October 22, 2014
I admit, we were bitchy yesterday here at NPS. And the Kimpton system, it listens. (So we’re learning that irritability pays off. But don’t tell anyone that.)
General Manager Ryan Kunzer made note of my dismay at 403 and arranged a room swap via email while I was delivering my early morning talk.
I am now in a gorgeous fireplace suite, room 325. A real log fire in a rainy day is just exactly what the doctor ordered. I skipped my lunch meeting and ordered in because it is so perfect.
This room is not only nicely appointed, it is not in the least hamster cage rectangular. But the real kicker is the fireplace. Ahhhh.
Somehow I am feeling less inclined to show up for my panel thais afternoon as well. Bad bad bad.
The bedroom is a minor detail.
And the bathroom is nicely sized, but needs an upgraded shower. Ryan says that is in the plans. It would be nice to have a truly upscale hotel in Portland.
Anyway, thanks Ryan for rectifying the situation and calming me right on down. Kimpton karma.
October 17, 2014
Of course the United flight up to Boston was delayed (90 minutes) and of course there was no wifi on the flight. You see, United spent all kinds of money on that stupid DirecTV system as if everyone in the universe does not have their own nexus or ipad. United, you guys are truly behind the technology curve by a decade. Oh, and there was no food on the flight…at all.
So I was hungry when we finally landed 90 minutes late. We hightailed it to the Highball Lounge to visit my friend Shaher Misif. Shaher Misif is a dangerous man.
The Highball Lounge rocks. After an obligatory authentication shot, we had a delightful Barnyard Punch, recently added to the cocktail list and made as follows:
1.5 oz Bourbon
.5 oz Falernum
.5 oz Suze
.5 oz Lemon juice
.5 oz Raw sugar
2-3 dashes celery bitters
shake, strain, serve on rocks. garnish with mint and lemon moon. (I will cut the sugar down myself when I make this one.)
We also had an outstanding bacon cheeseburger and some tater tot nachos. Delicious.
Then we drove to NH with a warm fuzzy feeling.
October 5, 2014
I must admit that after taking a look at the website and seeing the looming building on the drive from the airport, hotel expectations were pretty low. Hamster cage plastic shower here we come. How wrong I was!
The Delta Quebec has some great things to offer. Mostly, I can’t recommend anyone more highly than Isabelle at the front desk. She was awesome. Helped me get set up on 1110 on the concierge floor with a walk in shower. And guess what, the room is modern and not at all rectangular.
The bathroom has great design. And an all glass shower.
It’s peak Fall up here in Canada now. Gorgeous light. Peaking trees. Sadly, I am so wiped out from Helinki and London that I have to go to bed early and get some rest. We’ll leave Quebec exploration for tomorrow.
A surprising five showerheads for the Delta. Mostly because of Isabelle.
The concierge floor has an interesting staircase to the breakfast room.
Quebec is gorgeous in the Fall. Just walking around the city is incredible.
Then again, somebody did build this silly building on purpose.
After a long walk, the Hobbit Bistro is an excellent place for a glass of wine. Then dinner at Le Moine Echanson is out of this world. Best confit on this side of the pond (made with Goose) plus some of the strangest wine I have ever had:
Canoë Gaillac (La Sorga)
Le Raisin et l’Ange (Fable)
BO2 (Berranco Oscuro)
All three wines are artisan wines with crazy things going on with the yeast. Almost beer like.
It was a night of all Kevins, the first being Kevin Grégoire running the restaurant pretty much by himself on a Monday. Great server.
Then a major disappointment at L’Atelier which is rumored to be the best cocktail bar in town. Though Kevin Gaffrey was willing to play and was very attentive, none of the drinks I tasted was actually worth drinking (four strikes and you’re out). Even the CR2 was made incorrectly and had to be refactored. The main problem seems to be very bad melty ice. Want to ruin a Sazarac? Make it with bourbon and bad ice. Want to make an awful manhattan? Throw in some Campari and get it all confused about whether it is just a very bad Negroni. At least the Fernet Branca was good (since it was a straight shot). I do hope there is a better bar somewhere in Quebec. Too much flash and not enough oomph at L’Atelier. Skip it.
Oh yeah, and United airlines is a very sucky way to get to Quebec! Puddle hoppers in two hops.
October 5, 2014
Only since the ill-fated merger have I flown economy class to/from Europe because of no upgrade. That is just awful. You would think that after 1,578,471 miles (which I paid for) United would have some loyalty to me. But they don’t.
Ten years of 100K status drops fast. Be forewarned United flyers. Your airline does not care about you at all.
This last trip to London/Helsinki was no exception. Business class on the way there (which we paid to upgrade at purchase) but no upgrade from economy on the way back. 8.5 hours in an awful seat with terrible food.
First world problem, I know. But frankly I expect more from an airline that used to earn my business.
United has gone to the dogs.