Every time I have flown from the States to Israel, I have had the pleasure of flying EL AL. Yet with this great honor comes the Russian roulette of the in-flight cuisine. It’s a toss up whether you’re going to get a tray of gourmet goodness or if you’re in for a stomach ache all the way through customs.
I got especially lucky on the food front this time around, which I can’t help but think was some kind of good omen for what’s to come.
Here is my official review of the EL AL in-flight food:
The flight attendants began with an amuse-bouche once we were safely over the Atlantic. There was a choice of apple and orange juices, in addition to water (and wine – but who drinks on a transatlantic flight?!). I selected the water, as my throat was parched perhaps from the altitude or from my proclivity for self-induced dehydration. Paired with the water is what I can only describe as an almost bagel chip snack that tastes vaguely like a savory carb in the shape of a ring. The pairing was a knock out, setting my expectations high with what was to come.
Though served at about 3 or 4 PM eastern time, I suppose the next and full meal served would be considered dinner. I had apparently indicted that I wanted a vegetarian meal (as I do when the meat is not disclosed in a transparent manner), so I was thus given more than I could have ever hoped in the vegetable realm.
What first caught my eye was the bialy. It was so soft and took so well to the hummus, also included in the meal. There was a cucumber and carrot salad that I was ambivalent about, yet it delivered in the flavor category through its notes of sweet, almost melon-likeness. The piece de resistance, however, was the hot couscous and veggies. In a word, it was delicious (and everything I didn’t know I wanted from an EL AL in-flight meal). I didn’t think it could get much better than the couscous until I noticed the chocolate mousse. This delicately swirled assemblage of sweetness provided a perfect end to a perfect meal.
Before touching down in Tel Aviv, the last meal was served at what had transformed into 5:30 AM Israel time. This particular meal I knew well, yet EL AL had a few surprises in store for their breakfast.
The meal began with a question: “Blintz or omelet?”
I decided, “Omelet,” without even truly evaluating (I am not a fan of blintzes, EL AL or otherwise).
Thus, I was given a tray and an omelet. The omelet itself was good. Yet what impressed me perhaps more was the mozzarella balls garnished with pesto in a bowl of cherry tomatoes and olives. While I do not eat olives, the mozzarella had me smitten. In addition, there was a warm bagel, which was comforting as a transition into Israeli bagels. There was also a fruit cup, in which I devoured the strawberry and pineapple, sampling the orange, and avoiding the grapefruit. Last on the plate was yogurt and pecan cranberry granola, which were assumed to accompany one another. My first issue was that I found it very difficult to open the small pack of granola. My second grievance was that I do not eat yogurt, which I suppose is not EL AL’s fault, yet it makes me wonder what else could replace the yogurt real estate to make it more enjoyable for me. (Perhaps a blueberry muffin would have sufficed).
Following breakfast coffee and tea were offered to the passengers. I gladly accepted the former, yet much to my disappointment the coffee – even with brown sugar and non-dairy creamer – nearly ruined what had been a pleasing breakfast. Alas, not all coffee can be a venti mocha with coconut milk and half ice.
All in all, I would like to award this EL AL in-flight food with a 9/10 stars. The olives, grapefruit, yogurt, and coffee are what prevented a perfect 10, yet I am confident that EL AL can improve with feedback like this.
I was very content with the variety and quality of food allotted during my flight.
EL AL, I salute you.