Coke Hates Americans

Well that was a nice flight. There was a 45 minute delay resulting from an inconsolable child who was traveling alone. I don’t know the story but felt really bad for her. Eventually they just had to take her off of the plane, and we were on our way. From there out the flight was fast (even with the delay we made it to Madrid on time) and the food was decent. To top it off, the service was outstanding. Kudos to the Delta flight crew.

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Of course upon boarding we were served champagne, and then once aloft we were immediately offered warm nuts and our choice of wine. I started with the white burgundy. Usually I’m ok with Chardonnay from areas outside of California, but there are unpleasant bitter notes that I can detect sometimes and they were clearly an issue with this bottle. For the next pour I switched to the Chenin Blanc. A much nicer wine.

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That pour came with the first course. This was a plate of grilled shrimp with roasted corn salsa, a potato leek soup, and a salad. The shrimp was pretty decent. Three chilled shrimp on a bed of roasted corn. This came with a cream sauce that reminded me of Mexicali dip. The sauce didn’t do much for me, but a squirt of lime juice, however, made the plate. The soup was very good – really nicely balanced. The salad was … Salad.

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For the next course I chose the seared beef tenderloin (clearly sous vide) with béarnaise sauce. This was served with risotto and broccolini. I wasn’t a huge fan of the risotto but the rest were quite good. In particular, the tenderloin got me thinking that it is time I made béarnaise sauce. Perhaps for Christmas dinner? I had this with a really outstanding Rioja.

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As she cleared my tray the flight attendant asked, “will you be joining us for dessert?” I found this to be a silly question and am certain that E would agree. Of course I would have dessert. I passed on the cheesecake and went for the sundae with caramel sauce, nuts, and whipped cream, which is a traditional dessert for Delta’s business class. This and a glass of port had me ready for sleep, so I reclined the chair and slept for four and a half hours, waking up an hour from Madrid.

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I came to just in time for breakfast service. This included the world’s largest bowl of muesli, fruit, juice, yogurt, and tea. I started with a sip of orange juice and then went to grapefruit. This was a horrible decision. My parotids are still aching.

I didn’t finish breakfast – just too much food. We landed in Madrid and I made the transfer. The thing with this ticket is I’m flying Air Europa, which isn’t a huge airline, and my flights today are operated by Delta and Alitalia. Consequently, I don’t think they have as many transfers through their terminal here in Madrid. They need more and better signage. Still, I’ll take this over a transfer through that hellhole CDG any day of the week.

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I checked in and went to the lounge. No need for eating here other than perhaps a few olives and peanuts, but I had a cup of espresso and discovered an outstanding new drink. It is made by the Coca Cola Company and is called Mare Rosso Bitter Rosso. It is a bitter orange carbonated beverage meant as an aperitif. It is amazing. It’s a full bodied soda that tastes rather like a negroni, but has no calories (or alcohol, as best I can tell). I love it and I want more. We need this in the States. I intend to write to Atlanta when I get home and ask why Coke is denying Americans their best product. I implore all of my readers (perhaps that should be singular) to do the same. You won’t regret it. Trust me!

And now I am on board the last plane of this outward trip. Alitalia to FCO then by train the rest of the way to Bologna where L and B will be waiting for me. Unless, of course, they have been delayed at CDG, which, based on my past experience, may be the most likely course of events.

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