Sunday marked an important date in JetBlue history: the inaugural flight featuring their brand new Mint product, aka JetBlue First Class. Like all things JetBlue, Mint isn’t your typical premium cabin. While other travel bloggers can fill you in about the flight experience itself, I’m here to tell you about the food and it’s unlike anything other airlines are doing. JetBlue already has a pretty intimate relationship with JFK (anybody that’s been to the airport’s Terminal 5 can attest to that) but now their inflight Mint meals reflect their association with New York as well.
The airline has partnered with NY restaurant Saxon + Parole to create a menu of a la carte small plates (they’re calling it tapas, but that’s really a misnomer since none of the dishes fall within the Spanish canon) that you mix and match to create a full meal. Saxon + Parole Marketing Director Marion Emmanuelle says that the partnership works because it’s wholly authentic. “We’re very sort of Downtown,” she says. “We really capture the energy of Downtown without being that cliche of Meatpacking District restaurants.” She goes on to say that the guests at Saxon + Parole are really the same type of target audience that JetBlue goes after.
I was able to get an advance preview of a few of the Saxon + Parole small plates and I definitely came away impressed. These are bold dishes with big flavors, crafted specifically to counterbalance the taste loss you experience in the air. Instead of pandering to the lowest common denominator of filet and potatoes or frozen pizzas, the options are much more sophisticated. I sadly didn’t get to try any of the hot dishes, but I was truly wowed by the portobello mushroom mousse with truffles and whiskey jelly.
The chilled carrot and ginger soup with an Aleppo pepper-spiced marshmallow was also a nice touch.
The way it works is simple. There are five choices from which to choose. You pick three, along with a small appetizer “taste” (the soup) and dessert. Think of it like an Air Tasting Menu. You also get a really refreshing welcome cocktail, the RefreshMint, a sparkling vodka mint lemonade that beats champagne in my book any day — mostly because I don’t love champagne.
The menu is seasonal and, based on the initial release, seems like it’ll change every two months or so (the current one is June/July). Here’s a look at the current menus for breakfast and lunch/dinner: