Macadamia nut pancakes
It used to be that the vacation began for travelers the minute they
stepped on the plane. These days, with all the headaches that can
arise in transit, air travel is more often something to get over
with before the real experience starts. Well, now American Airlines
is attempting to start the vacation earlier by bringing a taste of
the islands onboard for the journey literally. First-Class
passengers on flights to and from Hawaii can enjoy the flavor of
the Hawaiian Islands with new menu offerings created by renowned
Hawaiian chef, restaurateur, author and TV host Sam Choy.
“Through the expertise of chef Sam Choy, American is providing a
pleasant mix of authentic Hawaiian tastes to our passengers flying
to and from the Islands,” said Lauri Curtis, American’s vice
president of onboard service. “We believe they are in for a real
treat with our new menu offerings.”
The new menu incorporates the many flavors of Hawaiian food,
which is strongly influenced by the Pacific Rim, California and
Europe. Selections will rotate monthly.
On a recent flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu I was able to
try a couple of the new items.
The macadamia nut pancakes were fantastic, but the best part
might have been the mouth-watering smell of mac nut and coconut
syrup warming. Best of all is that it didn’t leave me stuffed and
uncomfortable with three more hours to go before landing.
For dinner, I was able to sample the island braised short ribs.
They were a big hit not just with me but with my fellow passengers
as well. As far as I know, none of them were aware that it was a
new menu, but I did overhear a few passengers marveling at how much
better the food was on our flight than on other routes.
This is hardly surprising considering that Choy, a native of
Hawaii, was recently named Hawaii’s official culinary ambassador.
He is a four-time nominee for the coveted James Beard Best Pacific
Regional Chef award and is the author of 10 top-selling cookbooks.
He also hosts the TV show “Sam Choy’s Kitchen,” and has four
restaurants that bear his name, including one in Tokyo and one in
“It is an honor working with American Airlines to bring a true
taste of Hawaii to their in-flight meal program,” said Choy. “Hats
off to American Airlines for making in-flight dining once again
American Airlines offers regularly scheduled service to the
following Hawaiian cities: Honolulu (HNL), from Chicago (ORD), Los
Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW);
Kahului, Maui (OGG), from Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth; Lihue,
Kauai (LIH), from Los Angeles; Kona (KOA), Big Island, from Los
Macadamia nut pancakes: Silver-dollar pancakes
topped with macadamia nuts and macadamia honey butter with coconut
syrup on the side; served with a slice of grilled ham and seasonal
Macadamia French toast: French toast stuffed with
mascarpone cheese topped with macadamia nuts and pineapple papaya
marmalade; served with seasonal tropical fruit.
Wasabi salmon: Grilled salmon topped with creamy
wasabi, served warm with shiitake butter orzo.
Hibachi chicken: Teriyaki-glazed grilled chicken
breast served over sweet potato mash.
Island braised short ribs: Tender short ribs
topped with soy-ginger sauce and sauteed shiitake mushrooms, served
with skin-on mashed potatoes.
Mixed green salads: Mixed mesclun greens topped
with fresh vegetables and island garnishes. A choice of new salad
dressings include miso cilantro, spicy oriental and ginger
starters Tropical mixed nuts: American’s
signature warmed mixed nuts with a Hawaiian flair.
Signature sundaes: Vanilla ice cream with a
variety of toppings, including hot fudge, strawberry and a seasonal
tropical topping such as mango or crushed pineapple.
Baked onboard cookies: White chocolate macadamia
(Note: Should passengers prefer a more traditional meal, a
pasta dish is available for lunch and dinner, while cereal and
fresh fruit are available for breakfast.)