I@MyLastBite My Last Bite Food Travel Writer Blogger Jo Stougaard
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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.
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.
One of the best things about traveling (in my humble opinion) is discovering the unexpected. Even though I’m one of those ridiculously organized people who plan out each day before departing (my husband hates this), as an avid traveler, I do appreciate the joys of an occasional, itinerary mishap.
A cancelled flight could mean an unplanned excursion to an archeological site in Greece. A wrong turn on a remote Japanese island could lead to a fabulous, hidden izayaka. Even something as simple as an unscheduled, free evening abroad could turn out to be an absolute EPIC experience.
Last September, enroute from Melbourne to Adelaide (start to my Australia trip here), I was informed that after checking into the hotel, I’d be on my own for dinner. I’d had an exhilerating week covering a media preview of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, a non-stop schedule of restaurants, wine events and lectures, so I almost opted to tuck into my hotel bed and catch up on sleep.
Instead, I caffeinated and sent out a tweet to friends on Twitter, “Where should I eat in #Adelaide tonight”?
Social media is a terrific tool for travelers, especially solo travelers. I’ve asked friends online for help with directions, shoe repair suggestions and even reached out when I’ve felt a bit homesick.
After a bit of research, my heart started racing. @PubAndDining aka The Daniel O’Connell, was quite the “nose to tail” restaurant, a la Fergus Henderson’s St. John, which is my favorite spot in London.
“Nose to Tail” is both a menu style and philosophy for us at the Daniel O’Connell. Traditionally it is a term used to describe whole beast dining where both the primary and the secondary cuts of a beast are utilised in the dining experience.
Believing that it is responsible and sustainable for us to use all that is fresh and available at any given time we take a more holistic approach and adopt a “no waste” philosophy to all that we do.
About the chefs via FaceBook:
The Two Chefs
Head Chef, Aaron Gillespie, started off his career in Adelaide pubs, at the age of 16. Now after stints at The Manse, The Science Exchange and Grace the Establishment, Aaron is excited to get behind the stoves of The Daniel O’Connell to continue to build his reputation by creating an iconic dining destination.
Joining him is Sous Chef Phil Whitmarsh, a loveable rogue, who was trained in some of the most notable kitchens of London and Paris, experiencing what it takes to earn Michelin hats. Phil is now home in Adelaide, and after a stint as Head Chef at Lochiel House, he brings his unique blend of global understanding and passion for the local produce available to him to The Daniel O’Connell.
The Daniel O’Connell was first licensed in 1850 as the Commercial Inn. The current building was built in 1881 at the same time as the many of the other buildings that were proudly situated in North Adelaide’s “High Street” by the town planners. The hotel changed its name from the North Adelaide Hotel to the Daniel O’Connell at the time of a refurbishment in the late 1990s and proudly maintains the Irish connection of North Adelaide’s heritage.
PHOTOS: My EPIC Meal at The Daniel O’Connell
Ox Tongue: Fresh, Fermented Kohlrabi & horseradish (additional photo)
The Daniel O’Connell Pub
165 Tynte Street, North Adelaide,
South Australia 5006
Follow the Daniel O’Connell on twitter
Follow Aaron Gillespie on twitter
Follow Phil Whitmarsh on twitter
Fergus Henderson visited the Daniel O’Connel Pub in May 2014. Photo by John Krüger (used with permission).