Mayonnaise Nation

Mayo is one of those things that some people absolutely adore and others despise.
While I was in Stockholm, I was struck by the amount of mayo used to flavor food.
Here are some examples of mayo-love I found during my sightseeing adventures:
1. At the famous food hall: Pre-prepared main meals
Where does mayo start and where does it end?
2. At the supermarket: Flavored mayo tubes
This display really made me want to paint!
In most cases, the flavor was indicated by the drawing on the end (shrimp, ham, smoked salmon, bacon, etc.) but at breakfast I encountered a tube with a picture of a little boy. …What flavor could this be?
(It turned out to be ham.)
3. At Marcus Samuelsson’s Airport Cafe “Street Food”: Mayo “frosting”
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this three tiered cake (sandwich)
laced with heaping amount of frosting (mayo).
Could mayo be a defining taste for Swedish cuisine? Does it make food taste more Swedish? I believe so!
Next time I’ll share my reasoning but in the mean time, just take a moment to imagine what it would be like to eat this cake/sandwich!
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Pisa Airport’s Secret Cafeteria

I’ve been pretty lucky this summer.

Of the 9 flights I have taken, only one from Pisa to London was delayed for 2 hours.

Have you been to the Pisa airport? It’s jam packed with stores and people! It’s disorganized and grimy, like an old train station.

I walked around to find a place to eat but all the fast food/take away places did not entice me. Instead, I went upstairs and found a cafeteria that was filled with “locals” rather than tourists.

I observed what people were choosing off of the compact buffet line and noticed that the “locals” were actually airport employees. The cooks knew them by their first names and openly gave them extra portions. Relieved that I found an alternative to the numerous tourist traps below, I decided to try the food for myself.

I quickly learned that the pasta carbonara and tuna salad were the popular dishes among the employees that day.

When I took my first bite of the pasta, I immediately understood why almost all of the employees had selected this.

It was light and airy with a flavorful hint of pancetta. It was nothing like the other carbonaras I have tasted! It was simple and straightforward. The salad (minus the canned olives and corn) was hearty and satisfying as well.

As silly as it may sound, I felt really proud for having found a “local” spot as I ate my lunch among the Italian airport employees.

It was a nice calm lunch away from the anxious travelers in the congested terminal.

Airport treasure hunt

Everyone already knows that I’m interested in airline meals and airport restaurants. But I don’t think I’ve written a post about food found in airports.

Here are some highlights of what I found at various airports last month!

1. New Flavor 

Bolognese flavored chips at Orly.

It was the first time I saw this flavor! Didn’t get to try it, which I regret tremendously.

2. Miniature

Food magnets at Pisa.

The small boxes of pasta really contained miniature pasta!
So could this mean that I would get a taste of Limoncello from that tiny bottle?

I was tempted to buy one for “research” purposes but I contained my desire once I saw that it was 7.50 Euros each.

3. Novelty

Reindeer and Moose steak at Stockholm Arlanda Airport.

What was my favorite you ask?

The $42 reindeer steak!

Did you know Rudolph had such a high price tag?

Virgin’s Inflight Meal Part 1: The never ending service

Hi everyone! I’m finally armed with unlimited access to my computer, photos, and the internet!

The past month, I’ve been in 5 different time zones, to 7 countries, and on 9 flights.

But before I tell you more about what I ate and saw, I’ll first give you the full report on the Virgin Atlantic flight I took from NYC to London (total flight time 6 hours).

Breakfast: Good Morning!

Service time: approx. 45 mins

Judging from the box and the cheerful greeting, I was hopeful that there was something edible in the box.

Orange juice, a granola bar, cream cheese, and a plain bagel, which by the way tasted like aluminum.

I tried my best to eat as much of the bagel as possible but gave up and ate the granola bar instead.

Lunch Service: Approx. 1 hour 45 minutes

(4 trolly passes in the main cabin for the Pre-meal drink, main meal, coffee/tea service, and dessert)

Main Entree Options: Beef Stew, Chicken Korma, and Vegetarian Pasta

By the time the food trolly made its way to my seat, the only option that was left was the chicken korma. I asked the flight attendant if there were cashews in the korma. Without missing a beat, she said no. But said that she couldn’t promise me anything because there might be traces of nuts.

I said traces were fine and took the meal.

When I actually looked at the packaging it clearly said: “Allergen information: CASHEW NUTS.”

I tried to flag the flight attendant but she was too deeply immersed in her duties so I pushed the call button and waited. After 20 mins, another flight attendant emerged and told me no other meal option was left so I asked for another salad.

The Butter Fiasco:

While I was eating my two salads, a passenger in front of me requested some butter. (He pronounced it as “budder”) The flight attendant didn’t understand him and kept on saying “Whaat? WHAAAT?” WATER?! Even when the passenger waved an empty butter container, the miscommunication continued. Finally, all the passengers around him began taking pity and passed him their unopened butter packets and screamed at the flight attendant: “He wants butter! BUTTER!”

When the trolly came by the 4th time with chocolate pudding, I declined because I didn’t want to engage in further conversations with the flight attendant. I just wanted the meal service to end! But I must give them credit as a total of two and a half hours of meal service on a six hour flight did make the flight seem shorter.

My experience reminded me of the famous complaint letter about the meal service on Virgin Atlantic.

My favorite line: “What is this? Why have I been given it? What have I done to deserve this? And, which one is the starter, which one is the desert?”

What starts well ends well

I just completed a pretty gruesome trip.

2 hours at airport + 12 hour flight +2 hour customs and baggage claim+ 4 hour layover + 1 hour flight+ 1 hour car ride home = exhaustion that seems to have seeped deep into my bones.

The great part of the trip was the start and the end.

THE START

My parents took me to the airport to see me off. Our ritual is to check in and then head to one of the restaurants above the departure hall to share a last meal together.

 My parents shared this:
Seafood doenjang (soybean paste) stew

And I went for the mild soondubu (soft tofu) stew.

We lingered over some sujeonggwa (cinnamon tea) then they sent me on my way.

THE END

At the end of the trip, I was completely zombified and everything seemed to be whizzing past me. I came to my senses when a father lugging heavy bags and pushing a toddler over took me on my way to claim my bags.

I stood at the baggage carousel trying hard to concentrate on the bags zipping by on the belt when I looked up to see my lovely neighbors (previously featured in the Dueling Newlyweds post) across from me.

I was so happy to see them but couldn’t muster up the energy to shout out to them. I slowly dragged my feet toward them and was only able to say hello when I was arms length away.

It turned out that their flights were all messed up so they had flown in a day later than scheduled. Lucky for me, I got to ride in their comfortable car and enjoy their company, which saved me the pain of being on a shuttle bus with loud college students.

Heathrow Delights

At the end of my trip to the UK, I was left with 5 pounds in my pocket.

I was determined to spend it all so I started browsing through my options at
WHSmith (a store that sells magazines, food, and gifts).

My first finding:

A wrap filled with shredded duck, cucumber, lettuce, red onion, hoisin and plum sauce. This combination is so popular that it even was made into a crisp flavor back in 2009.
I urge you to read about it Here!

And of course I couldn’t leave Christmas turkey and King prawn out of the game.

Was I ready to try my first ever Scotch egg out of a plastic wrapper?

Or  settle for my usual choice?
Ploughman’s: Medium mature cheddar layered with lettuce, tomato, and pickles.

While thinking through my options, I turned around and was faced with a whole section of crisps!

I quickly settled on Monster Munch(Red Hot), Walker’s Mexican Chili, and Walker’s Worcestershire sauce (the purple bags in the center) to bring back for a tasting party!

Indy 500 Grill

One thing I like about air travel is that you get to spend time (hopefully, not too long) at airports. It’s a great place to people watch!

While I’m waiting for a flight, I usually eat or walk around to check out the stores and restaurants. Since I did the former two weeks ago, I decided to browse the different dining options at the Indy airport.

The first thing that caught my eye was the Indy 500 Grill!

I had seen this restaurant before but it didn’t mean that much to me. I just thought it had something to do with NASCAR.

But everything changed when I recently visited the Indy motor speedway for an assignment for my heritage tourism class. I gained a deep appreciation for the speedway because it is the world’s largest speedway still in operation! A true American icon! The speedway also drove a lot of technological innovation in the car industry.

Designated as a historic site in 1975.

So when I saw the grill, I got so excited! Would they be serving food reflective of Hoosier heritage?

Do you see the Bud Light logo in the back and the race car on the wall?

I glanced at the menu but nothing really screamed Indy 500. I don’t know what I was expecting. But maybe dishes named: “Ear plugs necessary,” and “Rev your engine” may have been catchy…or not.

Check out the full menu here.

Fun facts I found on the website:

Indianapolis 500 Food & Beverage Information (May 2009)

  • Coca-Cola products: More than 16,000 gallons, which would fill two tanker trucks
  • Miller Lite and other beer products: More than 14,000 gallons
  • Indy Dogs: If laid end-to-end, would circle the 2.5-mile IMS oval more than two times
  • Bratwurst: If laid end-to-end, would circle the 2.5-mile IMS oval more than one time
  • Brickyard Burgers: More than 10,000 pounds, equal to the weight of six IZOD IndyCars
  • Track fries: More than 24,000 pounds, equal to the weight of an elephant
  • Chicken tenders: More than 2,000 pounds, equal to the weight of 13 Borg-Warner Trophies
  • Ketchup: More than 475 gallons, which would fill 10 bathtubs
  • Ice: More than 300,000 pounds
WOW! Now I want to know how much food was wasted!