First off, I am not disparaging Chef Riper’s taste in food or picks for airport dining. It’s just that every time a chef/cook/foodie/whatever posts one of these lists they go for the easy airports.
Choices in big hubs like Miami and NY are never going to be that bad – although it took the Delta terminal at LaGuardia long enough. Even without the first and business class travelers Singapore and Hong Kong are going to have good food choices because even their fast/street food is delicious. And even some mid-size domestic hubs have some decent food because they have learned to leverage local favorites – hello Salt Lick at Austin-Bergstrom International.
What’s missing is where to eat at the airports where the rest of us get delayed. Those of us who fly just enough to miss getting status by two or three segments. What do I do when I get re-routed to Sioux Falls or Rochester or Newark? Sun Valley doesn’t count because most people who fly through there have their own planes.
I can’t tell you where to eat when you find yourself in an airport that hasn’t been rated by Zagat, but there are some guidelines.
- National fast food chains are not a good bet. Yeah they are great on the go or after a night out at home, but that’s when you don’t have to climb over two other people to get to the bathroom.
- Regional chains are a better option. Until I was told that Chick Fil-A had a policy against gay marriage it was my go to place in CVG. I miss that that addictive special sauce, but I love my gay ex-work husband too much to eat there anymore.
- If you go the local chain route choose carefully. There are some local places that take care of the quality – Salt Lick for example. But there are local chains that don’t even care about the quality outside of the airport so you know it’s not going to be any better once you’ve gone through security. I had read Calvin Trillin’s piece on Cincinnati chili and was so excited to try it, but it has become such a pre-made assembly line product that it’s definitely not something to be eaten once you’re trapped behind the security screening.
- Places like the Fox Sports Bar or Wolfgang Puck’s Express are going to serve decent and consistent food and a heavy wine pour. The watch out is when they forget that they are in an airport and you might have to run for your flight at any minute because you’re no longer delayed or you can get on that last seat to Newark. In which case they are no where to be found with your check.
Your best bet is to skip the airport meal and once you land think about the restaurants that your cab will pass on your way home. You probably have time to call in an order for take out and just have the cab make a quick stop – meter running of course, your can expense it. My plan is to call ahead to Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn the next time I fly and indulge in a nice hot pie to welcome myself home.
This is a regular food delivery that I can manage without worrying about it going to waste. And they carry my favorite jerky – SlantShack.
Samplr has several options for getting yummy treats. You can buy individual items from their market, including their totally cute tote bag. Or you can subscribe to their monthly Samplr that includes full sized products from local food artisans.
And not to get you too excited, but they are planning on organizing factory tours and classes so you can get up close and personal with your favorite products and their makers.
Check them out here http://www.samplrs.com/