Last week American Airlines (AA) invited me to an exclusive menu tasting in Texas. They have new, seasonal food and wine menus rolling out in July for selected Domestic and Transcontinental First Class Flights, as well as new snacks in their Flagship Lounges.
The event took place at LSG Sky Chefs in Irving which is near the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (AA HQ). Along with media were several of the airlines most loyal frequent flyers, who were on hand to share their input. The fun kicked off with a round of champagne as we listened to airline executives talk about improvements for the AA passenger experience.
I was surprised to see a familiar face as we began tasting food. Celebrity Chef Sam Choy was there showcasing his new transcontinental menu, which included spicy crab, steamed sea bass and wagyu meatloaf (photos below). AA wine consultant Ken Chase entertained all with his spirited presentation, and noted how important it is for wines to compliment the regions where AA travels (Malbec in Argentina for example), and that it also exposes passengers to new wines as well. His pro tip: To stay hydrated while flying, drink three glasses of water per one glass of wine.
I travel often, and when I visit my folks in Scotland I usually fly economy. American Airlines is a partner to British Airways, so at least one of my flights (either to or from London) are on AA. If I get the chance for an upgrade (it happens!), it’ll be interesting to experience it all with a new point of view. The majority of the dishes I tasted were fantastic and I’d happily order them in a restaurant. Only one seemed overly salty, which is normal (in food prep) when serving at 30,000 feet since “taste buds and sense of smell are the first thing to go”. I did mention it and was told they are still working on adjustments.
As the only L.A.-based writer invited, I was asked to simply share the experience on social media, which I did on twitter, instagram and facebook. The new American Airlines campaign is called #GoingForGreat, and my main takeaway from the afternoon was a truly sincere effort by the AA team.
Peruvian Causa with west coast Dungeness crab, ahi amarillo, basil and cilantro oil (South America Flagship Lounge Snack)
Mac & Cheese Fritters (North America Flagship Lounge Snack)
Edamame Hummus w toasted garlic baguettes by Chef Sam Choy (Transcontinental 1st class)
Steamed Sea Bass with soy glaze and ginger cilantro pesto rice by Chef Sam Choy (Transcontinental 1st class)
Spicy Crab w sushi rice, avocado and wasabi aioli by Chef Sam Choy (Transcontinental 1st class)
Wagyu Meatloaf with sriracha ketchup, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and candied onions by Chef Sam Choy (Transcontinental 1st class)
Vegetarian option: Lentil Chili, Polenta Cake (Domestic 1st class)
Shrimp & Grits (Domestic 1st class)
Beef Filet, Lobster Mac & Cheese (Domestic 1st class)
This paired so well with the Malbec (Domestic 1st class)
Salted Caramel Ice Cream (Domestic 1st class)
American Airlines Wine Consultant Ken Chase
Chef Sam Choy! We totally bonded over our love for Okinawa (my birthplace).
Thank you for having me American Airlines!
Event date was June 22, 2015. All photos here.
Round trip flights from Los Angeles to Dallas were provided by American Airlines.
I met some really nice folks at the event, including Benet Wilson and Jeanne Hoffman. Read Benet’s recap of the event Airways News. Jeanne blogs at Le Chic Geek.