Author Archives: andyyiu

Seats: So many seats, where to sit?

Most infrequent travelers like to try and get a window seat, especially when they are flying into a new city so they can see the views.  Those that have been traveling for a long time will know that its preferable to get an aisle seat.  An aisle seat will allow you to stretch your legs more (just watch out for the food/beverage carts) and allows your better to access to your belonging that you may have stored in the overhead bin.  After you land, it also allows you to deplane quicker.

A majority of airlines have restricted the forward rows of the economy class cabin and exit rows to preferred customers or those willing to buy up.  If you are lucky enough to score one of those seats, usually you’ll get a couple inches of extra legroom.  Most gate agents will randomly assign seats if the regular economy cabin is completely full and you don’t have a seat assignment.  However, you will not be able to pick and choose your seat.  If you go an check in online and the plane only has middle seats left, I would take a chance and check in at the airport.  You may be in a middle seat, but at least you have a change of getting extra legroom.

Bulkhead/exit row seats may seem appealing for the extra legroom, but be warned.  On most planes, the tray table is located in the armrest which reduces the width of the seat.  If the flight is relatively empty and you want to stretch out, the bulkhead/exit row is not necessary the best seat to choose.

If you have to travel on one of the regional jets (Canadian Regional Jet/Embraer) I highly recommend that you pick an aisle seat.  This is especially true if you are claustrophobic.  The angle of the walls on these planes can reduce the amount of shoulder space that you have.  Also, watch your head when you board the plane and get out of your seat.  You won’t believe how many people I’ve seen bump their head since the ceiling is pretty low.  On the planes that have a 1-2 configuration, most seats will have a small plastic button on the underside of the armrest, near the hinge.  This generally works for all seats except for the exit row.

The last piece of advice I’ll give is for those flying on the Q400 Turboprop.  If are located in the first class cabin, there avoid the exit row on the right side of the plane.  For some reason, that position is one of the noisiest seats.  If you have to sit there, bring a good set of ear plugs or noise canceling headphones.

To see what seats are good, I recommend heading over to SeatGuru. You can type in your flight number and view the seat layout with comments on what’s good and bad.

Posted in Tips & Advice Tagged , , , |

Mobile Boarding Passes

If the airline you commonly travel with has a mobile application and allows you to use mobile boarding passes, use it! This is much quicker than going a kiosk at the airport and printing out your boarding pass there. You should really only need go to the the ticketing counter if you have a bag to check.

Posted in Tips & Advice Tagged , , , |

Apple Pear Pie

My family really enjoys eating lots of fruit throughout the year.  In the fall, we love the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg filling the kitchen.   One of the treats that we really enjoy is an Apple Pear Tart.  I personally love this dessert since I’ve modified it to be healthier and it tastes wonderful.  Especially with a heaping pile of whipped cream to accompany it.  In essence, it just feels right when the leaves are changing color and the air becomes chillier.

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Ingredients

Crust and Filling

  • 1 Deep Dish Pie crust
  • 2 Medium Bartlett Pears
  • 2 Medium Gala Apples
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Topping

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (do not use quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup Truvia
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter (cold)

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Take the pie shell out of the freezer.
  3. Slice the pears and apples in half and core them.  I typically leave the skins on but if you don’t like skins, peel the pears and apples.
  4. Slice the pears and apples into very thin slices.  Try and get them to the same thickness if possible.  You can do this using a mandolin, otherwise just do it freehand (my preference).
  5. In the pie crust, alternate putting apple and pear slices down in a circular pattern.  Do this until you have exhausted your supply of apples and pears.
  6. Sprinkle the top with nutmeg and cinnamon.
  7. Put in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  8. While the pie is baking, prepare the topping.  Cut the butter into really small pieces (as small as you can without melting it).
  9. In a mixing bowl, mix the butter, sugar and oats together.  You can do this with your hands.  Make sure that the oats are well coated.
  10. After 35 minutes of baking, pull the pie out of the over and put the topping on evenly.  Put back in the over and bake for another 15 minutes.
  11. That’s it!  Take the pie our and enjoy.  I strongly recommend serving with this a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of some cinnamon for decoration.
Posted in Cooking@Home, Food & Drink Tagged , , |

Apple Glazed Pork Chop

This is one of my favorite ways to prepare a pork chop.  Its really simple, but tastes delicious!

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Ingredients

  • 4-6 oz Pork Chop (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup Apple Juice or Apple Cider
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard (Dijon can also be used)
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. Pat the Pork chops so that they are dry on both sides.  Season one side of each pork chop generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the canola oil up a 12 inch pan on medium-high heat.
  3. After the pan is hot, put the pork chops in (seasoned side down).  The goal here is to sear the seasoning onto the pork chop.  Season the top of the chops generously with salt and pepper.
  4. After 5-6 minutes of searing on one side, turn the pork chops to sear the other side with seasoning into the pork chop.  Wait another 5-6 minutes.
  5. Remove the pork chops from the pan and put it on a plate to rest.
  6. Turn the heat down to medium.  Add the minced garlic to the pan and stir to heat.  Do not let it burn!
  7. Pour the apple juice into the pan to deglaze.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pane.
  8. Add the yellow mustard and stir to incorporate into the sauce.
  9. Turn the heat up to concentrate the sauce.  The resulting sauce should be syrupy.
  10. Turn the heat down to medium.  Add the pork chops back into the pan and turn them several times to warm and glazed them.
  11. Serve and enjoy!
Posted in Cooking@Home, Food & Drink Tagged , , |

Starting over…..

It’s finally happening!

I am in the process of converting my personal blog into a truly personal blog.  When I started blogging, it was to try and share information regarding the areas I specialized in which I may not have been able to effectively share through other means.

On August 1st this year, I took a leap with my career and decided to try something entirely news……Product Management.  So far, all I can say is that everyday presents a new set of challenges and there is never a dull moment.  With this change and a new chapter in my career, I have decided to redesign my blog to reflect other things that I am passionate about and would love to share.  Many that know me personally know that I love my family, exploring great food and globetrotting around the world.  With that comes the opportunity to take some awesome photos to share with friends and family.

Stay tuned to this space, I hope to start posting photos and other content really soon.

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