Winging Home in Style

Hey, you guys! Originally, this entry was going to be a wrap-up of the vacation that’s just ending, and I’ll get to that shortly.

However, we had a little surprise on the way home today, and I just have to share it with you, if you don’t mind. So we’re flying back on jetBlue and, somehow, our boarding passes got all screwed up and our seat assignments changed before we arrived at the airport. And you know how we are – we like to sit together and all that.

It turns out that there was a last minute equipment change and the replacement equipment is the A321 that normally flies transcontinental and also has what is called “Mint” service, which is their version of business class. It includes flat-bed seats and all that stuff. So, just for fun, I approached the check-in desk at the gate to see if it was possible to exchange our seats for something “up-front”, as they say. Without blinking an eye, the gate agent assigned us 2 seats in the 1st row of Mint. (We later learned that their Mosaic passengers were upgraded automatically.) AAC says we got the switch because I was “properly attired”, something that he hitherto had always admonished me for. HAH!

And here’s our very own AAC CPA getting settled in for the flight home:

AAC Mint

jetBlue Flight 1902; AAC CPA in seat 1A

TRAVEL TIP: jetBlue Mint

So, a few random thoughts about our lovely 10-day vacation:

Fort Lauderdale is not a place that I’d often want to visit, but the Ritz Carlton took amazing care of us. We told them, when we checked out to embark Celebrity Silhouette, that we’d be back early the following Sunday morning. Sure enough, our suite was waiting for us when we arrived back at the hotel at 8:45 AM. It had a large balcony and a lovely ocean view, which I’ve already shared with you.

We had two excellent dinners on our return visit:

Mario’s Catalina Restaurant: Mario, originally from Honduras, is apparently a legend in Fort Lauderdale. His Cuban-Spanish restaurant has been a staple of local dining for eons. They make amazing Mojitos and Sangria, both of which are potent. The portions are HUGE, so we shared the Pork Tamale as an appetizer and the Catalina Combination (Roast Pork, Chicken Chunk, & Mario’s Beef) as the main. Each bite was a sensation; all of the meats are marinated for a very long time and so, so tender and tasty. And the bartender kept coming over and refreshing our Sangria. Mario himself appeared to make sure we were having a good time. 

DINING TIP: Mario’s Catalina Restaurant

On Monday night, we tried another place, Coco Asian Bistro & Bar, another fun place. It features amusing cocktails, small and large plates. We tried their Margaritas (yes, Margaritas at an Asian restaurant!) and shared several appetizers: Thai Beef Salad, Tuna Tataki (seared tuna with a spicy Ponzu sauce), and Chicken Lettuce Wrap and, for the main, la specialtie de maison: Whole red snapper (cubed filet, deep fried tossed with sweet-chilli sauce, reassembled in fish bone and head). It sounds disgusting (AAC CPA almost fainted when it was presented), but it was really delicious. Here are a couple of pix for your delectation:

Coco Apps

Appys at Coco

Coco Snapper

Too scary?

DINING TIP: Coco Asian Bistro & Bar

Because it was raining on Monday, we also had time to see the new film, Spotlight, which recounts the true story of the child abuse coverup by the Catholic Church in Boston and how the story was eventually uncovered by the Boston Globe. An excellent cast, headed by Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schrieber, Bryan d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton and the great Len Cariou as Cardinal Law. A very engrossing and thoughtful, if upsetting, film. It is expected to be a favorite for Oscar consideration.

CULTURE TIPSpotlight

Oh, and have I shared with that we are now totally onboard with Uber? They saved our bacon more than once while we in Fort Lauderdale. No kidding. It turns out that Uber is less than half the price than local cabs and easier to find. We have friends who have been swearing by the service for a long time, and we’ve finally come to the party. Try it out!!

TRAVEL TIP: Uber

Now for a few final thoughts on our cruise aboard Celebrity Silhouette. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the ship is gorgeous, our accommodation was lovely, the food some of the best at sea. But, in the final analysis, we thought it was just not for us. The cruise was a bit frenetic, the ship quite crowded, particularly around the pool areas, the wait for elevators was always too long. I think we prefer a smaller or mid-sized ship experience. It’s interesting, though, because we had a lovely crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 in September and that ship is easily as large as Silhouette, tho’ with a couple hundred fewer passengers. Even though Silhouette is perhaps a better designed ship than QM2, we preferred the latter. Go figure.

I’m actually considering a post that will compare the 3 lines upon which we sailed this year: Celebrity, Crystal, and Cunard. I already have a working title for it: “Sailing the 3 ‘C’s”- get it?

Anyway, our winged chariot will be landing soon at JFK in, so I’ll end here. I’m slightly aghast at having to step on a scale tomorrow morning and assessing the damage that I’ve done to myself. And, wouldn’t you know, I’m scheduled to have my annual physical this coming Friday morning, just as I’ve put on about 30 pounds (well maybe not THAT MUCH.)

I’ll leave you with just a few more images from our trip and I’ll be back in touch with you all real soon.

FTL ChipmunkAAC CPA’s Monday breakfast: doesn’t it look like Alvin the Chipmunk?

AAC Beach View
One last view of the beach this morning

AAC Sad

AAC CPA looking wistful and sad as the end of the vacation approaches

Next stop: London in 19 days!!

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