My name is Elyse. I've been flying, eating and blogging for Upgrd.com for the past ten months, and I have several confessions to make.
Confession 1: I recently returned my tray table to its full upright and locked position.
In other words, I went on undeclared blog hiatus, mainly due to some much-needed surgery (resulting from a less-than-graceful international incident). The good news is that I'm now on both feet, ready to step back into my fast-paced, food-obsessed lifestyle at 35,000 feet. With future flights lined up on the horizon, the "Inflight Dish" is back on board, one tray table at a time.
Confession 2: I'm re-assessing my outspoken opinion on in-flight breakfast.
Remember when I rained disdain upon Continental Airlines' mysterious morning breakfast triangle? Perhaps I was unfairly harsh. On a recent domestic flight I received a complimentary upgrade and a choice of two breakfast options. After dissing airplane eggs for the better part of a year, I finally had the opportunity to order option two, cereal, to accompany the airline's requisite breakfast sides of yogurt and mixed fruit.
Here's the thing: all cereal is NOT created equal. I'd love to sit down with the taste-makers of Continental's inflight catering and advise them on basic culinary customer satisfaction. Surveying a list of the ten best-selling breakfast cereals of 2011, it's no surprise that the airline's choice isn't among them. I found myself slugging through a mushy, bland cereal whose main ingredients are listed as corn meal, corn, sugar and corn starch. I would take a stale brand-name toaster pastry (or eggs and a potato triangle) over this edible mess, any day of the week.
Confession 3: I'm not nearly as sweet as I seem to be.
I can't stomach sugary foods on an airplane, especially in the morning. The giant-sized, sticky cinnamon bun pictured below is a total loss on me. If we're going to compare artery-blocking food products, I would rather eat a bucket of salted pork rinds than one soft, warm, frosted cinnamon bun. I feel the same way about most sweet treats, both in the sky and on the ground.
As a food blogger, I skirt around the dessert issue by filling up on mains and doubling up on a cheese course if necessary. While I wholeheartedly get down with unique eats (think live shrimp in Shanghai and steak tartar in Addis Ababa), "cake" is a glaring omission from my edible repertoire. In order to capture my heart, ditch the conventional box of chocolates and woo me with wine and aged manchego instead.
Confession 4: No early-morning flight is complete without toast, and by that I mean a toast.
It's always 5:00PM somewhere, particularily when it's 5:00AM where I am, crawling through the concourse to make my pre-dawn departure. My preferred poison is canned red saltwater mixed with cheap vodka, otherwise known as an airplane Bloody Mary. It's possibly the worst thing that can be ingested at 35,000 feet, but I just can't resist. It's one thing in First/Business class, where the magic happens behind the galley curtain; the cocktail is served pre-mixed in a glass complete with lime and sassy swizzle stick. However, in Coach, self-mixed cocktails can get magnificently messy, mad scientist-style.
If I'm sitting in the back, I often order two mini bottles of vodka with one can of pre-mixed Mary. Here's my top-secret, frequent flyer recipe for mixing a properly depraved Vodka Mary: throw away one, two or all of the ice cubes piled to the brim in your plastic cup. This will make space for a full mini-bottle of vodka (to be dumped into the cup), which will then be 3/4 filled. Top up with Bloody Mary mix. Stir it up and try not to grimace with the first few sips. Once you've made space, top up again with the mix and sip. Repeat until the taste is just barely tolerable, then polish off the entire drink. Crack open the second mini and repeat.
Confession 5: While traveling, I indulge in certain "secret" viewing pleasures.
I've been on the road fulfilling my international foodie fantasies for nearly two years. With Netflix, a VPN connection and my trusty iPad, I've now watched 213 episodes of "Stargate: SG1" and 94 episodes of "Stargate: Atlantis." For the record, that's 13,361 minutes, or 9.28 days worth of extra-terrestrial television viewing. I'm planning to finish out the epic series sometime in early 2012, with 43 episodes and two full-length feature films still to go.
There you have it, folks. I'm a self-confessed sci-fi geek who downs cheap vodka like a salt-water fish and prefers powdered eggs and pre-mixed mash to a spoonful of sugar.
Now, let's get on a plane and eat.