Today I left Armenia for a weeklong conference in London. While I will miss my customary Armenian breakfasts of deliciously undercooked eggs à la coque, with buttered lavash, black olives, sliced tomatoes, fresh farmer’s cheese, wild raspberry jam and Sissian honey, I have the good fortune of flying with British Midlands Airways: I’ve been upgraded to first class…this, in spite of my disheveled appearance (stained white tee-shirt, jeans steeped in last night’s cigarette smoke, wacky hair).
Being so lucky, I have decided that I must subject my body to the excessive luxuries that go along with the fully reclining seat. My taste buds are readying themselves for the gastronomic opportunity lying (high) up ahead.
So, I present you my first ever food review…at 32,000 feet. Bon Appetit!
Aircraft: Airbus A321.
Seat: 7D (…and 7F. my stuck-up neighbor saw my tee-shirt and moved somewhere else…).
Location: flying above the Black Sea.
Atmosphere: wealthy, overweight men drinking straight whiskey on the rocks. They seem to inhale their mixed nuts like anteaters, vacuuming up the crumbs with loud slurps and grunts. The stewardess begins taking their lunch order. They all order the steak.
Chateau de Tignée “Les Maillones” Anjou 2008 produced by Gérard Depardieu, the famous French actor. It is a dry chenin blanc from the Loire Valley. Dried apricots, honey and granny apple on the nose and a lingering finish. I know there is more to this wine but the airplane’s recycled air is impeding any further olfactive explorations…
Marinated olives in extra-virgin olive oil. Slices of crusty batard bread with rosemary and burnt sesame seeds. Nothing could be more predictable, but I will admit they are good. The bread is served with margarine, which is inexplicable to me. To my chagrin the olives have been pitted to avoid lawsuits and/or dental bills from passengers who are somehow unaware that olives naturally contain pits.
Ever since my very first childhood flight I have found airplane entrée portions far too small for the average bon vivant. I have thus informed my stewardess that I will be sampling two main dishes.
My first course is the smoked haddock fish with colcannon & lemon-herb sauce. The haddock is tender and moist, and has been smoked to perfection on cedar wood. The colcannon, an Irish purée made with potatoes, leek and cabbage is creamy and delicious. The sauce has a tangy lemon base and is spiced with marjoram and chives. My hat goes off to the haddock-it affirms itself confidently while allowing the mash to balance out its rough edges.
My second course is the lamb fillet with apricot couscous & a tomato-olive sauce. It is sadly way too dry and far too tough. I should have expected this. Who knows how many hours it had been sitting in the aircraft heating unit, being held at a food-safe temperature. My FAA-approved butter knife can barely slice through it. The fillet has the texture of thick Styrofoam. Just thinking about it gives me cottonmouth.
The wine and cabin pressure knocked me out and I fell asleep during the dessert course. I am still upset…
See you next week!