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Published: February 15th 2016
Brandon promptly picked us up just prior to our planned 8 AM departure to LAX. He cheerfully greeted us and asked my mother to be his Valentine. He was surprisingly cheerful for someone who had just gotten off work from his bartending gig four hours earlier. His SUV easily accommodated our luggage and three cruisers. His phone guided his route to the airport. He noted that he’d never been there; in fact, he’d never been out of California (unless you count Las Vegas). The journey was quick and uneventful, or seemed that way with the non-stop banter that kept us thoroughly engaged. The Sunday morning traffic was quite light, and was nothing like what it would have been on a weekday driving towards LA on the San Diego Freeway.
We were plenty early, found a Delta kiosk and printed our boarding passes. We’d checked in online; but, had no way to print the boarding passes prior to getting to the airport. Well, I guess we could have asked Ron, but that would just have annoyed him. With the boarding passes in hand we popped outside the terminal to drop off the bags with the Delta porter who took our bags almost immediately. It was much better than waiting in the what had to be a thirty-minute line inside.
We didn’t take long to get through security; and, for the first time in quite a while, neither of us had the complimentary PSA-precheck. We wondered if it was because my mom was travelling with us. Even so, the regular screening line didn’t take long and soon we were looking for a place to have breakfast. That was when we noticed the normal breakfast spot had been reserved for a “TED Special Event”. I wonder who this “TED” joker is anyway. I seem to recall that at one time TED was one of the feeder airlines to one of the big three; but, I that is was associated with uniTED. The only other eatery was the ROCK Bar And Grille (“RB&G”). I asked if they were still serving breakfast; but, even though it was not even 9:30 AM they said no… only lunch. Since it was lunch-time where we were going, we decided that would have to be okay. I ordered the grilled tri-tip and French fries; and, my mother did as well after hearing me order. Sharon ordered a burger; but, not the spicy one they seemed to be pushing. She got them to make a “Special Meal” for her of a Bun-And-Meat-Only. In-and-Out has a name for this, their “Z-Burger” so I’m guessing she’s not the only person to order them this way. But why? If you go to In-and-Out to order anything but a Double-Double Animal Style; then, you really are missing out on something. My mother must be a lot like Shirley (Sharon’s mother); because, as soon as she heard Sharon order a burger, she had to have one too. But at least she ordered hers with cheese and bacon. It’s not “animal-style”; but, it’s not a Big-Z (for zero) either. It took forever for them to bring our food. A lady who sat down next to us ten-minutes after we had ordered received her meal ten-minutes before our food came. And that breakfast that they weren’t serving anymore; well the attentive male waiter did find some eggs and bacon to serve her. Well, she was quite attractive looking and we were just two sexagenarians travelling with their mother (mother-in-law). We were about to ask where our waitress was when she showed up with our food. And the meal was quite tasty and hot and devoured quickly.
We had some time to kill at the gate, which we did playing things like Word-Crack and Trivia-Crack. We boarded without incident and were on our way on time. The flight was quite bumpy out of LAX and the pilot restricted stewardess service until we reached Texas. I was puzzled why the flight plan called for us to be at 25,000 feet (I can’t recall cruising below 30,000 before, ever). By El Paso, the pilot was increasing altitude to 33,000 feet and things did eventually smooth out. The Delta-Cookie irritated my mother’s throat and she had coughing fit at 33,000 feet. Sharon was worried about her, but she was getting air in and out so there wasn’t much that could be done. It did subside.
We found our bags. We had to ask by the taxis and Super-Shuttle service where to catch the Hotel vans; and needed to go up one level from Level 1 at Baggage Claim to Level 2. We saw lots of hotel vans there, both picking up and dropping off passengers at the same time. We called the contact number; but, were told the vans run every 15 minutes from the Airport Sheraton where we booked our one-night stay. And we soon spotted that van and were on our way.
We just wanted a quick meal and decided to try the Richenbacher at the hotel. They had a special Valentine’s Day promotion of $50 for a three course meal; which, was more than we bargained for. I had confirmed that they also had a regular menu and we ordered from that. Sharon ordered the Roast Chicken and she requested French fries instead of the parmesan polenta. My mom decided to order a sandwich but then decided to change her mind and order what I’d ordered. I asked her why she was changing her mind. She said that she liked flatbread. I told her that this flatbread would be nothing like the flatbread panini that she liked at Panera Bread. Her mind was made up. There was too much cheese in the soup to suit my mother; and, admittedly it was difficult to eat with all that cheese without sloshing the broth up and over the sides of the bowl. I used my knife to cut the cheese and underlying bread it was stuck to into smaller manageable portions. The soup was good, the presentation better than average, but it was difficult to eat. Honeycakes in Las Vegas is now my benchmark for an outstanding French Onion soup. Sharon and I stumbled into this for lunch on one of our earlier outings, and the chef touted his soup as the best in town. And I must admit, his version of this tasty dish was done to perfection with outstanding homemade broth. And my mother discovered that all flat breads are not the same; although, she did seem to like the chicken and bacon and cheese but wasn’t particularly fond of the greens that they put on top. I thought that it was quite good. Sharon managed with her chicken; although, the fries she’d requested were nowhere to be seen, so I tried the polenta and found it to be quite good as well.
I’m not sure if our king sized bed disappeared in an attempt to get us on the same floor as my mother (for whom we’d requested two queen-sized beds… long story for another day). After spending a couple of nights at my mother’s house prior to the cruise we were looking forward to a roomier bed. Tomorrow would find us in our cabin, and that bed seems bigger than the standard queen-sized bed.
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