James and I are the unofficial meatheads of Travel Codex. When we’re not working, in class, writing for our blogs or at the gym, we’re stuffing our faces. If you were to ever fly with us, don’t be surprised to see us order multiple main cabin meals in coach.
So, when I flew Virgin America the other week (for the first time in over four years!) I was excited to try out their main cabin meals that were available to order via the RED in-flight touch screen.
My prior experience on Virgin America was in April 2013, but I flew them in First class from Chicago to Los Angeles, and then Main Cabin Select to San Francisco. You can read the trip report here.
I must say, Virgin America makes a killing off of the in-flight sales system using the RED entertainment screen to fulfill orders. The lovely crew on VX 710 from DAL to LGA were definitely getting their steps in running orders back and forth. Although I’d wanted to try the protein plate, it wasn’t available when the cart came to my row, so instead, I had the box and ordered a cheese plate with it.
Cheese Plate: Indulgent and Diverse
- Red grapes
- Olive oil crackers
- Two slices of manchego cheese
- A wedge of Brie
- Two segments of Gouda
- Dried apple
- Dried apricot
Let me preface this by saying that I was raised on cheese, even though I’m Texan by roots. I suppose it was my Midwestern breeding for ten years between the ages of 18 and 28? Who knows…anyways, I eat cheese pretty much on a daily basis, which is a separate blog post in and of itself. That said, I did what any good cheese aficionado does, and separated out the sweet and the savories in this box.
On one side, I had my manchego, brie, and gouda, while I kept the fruit (grapes, apricot, and apple) in a separate section. The crackers would be the neutral middle ground between the two opposing, yet complementary, sides.
I’ll be honest: brie on a plane is hardly a few notches above snakes on a plane – you just don’t get creamy brie like the kind available in the store. But, I’m being pedantic. While this wasn’t much of a deviation from the norm, it was still a good effort. The manchego was delightful, and a nice departure from a cliched Monterrey or a cheddar. The gouda, in my humble opinion, could be replaced with a Pepper Jack or a parrano (you say bougie, but this is Virgin America we’re talking about, folks!) I personally just am not goody for gouda!
I love grapes, so much so that if you tempt me with grapes on a cheese tray, I’m like the mouse with the cookie, and will almost certainly order a glass of red wine to go with it. Well played, Virgin America, you win here. Upsell me away!
The single dried apple and apricot as pictured in the photo were, unfortunately, the actual serving sizes of each. Not really generous by any means. Also, not really all that tasty. Would it really hurt to replace one or both of those with more grapes? Sugar bombs, indeed. High glycemic index, definitely. But more artfully instagram-worthy, I say HELLS yes!
Bonus points: toothpick for piercing said cheeses.
Overall score: 7/10. Right idea, but room for improvement.
Protein Box: Fuel Me Up, Buttercup!
Let’s taco ’bout the protein BOX which contains the following items:
- Bumble Bee lemon pepper tuna
- La panzanella rosemary crackers
- Baked in Brooklyn pita chips
- All natural almonds
- Sriracha hummus
- Summer harvest select cranberry mix
I’m just gonna get this out of the way by admitting that the Bumble Bee Lemon Tuna, which was approximately 82.9% of the reason why I wanted this item, was not available for review. The reason? I tried opening the can and the handle to the lid snapped off and went flying. Aka, I was unable to taste it without a can opener. I safely saved the can and deposited it on my sister’s counter in her NYC apartment, hoping that my brother-in-law would discover it and enjoy the contents (I have yet to hear back from him).
Anyways, that’s neither here nor there. I will leave the Brooklyn pita chips aside here because I reviewed them a few weeks ago when I sampled American Airlines’ tray. Almonds and cran go well together and provide a low-carb, Atkins “friendly” source of protein, which pretty much just left one thing left: the Sriracha hummus.
Virgin, I wanted to like this soooooooo badly. But the Sriracha craze honestly has its limits. Just sort of similar to how certain fads like hatch chilies and hollandaise sauce and edamame beans are good for certain tastes, Sriracha is a luxury item that we must not overuse, and like superglue, apply SPARINGLY.
Combining it with hummus, well, is about as successful, in my opinion, as Kardashian matrimony. That’s all I’ll say about that. My feedback? Lemon hummus pairs nicely with lemon tuna (not that I could try it, but consistency is okay!).
Score: 6/10. On the right path, but needs tweaks.
I’d like to take this time to thank the FANTASTIC crew who served my flight: Jeffrey, Anthony, and Toni. :
Bonus: our route to NYC from DAL, which took us southernly over Florida