Mile-High Eats

Fly BusinessFirst on Continental and dine like royalty

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You say you're tired of subsisting on peanuts and lukewarm Sprite when you travel by air? Not to worry. Just fly BusinessFirst on Continental and dine like royalty. An alert steerage-class reader recently smuggled out several of the airline's BusinessFirst menus, and we ain't talking turkey sandwiches here. Among the dinner-time delicacies are a macadamia-nut-crusted filet of salmon with red bell pepper julienne, asparagus, and papaya-mango chutney, and mixed grill of veal, beef, and lamb accented by chimichurri butter and Amazon sauce, with grilled red pepper and tomato, asparagus, and boulangère potatoes. For dessert, the menu promises select English and French cheeses with fresh seasonal fruits, an assortment of biscuits and breads, and a glass of port. Or perhaps chocolate-pear cheesecake or tiramisu would hit the spot? The menus, available on international flights to Europe, Hawaii, the Pacific, and South America on board 777, 757, and DC-10 aircraft, are designed and regularly updated by a 22-member Congress of Chefs, which includes Dan Pintabono from NYC's Tribeca Grill and James Beard Award-winner Roy Yamaguchi from Honolulu, as well as our own Paul Minnillo, chef-owner of the Baricelli Inn. All this luxe comes at a price, of course: A recent online search showed more than a fourfold price difference between a business class ($2,692) and an economy class ($612.50) round-trip ticket between San Fran and Hawaii.

Kitchen confidential . . . The Western Reserve School of Cooking (140 North Main Street, Hudson) will again provide sneak peeks into the kitchens of the region's best chefs with the fall edition of the school's popular Restaurant Sampler series. This time, the lineup of outstanding culinary talent includes Zachary Conover from the Leopard Restaurant in Aurora (October 23), Michael Symon from Lola (October 30), Paul Minnillo (November 13), Moe Schneider and Jeff Allgood from Moe's in Cuyahoga Falls (November 20), and Vid Lutz from Johnny's (November 27). Besides demonstrating some of their favorite dishes, the generous chefs will share samples of their creations along with a banquet of wisdom about the culinary arts. If you ever wished you could "see how they do it," up close and personal, this is your golden opportunity. Cost for the entire Monday evening series is $120; individual classes are $28 each. Call 330-650-1665 to register. But hurry: the slots fill up fast.

A Murphy-Goode night . . . The wine will flow -- and the food sounds divine -- at next week's Winemaker Dinner at Brandywine Ski Resort (1146 West Highland Road, Sagamore Hills). The August 18 eight-course meal will highlight the products of Murphy-Goode Estate, a family-owned winery nestled in Sonoma County's Alexander Valley. The spot has earned plenty of critical acclaim since its 1985 inception, and guests will have ample opportunity to pick a personal favorite during the Friday night event in Brandywine's beautiful banquet center. Among the food and wine pairings will be littleneck clams tossed with artichokes and kalamata olives in fresh pasta, served with a 1998 Alexander Valley Fumé Blanc Reserve, and goat-cheese-stuffed baked apples with caramel drizzle, served with a 1997 Sauvignon Blanc Musque. A Murphy-Goode representative will be on hand to discuss the wines and answer questions between courses. Cost for the 7 p.m. sit-down dinner, complete with crystal-laden, white-linen-dressed tables and a lush view of the Cuyahoga Valley, is an all-inclusive $65. Call 330-467-2242 (in Cleveland) or 330-657-2334 (in Akron) for reservations no later than noon on Monday, August 14.

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