Thursday, January 8, 2009

Tidbits from December

I'm a delinquent.

I know.

Because I'm lazy.

As is evident from my complete lack of posting.

Because I'm a delinquent.

I know.

The holidays themselves weren't particularly stressful. Actually getting to our destination, however, really was. Mr. TA and I were going back East to see family, our flight arriving in Baltimore. We were to leave our tiny airport, connect in San Francisco, arrive in Baltimore around midnight and be done. Easy peasy, right? Not so much. We arrive at the airport, bright eyed and bushy tailed (except that I detest flying. I'm claustrophobic. The thought of being crammed in a tube with a bunch of gross, dirty people I don't know makes me a basket case.) with plenty of time to board our plane.

Except the ticket agent can't find our reservation in the computer. At all.

Oh yeah, because that's not a disconcerting way to start off a trip. Not at all.

After about 5 minutes, and some jerk anxiously toe tapping away behind us (no doubt petrified at missing his flight that didn't depart for over two hours - jerk) she finally finds us. After several anxiety-inducing "Well that's odd." and "Hmm, isn't that strange?" comments she does locate our reservations. But only for one portion of the flight. Hmmm. Not great. But, in all fairness, it's something that's happened to me before. Our airport is very small, only offering flights to a very few select locations. I've experienced this before, not receiving seating assignments until arriving at a larger airport, and I was a little anxious, but having oberved this previously and it working out fine, I put it out of my mind.

That is, until we arrived in San Francisco.

We had a two and a half hour layover, but with no seating assignment we were worried about not getting our flight at all, so we immediately rushed to the ticket counter for our departing flight. To be greeted by the rudest ticket agent in the entire universe. I think if this airline had bitch training this guy must have been the star pupil. After witnessing him get into a heated verbal altercation with a very short, bald man demanding his attention, Mr. TA and I overheard that the agent was refusing to help anyone waiting in line. He was servicing the flight to New York that had just left that particular gate, and though he had the ability to help those leaving for Baltimore, he refused. What a nice chap. Christmas season has really got this guy in the spirit, eh? We were to wait until the staff arrived that was assigned to the Baltimore flight. The staff that arrived at boarding time. 40 minutes before the flight was scheduled to leave.

To make an extremely long story short - we didn't get on the flight. The lovely not-to-be-named airline (rhymes with Tunited Tair) had egregiously overbooked the flight by more than a dozen people. Isn't that lovely? Oh no, it's not a technical malfunction. Of course it's not the weather. Nope, it's just an extremely greedy airline that allows seats to continually be sold on flights that no longer have them available. Aren't they nice? It was a lovely conversation.

We ended up staying overnight in San Francisco at a rather nice hotel, had a lovely dinner, a nice breakfast the next morning, and a mediocre lunch at the airport the next day - all on their dollar. Plus a free upgrade to first class for our flight, plus two free roundtrip tickets to use within the next year.

Now, when most people heard that part of the story, they say, "Oh, well at least that made up for the inconvenience."

I completely disagree.

Sure, the free stuff was great. Sure the free flights are going to let me see my sister twice this year. But you know what would've been really great? Actually getting on the damn plane in the first place.

I think this would be a good time to point out that I am one of those "It's the principle of the matter" type-people. Sure, the airline more than compensated us for our trouble. But there never should've been any damn trouble in the first place. How dare a company knowingly sell a service that they know they can't provide? They knowingly inconvenienced hundreds, possibly thousands of people, just to what? Increase their available capital? Sure, on our flight to Baltimore there were only about a dozen people who got bumped. But the next day, on our flight into Dulles, there were over a hundred people, that's a right 100 people, that were bumped off of that flight. Just a few days before Christmas. There were whole families stranded. Women were in tears. It was truly a disgusting display of greed by this airline. I know for a fact that I will never voluntarily patronize this company again.

But, in the end, we made it to our destination unscathed. Tired, yes. Grumpy, yes. In desperate need of a change of clothes, yes. But unharmed. And the two weeks away were long, but nice. I'm a big homebody, so being away is at once relieving and disconcerting. I relish my privacy. I like my bed. I like doing my own thing whenever I want. I like deciding in the middle of the day that I want to go for a four hour hike or try out some crazy new recipe. I like cursing until the walls practically bleed and yelling at the TV (internet news broadcast, for us) whenever I think someone's a moron. Which is often. And not something appreciated by people whose house you are staying in. So it was nice to be home.

Now that that is over with, here are some photos from the last couple weeks that I don't feel like doing individual posts on.

First up is the most delicious steak I've ever put in my mouth.


MiL and sFiL were kind enough to ask me to cook dinner for their anniversary, brave souls that they are. I've been known to thoroughly muck things up when cooking in other people's kitchens. Thankfully that didn't happen this time. Except for burning the ever loving crap out of my finger whilst mashing a potato.

Don't ask.

But seriously, doesn't this baby just make your mouth water?

These are the filet mignons available at Whole Foods. Yes, the ones that are $27 per pound. It's worth it. Get some. They're prepared using this method. If you are a meat lover, or even someone who only occasionally enjoys red meat like myself, then you are seriously doing yourself a disservice by not trying this out. This steak was a perpetual mouth-gasm. No lie. If you put steak sauce on this I will hunt you down with a meat mallet.

I paired it with some sautéed green beans and some Yukon Gold potatoes, Jacques Pepin style (or at least they are according to that brunette harpy). It was delicious. Except make sure that when you squish the potatoes you don't get burning hot potato flesh all over the knuckle of your middle finger. Because it hurts really bad. And it makes a huge blister. Not that I would know, or anything.

Up next are some tasty Vegetables Provençal prepared by the MiL.

I'm not sure what was in them. I know it was layered zucchini, yellow squash, tomato, and some carrots with cheese and other stuff. I wasn't paying attention. I was on vacation. Being lazy. And someone else was cooking for me. Good food. Yay. (Just so you know, that's a typical thought strain for me. 'Good food. Yay.' I'm a simple creature.)

They were tasty vegetables. Needed some salt, but I think everything needs some salt. So that may have just been me.

Next in line were some fresh shrimp rolls I made for New Years Eve.

We did a sort of Hors D'oeuvres dinner. MiL made some crab stuffed mushrooms and some kind of bacon-roll thingy. I was lazy and just made these. I stole these from Jen on use real butter. Hers looks better than mine. Because she's like the kitchen goddess. Get her recipe here.

I had seen these a while ago on her blog and wanted to make them, except when I was at the store buying ingredients I couldn't remember what all was in them. So the orange-y component I remembered ended up being julienned carrot instead of supremed grapefruit. Go me. But they were still delicious.

I used a vegetable peeler to take nice long, thin slices from an Engish cucumber, marinated them in a little rice vinegar, and then rolled up some shrimp (using Jen's straightening technique), avocado, carrot, and clover sprouts. They were out of this world delicious. Eat them. You'll love them.

And this is the Soy-Dijon marinated salmon referenced in this post.

And so wraps up my leftovers from December. Next up is a review on some tasty chocolates. That I tasted weeks ago.

I'll get to it eventually...


Kristin said...

It's stories like this that make me never want to fly ever again. And also make me proud that my dad, brother, aunt, and uncle all work for Southwest Airlines, which, while not perfect, is a HELL of a lot better than any other airline I have ever flown. If you don't mind the open seating. Which I don't, because I have never, ever encountered a rude Southwest employee in all my years (and YEARS AND YEARS) of flying on Southwest.

But this is not a commercial for Southwest, so moving on . . . I would now like some steak. At 9:30 in the morning.

I'm done now.

katie said...

Man your MiL is like so awesome...
I am so freakin jealous!

Anonymous said...

Sorry for some of the crazier travel aspects, but at least you ate well! These dishes look quite tasty.

Cindy said...

Everything Jen makes looks better than when I do it! Your rolls look really good though! I am impressed.

Jude said...

If all that free stuff wasn't enough to make up for it, it must have really really sucked.
Sounds like a good deal to me, though. Something like this has never happened to me so I should probbaly just shut it.

Nyki said...

You are too funny! I love your blog.

anjelikuh said...

wow, beautiful creations!