It's possible to eat your way around the world without leaving New York City – though it takes a bit of time and effort, not to mention an unlimited travel pass for the subway. Luckily, I experienced a unique culinary journey through some of the country's most desirable cities, without even leaving the room.
We had touched down in New Orleans, and a full-on marching band was there to greet us.
To celebrate their new ThankYou® Points Transfer partnership, JetBlue and Citi threw a multi-sensory shindig in New York's trendy Chelsea neighborhood, featuring immersive virtual pit stops in NYC, New Orleans and South Florida. Here's a peek into my city-hopping taste tour.
Departure Gate: New York City
After being ushered down a blue carpet, my travel companions and I were greeted in true first-class style with glasses of riesling, chardonnay and cabernet from the Finger Lakes region. Since we were scheduled to depart from New York, sampling wines from a family run winery upstate was the perfect touch.
As vibrant Big Apple street scenes projected giddily from the walls, I prepared for takeoff with a few farewell bites from my beloved hometown, including smoked salmon canapes from the Lower East Side, tiny tacos that served as an ideal homage to Queens, and slices of rare ribeye daubed with piquant horseradish sauce – a tip of the hat to one of Brooklyn's venerable steakhouses.
Laissez les bons temps rouler
No sooner had I settled into a white leather seat (with ample legroom, mind you) than the syncopated thumping of trumpets and tubas filled the azure-lit space. We had touched down in New Orleans, and a full-on marching band was there to greet us, bestowing bright strings of beads on the assembled crowds between songs.
As the band promenaded off, they were swiftly replaced by none other than celebrity chef (and Big Easy restaurant owner) Aarón Sánchez – commissioned to act as tour guide. As he welcomed us, harlequin-masked servers slinked by paper boats of fried okra, platters of boudin balls, and smoky bowls of gumbo.
Bienvenido a Miami
Being somewhat of a whirlwind vacation, it wasn't long before salsa dancers swirled into sight and our slow-sipping Sazeracs were replaced by mint-garnished highballs of sweet-and-citrusy daiquiris. Performers swapped their feathered masks for sunglasses and were joined by Sánchez, who was the first to start swinging his hips to the beat – convincing even the shyest partygoers to shimmy to the center of the floor.
It was hard not to be distracted by the Floridian fare that appeared around the fringes: ham, pork and pickle cubanos; shot glasses of shrimp ceviche; and crescent-shaped empanadas enclosed around creamy, subtly spiced pumpkin purée
Coming full circle
Since we had embarked on a round-trip flight, it was back to New York for dessert. Cheesecake was on the menu, along with squares of apple bread pudding (an homage to the state's signature fruit).
I indulged in one last sweet treat before I picked up my blue tissue paper-padded parting gift – an assortment of tiny travel-sized toiletries – and disembarked. After an evening spent luxuriously traversing the country, I have to admit it was a bit of a letdown to have to take the subway home.
Citi welcomes JetBlue as a new ThankYou Points Transfer partner. With Points Transfer, ThankYou® members with an eligible Citi® credit card can transfer available and qualifying ThankYou Points to TrueBlue points. For more information, call 1-800-ThankYou or log in at www.thankyou.com/transfer. And remember, with Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, Citi ThankYou® Premier Card and Citi Prestige® Card, you will receive 2 points for every dollar spent on dining out and entertainment purchases.
For information on dining events in your area visit https://www.citiprivatepass.com/dining.