Hi Friends, we’re back from a beautifully-chilly winter in Tokyo and it feels so great to be back home where it’s a consistent 75 degrees F. Funny how spoiled we are when we’re able to head to the dog-beach for weekly romps in the Southern California Pacific Ocean. We feel so lucky to hop on a plane for work, explore new cultures, foods, traditions and come back to share our adventures with you. And best of all, to share recipes inspired from our trip. It’s hard to not want to get back in the kitchen to cook up food that blew our minds from amazing trips.
After this jaunt to Tokyo, we’re asking ourselves, how often does this happen? Or better yet, to admit this: We ate airline food, enjoyed every bite and were blown away by the whole dining experience. At over 30,000 feet in the air and zipping over the Pacific Ocean on All Nippon Airways (ANA), they completely changed our minds about how much quality and attention to detail could be executed on an airplane.
Yes, we knew we were in for a treat when we had reservations in Business Class on All Nippon Airways (ANA) during our Tokyo food culture photography project. That’s why we didn’t bring up any back-up sandwiches or bags of smoked almonds. Instead, we were looking forward to eating some of Chef Joachim Spilchil’s creations inspired from his award winning restaurant Patina. In fact, Patina is one of our regular photography clients and we know exactly how amazing their creative and stunning food is. We’ve photographed and tasted so much of Patina’s culinary works of art, but to experience it in-flight above 30,000 feet coupled with ANA’s stellar service was a true treat.
Forget the ham and swiss sandwich on rye. We bypassed the sandwich cart at LAX airport (although there is now quite a few good offerings at LAX) and headed straight to boarding ANA with our hungry bellies yearning for a decent bite to eat. What we devoured was more than decent. It was truly a remarkable dining experience filled with fresh California produce that highlighted the flavors of the season that Patina always does exceptionally well. One of our favorites was the lobster salad with caramelized endive, blood oranges and baby lettuce. And so much more. What?! We couldn’t believe it and from our experience photographing for Patina, it really was Patina food. But instead of eating it on sea level, we were way-way up in the clouds. More wonderful gastronomic experiences and didn’t end there.
On our flight from Tokyo back to LAX, we experienced the food partnership with Tsuyama, an awesome local Tokyo eatery devoted to home-style cooking and one of ANA’s Connoisseurs. We experienced true, amazing Japanese dishes with these home-style flavors and textures. Tsuyama’s melt-in-your-mouth braised pork belly was to die for and truly the best we’ve ever tasted. What a delight it was to make this a first and tasting it from Tsuyama was a huge honor. To top it all off, we’re lovers of ramen and we actually were able to eat Ippudo ramen in-flight on ANA! Yes, we’re talking about one of our favorite NYC and Tokyo Ramen spots, in the air! Ippudo is also one of ANA’s Connoisseurs. All of the food partnerships on ANA rocked our world. We just couldn’t believe we were eating such phonomenal and thoughtfully crafted dishes in-flight.
ANA recently partnered with Patina, and it couldn’t have been better. Coupled with Patina’s contemporary and seasonal take on “western-style” dishes compliments wonderfully with ANA’s fantastic culinary offerings and stellar service. ANA thoughtfully curated their in-flight menu by bringing world class hotel and restaurant partnerships to their guests, way up in the air during flight. We were lucky enough to experience the Patina partnership on our flight from LAX to Tokyo, but there are several other ANA routes that have food partnerships with other world class hotels and restaurants – you check all of them out here. Every attention to detail is truly an inspired guest experience.
ANA’s vision for an elevated in-flight dining experience is not only innovative, but truly brilliant. This is one airline that really “gets it” and understands the desire to eat quality, thoughtfully prepared meals during long and laborious flight schedules. You definitely get what you pay for and if you’re the Business traveler or someone who just wants a little more comfort during your flight, ANA has it covered. They collaborate with “Connoisseurs”, a group of world-renowned Chefs and culinary professionals that curate creative meal and drink selections for their International flights. They not only feature traditional Japanese cuisine collaborations but also with Chefs from around the globe.
We’re so inspired from this trip, that we’re sharing our absolute favorite Japanese Yuzu recipe: a creamy, super-fragrant yuzu sherbet. Yuzu is one of our favorite citrus that we grow, but this Japanese citrus tree can be a bit stingy in its offerings so we make sure to get every last bit out of the citrus we can. Even though ours grow to the size of a large lemon, due to the large seeds and the pulp’s texture, the juice is minimal. We’ll maybe get a tablespoon of juice from a large yuzu. However what it doesn’t have in juice, it more than makes up for in the aromatic oils in the zest.
One slice into a yuzu and we’ll be smelling it across the room. So in creating this yuzu sherbet we knew the zest would be key. We zested the yuzu directly over the blender to help all the oils fall into place. Added the sugar, some lime juice to help boost the lack of juice from the yuzu, tossed in what little yuzu juice we could, and then blended it all up with milk and cream.
Chill it, churn it, and a few hours after we plucked the yuzu from the tree we were experiencing something amazing. The sherbet has a fluffy, creamy texture. Like a glacial version of perfect whipped cream. And the yuzu, oh my the yuzu. Even with just the zest and a minimal amount of juice, the yuzu’s flavor comes front and center in the sherbet. So refreshing and bright. One can tell it is related to the lemon but the flavor goes beyond. Until you have fresh yuzu it is hard to imagine, yet once you’ve tried it you’ll never forget the taste.
Now if you can’t get fresh yuzu (most of the year it isn’t available to us and we know many a professional chef which have a hard time sourcing this amazing citrus), our next best recommendation would be to substitute some other fresh citrus. Zest up limes, lemons, or grapefruits and use their flavorful oils to infuse the sherbet and then use their juice in the recipe instead of or in coordination with the lime juice. Although do try to keep with approximately the same volume of juice. The sherbet’s texture is amazing and any citrus brightness would be a great partnership.
Will be sharing more on our next post about Japan food culture and way too much food, if that’s even possible.
-diane and todd
We’ve partnered with All Nippon Airways (ANA) to experience their unique collaborations, in-flight menu and to share our honest experience with everyone. All opinions are always our own and to do that as best we can, we ate everything. Yes, it’s a hard job but we’re always up for the challenge!
And you can check out ANA’s new Take-Off App that is designed to help travelers relax during take-off and in-flight. In fact, try it while you’re at work in the office. It might make your day go by faster and a little more soothing. Follow All Nippon Airways: Facebook –@All Nippon Airways , Twitter –@FlyANA_official , Instagram –@allnipponairways_official
Yield: Makes about 1 quart
If you can’t get fresh yuzu (most of the year it isn’t available to us and we know
many a professional chef which have a hard time sourcing this amazing citrus), our next best recommendation would be to substitute some other fresh citrus. Zest up limes, lemons, or grapefruits and use their flavorful oils to infuse the sherbet and then use their juice in the recipe instead of or in coordination with the lime juice. Although do try to keep with approximately the same volume of juice. The sherbet’s texture is amazing and any citrus brightness would be a great partnership.
- 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
- Zest of medium yuzu
- juice of 1 medium yuzu, about 1 tablespoon (15ml)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lime juice
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup (240ml) milk
- 1/2 cup (120ml) cream
- In a blender or food processor, blend together sugar, yuzu zest, yuzu juice, lime juice and salt. Add in the milk and cream and blend to combine.
- Chill the mixture for at least 1 hour and up to overnight. Place a container to store the sherbet in the freezer to pre-chill.
- Churn the mixture according to your ice cream maker's instruction. Store in the freezer covered in the pre-chilled container until ready to serve.