKLING: SCHRAMSBERG RESERVE BRUT, 2017, North Coast
  • WHITE: MATTHIASSON LINDA VISTA VINEYARD CHARDONNAY, 2016, Napa Valley
  • ROSÉ: MACARI ROSÉ, 2015, North Fork of Long Island
  • RED: BROC CELLARS VALDIGUIÉ, 2016, Green Valley
  • RED: WENZLAU DRAWING BOARD PINOT NOIR, Sta. Rita Hills

Drinks

RefreshMINT (with Vodka).
As always, we were offered the signature cocktail as we settled in, mint limeade, with or without vodka.  I accepted the suggestion of vodka, and really enjoyed my drink, it was the perfect level of sweet, minty, sour, refreshing, and boozy.
Matthiasson Linda Vista Vineyard Chardonnay, 2016, Napa Valley.
"Top California talents Steve and Jill Matthiasson are back with their irresistible Chardonnay, grown on a historic property right behind their house in the cooler southern end of Napa. This latest vintage is fruit-forward, with lots of fresh, sunny peach and apple flavors but the complexity to match
nearly any dish."

I'm not normally a white wine drinker, but, since I was having salad and fish (well, and lasagna, hmm), I decided to go for white wine with my meal.

This was actually quite nice.  Smooth, buttery, not acidic.  I really enjoyed it, and was pleasantly surprised by the selection.

Food

JetBlue Mint July Feast!

But let's go on to the real review: the dining!

As always, I was served a decent feast, with a starter, choice of 3 small plates, ice cream, and a cookie.  Sadly, it was one of the least memorable.
Welcome Taste: Basil Dip With Blanched Vegetables.
The Welcome Tastes have been some of my highlights on previous flights.  I still drool over the caramelized onion dip, and I adore taro chips, so I've loved all the taro chip varieties.

This one ... didn't quite sound as exciting.  Blanched veggies instead of taro chips?  Nooo.

And, at first glance, yeah, what?  I was given a soggy bag of vegetables.  As in, actually soggy.  Inside was two asparagus spears, three green beans, and two carrots (with tops on).  I had a hard time getting past the soggy bag, but, actually, the veggies were nice.  They were soft yet crisp, just slightly blanched.  They all had decent flavor and snap, the carrots particularly snappy.  While they weren't taro chips, I guess they *were* a more healthy option.  Not bad, really.

The dip was thick and flavorful, very herbacious, but I didn't really like the flavor.  I'm not sure what else was in it.

Better than I expected, and I actually think the veggies would work great with that caramelized onion dip from before.
Tuscan Kale Salad, Zucchini Lasagna, Pan-Seared Seabass, Bread.
As always, my 3 selections arrived on one tray, small plates of each, with bread and oil.

The bread was warm this time (improvement!), but stale and spongy as always, and I didn't actually want it at all.  Really JetBlue, you gotta work on this bread.

Sadly, none of my small plates were very good this time around, probably the weakest of all JetBlue Mint dining experiences I have had.
Tuscan Kale Salad.
"Cashews, apples, cotija, tahini cashew dressing."

The kale salad was ... boring.  JetBlue has served me some really tasty salads before, but this one just didn't have much going on.  The kale was fresh enough, as were the slices of apple (but, apple in July?  Not seasonal!).  The cashews were soft and wet, a bit odd, just like the paper bag for the veggie appetizer.  The dressing was really non-existent though, I didn't really find it, nor taste tahini.

There were red pepper flakes in the salad, not listed on the menu, quite spicy.

Overall, just meh.
Zucchini Lasagna.
"Ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, tomato caper sauce."

The lasagna was much bigger than other offerings, really, a full size slice of lasagna.

It was composed of layers of pasta, a ricotta/parmesan/mozzarella cheese mix, and slices of grilled zucchini.

The zucchini was tender, the ricotta and other cheese mix generous.  I liked both of these components quite a bit.  The pasta was pretty meh, just soft and soggy inside, but I appreciated the crispy top layer.

The sauce I did not like.  It was too sweet, too tangy.  Made up of large chunks of tomato and onion, plus the capers.  I did love the capers.

It also was only lukewarm, a bit sad, since lasagna of all things can heat up well and retain heat.

Overall, I did enjoy the ricotta and zucchini, but, this was clearly "airline food", or "cafeteria food", if you know what I mean.  Kinda like a frozen dinner, just, with a sprig of fresh parsley on top.
Pan-seared Seabass.
"Parmesan risotto, broccolini, carrot-chardonnay sauce."

And finally, the seabass.  I ordered this just because I really didn't want (or couldn't have), the other two options.  I didn't actually expect anything good from fish on a plane.

I was pretty stunned when I saw it though.  I looked beautiful.  The fish was moist and glistening, it had lovely color on top.  I was actually excited at this point, since I do love seafood.

But ... uh, the fish was horrible.  It was stringy.  I've never seen sea bass with a texture like this before.  It was so odd.  And it was very, very, very fishy.  Not good.

Moving on to the parmesan risotto, which I had some hope for, cheesy ricey goodness?  No.  It was soggy mush.  I didn't taste cheese.  This was not good.

On the plus side, I did like the carrot-chardonnay "sauce" much more like a puree, very flavorful.  I dipped my leftover blanched veggies in it.  Also on the plus side, this was served warm?
Matcha Green Tea and Vanilla Ice Cream, Double Rainbow.
"Intense sweetness with the deep flavor of matcha green tea."
"Rich and creamy, a perfect vanilla custard."

The ice cream selection was Matcha Green Tea, 2 scoops, served with a scoop of vanilla as well.  No toppings (I actually packed my own sprinkles in preparation for this, but somehow didn't think straight when packing, and put them in with my checked luggage.   Doh.)

I don't normally have caffeine after noon, and particularly not when it was already 5pm at my destination, so I was pretty sad to see the flavor of the day was green tea, but, let's just say, I wasn't really satisfied by my meal.  Plus, ice cream!

The ice cream was ... ok.  It clearly had been freezer burned, particularly on top.  There was lots of ice chunks inside.  It wasn't very creamy.  Is this just how Double Rainbow ice cream is?  Was it not stored or transported well?  Who knows.  It certainly wasn't great ice cream.

That said, the matcha flavor was great.  They didn't hold back on the matcha component.  The vanilla was decent, flecked with vanilla bean.  I used the vanilla scoop to make an affogado.

Satisfying I guess, but obviously full of flaws.

Decaf Coffee, Dunkin' Donuts.

The decaf coffee was Dunkin' Donuts, pretty standard stuff.  Served in a nice mug.  Perfect for making an affogado.
Confetti Cookie, Milk Bar, New York.
And, the parting gift, a cookie from Milk Bar.  Again, a bit of disappointment with the selection of the day, the Confetti Cookie.  Don't get me wrong, I like the confetti cookie, but, I had it on my flight the previous month, and was hoping for something different.
Protip: Get your cookies & ice cream together!
I finally took my advice from past flights, and asked if I could have my cookie when I got my ice cream.  This way, I could use it to make an ice cream sandwich with the plain vanilla ice cream, and really jazz it up a bit.  I recommend.

December 2017 Flight

I caved.  I actually paid for JetBlue Mint.

Those of you who know me know that I'm ... a miser.  It might not come across that way on my blog, but, when I travel *not* for business, I never splurge.  Economy, no extra legroom, flying on flights that aren't good for my schedule just because they are cheaper.

I got to experience JetBlue Mint when I was able to snag it for the lowest rate ever available as part of a business trip, and, it ruined me, as I told you in great detail.  I did that route again another time, just a few months later, which I've previously reviewed.  And I flew the JFK-SFO route in Mint on my return business trip.  You may start with those reviews if you prefer.

So this year, for the holidays, I decided to splurge, and treat myself.  To be fair, I still did it the cheapest way possible.  I did not consider any flights that were above the cheapest price they ever offer (and most were double that).  I flew two days earlier than I really wanted to.  And ... I had travel bank credits that were going to expire within several days, so, I did *have* to spend them.

But still.  This was a big deal for me.

And, I really appreciated it.  JetBlue's Mint class really is a pleasant experience.  I wouldn't pay double what I did (which again, many flights were), but for only ~$100 more than regular economy (which once you add in baggage fees that are waived with Mint, becomes even less), it was certainly worth it.

Flight Details:

Departure: SFO, Scheduled 12:15pm (boarding time set at 11:30am, I arrived at gate at 11:32am to find them already on boarding group C!), Actual 12:13pm.  (Yes, we were airborne at 12:13pm!)
Arrival: BOS,  pm
Duration: h m
Seat: 4A (single suite)
Class: Mint

Amenities

Christmas Amenity Kit.
Um, how adorable is this?  The amenity kit was given a holiday touch, complete with fingerless mittens!  With matching socks, winter themed eye mask and kit.

The standard ear plugs and lip balm, lotion, etc were also provided.  Not things I needed for the day flight, but, adorable.

Food & Drink

Menu & Ordering

As always, menus were presented once I sat down, and we ordered once underway, a selection of 3 small plates from a list of 5, plus a "Welcome Taste."

We were also offered the signature RefreshMint drink once seated, but the first time, I didn't go for the delicious drink once I boarded.  I just wasn't quite in the mood, but really wanted coffee (decaf though, since I had already had 2 cups that morning).

Unfortunately, I was told that I couldn't have decaf, they only have one pot, and, regular it was.  Minus a point, but understandable I guess.
Eastbound Lunch/Dinner Menu - December 2017.
The menu was as follows:

WELCOME TASTE
  • GREEN AIOLI DIP WITH TARO CHIPS
DELISH DISHES
Choose three. Please note: The first two dishes listed below are chilled
  • ASIAN PEAR SALAD / baby greens, grapes, golden raisins, blue cheese, candied hazelnuts
  • BRAISED FENNEL & QUINOA SALAD / orange and lime segments, pomegranate, tahini dressing
  • BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI / butternut squash, pecans*, parmesan, sage sauce
  • CHICKEN & LEEK POT PIE / carrots, parsnips, celery root, puff pastry
  • RIBEYE / smashed fingerlings, eringi mushrooms, balsamic-ginger glaze
SWEET BITES
  • ICE CREAM: Double Rainbow, San Francisco, CA
WHEN YOU RE-TREAT
  • COOKIE, milk bar, NYC and beyond
For my meal, I opted for the first three items, all vegetarian.  I was very tempted by the pot pie, since I really did like the veggie pot pie last time, but, the salads have always been hits, and I really wanted the winter squash ravioli more than the pot pie.

Drinks

Drink  Menu.
The drink lineup as always featured a sparkling, two red, and two white wines, plus cider, beer, liquor, soft drinks, tea, and coffee.

I decided to go for wine on this flight, and was tempted by nearly every option.  Kudos to their writer who make them all sound so great!
  • SPARKLING: RAVENTOS I BLANC DE NIT BRUT ROSÉ, 2015, Penedès, Spain
  • WHITE: BELLWETHER “S” DRY RIESLING, 2015, Finger Lakes
  • WHITE: LEO STEEN, CHENIN BLANC, 2014, Dry Creek Valley
  • RED: TURLEY, Juvenile Zinfandel, 2015, California
  • RED: DOMAINE DE LA CÔTE, Pinot Noir, 2014, Sta. Rita Hills
WHITE: BELLWETHER “S” DRY RIESLING, 2015, Finger Lakes.
"Harvested from the east side of Seneca Lake, this brisk, fully dry Riesling is made by one of New York State’s rising-star producers. Its mouthwatering green apple flavors and mineral accents offer a great window into the aromatic charms of this renowned grape—and are a perfect match with our lighter Mint menu items."

I normally go for red wine, but, since I was going for a lighter menu, I was drawn in by the first of the white wines, a dry riesling, as it said it was the right match for me.  Still skeptical, I asked for just a taste, before I committed.

I was brought a full glass.  Oh well.  But it was good, buttery, light.

It also came with some bonus floaters, which I didn't bother complaining about.

Food

My food was a mixed success.  One item was one of the best entrees I've had on any flight.  Another was ... one of the worst.
GREEN AIOLI DIP WITH TARO CHIPS.
 Our "Welcome Taste" sounded both awesome and potentially problematic, as I'm allergic to avocado, and I wasn't sure what made it green.  But I adore aioli, and I adore taro chips, so, I was hopeful.

I asked, and was delighted to hear that it was scallion and lemon.  Phew.

It. Was. Delicious.

The taro chips were a given, since I like taro chips, but the green aioli was the shocker.  Herby, creamy, very, very tasty, very, uh, scallion forward?

I liked like this, and asked for seconds, but they had ran out, as our FA dropped a bunch on the floor.  Doh.  My second favorite item of the meal.
ASIAN PEAR SALAD / BRAISED FENNEL & QUINOA SALAD / BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI / BREAD.
As always, my platter arrived with all three choices, a roll with butter, salt/pepper, and silverware.
BREAD & BUTTER.
The roll was awful as always, stale, spongy, soggy, lukewarm.  No reason to ever eat this, and I always mean to tell them not to other bring it.
ASIAN PEAR SALAD.
"Baby greens, grapes, golden raisins, blue cheese, candied hazelnuts."

First up for small plates, the Asian pear salad.

This was not great.  A very odd salad.

The base was a strange mix of greens, not standard mixed greens, it did have some baby arugula, but mostly seemed to be herbs?  Very herby, certainly not what I was expecting.

On top of that was a few halves of red grapes and golden raisins, both very juicy and fine.  There were also some crunchy candied hazlenuts, which I enjoyed.  And crumbles of sharp blue cheese.  These elements were all fine, and worked together well enough.

The asian pear was ... ok.  Several slices, not the ripest, but not bad, not too mushy.

And on top was ... something.  I don't know.  Was that dressing?  Was it a compote?  It seemed to be a mustardy thick substance, perhaps made with asian pear?  Asian pear mostarda?  It wasn't necessarily bad, but, it was, like the herbs, just, strange.

So, I liked the nuts, I thought the grapes/raisins/blue cheese were fine, and I was just a bit weirded out by the greens and topping.  
Watery Salad.
The real issue though was the state of the salad base.  It was swimming in some kind of liquid.  I guess additional dressing?  I'm not sure.  It made the greens really, really, really soggy and unappealing.

Overall, I salvaged most of this, but, I wouldn't order it again.  My second to last pick, only getting points for salvaging a few bits.
BRAISED FENNEL & QUINOA SALAD.
"Orange and lime segments, pomegranate, tahini dressing."

Next up, another lackluster salad.  Ok, actually, this one was just bad.

The base was colorful mixed quinoa, and it was incredibly bitter.  I'm not sure why.  Crunchy, which was nice, but bitter, biter, biter.  

I'm not sure where the tahini dressing was, perhaps that was in the mix with the quinoa?  It was a bit pasty, so, perhaps that was it?

On top of this was pomegrante seeds, the type I never like, that seemed like just ... well, seeds.  Not much juicy flesh around them.  And segments of lime and orange, way too acidic and tangy, again, biter.

And finally, on the very top, a single piece of fennel.  It was crazy chewy and not enjoyable.

This salad had not a single element I liked.  It was biter, not balanced, and just, well, not good.  My least favorite.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI.
"Butternut squash, pecans*, parmesan, sage sauce."

The pasta though ... it redeemed everything.

I really, really liked it.  It wasn't just good for airplane food, it was just good.  Shockingly good.

It came topped with large shreds of parmesan and chives, plus a few pecan halves, all good garnishes.  It had a creamy sauce, which at first glance looked like it was just on one side and not nearly sufficient, and I was about to ask for more, but, it turned out there was plenty.  A nice creamy sauce, although I didn't really taste sage as the menu said.

So, everything alongside the ravioli was great.
Ravioli Close Up.
 And then, the ravioli itself.  It was really good.

The serving was 3 ravioli, not standard square pasta though, they were long rectangles, that filled the entire dish, layered one on top of the other.  They were a red color, with more vibrant red stripes.  Beautiful looking pasta, actually.

And somehow, perfectly cooked.  Al dente, a nice chew to the pasta.  Somehow not soggy and not dried out either.  I was amazed.

The filling was generous, the large form of the pasta allowed for them to really stuff the pasta.  Loaded with mashed butternut squash.  Creamy, flavorful.

I loved everything about this.  I'd call it a success *at a nice italian resturant*.  I'm still crazy confused how it was possible on a flight.  Best dish I've ever had on JetBlue Mint and better than most international business meals.

Well cooked pasta, generous flavorful filling, creamy sauce, perfect accompaniments.  What more can you ask for?

My favorite item, I'd gladly get this again, and seriously, just order three of them!  (Actually, I wouldn't, the portion was great as it was).
Double Rainbow: Winter Mint Ice Cream / Vanilla Ice Cream.
"Mint Chocolate Chip: Rich, delicious and refreshing mint ice cream meets a generous helping of indulgent fudge chips in this classic ice cream."

"French Vanilla: Winner of  Best in America, our French Vanilla is a perfectly crafted blend of the highest quality milk, cream, eggs and vanilla."


Dessert was ice cream, and since my departure city was San Francisco, it came from Double Rainbow.  The selection of the day was Winter Mint, served as two scoops, with a single scoop of vanilla.

The ice cream was described as "Winter Mint", but, I'm pretty sure this is what Double Rainbow calls Mint Chocolate Chip.  And the vanilla, pretty sure was their French Vanilla, unless Double Rainbow makes ice cream just for JetBlue.

The mint chocolate chip was fine, although the mint tasted a bit fake to me.  I liked the large chips.  But overall, just kinda a meh, generic ice cream.

I liked the vanilla more actually, good deep vanilla flavor.

Both were rock solid when served, and took time to get down to a remotely creamy consistency, but never were particularly luxurious.
BYO Sprinkles.
And of course, I came prepared with my own toppings.

Please JetBlue, add toppings for your ice cream!
Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow.
The parting gift was a Milk Bar cookie, this time, Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow.

I'll admit, I was really, really hoping it would be the peppermint cornflake chocolate chip cookie, a seasonal offering from Milk Bar that i hadn't tried before, but alas, it was one of the standard selection.  I also kinda hoped for blueberry & cream or corn cookies, so I could have it for "breakfast" the next morning (although, hmm, cornflakes make this legit breakfast right?)

August 2018 Flight

Flight Details:

Departure: SFO, 11:59 am (scheduled) 12:59 pm (actual)
Arrival: BOS, 8:46 pm (scheduled)
Duration: h m
Seat: 2F (single suite)
Class: Mint

We boarded early and quickly.  We pushed back from the gate early.  And then ... we taxied to the side of the runway, and didn't move.  No updates were given.  We took off an hour late.

My FA was a nice older man, very polite, but not very personable.  He also got ... many things wrong.

I ordered a Sprite Zero, got a Sprite.  The person behind me ordered a Pinot Noir, got a rose.  She even had to be persistent in saying, "Are you sure this is the pinot noir?  This looks like a rose." several times.  I asked if the salad was already dressed with avocado dressing (I'm allergic, which I told him), and he said he'd check, and get back to me if so.  I was served it slathered in avocado dressing.  Nice man, but, not actually very good service.

Meal service, and even drink service, took a long time to get started.  Given our late departure, it meant that the lunch I expected around 1pm didn't happen until 2:30pm.  I was ready to eat a horse.  

Amenities

No updates here, just Hopper Kits, a new color of comfortable, well fitting socks.

Food & Drink

August 2018 Lunch.
The food was actually among the weakest I've had on JetBlue.   Some of it was preference (no amazing taro chips or wonton chips!), some of it just wasn't great.

But I still had fun making an ice cream sundae, providing my own toppings, and the wine was great.

Menu & Ordering

Lunch Menu.
The menu was as follows:

WELCOME TASTE
  • THAI BASIL DIP WITH BLANCHED VEGETABLES 
DELISH DISHES
Choose three. Please note: The first two dishes listed below are chilled
  • GRILLED PEACH & BURRATA SALAD / pickled chilies, yuzu basil seeds
  • PAN-ROASTED SALMON SALAD / baby gem lettuce, english peas, avocado-turmeric dressing
  • SWEET POTATO & BUTTERNUT SQUASH LASAGNA / tomatillo sauce, pepitas
  • MISO-BARBECUE CHICKEN / asian daikon slaw, chili lime dressing
  • BRAISED BEEF & BLACK BEAN RICE / stewed tomatoes, roasted peppers, olives, capers
SWEET BITES
Enjoy Both:
  • ICE CREAM: Double Rainbow Ice Cream, San Francisco, CA
  • FRESH FRUIT: pineapple, mango, papaya, strawberry
WHEN YOU RE-TREAT
  • COOKIE, milk bar, NYC and beyond
My first two choices were easy: obviously I wanted the peach and burrata salad (because, um, burrata!), and of course I wanted lasagna (mmm, creamy, and something that goes well on flights).  The third selection was a bit harder.  I don't like black beans, so the beef was out.  I don't like chicken, but I love miso and daikon slaw.  And I like salmon, but not usually cooked salmon, and, well, I'm allergic to avocado.  I asked if the salad was already dressed, and asked for it if it wasn't, but, my FA never got back to me on that, and brought it anyway.  I would have selected the chicken if I knew this.

One change from previous flights is that JetBlue now serves both fruit and ice cream for dessert.

Drinks

Drink Menu.
The drink lineup as always featured a sparkling and two red wines, plus cider, beer, liquor, soft drinks, tea, and coffee.  This time, a single white rather than two, plus a rose! #summer
  • SPARKLING: ROEDERER ESTATE BRUT, MV, 2015, Anderson Valley
  • WHITE: LIOCO CHARDONNAY, 2017, Sonoma County
  • ROSE: THE WITHERS ROSÉ, 2017, El Dorado 
  • RED: FAILLA PINOT NOIR, 2016, Sonoma Coast
  • RED: SYNCLINE SUBDUCTION RED, 2016, Columbia Valley
I started with the white, a half glass, and moved on to red, the pinot, with my meal.
LIOCO CHARDONNAY, 2017, Sonoma County.
"One of the top examples of the modern style of California Chardonnay—full of pure fruit, never too rich or oaky. This latest vintage of Lioco’s “SoCo” is sourced from a selection of top Sonoma County vineyards, and it’s a standout, brimming with ripe apple and citrus. "

The chardonnay was nice.  Very drinkable.  Not acidic, not harsh, very pleasant to sip on.  I do prefer more buttery chardonnay, but this was fine.
FAILLA PINOT NOIR, 2016, Sonoma Coast.
"Winemaker Ehren Jordan combines grapes from vineyards in Sonoma’s remote coastal region for a rich but subtle glassful. It’s full of bright berry fruit, tea-like spice and a foresty note that’s always a marker for great Pinot, and explains why this remains one of California’s most sought-after Pinot Noirs."

The pinot too was good.  Not too tannic, decently complex.  I enjoyed it too.

Food

Welcome Taste: THAI BASIL DIP WITH BLANCHED VEGETABLES.
I adore the Welcome Tastes on JetBlue.  Dips.  <3 dips.  And usually, they come with taro chips, fried wontons, or other winning dip vessels.

And then sometimes ... it is the blanched vegetables.  And I hate them.  I don't dislike veggies, and fresh veggies would be fine, but these are always sooo limp.  A carrot, two asparagus, two green beans.  All blanched, so lightly cooked, and, well, limp.  I hated them, just like before. 

The dip was fine.  I didn't care for it when I had it before, but this time it was a little better.  Not great, but fine.  I have no idea what was in it, but it was creamy, herby, and had lemon accents.  It was the lemon part I didn't care for.  Again, I usually adore the dips (the caramelized onion one is absolute favorite!), so this was a letdown.
Lunch: Pan-Roasted Salmon Salad, Grilled Peach & Burrata Salad, Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Lasagna, Bread, Olive Oil.
As always, my three selections were served together, alongside a roll that was awful, and a cute little jar of olive oil, that I actually used this time ... just not for the horrible bread.
GRILLED PEACH & BURRATA SALAD.
"Pickled chilies, yuzu basil seeds."

I've had mixed experience with JetBlue burrata before, but, I adore burrata, so, this was an easy order for me.  As always, they served an entire bulb, which, is a bit crazy given that this is just one of three dishes.  That said, I did finish it ... 

The burrata was ... ok.  It wasn't very ripe, and so it didn't burst open and ooze delicious cream at all.  It was more like ... ricotta inside?  Which is fine, but much more like a fresh textured cheese than a creamy decadent burrata.  It was topped with a sprinkle of pepper, but I added more from my little  shaker.  I also added the olive oil, intended for the bread, here.  It needed it, and it helped quite a bit to enhance the flavor.

I didn't care for the pickled chilies, they just seemed like red peppers to me, not spicy (chilies, really?) and they certainly didn't seem pickled (firm texture like fresh peppers, no pickled flavor).  

The yuzu basil seeds were ... different?  I can't say I liked nor disliked them, mostly just amused that they went this route, and introduced people to basil seeds potentially.  Much like chia pudding, fairly tasteless.  Kinda interesting texture I guess?

The fresh basil leaves I did love though.

And finally, the peaches.  Well .... they were "grilled" in that they had grill marks on them, but they were really, really firm, crispy, crunchy, more like fresh apples.  Not the way you'd ever serve a peach, and certainly not grilled.  The flavor was ok, and I did finish them because I appreciated the pairing with the burrata, but, not actually very good.

So, overall, this was quite the mixed bag.  Not nearly the quality I've had in the past, and certainly not restaurant quality, but my favorite of the dishes, and I did finish it.
PAN-ROASTED SALMON SALAD.
"Baby gem lettuce, english peas, avocado-turmeric dressing."

The salads on JetBlue often are my favorites, but ... I don't ever like cooked salmon, unless at a high end restaurant, and, well, mid-rare and with crispy skin.  And I knew this was a cold dish.  And had avocado dressing ... which, as I said, I asked about, but when my FA never got back to me, I thought meant he could do without.  Sigh.

This was a huge disappointment for me.

Crazy soggy lettuce, because, well, pre-dressed it seems.  Sooooo wilty soggy.

The english peas were ... fine?  Raw peas, crisp, interesting I guess.  The herb garnish was really wilty, it didn't win any presentation awards here.

The salmon I tried to extract, knowing my allergy isn't deathly, and that a little of the dressing could be ok, but, I didn't care for the salmon at all.  As expected, fishy.  Just cold cooked salmon.  Serious meh.

I've had incredible hot smoked salmon on JetBlue flights before, but, this was not that.  My least favorite dish, I had only a bite.
SWEET POTATO & BUTTERNUT SQUASH LASAGNA.
"Tomatillo sauce, pepitas."

I'm grumpy about this one.  Lasagna sounded great, although, alongside burrata, a bit decadent.  And it looked pretty good.

But this ... was not lasagna.  It should have been called "lasagna".  It contained no pasta.

Instead, it was layers of sweet potato and butternut squash.  Both were undercooked.  Neither had any flavor.  There were onion in the mix too, which at least were little bits of flavor.

I'm not sure what made up the "cheese" or cream.  It certainly ... wasn't cheese.  Was it nut based?  Cashew?  It was awful.  I wanted gooey cheese, and instead it was this strangely lumpy, strange flavored, weird textured substance.  No comfort food here, and I hated the flavor.

The tomatillo sauce around the exterior was fine, and I loved the crunchy pepitas, but ... wow, not a success in any way.

Also, why serve this in August?   Such a winter dish with winter squash, potato, and pumpkin seeds!

My second to least favorite dish, because, I enjoyed some crunchy seeds and exterior sauce?  Yay for one decent bite.
Dessert: Ice Cream, Fruit, Decaf Coffee.
A change to the lineup, JetBlue now offers fruit, ice cream, or both for dessert.  I also opted for a decaf coffee.

The coffee was good, no strange funk, and I kinda worried it wasn't actually decaf.
Fresh Fruit.
"Pineapple, mango, papaya, strawberry."

The fruit offering sounded great, and I was thrilled that there was no melon.  There is always melon (I'm allergic), so I can never have the fruit on flights.  But mango, papaya, strawberries?  A more premium offering, and I was excited for it.

I didn't have the pineapple, and just gave that to my companion who likes pineapple.

The strawberry was actually shockingly good.  Really good flavor, sweet.  Cut in half, served with the stem on.  Definitely the highlight of the fruit.

It took me a minute to figure out which was the papaya, and which was the mango.  Let's just say ... these were not ripe fresh fruit.

The mango was the lighter color, 3 slices, of fairly unripe, crispy mango.  The flavor was still good, but, fresh juicy fruit this was not at all.

The papaya was soft at least, but again, didn't seem ripe and fresh, and I didn't care for it.

So, great strawberry, ok tasting mango, and the rest, eh.
Double Rainbow Ice Cream: Cappuccino Chocolate Crunch, Vanilla Bean.
As always from San Francisco, ice cream was Double Rainbow.  And as always, I lamented this choice.  Why can't they get ... better ice cream?  So many options, Three Twins, Humphrey Slocombe ... and yet, Double Rainbow?

I was double sad that the flavor was not only caffeinated, but kinda doubly so: cappuccino and chocolate.  Doh.  In the evening.  When I needed to adjust to a time zone.

Since I was one of the last ones served dessert, in row 2 (they go back to front in this direction), my ice cream was nicely melted, not as hard as usual. So, yay for that.

"Rich vanilla sprinkled with ground vanilla beans."

The vanilla was highly unremarkable.  A bit icy, not very creamy, no good vanilla flavor, even if it had visible vanilla bean dots.  Just very generic, not very high end, vanilla.  As always.

"Cappuccino and chocolate ice cream lavished with toffee crunches."

The flavor of the day, cappuccino chocolate crunch, however was decent.  Still not a great premium creamy product, and the chocolate flavor was mild, and, to be honest, I didn't taste coffee at all, but I liked the crunch from the chocolate covered toffee pieces.

But of course I didn't actually eat it this way.
Ice Cream Sundae!
JetBlue is great for Mint, but, somehow, even United beats them on the ice cream service in premium cabins.  United, American, Air New Zealand, etc, all offer ice cream ... with toppings.  JetBlue does not.  Bonus points to the airlines that have sundae carts and customizable creations, but even just some sprinkles would be great.

So, um, I bring my own.  Always.  My primary FA didn't seem remotely interested in this fact, but, another FA who was later walking by stopped dead in her tracks and exclaimed, "OMG!  Did you bring your own sprinkles?!!!"  When I confirmed, she was basically jumping up and down for joy, and told me I was "living the dream".  This ... is more the standard reaction I get from FAs when they see what I'm up to. 

And now that JetBlue has both fruit and ice cream for dessert, I was able to jazz it up even more: strawberries on top!

So in the end, I had fun with the ice cream, but I'd still prefer a better brand.
Parting Gift, Confetti Cookie, Milk Bar.
Our cookie of the day was the confetti cookie, one I have loved when I've gotten it at Milk Bar, but, the freshness just isn't there on the flights.

It was soft, sugary, buttery, decadent, and I love the sprinkles inside, but, it had a packaged taste to it, and honestly just didn't seem that fresh, which is how I've felt about most of the cookies lately.

December 2018 Flight

Flight Details:

Departure: SFO, 11:30 am (scheduled), 12:45+ (actual)
Arrival: BOS, : ~9pm
Seat: 2F (single suite)
Class: Mint

A standard Mint flight, with a FA I had before who remembered me!  But we did have a flight delay due to broken baggage belt at SFO.  Sigh.  We boarded on time, and sat for over an hour.  And when we landed ... my bag was not with us.  Dough sigh.  Boo hiss.

Food & Drink

Decadence.
The lineup in December was not light offerings, staring pot pie and cheesy gnocchi, both perfectly suited for winter comfort food.

I had quite a feast, a pretty good feast, and discovered a really nice wine.

Menu & Ordering

Since we were so delayed, our orders were taken while we sat at the gate.  It did not speed up meal service though, the main meal wasn't served until over an hour into the flight.  I was very hungry by that point!
December Eastbound Lunch/Dinner.
The menu was as follows:

WELCOME TASTE
  • PUMPKIN TUMERIC HUMMUS WITH PITA CHIPS
DELISH DISHES
Choose three. Please note: The first two dishes listed below are chilled
  • ASIAN PEAR SALAD / baby greens, grapes, golden raisins, blue cheese, candied hazelnuts
  • BRAISED FENNEL & QUINOA SALAD / orange and lime segments, pomegranate, tahini dressing
  • ASIAGO GNOCCHI / creamed leeks, truffle-cream sauce, parmesan, chives
  • CHICKEN & LEEK POT PIE / carrots, parsnips, celery root, puff pastry
  • MOJO PORK CHEEKS BAO BUN / palm sugar dressing, stone fruit compote
SWEET BITES
Enjoy both.
  • ICE CREAM: Perfectly Pumpkin & Vanilla, Double Rainbow, San Francisco, CA
  • FRESH FRUIT: Pineapple, mango, papaya, strawberry
WHEN YOU RE-TREAT
  • COOKIE, milk bar, NYC and beyond
This menu was fairly familiar to me, as the two salads and the pot pie were the same as on my December 2017 flight (above). Yup, JetBlue cycles through their menus.  I had the salads on that flight, and disliked both of them however.  I've had other versions of the gnocchi and of the pot pie (a veggie version), and loved them though, so I was clearly going for those, even though I didn't actually want chicken in my pot pie.  The final item was a new one, and to be honest it did sound like something I'd like, pork cheeks and bao, but I was worried about picking three heavier dishes AND ice cream, so I opted to re-try a salad, hoping that maybe it would be better prepared this time.

And of course I got the ice cream, the fruit, and the cookie.  #allTheSweets

Drinks

Drink Menu.
The drink lineup as always featured a sparkling, two red, and two white wines, plus cider, beer, liquor, soft drinks, tea, and coffee.
  • SPARKLING:  RAVENTOS I BLANC DE NIT BRUT ROSÉ, 2016, Penedès, Spain
  • WHITE: MATTHIASSON LINDA VISTA VINEYARD CHARDONNAY, 2017, Napa Valley
  • WHITE: BENITO SANTOS SAIAR ALBARIÑO, 2016, Rias Baixas, Spain
  • RED: EVENING LAND SEVEN SPRINGS ESTATE PINOT NOIR, 2014, Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
  • RED: TURLEY, JUVENILE ZINFANDEL, 2016, California
I never go for the sparkling, and I've had the chardonnay and the pinot before, so, this time, so I opted to try the other two, starting with the white.
BENITO SANTOS SAIAR ALBARIÑO, 2016, Rias Baixas, Spain.

"Albariño is the essential white wine of this part of “green Spain,” and this refreshing example comes from one of the country’s most respected producers. It’s full of the fragrant, herbal aspects and soft citrus flavors that define this grape—perfect for a lighter meal, or on its own."

My wine took ... *forever*.  My FA came by eventually to tell me she didn't forget, but that she just literally couldn't open the bottle, and was waiting for her colleague who was doing service in main cabin to come help.

Once it arrived, it was quite a generous pour.  I wish I could say that I liked it, after all that.  But it was really sweet, sweeter than I wanted, and finished with a lot of acidity.  I just didn't care for it at all.  And I felt bad, because she tried so hard!
TURLEY, JUVENILE ZINFANDEL, 2016, California.
"Our favorite Zinfandel is on board for the holidays! Turley remains California’s benchmark for Zin, and the Juvenile is produced from younger vines in their top sites. It’s complex but approachable, full of vibrant berry fruit and the spiciness of black pepper and licorice."

I moved on to the Zinfandel and never looked back.  It was so good!  I was shocked, honestly, I really enjoyed it.

Fairly complex, not too much tannin, but some bite to it.
Moar Zin.
I may or may not have had way too many glasses of this on my flight.  When I ordered my next glass, let's just say a VERY generous pour showed up.

Food

Welcome Taste: PUMPKIN TUMERIC HUMMUS WITH PITA CHIPS.
JetBlue's welcome tastes are so polarizing for me.  Some I adore (taro chips! yucca chips! awesome dips!), but this month, we had pita chips (boo) and hummus (double boo).

I tried a bite, hoping perhaps the pumpkin would mask the chickpea flavor I dislike, but, as expected, they were, well, pita chips and I didn't like them, and the hummus was .... hummus-y.  Meh.
ASIAN PEAR SALAD / ASIAGO GNOCCHI / CHICKEN & LEEK POT PIE.
As always, my trio arrived at once, with an awful roll, a cute container of olive oil, and salt and pepper shaker.

It was a fine meal, but not awesome.  I did enjoy some salad without dressing, the puff pastry, and the cream sauce and cheese from the gnocchi!
ASIAN PEAR SALAD.
"Baby greens, grapes, golden raisins, blue cheese, candied hazelnuts."

I gave the asian pear salad another try.  Last time it was waaaaay overdressed, the dressing was strangely thick compote-like, and there was a pile of water at the base.  I was hoping it would be better this time.

It was better, but still not really a winner.

The dressing wasn't strangely thick this time.  But it was still over dressed, and I really didn't care for the dressing at all.  I couldn't avoid it though.

The greens that I did salvage from the very bottom were fine, although there were a ton of herbs on top too which kinda dominated.  I appreciated something light and fresh at least.

I did really enjoy the crunchy candied hazelnuts, I believe they were roasted too.  The blue cheese crumbles were fine.

Overall, yes, nice to have one dish that wasn't heavy, but I'd never get this with the dressing again.  My third pick.
ASIAGO GNOCCHI.
"Creamed leeks, truffle-cream sauce, parmesan, chives."

When I had this dish before it was slightly different, a fontina gnocchi instead of asiago, but otherwise, very similar.  Last time, I wanted to like it more than I did, and this time was no different.

The gnocchi just weren't great.  They were dense, kinda toasted, and stuffed with strangely gritty cheese.  I just didn't like the gnocchi, but I wished I did.

The cream sauce was good though, and I loved the big shreds of parmesan on top that melted in.  Leeks were nice too.  I didn't taste the truffles, but I saw a bunch of decently sized black specs.  Second pick, really just for the sauce and cheese.
CHICKEN & LEEK POT PIE.
"Carrots, parsnips, celery root, puff pastry."

Last time I had the pot pie it was a vegetarian version, and I loved the filling, and thought the puff pastry was eh.  Since I don't like chicken, I wasn't exactly excited about the change, but, I still tried it.

The puff pastry was better this time, flaky, golden-toasted, buttery, really not that bad.  I was shocked to realize I devoured the entire thing.
Chicken & Leek Pot pie
Inside I wasn't as thrilled though.  I obviously don't like chicken, but I planned to eat around that anyway.  The potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and celery root were all cubes, but potato really dominated.  I had only one carrot, and two parsnips and celery root.  I wanted more of the later, as I liked those.  All the veggies were fairly mushy.

It was rich, but not really creamy, the sauce had broken, and thus was fairly watery.  It was aggressively loaded with herbs, which was my issue.  I am not sure what herb I wasn't into, but there was some herb I clearly didn't care for, and it overwhelmed.  Sadness. Still, I think this was my favorite dish.
ICE CREAM: Perfectly Pumpkin & Vanilla, Double Rainbow, San Francisco, CA
"A hint of cinnamon and spice meets deliciously rich and creamy pumpkin ice cream in this seasonal favorite."

I was not excited for pumpkin ice cream, since I'm usually fairly "eh" on pumpkin spice, but this was a nice surprise.  It was also served more melty and ready to eat than usual, not rock solid, likely because our meal service was paused due to extreme turbulence.

The vanilla was just vanilla, but the pumpkin was quite nice.  It tasted like pumpkin pie, as ice cream.  Spiced, but not too much nutmeg.  Just enjoyable, really.  I really enjoyed it.
Sundae!
But of course I enjoyed it more once I added the toppings I brought: white chocolate shavings, toffee, and sprinkles!

When I later uttered the phrase, "yup, my ice cream ran out!" in response to "all set here?", I was immediately offered another serving.  I didn't say no.  Holidays are the time to splurge, right?
Fresh Fruit.
"Pineapple, mango, papaya, strawberry."

Uhh ... methinks this description was wrong.

Blood orange, regular orange, pomegrante, kiwi.  Not what I wanted as much, since I was planning to use the strawberry on my ice cream sundae, and I actually like mango and papaya.  I don't care for citrus, and I hate pomegrante (seriously, the worst part of fruit, just seeds?  MEH!).  Kiwi was interesting at least, although it was a bit sour.
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