This is the second part in a three part series that begins here:
And now onto the flight!
Initial impressions of the seat and the cabin:
The cabin is lovely and spacious. There are no overhead bins, as each passenger gets their own little closet, and that makes it feel like you have tons of vertical space. The seats are huge, comfortable and have a full range of adjustments, including lumbar support. The decor is tasteful for an airplane. There are little vases built into the cabin where they put a live orchid, which is a very nice touch.
So we get comfortable, settle in and start sipping our champagne. They bring around an amuse-bouche (a single, bite-size hors d’oeuvres) which consisted of prawn, mandarin orange and some herbs, served with a small cracker. I am not really into fish/seafood so I skipped it. Em partook and approved. They then inquired as to what size pajamas we needed and then brought us our PYE brand organic cotton pajamas as well as an Ermenegildo Zegna men’s amenity kit for me and a Trussardi women’s amenity kit for Em. We finish our champagne as the boarding wraps up and they come around and collect our glasses before take-off. The take-off was smooth and uneventful.
Once we were at our cruising altitude they came around with hot towels, followed by more champagne and the food and wine menus. Yes, not only does your food not come wrapped in tin foil in first class, but they give you lots of choices, each made to order as well as a wonderful selection of fine wines. For our flight they were running an Italian wines promotion and it was yummy. I also had several of their other wines, which weren’t part of the promotion, and again, yummy. I may even have drank more wine then I should have and arrived in Hong Kong with a wee bit of a hang over, but in my defense, the wine was very yummy.
My favorite part of flying in Cathay Pacific first class is that you can dine across from your traveling companion. This transforms a 14 hour flight into a lovely 5 course meal at an exclusive restaurant 35000 feet in the air.
The food is fantastic, the alcohol top notch and the service, impeccable. They never rush to turn over your table or make you feel anything but welcome and at ease, and best of all, they never bring you a bill! So the first 3 to 4 hours of the flight are always occupied with an elegant dinner with Emily, and there is nothing more lovely than that, whether in the sky or on the ground.
Alright, now on to the food!
The food service starts basically whenever you want it to, but we were hungry and so we put in our orders right away. We both ordered the salad, mushroom soup and roast pork. But before all that goodness began they first came around and offered us caviar. As I said before, I’m not into eating fish/seafood, so the thought of fish eggs had approximately zero appeal. Em on the other hand, is alright with fish, but more than anything is adventurous with her palette. So she ordered the caviar. When I say that it may have been a life changing experience for her, I am not exaggerating. Each bite seemed to be a revelation! As she used the special mother of pearl spoon to delicately spread the caviar over the blini (tiny, puffy pancake) her eyes would light up with anticipation of the next bite. It was nearly a spiritual experience. More amazing still is that she not only got me to try it, but I actually liked it! The flavors were complex and balanced and not fishy. I even had a second bite of it and, yep, still really delicious! So not only did Cathay Pacific first class introduce Em to her new favorite food, but it also got me to eat something from a fish and like it! Wonders never cease!
How could they possibly follow up such a delicious prelude to the meal? With a surprisingly delicious salad. Unlike in the back sections of the plane, where I have spent hundreds of hours cramped into a tiny seat that reclines just enough to mock your discomfort, and the food makes you realize that there is indeed food less appetizing than 3rd grade school lunches; In the front the ingredients are loaded onto the plane and the attendants servicing the forward cabin prepare the meals themselves. They chop the lettuce leaves, slice the duck prosciutto, sprinkle on the toasted pine nuts and put it all together into a beautiful and tantalizing salad. And as nicely as it was presented, the flavor was that much more amazing.
The duck prosciutto was fantastic! I didn’t know that duck prosciutto was even a thing, let alone that it was mouth-wateringly delicious! So I ate my salad, savoring each bite, and chased it with a fine Italian wine.
Next was the wild mushroom soup. It was really good. Compared to the caviar and the salad I know that sounds not so impressive. But if they served it in coach it would still have been the best food most people have ever had on a plane. I went with the French Grand Cru wine to accompany my soup, for no other reason than to try all the reds that they had available for the flight.
The main course was “Braised kurobuta pork with vermouth sauce, mash parsnips, braised kale with turnips and peas.” The internet tells me that Kurobuta pork is the same tasty heritage piggy behind the famed Berkshire pork. In plain English, this means that the pork comes from a fattier breed of pig, and fat is flavor. The pork was melt-in-your-mouth delicious! So good! I ate everything on the plate and if I would have had one more glass of wine, I might have started licking the plate as well.
I opted to skip the desserts, as I was feeling quite drunk and quite full at this point. In my infinite wisdom, I ordered another glass of red wine, knowing that once we landed, wine would no longer be free. They always bring you chocolate pralines after the meal and I find this to be the perfect substitute for dessert. Just a few bites of fine chocolate is more than enough for me and always sates my hunger for something sweet after the meal.
When the spectacular meal was concluded, Em headed back to her suite to have the cheese plate for dessert and catch up on her favorite vampire infused programing while I headed to the restroom to change into my pajamas and let them make up my bed. The giant seat transforms into a spacious, lie-flat bed and they even put a mattress pad on top of the seat to make it more comfortable. They provide you full sized pillows and a down comforter as well, which is nice and warm. When you are finally ready to turn in they read you a bed time story, say “sweet dreams” and give you a sweet little kiss on the head (just kidding). Basically, they do everything they can to make you comfortable and then give you a “real” bed to sleep in when it is time to get some sleep.
All this wine must have impaired my ability to select a worthwhile movie from the inflight entertainment as I selected “Dawn of The Planet of The Apes.” It was a really crappy movie. There were some really good movies and shows on offer, but somehow my soggy mind gravitated towards a real stinker. This was definitely a “straight to netflix” kind of movie. Never mind the theater or wasting precious pennies on printing it onto dvds or blu-ray discs, this stinker should have only be available as streaming content. Surprisingly, the internet tells me it was actually shown in theaters and that it made $208,543,795, which really just makes me feel bad that 20 million people were unable to get their money back after seeing Gary Oldman at his lowest.
After the movie had concluded, there was only about 6 hours of flight time left and it was time for me to try and get some sleep. I usually like to take a sleep aid to help me conk out, but seeing as the wine had been so delicious, and I had been so immoderate with my consumption of it, I thought it might be a bad idea to take sleeping pills after my failed attempt to drink the plane dry. So instead I just put on my sleeping mask and put in my ear plugs, both of which were supplied with the amenity kit, and headed for sleepytown. I slept a little, but not as much as I might have liked and eventually got up about an hour and a half prior to landing so that I could have a little breakfast.
I was feeling a little hung over, so I went with a plate of fruit and some black coffee for breakfast. Both the fruit and the coffee were good and after finishing my breakfast I headed to the lavatory to freshen up and change back into my street clothes. A short while later we landed in Hong Kong and though Cathay First is more than you could ever hope for with regard to flying, I was still happy to be on the ground again. Especially considering that we were headed to Cathay Pacific’s The Wing first class lounge to enjoy yet another dimension of the exquisite experience that is traveling in first class. To be continued…
Next time on The Flying Mustache:
Do Eat The Caviar In First Class (Part Tres of Dos)
Hit me up with all your questions and comments!
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