As United Airlines celebrated the last passenger flight of the Boeing 747, the flight brought back an iconic favorite meal — and the famous Mai Tai — from Trader Vic’s.
The airline ended its run with the iconic Queen of the Skies on Nov. 7, 2017, during a flight that hearkened back to the 1970s, complete with flight attendant and customers dressed in vintage clothing. United flew its first commercial Boeing 747 flight, from San Francisco to Honolulu, on July 23, 1970.
United originally started flying to Honolulu in May 1947 and formed a partnership with Trader Vic’s, a San Francisco-based Polynesian restaurant that first opened in 1934. It’s known for inventing the Mai Tai, a popular rum and fruit juice drink.
As part of its Friend Ship Four Star service to Honolulu in the 1970s, United gave passengers the option to have a regular meal or a special meal called Trader Vic’s. Adventures in Dining. After enjoying a Mai Tai, flight attendants served a dish like breast of chicken in a susu curry with apples, onions, celery and mushrooms or sesame chicken in a plum sauce over rice.
United brought back the Trader Vic’s menu for its Hawaii service in 2006, including the popular Mai Tais. First class passengers were served a Mai Tai, garden salad with Javanese dressing, entrees such as Macadamia Nut-Crusted Mahi Mahi, Trader Vic’s barbecue-glazed short ribs or pan-seared chicken with miso-sake sauce and ice cream sundae smothered in Trader Vic’s praline sauce for dessert.
UA 747 Farewell | November 7, 2017 | #UA747Farewell
On the Nov. 7 flight, Chef Gerry Gulli was onboard to oversee the business and economy class menus. In business class, we started with Mai Tais served with a cocktail snack of Kailua pork wonton, coconut shrimp and warmed macadamia nuts. Next was a delicious appetizer of grilled shrimp with a papaya mint relish and Tahitian cocktail sauce.
The salad was lettuce, hearts of palm, celery, tomato and sunflower seeds served with Trader Vic’s famous Javanese dressing and King’s Hawaiian rolls.
We had three choices for the entree: bacon-wrapped grilled tenderloin with a tarragon sauce, smashed sweet potatoes, green beans with almonds and roasted tomatoes; the famous chicken breast with macadamia nut crust, papaya mint marmalade, three-potato hash and Kona roasted vegetables; and grilled mahi mahi and jumbo lump crab served with creamed coconut spinach, Trader Vic’s gingered rice with green onions and carrots.
I chose the tenderloin, which was was cooked to perfection, just north of medium rare. The tarragon sauce was a nice compliment to the meat.
Economy class passengers got Mai Tais Manna Loa macadamia nuts, a shrimp cocktail appetizer and a traditional Hawaiian Namasu salad of pickled vegetables. Their entree choices were beef short ribs with a hoisin glaze, smacked sweet potatoes and almond green beans or Shoyu hibachi chicken with Trader Vic’s teriyaki sauce, gingered rice and sautéed baby spinach.
It all ended with dessert, a choice of signature sundaes or a luau ambrosia parfait of mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple, mini marshmallows, whipped cream and toasted coconut. The after-dinner drink was a Grasshopper, cream de menthe, white cream de Cabo and cream.
It was only fitting that Trader Vic’s helped United celebrate the final flight of a jet that is a true American icon.