There may be something positive in the fact that airlines no longer offer real food. Take the San Francisco airport, for example. Once an oasis of terrible national chains and boring takes on Bay Area food in an otherwise fertile ground for food lovers, the SF airport has undergone a culinary facelift. Though I can’t vouch for the rest of the airlines, my experience between United flights home from Hawaii was entirely exciting. I had to choose between two apparently authentic Mexican places, two sushi spots, a stop at Noah’s Bagels (the facade in the airport even had the hallmark tile mosaic that marks the chain’s in-town shops), and a whole host of other ethnic- and wholesome-sounding food. I went for an udon soup bowl at one of the Japanese places, testing out my pathetic handful of Japanese words on the surprisingly friendly staff. We pulled up a stool at Anchor Steam’s new bar, which (except for the Anchor Steam brand) almost made me forget I was waiting for an airplane. Try the stout.
This all goes to say that when you’re on the verge of crankiness (herego, anytime you fly), it’s always better to look on the bright side. Expect more from airport food in the months to come.
OTHER AIRPORT HIGHLIGHTS:
Denver: Try Que Bueno, a good Mexican joint at Gate B52. No, they do not play “Loveshack.” But both the chicken and pork burritos (with green salsa) will satisfy a good Mexican craving. Plus, they sell Fat Tire beer.
Philadelphia: There is a new, tasty, tiny sushi counter near the American Airlines flights. Look for the line.
Washington Dulles: Do all you can to bring your own food. Even the McDonald’s there, which I was once forced to patronize in a panicked hunger attack, falls below national standards.
Boise: If you want to feel like a local, grab a cuppa at Moxie Java, the coffee chain that makes Boise proud. No, it’s not the BEST cup of coffee you’ll ever have. But it supports people I grew up with, so why not.
Chicago: Avoid Chicago. See Washington Dulles.
Honolulu: Believe it or not, the Honolulu airport is actually a mall with airplane jetways attached. If you’re looking for a fun place to watch high-heeled tourists tote around the latest luggage fashion (or if you need a new Coach purse or a LeSportSac in the latest print), forget the Ala Moana shopping center. Look no further than the airport.