The Foodie's Guide to Winter Travel Destinations - United Hub
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The foodie’s guide to winter travel destinations

By Matt Chernov, December 20, 2017

In recent months, the Danish word 'hygge' (pronounced “hoo-ga") has taken the world by storm, and for very good reason. The term refers to a unique feeling of coziness and contentment that helps make long winters more pleasurable. Though often used to invoke a warm and intimate atmosphere, this wonderful lifestyle concept can also be used to describe food as well. In the culinary world, things like slow cooked stews, mulled wine, and roasted seasonal vegetables could all be described as 'hygge.' To help you plan a delicious winter vacation, here are seven travel destinations that showcase food at its finest.

View of the mountains in Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska

Alaska's biggest city is a picturesque winter wonderland from January through March, and its food scene has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years thanks to a robust economy and an influx of sophisticated eaters who are eager to expand their palates. For a dinner that's guaranteed to warm you up, the spicy Alaskan salmon and rockfish jambalaya at the Spenard Roadhouse compares to none. On chilly days, a decadent giant cinnamon roll coated in thick frosting from Orso will keep you feeling extra 'hygge.'

Cup of coffee

Seattle, Washington

A steaming cup of freshly brewed Seattle coffee sipped on a brisk morning is the very definition of the term 'hygge.' Since the weather in the Pacific Northwest can be spectacularly snowy during the winter months, the city's best restaurants compensate by offering richly flavored meals that will stick to your ribs. Try the slow cooked beef stew with bone marrow at Quinn's Pub, or sample the spicy grilled chicken thighs with poblano peppers at the acclaimed restaurant Brimmer & Heeltap for a tangy winter treat.

Chicago river melting

Chicago, Illinois

Comfort foods are extremely 'hygge' and Chicago features some of the most comforting meals in the Midwest. Winter visitors to the Windy City should reserve a table at the elegantly appointed Tortoise Supper Club. Their famous Pheasant Pie is made with slow-roasted shredded pheasant, combined with seasonal vegetables and foie gras cognac sauce, and comes topped with a crispy pie crust. Or for something simpler but equally delicious, try the irresistible macaroni and cheese with Irish bacon at Lady Gregory's Irish Pub in Chicago's colorful Andersonville neighborhood.

Ramen in Denver

Denver, Colorado

Throughout January, Denver's evening temperatures drop to an average of 15-degrees. To combat the cold, hungry visitors should make their way to the historic Five Points neighborhood and pull up a chair at Acorn, an award-winning restaurant specializing in wood-fired cooking. There, you'll find 'hygge' dishes like wood fired baby yams, tomato braised meatballs, and Creole-style rock shrimp and grits. If you prefer Asian Fusion, head on over to Denver's Highland Parks area and order a comforting bowl of duck ramen at the popular Uncle restaurant. Their shoyu (soy sauce) broth is extraordinary.

Landscape in Vermont

Burlington, Vermont

Few destinations in North America capture the magic of winter quite like Vermont. When a fresh blanket of white snow settles on the vibrant streets of Burlington, the effect is like a picture postcard come to life. Diners looking for a taste of something special should pay a visit to Leunig Bistro, an upscale French restaurant in downtown Burlington. Since 1980, they've been serving 'hygge' meals like roast pumpkin chowder with applewood-smoked bacon, and classic beef bourguignon braised in red wine. Whisky lovers owe it to themselves to try a creamy Irish coffee made with triple distilled Tullamore Dew at cozy Finnegan's Pub, also located in downtown.

View of the mountains in Oregon

Bend, Oregon

The winter landscape in Bend, Oregon, is nothing short of breathtaking. For those who worship the great outdoors, this snowy playground is truly a must-visit. After a day spent skiing or ice skating, the homemade pecan sticky buns and syrup-drenched French toast at McKay Cottage will put a huge smile on your face. If farm-to-table dining is more your speed, then the pizzas and pastas made with local seasonal ingredients at Jackson's Corner are exactly what you're looking for.

Mulled wine

Calgary, Canada

Each winter, visitors to Calgary get to experience the best of both worlds: a bustling urban metropolis and an environment filled with scenic natural beauty. Since nothing is more 'hygge' than a warm glass of mulled wine, be sure to stop at Lounge XVIII for a sip of pinot gris infused with clove, anise, ginger, and rosemary and flavored with fresh citrus and honey. If you're in the mood for an intimate atmosphere, the rustic charm of Charbar is the city's top choice. Ask one of their expert mixologists to make you a classic B&B (brandy and Benedictine, served at room temperature) or a cozy fireside cocktail like a Hot Buttered Rum. You'll be experiencing the magic of the 'hygge' lifestyle in no time.

If you go

Get the most from your winter foodie vacation by booking your flight at united.com or by using the convenient United app.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

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