Greetings from Heathrow Airport, where I am having my first encounter with the wonders of Business Class travel.
It was an excruciating flight across the pond. Sheer exhaustion, a couple of stiff cocktails and Led Zeppelin IV enabled me to sleep through takeoff and the first hour of flight. But that left me with seven hours in which to watch mediocre movies, obsess about my physical discomfort, and make frequent trips to the restroom so as not to feel trapped.
A travel mishap found my stepdad ponying up some of his precious miles to ensure that I made it to Paris in time to start a two-week study trip. It seems that steerage was all booked, so I will be flying Business Class for the second (and, sadly, much shorter) leg of my travel. I knew this meant a bigger seat and complimentary on-board cocktails, but had no idea about the perks at the airport.
The transfer between terminals involved approximately a mile of walking and a 15-minute bus ride through the back end of the airport. I arrived at the Air France counter tired, hungry and more than a bit cranky. The woman I handed my passport to didn’t appear any happier–until, that is, she pulled up my name and discovered that I was (for this brief moment in time) a member of the elite. Within minutes, I was stepping through the discrete frosted doors of the Sky Club where they greeted me warmly and booked me for a complimentary facial. I had debated grabbing coffee and a lackluster baked good in the terminal, but it turns out there’s a full buffet breakfast, an espresso machine, and Bloody Mary fixings here in the Sky Lounge. There are sleek and clean bathrooms, all manner of comfy chairs, and a wall of moss, ferns and ivy that is doing wonders for my respiratory system.
Having knocked back a latte, a cappuccino, two glasses of cucumber-infused water, half a Bloody Mary, and a proper English breakfast (beans!), I thought I’d take a little time to update you, dear reader, on my progress on that fridge full of fresh produce. As previously reported, Saturday started with a Greek-Style Kale Salad. For my midday meal, I topped the slightly-past-their-prime figs with more of the goat milk yogurt and some flowering thyme.
I spent the afternoon running errands while some ribs left from last season’s Lewis Waite Farm Carnivore Share spent their time marinating in preparation for a farewell feast. Louis arrived a little after 8:00 bearing Prosecco, Chardonnay and a Zinfadel that, I am ashamed to confess, we did not even crack. By 8:30 we were sitting down to a delightful meal of five-spice spare ribs, stir-fried bok choy with scallions, and rice cooked with ginger and shiitake mushrooms.
Five-Spice Spare Ribs
- 1 rack pork ribs (approximately 1.25 pounds)
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar (Rice wine vinegar would be good, but I seem to have run out.)
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha
- 2 tablespoons five spice powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- small handful of roughly chopped scallion greens
- black pepper
- Cut the rack into individual ribs by running a knife between the bones. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a shallow baking dish and submerge the ribs in this marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for at least eight hours, flipping the ribs to ensure even penetration.
- Pre-heat oven to 325, remove plastic wrap, tent ribs with foil and pop in the oven. Let cook for one hour, then remove the foil, flip the ribs, and let cook for another hour. At this point, your marinade should be starting to thicken. Remove the ribs to a covered serving dish to keep warm. Pour the marinade into a small container and simmer on the stove top until it is the consistency of barbecue sauce. Drizzle this over the ribs and serve.
The next morning I converted the leftover rice into fried rice with swiss chard, scallions and egg.
Later that afternoon, I polished off a head of romaine, half a cucumber that had been hiding in the crisper and the rest of the scallions with a dressing made from the last of the goat milk yogurt, garlic scapes and whatever fresh herbs I still had on hand. Some canned sardines–stockpiled for just such a purpose–rounded out the meal.
Just before leaving for the airport, I admitted defeat and delivered one last bunch of kale to my neighbors. No vegetables get left behind!
OK, best be off for my pre-flight facial before they figure out that I’m an imposter.