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Taipei, Brussels and around the world

Taipei, Brussels and around the world
Taipei, Brussels and around the world
via Emirates and Air France First Class
February 2024

I’m off today to Seattle with Mrs. SFO777 and then north to Bellingham where she would visit family for the week. After dinner, with my bonus hall pass, a 60 minute drive to Vancouver airport for a midnight flight to Taipei. This would be the start of a crazy round the world that includes a day in Taipei, a day in Brussels, then to San Francisco to pick up my grandson and back to London, to start our previously planned trip to Manchester for the ManCity-United match. Amazingly all international flights on this trip were mileage award tickets.

New DIA West Security set-up...

More walking, same old train. 

Denver DEN to Seattle SEA
United UA 690
737MAX9 
11:31am-1:30pm
February 25, 2024
 

Nice cleaning job United.

Unfortunately, it was hard to avoid the MAX9 today.

Lunch time. The United Burger...

Way better than the pasta...

Welcome to Seattle.  Lovely winter weather.

And the rental car shuttle to the off airport rental car center.

My Avis Presidents Club status usually gets me nice upgrades, but not today.  I'm stuck with a stupid Chevy VOLT.  That was not fully charged.  

Vancouver is 150 miles and my range is 121 miles.  

Still 50 miles to Vancouver but only 21 miles and charge left.

Fortunately, Avis roadside assistance was able to find a charging station in Bellingham.

After a family dinner in Bellingham, I bid adieu to Mrs. SFO777 and headed 20 miles north on I-5 to the Canadian border.

China Airlines to Taipei

Vancouver International departures concourse.

SkyTeam Lounge.

Very crowded earlier but now calm as the crowd thinned.

Vancouver YVR to Taipei TPE
China Airlines CI 31
A350-900
12:35am-5:30am +1
February 26, 2024
83,000 Flying Blue miles

Boarding began some 45 minutes before departure.

This is my first time on China Airlines and it was quite enjoyable for Business Class. Very attractive A350 cabin (hello Vietnam Airlines), excellent service and good food. 

Tonight's menu.

Yikes on the wine list though.

Quick, efficient and friendly service after take-off.

Crepe stuffed with chicken and prawn salad.

Butternut Squash Soup.  Meh.

Stir-fried prawn and veggies.

Amazingly, China Airlines serves Johnny Walker Blue.

Pretty comfy bed for 5 hours of good sleep.

Prelanding Yang Chow Fried Rice was tasty.

Overall a pleasant Business Class flight.

Instagram video of today with United and China Airlines

 

My Day in Taipei

With an on time 5:30am TPE arrival, I arrived at the Grand Hyatt Taipei well before 7am, giving me enough time to relax and shower before my walking foodie tour. Great location adjacent to Taipei 101. Even took the Metro since the meeting point with my guide was just 6 stops away. Always fun to explore new cities and sampling various local foods was a treat.

Very nice Grand Hyatt, although Globalist upgrade today.

Next door to the Hyatt is Taipei 101.

Taking the Metro to meet my guide for Taipei foodie tour.

 

 

 

And away we go...

 

 

 

 

 

This was yummy!

And the finale.  

What a fun three hours touring and sampling Taipei street food, and I survived.

My Instagram video of my day in Taipei

Dinner at MUME Taipei - 1 Michelin star and ranked #45 in Asia on the World's Best List

From Taipei street food to Michelin star dining in a one day. Named for Taiwan’s most famous flower, the plum blossom, Mume is a delightful experience. Hong Kong born chef/owner Richie Lin has an impressive pedigree with stints at Quay in Sydney and Noma in Copenhagen before moving to Taiwan some 10 years ago. Lin combines his international outlook, Nordic-inspired plating and passion for Taiwanese produce into a wonderful culinary treat.

 

 

This month's tasting menu.

Fabulous Corn - Mussel - Ginko

YIlan Prawn - Kamquat - Lemon Balm

The most amazing Sourdough with aged pickled radish butter.  Wow.

Abalone - Winter Melon - Fermented Pineapple.  Wonderful.

Fish of the day Barramundi - Crown Daisy - Celtuse

LOL on the wine and a somm with a sense of humor.

OMG, the highlight of the evening.. Cuttlefish Nduja - Bell Pepper

Delicious Lamb Rump - Preserved Mustard Green - Fig

Guava - Coffee - Moscato

Choux Au Craquelin - Chocolate - Citrus

What a delightful couple of hours at MUME.

My Instagram video of my wonderful meal at MUME.

Taipei VIP Terminal

After being spoiled by PS at LAX, I now actively search out other VIP terminal experiences around the world. The Taipei VIP Terminal is a great experience which provides private checking in, private security and passport control. And an attractive lounge with private buggy service to your departing gate.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Chickpea wood ear soup?  Hmmm,  Tempting but.  LOL.

But I went with the Ginger Pork and Rice.

And off to my Emirates gate...

Nice service... but not really worth $450.

My Instagram video of my visit to the VIP Terminal at Taipei.

Emirates First Class Taipei to Dubai

Come along for another wonderful Emirates First Class flight, tonight from Taipei to Dubai. Emirates long haul red-eyes are some of my favorite flights as you don’t waste a day on travel and still get a good night’s sleep. Exceptional Emirates service and with some superb wines again tonight. 

Taipei TPE to Dubai DXB
Emirates EK 367
A380
11:40pm-5:35am
Departed 2/14
141,250 Skywards Miles
 

Tonight's menu.

Emirates has the best and most extravagant wines and spirits in the skies and they did not disappoint tonight with and outstanding 2012 Albert Bichot Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru and 2008 Chateau Valandraud Bordeaux.

Showtime Emirates style.

Excellent tuna tataki.

Grilled barramundi with salsa verde.

Fabulous.

Oh yeah.

Amazing A380 lav.

And serve yourself bar beside the lavs.

Bedtime!

A couple of hour before landing, always yummy wagyu sliders.

Ouch, C2 to Brussels is a long, long walk.

Instagram video of my Emirates First Class flight to Dubai.

First Class Lounge Hopping in Dubai

First up is the B gates lounge, sadly under renovation.

Off to the C gates Lounge...

An amazing wine selection...

After a long, long walk... C2.

 

 

 

Dubai DXB to Brussels BRU
Emirates EK 183
777-300ER (77W)
8:30am-12:45pm
February 28th, 2024
Departed 2/8

What a treat to back on Emirates “Game Changer”, Emirates’ retrofitted 77Ws with the world’s best First Class cabin. Outstanding service on my flight to Brussels, great food and more extraordinary wines.

Gorgeous 6 suite First Class cabin.

And we're off.

Today's menu..

And nice wine list...

Fabulous Grand Cru Corton.

Showtime Emirates Gamechanger style.

French onion soup.

Heirloom tomato salad.

Outstanding 2012 Antinori Solaia.

Wonderful Lamb Quzi with Hashwa.

Tasty rhubarb crumble.

Seriously cool suite lighting where you can pick your own color.

Instagram video of my Emirates Gamechanger flight to Brussels.

My Day in Brussels

This was my first time back in Brussels in decades and it was fun to explore this historic city with my local guide Francis. And with temps in the 9C/48F range, quite pleasant for walking around different neighborhoods.

My free Brussels hotel room for the night thanks to my $200 Amex FHR credit and $100 hotel credit.   Alas, you get what you pay for and that was nothing.  Denied upgrade at check-in after being lied about the hotel being sold out.  Housekeeping knock on door despite DO NOT DISTURB card on door hande, and completely forgotten wake up call.  Don't even think about staying here.

I met my guide Francis in the lobby and enjoyed our two hour walking tour of lovely Brussels.

Truth in Advertising?  LOL.  I'm sure Leo is in the kitchen making those Chicken sandwiches.

Creative way to save a parking space.

My Instagram video of my Brussels tour.

Dinner at Michelin star Comme Chez Soi in Brussels

Michelin star and World's Best notable Comme Chez Soi is a venerable Brussels restaurant with a near 100 year history. Classic fine dining in an elegant Brussels townhouse. What a wonderful dinner with flawless service. My sole and lobster start was exquisite, while the wild mushroom ravioli with truffles was out of this world.

Incredible Sole fillets with lobster medallions and cream sauce.  

And OMG, wild mushroom ravioli with truffles was out of this world.

What a delightful evening.  Merci Comme Chez Soi.

And my Instagram video of my dinner at Comme Chez Soi.

Air France La Première to San Francisco

What a treat to be back in Air France La Première and the elegant private single row 4 seat cabin. But first is an Air France TGV codeshare on SNCF from Brussels with an all too short 80 minute CDG connection.

 I was met as I stepped off the TGV by a wonderful La Première representative who escorted me from the TGV thru security to the La Première Lounge, where I still had time to enjoy my favorite Alain Ducasse Coquillettes Truffe/Noir aka Truffle Mac n Cheese. 

Wow, spectacular.

At around T-30 mnutes, my private Porsche limo to my plane.

And today a bus gate, great for up close plane pics.

Once onboard our 77W, excellent service, good food and a wonderful champagne on today’s 11 hour flight to San Francisco.

The best safety video in the skies.

La Première amenity kit.

Today's menu...

And wine list.  After the champagne, simply embarrassing and not even close to Emirates or even BA for that matter.

Showtime La Première style.

Caviar to start.

Cumin and Carrot soup. Very nice.

Foie gras of course.

And delicious truffle stuffed chicken, roast jus, macaroni gratin with mushrooms, spinach and Beaufort PDO cheese.

And mango, citrus fruit and cognac baba to finish.  Fabulous.

Bed time in one of the most comfy beds in the skies

Prior to landing, two- salmon cannelloni with tomato cream.

And poached pear to finish.

Welcome to rainy San Francisco.

Another wonderful La Première experience.

And my Instagram video of today's day with Air France.