Tuesday, May 09, 2017

JetBlue Flight 615, JFK-SFO, Mint

As you read last week, I flew JetBlue Mint class for the first time from San Francisco to Boston, and I was ruined.  It was so amazing that I booked it again a few months later when I traveled home for the holidays.  You can read those two reviews here first.

For my return flight to San Francisco, from New York (yes, I flew to Boston, but returned from New York), I got to experience JetBlue Mint for the second time.  And this time, in an even better way.  I had seat 2A, one of the single suites.  I thought the experience was great the first time, but this was even more insane.  I'm really, really ruined for all domestic air travel now.

My flight was a daytime flight again, this time departing at 11:50am, so lunch was the main service.  Crew were friendly as always on JetBlue.

The Seat and Amenities

The cabin is 3 rows of pairs, plus 2 rows of single "suites", all of which sell first-come, first-serve.
My Seat, 2A.
This time, I was able to snag one of the coveted single suites

As you can see, it had ample space on either side, which I'll get more into in a moment ...
Right Side.
The right hand side of my seat was the same as before, with a power outlet (with USB), a light, a bottle of water waiting for me, a remote control for TV, and a perfect little pocket for my phone.
Extra Storage and Bigger Side Tray.
But the suites also have an additional area on the right, with another net area to fit little things, a much bigger storage compartment (which fit my purse and additional beverages I brought on board), and a much bigger area for drinks and other things to set down.

The paired seat I had on the first flight was fine, but these are clearly enhancements, particularly having the extra space for all my drinks, and not needing to share with a neighbor.
Door!
The singles not only don't have someone next to them, but they also come with a private door (!!!), which I could close once I was underway.  Necessary?  Nah.  But wow, it really was private.  I haven't even had that experience in international Business or First Class, much less domestic!
Large Side Area with more plugs.
Along the window was a huge area next to the seat to place more things, like my laptop when my tray table was out.  It reminded me of the extra space next to upper deck seats of a 747, but even more usable since it was actually flat and intended for things to be set on it.  The downside however is that it isn't an additional storage area inside, not that it was really needed.

This area also had 2 more outlets, with power and USB.  So yes, my seat had 3 full outlets and an incredible amount of space to set down basically anything.
Hayward Amenity Kit.
Once underway, our amenity kits were distributed.  I flew on Nov 2, the second day of the new partnership with Hayward, rather than BirchBox.

While less exciting, this selection made a lot more sense for being on an airplane.  It had an eye mask, ear plugs, little scented towelette, a mint, lip balm, a cloth to wipe my screen, and a card describing the curated contents.  Like I said, not nearly as interesting as the BirchBox, but more relevant, particularly for an overnight flight.

Also at our seats were the large blankets and pillows, and I was able to ask for headphones, this time they got delivered before we even took off.

Food & Drinks

Pre-departure

As on my previous flight, as I settled into my seat the FA stopped by to introduce me to the seat, this time only telling me about the additional features in my single suite, since I had flown on Mint before.  She also offered the signature cocktail, and provided me the menu.
RefreshMint (with Vodka).
I gladly accepted the signature drink, with vodka.  Just like before, I really liked it.  Refreshing and really so much better than standard sparkling wine.

Menu

As before, the menu was available online on JetBlue's website (the menu changes monthly).   I appreciated this, as if I really didn't like the selections on the main menu, I could pre-order a special one if I choose (which I didn't).
Food Menu.
The wine and other drinks did not change, and the format was the same as my past flight: appetizer, choice of 3 "delish dishes" out of 5, and ice cream and fruit for dessert.

The full menu:

Welcome Taste
It’s app-y hour!
Caramelized eggplant tartare with roasted red pepper & toast points.

Delish Dishes
Step up to the plate(s) & choose three. Please note: The first two dishes listed below are chilled. 
  • Grilled ahi tuna with quinoa salad, pickled fennel, pickled red onions & cherry tomatoes
  • Grilled escarole salad with baby gem, sourdough croutons, parmesan cheese & garlic aioli dressing 
  • Asparagus & artichoke risotto with salsa verde, goat cheese & fresh parsley
  • Pumpkin soup with confit chicken, caramelized apples & amaretto biscuits
  • Braised beef stew & black bean rice with olives, capers, roasted peppers & stewed tomatoes 
Sweet Bites
Don’t desert dessert—enjoy both options, along with a hot espresso drink.
  • Seasonal fruit salad
  • Organic ice cream: Blue Marble Ice Cream, Brooklyn, New York
  • Cappuccino & espresso: Brooklyn Roasting Company, Brooklyn, New York
When You Re-Treat
An edible parting gift – worth the wait!
Freshly made confections: Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery | A Colicchio Discovery, New York, New York

It was again easy for me to pick two of my options (the grilled ahi salad and the escarole salad), and the third was a bit harder.  Since I don't like goat cheese I ruled out the otherwise decent sounding risotto, and since I don't really like rice and beans I ruled out the beef stew, so the pumpkin soup was sorta all that was left, which sounded good, minus the chicken of course.

Welcome Taste: It’s app-y hour!

The "Welcome Taste" was delivered with our drinks.  As before, no option here, besides if you wanted it or not.
Failla Pinot Noir, 2014, Sonoma Coast.
"Ehren Jordan makes some of California’s most sought-after Pinot Noirs, including this blend from some of the most exclusive vineyards on Sonoma’s far coast. The quintessence of modern Pinot Noir, with subtle berry fruit, a tea-like spice and a cool, piney tinge reminiscent of the coastal forest."

The wine was ... fine.  It was a bit acidic, a bit harsh for my tastes though.
Caramelized eggplant tartare with roasted red pepper & toast points.
This was shockingly good.  I didn't like the eggplant mousse from last time and only liked the taro chips, so I didn't expect to like this at all.  I was sad that the taro chips had been replaced with toast points, and had little hope for the eggplant element.

But ... the eggplant tartare was delicious!  Chunks of eggplant, mixed with pine nuts (which I don't normally like), really well seasoned and flavored with perhaps some citrus?  It was very oily, the eggplant was slimy, and I don't normally like pine nuts or citrus, but ... yeah, for some reason I really enjoyed it.

The toast points were better than I expected.  They were cold, dry pieces of toast, but, they reminded me of some toast crackers I used to eat.  Certainly not great, and I greatly preferred the taro chips, but these weren't awful.

My favorite dish of the flight.

Delish Dishes

And as before, lunch service is designed as small plates.  The menu again had 5 options: 2 cold, 3 hot, two vegetarian, one chicken, one seafood, one beef.  I could pick up to 3.  Which of course, I did. 
Grilled Ahi, Grilled Escarole Salad, Pumpkin Soup, Bread, Oil, Salt & Pepper.
All were served together, along with the same bread and oil as last time.  The bread was again not very good, cold, stale.
Grilled ahi tuna with quinoa salad, pickled fennel, pickled red onions & cherry tomatoes.
This had 3 very large slices of grilled ahi on top, with a few chunks of each of the promised veggies, over chilled quinoa.

The pickled red onions were much like those from the cauliflower salad I had on my last flight, tart, fine.  I liked the pickled fennel even more, a fairly unique element.  The cherry tomatoes weren't particularly ripe.

I didn't care for the multicolor quinoa salad, chilled, mushy, with some golden raisins mixed in.

The tuna itself was ... fine.  I'm not really one for seared/grilled ahi though.

My least favorite of my savories.
Grilled escarole salad with baby gem, sourdough croutons, parmesan cheese & garlic aioli dressing.
This reminded me of the baby gem caesar from my previous flight, although I liked it less.

The baby gems were about the same, fresh, crispy, but just lettuce.  The large shreds of Parmesan were also the same.

This time, the breadcrumbs were replaced by more standard croutons.  The menu said sourdough, but, luckily, as I don't like it, I didn't taste sourdough.  They were fantastically garlicky though, and nice and crunchy, my favorite part of the salad.

The grilled escarole was interesting.  It had a nice smoky nature, but, it was relatively slimy, and kinda looked like wilted, brown lettuce.  I liked it, but, it certainly wasn't appealing.

And finally, the dressing.  I didn't taste the garlic in here, and it wasn't really like an aioli to me.  The dressing was thin and kinda just flavorless, but there was plenty of it (the salad wasn't overdressed necessarily, but, lots of dressing).  

I like the cute little 3 small plates serving style, but this was a bit difficult to eat inside the small container.

My second to least favorite of the savories.
Pumpkin soup with confit chicken, caramelized apples & amaretto biscuits.
And finally, the soup, the item I kinda randomly picked.  It was certainly different from what I was expecting.

On top were 3 chunks that looked like croutons, but were the amaretto biscuits.  They were sweet and yup, basically a amaretto cookie.  The flavor did go well with the soup but they quickly got soggy.

The soup itself was kinda bland, but to be fair, I didn't eat the sliced apples or little bits of confit chicken, since I don't like those things, but they probably added quite a bit to it.

Overall, a warm, comforting, light option, with the interesting elements of apples and amaretto.  My favorite of the main small plates, second favorite savory overall.

Sweet Bites

As before, we were offered ice cream and fruit salad, and I skipped the fruit due to melon.  I do love the ice cream on the flight, but I wish they would mix it up in some way, perhaps offering a topping of the month?
Pumpkin Blue Marble Ice Cream.
"Celebrate the holiday season with some Blue Marble Pumpkin. This sweet and spicy treat is packed with real pumpkin and a warm blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves."

I loved the sea salt ice cream last time, and was worried I'd get only vanilla or chocolate this time.  But ... seasonally appropriate, we had pumpkin.  Now, I'm not really one for "pumpkin spice all the things!", but, pumpkin sounded much better than the more plain vanilla/chocolate options.

It was served very hard, so it took a lot of willpower to let it melt, but I knew I'd enjoy it much more once it was more melted.

The ice cream was good, but, again, I'm not a huge pumpkin fan.  The spicing was aggressive but not bad, all the spices were balanced, and it didn't suffer from too much nutmeg, resulting in a soapy taste which can happen with pumpkin spice too often.

Overall, good, but, I preferred the salted caramel.
Dunkin' Donuts Decaf Coffee.
The coffee was ... fine.  Not remarkable in any way, although I did appreciate the mug.

When You Re-Treat

My parting gift was the exact same as my previous flight, a packaged blondie and cookie from Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery.
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