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#Huangry: Bad But Boujee

This is a story of food, love, and travel in the modern age.

...just kidding.

This is primarily about food, tangentially related to travel, and it takes place in the past 2 days, so yeah, I guess it's modern and stuff too. But it's definitely not at all relevant to love. That part was a lie.

Just like it's a lie when you see prepared food on an airplane, 34,000 feet above where God intended me to be. (Firmly planted on the ground.)

See, I was recently upgraded to first/business class on a flight from ATL to PHX. While that upgrade has happened before, it's only ever been on short flights or weird flights to the middle of nowhere, like PHX >> SLC or ATL >> GSP. First/business on a transcontinental flight? Totally unreal.

So unreal that I was caught completely off guard when the flight attendants began taking orders for lunch. I was the last one in the first class compartment, so naturally there was only one choice left by the time the attendants took my order: something they called "Salmon Salad." (Not super descriptive or accurate, but since I didn't have a choice...)

As it turns out, salmon salad consists of a grilled salmon filet resting atop a bed of whole grains, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and olives. There was also a small bunch of frisée, which I thought was just some weird green stalky leafy mess until I Googled "visual guide to salad greens" about 2 minutes ago. The tray also held a dessert plate consisting of grapes, a strawberry, brie, another wedge of cheese, and a red velvet cupcake.

The most pleasant part was just how neat, tidy, fresh, and stinkin' cute the place setting was. There was a tray, actual plates, even salt and pepper shakers designed for airplane usage. The food actually looked appetizing, which was a new concept for me. I mean, my general expectation level for airplane meals is hot slop in a tinfoil tray, like reheated day-old takeout from Chipotle. 

The actual eating experience was a bit of a mixed bag. It was really good — for an in-flight meal. I'm pretty sure the last time I had a hot/ prepared in-flight meal was on a Cathay Pacific flight two decades ago, when a flight attendant went around and poured hot water into a Cup o' Noodles situation. So yeah, salmon and whole grain salad definitely beats that.

But for a regular meal — which is what I'm comparing this to since I happen to eat in locales other than airline jets — it was definitely not very good. For one, the entree was a little cold. I understand you probably don't want a salad to be piping hot, but you also don't want your salmon to be the same temperature as your salad. Probably. The grains were also chewy and undercooked, which made lunch an exercise in persistence, and man, sometimes I just don't wanna be tested like that when I'm eating. But at least there was plenty of flavor.

I'd rate the red velvet cupcake as pretty tasty, but that's because I've never met a cake that wasn't good. The fruit was similarly good, in the sense that it was real fruit and as long as it's not rotten or unripe, you can't really screw up fruit.

But the highlight of this very mediocre meal was the cheese. Tell me you wouldn't automatically feel like you were on some Jetset, "air travel is glamorous because I'm living out a Mad Men fantasy and drink bourbon and smoke cigarettes in the cabin while flying to Monaco" bullshit. Brie is already a pretty boujee kind of appetizer in my humble idiot opinion, so when you take that brie and serve it 6.5 miles in the air... It was like I had time traveled and saw the future of being boujee. Like having Grey Poupon in a solar-powered Tesla that Elon Musk himself is driving to Mars. 

In summation, this is what it's like to eat a modern prepared meal in the first class cabin of a Delta flight:

  • Pretty appetizing looking.
  • Boujee af because think about how good your mid-air 'grams will look. (You paid the $30 for a 24-hour airplane WiFi pass, right?)
  • Surprisingly good if your normal airplane food is smashed up Nature Valley bars lost in the bottom of your carryon.
  • Probably not that good compared to actual food you've had, even if your regular at-home meal experience is instant ramen noodles.
  • But wow, just think about the bragging rights! Nonchalantly eating brie and salmon in the stratosphere while all you plebes toil away in your cubes.