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All the Food Onboard LAN Between New York and Santiago, Chile

Where: Santiago, Chile
March 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM | by | Comments (0)

Look out of the windows by your gate at the airport, before boarding a flight, and you'll likely spot the catering truck raised up to load its munchies directly into the airplane. There's a mystery about it, like "ooh ooh wonder what we'll get?" If you're flying LAN Airlines to South America, the answer to this questions is "something good from Gate Gourmet," to put it simply.

Although menus differ from route to route, there's still some standards to look for on LAN long-haul flights. For one, expect Chilean and Argentinean wine selections (even in economy), Pisco Sours in Business Class on flights to and from Chile and Peru, quality beef as an entree option, and a dessert incorporating dulce de leche. All this we saw and devoured ourselves on a recent roundtrip between New York-JFK and Santiago, Chile onboard one of LAN's 767s.

On a 10-hour overnight flight such as the JFK-SCL route, passengers in economy start off with dinner, watch a movie and nap for hopefully most of the next many hours, finishing with breakfast before landing. Up in Premium Business, it's a 3-course meal with wine pairings to start, followed by zonking out until the flight attendant comes around with the breakfast you ordered before even nodding off. The latter is a slick system designed to squeeze as much shut-eye time as possible into that flight, so you're prepared to head straight out of the airport and into whatever business meeting or sightseeing is on the schedule.

Get your order in early onboard, as LAN's Chef Hugo Pantano has some recommendations. Hugo, who's a success story on his own after working his way up from a vegetable cleaner at Gate Gourmet to Executive Chef for an entire airline, is also a wine connoisseur who gets to spend two days tasting 250-ish wines with LAN's Master Sommelier Hector Vergara. Talk about a dream job.

Essentially, Hugo knows airline food and drink and shocked us by recommending the pumpkin soup. Why? Well, soup is all of a sudden becoming popular on flights and LAN's pumpkin soup is a comforting hot appetizer that helps you to get into a cozy, restful mood on night flights.

The best things on the menu:
· Flying to Argentina or Uruguay? Hugo says to order the beef, in either class, hands down his favorite and the most popular on these routes.
· Flying to Santiago? Hugo recommends the smoked salmon as it's a specialty and, despite the fact that you're eating it at 35,000', has both excellent quality and taste. We completely agree.
· If you're not a drinker or just staying away from alcohol while flying, Hugo says to go with sparkling water. Coke and other sugary drinks compete with the food and don't allow for full enjoyment of the flavors.
· On Ecuador flights, pasta is replaced by seafood and rice—a sort-of Paella. Try it!
· Don't overlook the cheese plate in Business. It's typically excellent Emmentaler and Blue cheeses to start your appetite.

Oh and hey, Hugo is also on Twitter: @HugoCAI.

A last word: Until the wine list changes over this October, go for the Payen Syrah or Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc. These you'll only find in Premium Business Class and pair best with the beef or the prosciutto salad, respectively.


The super cute S & P shakers on LAN

Disclosure: We flew in business class thanks to LAN, but all photos and opinions are completely our own.

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]

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