Is there a culinary equivalent of jumping the shark? In the past year, Austin has seen hipster staple Topo Chico snatched up by Coca-Cola and watched the New York-based Bon Appétit attempt to rank our breakfast tacos in an oft-mocked viral video. Now, it appears the embattled United Airlines is also taking inspiration from the city for its new in-flight menu, launching May 1.
"Inspired by the exciting street food and food truck trends across the country," United is offering two egg and chicken chorizo tacos for $8.99. "We're still thinking Austin might have a leg-up on United, but TBD," said Conde Nast Traveler of the news.
According to a press release, the Chicago-based airline tested the recipe for more than a year, using 800 passengers, crew members, and employees as guinea pigs. The company said it eventually landed on egg and chicken chorizo because "taste-testers enjoy[ed] the taco's spicy, yet subtle, chorizo flavor." Basically, it was the Goldilocks of breakfast tacos.
We know it's eye-roll-inducing. But before we bemoan the co-opting of Austin's culture and storm the next United flight pulling up to the Barbara Jordan Terminal, it's probably best to put down our pitchforks and take moment to muse on where that culture came from in the first place.
Other additions to the in-flight menu include a new barbecue chicken sandwich with pulled smoked chicken, barbecue sauce, cheddar Jack cheese, and a dill pickle plank served on a focaccia roll — because nothing says "authentic barbecue sandwich" quite like a focaccia roll. The airline will also offer San Francisco-based Ghirardelli sundae toppings on premium transcontinental flights.
United's in-flight beverage service is getting a trendy spruce with the addition of an Old Fashioned, Stella Artois, and a handful of craft brews to the menu.
To be fair, it's been a rough year for United Airlines. Last year, they dragged a medical doctor off a plane for refusing to give up his seat to a United employee. That incident occurred just days after the airline removed two teenage girls for wearing leggings. Oh, and last month, a small dog died in the cabin after a flight attendant forced its owner to put the pet carrier in an overhead bin. While we do believe nothing is so bad it can't be fixed by a taco, this actually might be the exception to the rule.