Each week, my Meal of the Week feature examines an airline meal from my travels over the years. This may be a meal from earlier in the week or it may be a meal served over a decade ago.
As a final bookend to my reminisce and eulogy of United Airlines international first class earlier this week, I want to focus on a memorable United meal for this week’s Meal of the Week.
You can skip this post if you read my first class review from Washington to Dulles to Kuwait yesterday. I’m writing about the meal again to underscore, at least in my mind, how important a meal can be in shaping the memory of a flight.
Meal service began with mixed nuts and a beverage.
Next came a warm appetizer: a beef empanada with corn salsa and sour cream. At the time, one difference between first and business class on United was the appetizer. First class passengers received a hot appetizer and business class passengers received a cold one.
Soup arrived next, another unique feature of United first class (versus business class). The tomato soup was creamy and delicious.
The soup was followed by a large green salad topped with dressing, cheese, and croutons at your seat.
Finally, the main course arrived: rack of lamb. It was truly an amazing treat and by the far the best red meat dish I have ever had on United. The lamb was even cooked medium rare.
Part of what makes a meal tasty is how visually appetizing it is. While a poorly-presented meal may still be tasty, sometimes a mediocre meal can seem more tasty when presented beautifully. In this case, the meat was tender and flavorful but also beautifully presented with a garnish of parsley and garlic.
I enjoyed a glass of Australian Syrah with dinner, which further complemented the flavor of the meat.
The meal continued with a very nice cheese course followed by an ice cream sundae.
I used to hear complaints by self-identified erudite travelers that went something like this: “Soup and salad are so boring and ice cream is so American. What an unimaginative excuse for a first class offering!”
To that I say this: lack of sophistication is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, travelers–including this one–just want a simple meal. That’s what United provided here and this meal will go down as one of my best of all time on United.
What is your favorite United first class meal?