Tag Archives: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Airport Concession Confessions-Fast Food

8 Nov

We’ve all been to the airport where we just want to get something quick to eat, and either sit down or take it with us on our flight.  We look for the familiar places — McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King, etc. — where we know exactly what we’re getting.  I love the convenience and quickness of fast food, but I also like to get something off the beaten path.  So below are five fast food outlets I suggest you try on your next trip.  Enjoy!

  1. TIE! The Salt Lick, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport AND Arthur Bryant BBQ, Kansas City International Airport — I come from a long like of grill masters on both sides of my family (shout out to Uncle Charles), so I know my barbecue.  Both of these iconic barbecue places have outlets in the airport, and you can smell them before you even see them. Get the brisket at the Salt Lick and the Sausage sandwich with sweet heat sauce at Bryant’s.
  2. Dish D’lish, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport — I once had to spend almost 6 hours at this airport (another story for another time). Of course, I was hungry and I had plenty of time to look at post-security food outlets.  I also saw people flocking into the airport branch of this outlet for its sandwiches and salads. I had a chicken salad sandwich that i still dream about 4 years later!
  3. California Tortilla, BWI Airport — I have to commend my hometown airport for having such a great selection of fast food outlets, especially in the A/B Concourse. And my favorite is this outlet, which serves a great variety of TexMex burritos, tacos, fajitas, quesedillas and salads, along with chips and a fantastic selection of hot sauces. My favorite was a Thai chicken burrito, but it’s no longer on the menu. So instead, I recommend the Crunchy BBQ Ranch Chicken Burrito. Ole!
  4. Deep Blue Sushi On The Fly, JFK Airport, Terminal 5 — I’m a big fan of the food options JetBlue has in its signature terminal. I’m a big sushi lover, and I always go to  the carry-out version of this great restaurant. Splurge a little on one of their signature rolls.  I’m partial to the King Crab California Roll, myself!
  5. Krispy Kreme Donuts, Orlando International Airport — I love these donuts, and they taste just as good in the pre-security food court at the airport.  And you even get the iconic Hot Donuts sign!

So, dear readers — what is your go-to fast food joint at the airport? What can I try the next time I fly?

Best of Aviation Queen: Airport Concession Confessions-The Wine Edition

4 Aug

Editor’s note: I’m in Philadelphia this week attending the National Association of Black Journalists annual convention. I won’t fool myself into thinking I’ll actually post this week since I’m presenting and hosting several other side events. The post below first appeared on my blog on Jan. 11, 201.  Enjoy!!

I covered the airports beat for almost four years.  There was never a dull moment, and among my favorite stories to write were about concessions in the airport.

Remember the old days when most airports’ concessions consisted of “restaurant,” “snacks,” and “news stand?”  Well, those days are over, for most airports, anyway.  The light bulb went on and airports realized that they had a captive audience that had time to kill and was willing to spend money to pass the time away.  I’m a big wine fan, and several of the  dozens of airports I’ve visited have some great wine concepts. Below are four of my favorites. I’ll share more of my favorite concessions, by category, in the coming months.

  1. Vino Volo – what a perfect concept.  Drink world-class wines by the glass or a flight, eat savory snacks and sit at a roomy table with an outlet. What’s not to love? And bonus-you can buy their wines by the bottle and take them with you to your final destination.

  2. Vintage Washington Wine Bar - this is a nice little oasis at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  I like ths place because it showcases Oregon and Washington state wines.
  3. La Bodega Winery - my family is from Texas, and they are quite fond of Texas wines.  They’ve become a favorite for me too.  And this little slice of paradise at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is a favorite for me.  And don’t worry-if you’re scared to try Texas wines, they have a great selection of wines from around the world.
  4. Cibo Bistro and Wine Bar - I had an unexpectedly long layover once in Philadelphia International Airport when one of my fellow passengers told me about this place.  It has a great wine selection by the glass and some really great bistro food.

Top 10 Airport Restaurants – Aviation Queen’s Picks

8 Mar

Last week, the Frommer’s Guidebook came out with its list of top 10 restaurant airports.   I’ve eaten at half of the 10, and I’m delighted to see that Obrycki’s Crab House at BWI Airport made the list.

Back in October 2007, I did a Towers and Tarmacs blog post on (and contributed to) the unfortunately now-defunct Airport Restaurant Wiki.  At the time, there were about 25 restaurants on the list and growing.  But since that wiki is gone, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share my own list.  And I’d love to hear some of the places you enjoy.

  1. Rio Douro Cafe, Newark Airport. It serves delicious Portuguese food. I highly recommend the garlic pork and clams (trust me, it works).
  2. Taberna del Tequila, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. I’m a big fan of the nice selection of tequila and the burritos are oh so tasty!
  3. Legal Test Kitchen, Boston Logan Airport. This restaurant serves as literally a test kitchen for Legal Seafood. You can get their famous chowder, but you never know what else will show up on the menu.
  4. Matsutake Sushi, Washington National Airport. If you are a sushi fan, you’ll love this restaurant. It’s a little tranquil spot of heaven.
  5. Salt Lick BBQ, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.  You can smell the place before you actually see it.  The barbecue at the airport is just as good as the outpost downtown.  I highly recommend the brisket, kids!
  6. Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Houston Intercontinental. You can’t miss this restaurant, which has a great selection of seafood.  The Shrimp Scampi is to die for.
  7. Ristorante Aeroporto, Lugano Airport. I had one of the best Italian meals of my life at this little restaurant.  I was told that it was opened by a world-class chef who had retired, but got bored and opened this place. Manga, manga!
  8. Revolución, JFK Airport Terminal 5.  They serve upscale Mexican food and great Latin American drinks at this outpost, the brainchild of the chef who developed the Rosa Mexicano chain of restaurants.  You can read my Towers and Tarmacs profile of Revolución here.
  9. Vino Volo, BWI Airport. My regular Twitter followers know how much I love this airport concept (see my blog post on the opening of this outlet here).  Not only do they serve world class wines by the glass and bottle, but they have seasonal small plates of food that are just the right size before boarding your flight.  They always have the smoked almonds and house cured olives, but plates change regularly.
  10. Dish D’lish, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. This is a great place to pick up hearty sandwiches and salads before your flight.

So how did I do? What are your picks?

Why Banning TSA Screeners From Your Business Is A Bad Idea

23 Feb

I read with interest a Feb. 19 article by consumer travel advocate and journalist Chris Elliott about how a cafe at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport were banning Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners.

Elliott quotes an employee who says the ban was put into place after the agency began installing more of its controversial body scanners at Sea-Tac.  The gist of the ban is screeners will not be let in until the cafe feels passengers are being treated with respect.

I felt very uneasy when I read about the ban.  I am a black woman who is only one generation away from a time when businesses could ban my father from entering their establishment based only on the color of his skin.

While I can understand the general frustration with TSA, but taking it out on those who are the nearest — like screeners — it just seems wrong.  These are folks who are trying to make a living or feed their families.  The screeners don’t set the policy — they have the unfortunate job of having to enforce it.  So why shoot the messenger?

A TSA screener at BWI Airport Photo by Benet J. Wilson

Back in April 2007, TSA let me spend an afternoon with transportation security officers at Concourse A, the Southwest Airlines terminal at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.  You can see my blog post on my time with the TSOs at BWI at my old Towers and Tarmacs blog.

I’ve also traveled regularly across the country and 90+% of the time, I have had nothing but courteous and efficient TSOs.  I was so impressed with the service at Jacksonville International Airport I filled out comment cards and sent a letter to TSA headquarters.

But I digress.  My point is I think it’s wrong to ban screeners who are doing a thankless job from buying a meal during their break time because someone has a problem with a policy created in Washington, D.C.  TSA Chief John Pistole has made it clear that body scanners are the future, and woe to those who oppose them.  But why should a screener be punished and have to hunt for a place to eat because of a policy they had no part in creating?

What do you think? Are you as uncomfortable as I am with the stance this Sea-Tac cafe is taking with screeners? Or do you think I’m crazy and way too soft when it comes to screeners? Or somewhere in between?

Airport Concession Confessions-The Wine Edition

18 Jan

I covered the airports beat for almost four years.  There was never a dull moment, and among my favorite stories to write were about concessions in the airport.

Remember the old days when most airports’ concessions consisted of “restaurant,” “snacks,” and “news stand?”  Well, those days are over, for most airports, anyway.  The light bulb went on and airports realized that they had a captive audience that had time to kill and was willing to spend money to pass the time away.  I’m a big wine fan, and several of the  dozens of airports I’ve visited have some great wine concepts. Below are four of my favorites. I’ll share more of my favorite concessions, by category, in the coming months.

  1. Vino Volo at BWI Airport

    Vino Volo

    - what a perfect concept.  Drink world-class wines by the glass or a flight, eat savory snacks and sit at a roomy table with an outlet. What’s not to love? And bonus-you can buy their wines by the bottle and take them with you to your final destination.

  2. Vintage Washington Wine Bar - this is a nice little oasis at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.  I like ths place because it showcases Oregon and Washington state wines.
  3. La Bodega Winery - my family is from Texas, and they are quite fond of Texas wines.  They’ve become a favorite for me too.  And this little slice of paradise at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is a favorite for me.  And don’t worry-if you’re scared to try Texas wines, they have a great selection of wines from around the world.
  4. Cibo Bistro and Wine Bar - I had an unexpectedly long layover once in Philadelphia International Airport when one of my fellow passengers told me about this place.  It has a great wine selection by the glass and some really great bistro food. 
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