Tim Foolery

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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Shanghai Must Dos

As you read this, I am in Shanghai.  This is my first time to China — hell, it’s my first time ever to Asia. Every time I travel to a new City I always make a list of a few things that I really want to see or want to do. Here is my quick list for Shanghai:

What would make your list of things to do while in Shanghai?  Anything on my list that you’d rank highly on yours?

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Wow Bao – Lettuce Review

I visited Wow Bao (@BaoMouth) for lunch as part of my “Eat At and Review Every Lettuce Restaurant in Chicago” goal.  What do they serve at Wow Bao? Well, basically they serve steamed Asian buns filled with meat or vegetables.

Name: Wow Bao (Water Tower Place)
Date of Visit: January 22, 2013
Meal: Lunch (Individual)
Price/Person: $5.60
Stars: 4/5

I had been to Wow Bao once before, many years ago. I stopped by to grab a bite before heading to a Non-Profit Meeting. I thought the food was just acceptable.  This was my first visit in at least 5 years and I was now quite impressed, not only with the food but for the ordering process as well.

Wow Bao at Water Tower Place has two kiosks where you can place your order yourself, use your Lettuce rewards card and pay. Since it was my first time eating here in years and first time using the kiosk it took me a bit longer than it should have — and the people behind me thought I took too long too.  I paid and walked through the little maze of stanchions (picture TSA or the bank) and by the time I got to the pick up area my items were waiting. Very nice.

I chose to get three Baos.  Looking back I should have gotten 4 or 5, three just wasn’t enough for my lunch.  I chose the following:

  • Spicy Kung Pao Chicken
  • Spicy Mongolian Beef
  • Thai Curry Chicken
My three choices were pretty good.  I liked the Kung Pao Chicken the best, followed very closely by the Spicy Mongolian Beef and the Thai Chicken Curry was a very distant third. 

Half eaten lunch…

I almost went back this afternoon to try the BBQ Pork Bao, but figured visiting the same place twice in just a couple hours is just a bit off.  Wow Bao offers more than just these steamed (yes, steamed, not fried) Asian buns but they also offer rice bowl, gluten free quinoa bowls, pot stickers, salads and desserts. I can’t really speak to the service here as I really just served myself (selection and payment) but the woman who bagged my choices had a smile and seemed nice…much better than my server here.

I will definitely add this to my lunch time options and not only because it is just across the street from my office, but because the food was pretty damn good.  What is your favorite Boa? What about the other items on the menu, what should I get next time I visit?

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United Equipment Swap – False Alarm

Yesterday, I wrote how @United swapped out the reconfigured 777 that was supposed to take me to Shanghai later this week with a plane an old style interior.  Read why that matters to me here.

Good news, checking the United website again today I found that a reconfigured 777 is actually serving the flight I am taking.  What a relief — AVOD, in seat power and still a pretty empty plane.  14 hours to Asia in Economy just got mildly better. Thank you United!

The worst part — now that there is in seat power I will have to bring my laptop and work a portion of the flight(s).  C’est la vie, eh?

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UAL Equipment Swap

I fly to Shanghai this week. I was excited to be on the reconfigured 777-200. Since I am flying in Economy Plus, I was excited for Audio/Video On Demand (AVOD) which is available at all Economy seats on the newly reconfigured planes.  Even better — the flight was pretty empty too.  I wouldn’t have to worry about sitting next to anyone, I’d be able to stretch out (sort of) watch the AVOD and watch hours of TV on my tablet.  This would make my 14 hour flight so much more bearable.

Here is how the flight looked yesterday evening. Look at all of the economy availability

Today I double checked the seat map to see if someone moved to sit next to me and I found that the plane had changed.  We are no longer flying on a reconfigured 777, but the old style.  Check out those BusinessFirst seats — no longer would you be flying in a new(ish) fully flat seats, but in the old recliner seats.  I am very happy I didn’t pay to upgrade to BusinessFirst — these recliner seats are not at all worth the extra cash and miles if you ask me.

I am still excited about this trip to Shanghai, but I am a bit disappointed in the aircraft we are taking. I’m just hoping that my tablet will be able to keep a charge for the full 14 hour flight. At least now I have the opportunity to stretch out across 5 seats in the center section and sleep if I want.  I may even move over to the window seat so I can get a view of Shanghai as I land.

Have you flown one of these old 777 recently? The last time I did was in September 2010 from Frankfurt to Chicago — and that was only 9 hours.  How do you keep yourself occupied while on a 14 hour flight while in Economy without AVOD?  Where would you sit if you were me?

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Mity Nice – Lettuce Review

We visited Mity Nice (@MityNice) a little over a week ago for a business lunch.

Name: Mity Nice
Date of Visit: January 11, 2013
Meal: Lunch
Price/Person: $13
Stars:  2/5

Mity Nice is located through and at the very back of Food Life in Water Tower Place. Fighting through the crowds of Food Life can be a pain when visiting Mity Nice. We visited for a Friday business lunch and were not blown away.

First up the server asked if we wanted a cocktail or beer and after we told him no, he spent more time telling us why we should choose a beer since it was half price drafts Friday. We again said we weren’t interested but he continued to push us to purchase a beer. After three times of telling him no, my colleague informed him that he no longer drank, to which the server suggested now was a good time to start up again, since the drafts were half price. How obnoxious.

The food itself was good and came out as we requested and in a very timely manner. The menu itself has a nice selection of lunch items, which are consistent and arrive quickly. We didn’t see our server again throughout the meal — although considering his previous actions this might have been a good thing.

The food was perfectly fine – it wasn’t “mighty nice”.  I’ve been here many times before and while the food is consistent it isn’t going to knock your socks off.  Although, I will say, the gluten free pop-overs are quite good – this was the first visit that we were told these pop-overs were gluten free too. Before, there was never a mention.

The two biggest issues for me, no entrance to the restaurant other than through Food Life and our pushy yet inattentive server. If push came to shove, I would return to Mity Nice – I am sure not all of the servers are like ours. The food was good and reasonably priced for the area.

Do you enjoy Mity Nice?  What is your favorite Lettuce Entertain You restaurant?

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