Tag Archives: food

Best of Aviation Queen: Top 5 Airport Restaurants You MUST Try

Editor’s note: I’ve just returned from the Women in Aviation convention and I’m still catching up. So please enjoy this best-of, which originally appeared on the blog Jan. 31.

One of my traveling friends recently had a layover at Houston Intercontinental.  She had time to kill, so she was looking for somewhere she could have a nice glass of wine and a good meal.  She told me she stumbled on Le Grand Comptoir in Terminal C.  She called it a lovely oasis with great food and a wonderful selection of wines by the glass. The restaurant is the brainchild of concessionaire SSP America, and also has a location in Terminal C at Newark International Airport. I haven’t had the chance to eat at Le Grand Comptoir, but I’ve been to plenty of other restaurants I’d love to recommend!

  1. Caviar House and Prunier Seafood Bar, London Heathrow Terminal 5: I am a fool for smoked salmon, and the stuff served here didn’t disappoint.  The caviar wasn’t half bad either!
  2. Nonna Bartolotta’s, General Mitchell International Airport Concourse D:I had some time to kill at the airport, and after touring the Mitchell Gallery of Flight Aviation Museum (I’m just nuts about aviation museums) it was time to eat.  This place was near my gate, and I’m SO glad I stopped in. The food was good enough to make me think I was sitting at one of the original outlets in the city.
  3. Acme Oyster House, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport West Terminal:  This is NOT one of my favorite airports.  But it does have an outlet of this iconic New Orleans restaurant, and the food is just as good.
  4. Harry & Izzy’s, Indianapolis International Airport Concourse A: When I used to work for Rolls-Royce North America, I went to Indianapolis regularly to visit our aircraft engine plant.  Most times, the evening would end at St. Elmo Steak House, regularly on the list of the top steak places in the U.S. A version of that venerable restaurant is at the airport, sans steaks, but complete with the world-famous shrimp cocktail.
  5. Berghoff Cafe, Chicago O’Hare International Airport Terminal 1: Some advice before you go-make sure you’re really hungry, or not going on a long flight before eating here.  The portions are large and although it has many German favorite foods, there’s also sandwiches and pizza.

You know what I’m going to ask — what are the restaurants YOU must try?

– See more at: http://www.aviationqueen.com/tag/food/page/2/#sthash.0dIyYNyL.dpuf

Random Aviation Photo

Yesterday, I did a post on the origins of my Facebook group, I Love Sitting In 1st/Biz Class. So I thought today I’d do a photo on some of the great amenities that passengers can expect when flying in the premium cabin of a world-class carrier, Qatar Airways.  I had the chance to experience that service, albeit on the ground, back in September during their “Dining With Altitude” event. Below are some shots of some of the food served during the “flight.” Enjoy!


Ramekin of warm nuts with two glasses of Bollenger champagne



Crab cake appetizer


Kobe beef tenderloin main course


Cheese platter (I enjoyed it with a glass of 20-year-old port)


Best Airlines To Help You Maintain Your Figure

9965211764_69207b6b25A meal  had during Qatar Airways’ #DiningWithAltitude event. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

I’m the first to admit that I am not a tiny woman. In fact I could stand to lose more than a few pounds. The holidays are the absolute worst time (damn you, chocolate rum balls) to try and maintain that figure. Throw in holiday travel with questionable food/snack choices on the airlines and at airports, a person could go mad looking for the right things to eat.

So a new report from the 2013 DietDetective.com Airline Food Investigation gives travelers options on the airlines with the best and worst food options. Researcher Dr. Charles Platkin breaks down calorie information of snacks and on-board menu choices for 12 major airlines. 

“This year Virgin America and Air Canada are tied for the top spot with the “healthiest” food choices in the sky,  and Alaska Air not too far behind. Allegiant received the lowest score, was the least cooperative and received a low health rating,” said  Platkin, a public health advocate, editor of DietDetective.com and distinguished lecturer at Hunter College and the City University of New York School of Public Health.

Using a five-star system, Virgin America received 4.5 stars for doing a “truly fantastic” job with their meals.  All you have to do is go to the airline’s website and you will see the nutritional information for its Travel Light menu. This year, they also introduced “Flight Bites,” featuring fresh salads plus a decadent dessert. The best snack box is the Protein Meal with hummus, nuts and tuna – the others are a bit high in calories that are not really worth it, wrote Platkin.

Air Canada also received 4.5 stars for having many healthy individual snacks, like nuts, hummus, and the celery and carrots ranch dip (limit the dip to no more than half). Most of the full meals are relatively low in calories. The Roasted Chicken Wrap is a reasonable choice; however, it has more calories than last year. The airline is also offering a salad — nice work, especially with the quinoa.  Breakfast, other than the bagel, is a home run on Air Canada. Go for the Greek yogurt, which is only 150 calories, or the fruit plate (which sounds delicious) for only 186 calories. The smoothies and oatmeal are also strong choices.

Next, Alaska Air earned a solid four stars for its Mediterranean Tapas box, a healthy choice that features olives, hummus, almonds, dried fruit and even a dark chocolate bar. The Fruit and Cheese plate is available all day and is the best choice for breakfast if you skip the crackers and half the cheese. Among the hot foods, the best choices on the south and eastbound flights are the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad Shaker and the Chicken Wrap, and on north / westbound flights the Asian Chicken Salad Shaker.

At the bottom of the heap was Allegiant Air, which was scolded for not being very helpful in sharing nutrition information and for snack boxes that are not great in terms of health.  For a complete copy of the report, click here. And to find healthy airport food choices, check out the latest Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine report , which came out in November, here.

Now Taking Off: AirportFood.com


Phillips Restaurant, a Baltimore institution, at BWI Airport. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

Regular readers know that I am slightly obsessed with all things airports. With tightened security and ever-changing airline schedules, travelers are spending more time than ever in airports, which has forced cities, authorities and municipalities to step up their game in concessions.

One of the main areas where airports have done this is in food and beverage offerings.  Long gone are the days when travelers had a choice of “Snack Bar,” “Food,” “Coffee Shop,” and “Restaurant.” Now we see a nice mix of national, regional and local brands that offer the perfect balance of our familiar favorites — McDonalds, Starbucks, Chilis — and places that offer a sense of place — Five Guys (Washington Dulles), Rocky Mountain Coffee Cafe (Denver International), Harry & Izzy’s (Indianaipolis International).

With this dizzying array of choices in airports across the country, it can be hard to keep up. One of my favorite apps has always been Gate Guru (I wrote about it here). But now I have a new one that has caught my interest — AirportFood.com.  The website is the brainchild of Becky Green.

“With long security lines, flight delays and lengthy check-in times we are spending more time than ever at airports. We are bound to be hungry at airports,” said Green. “As a frequent flyer, I was having difficult time finding something decent to eat on my trips and realized that there was a need a website about airport food for finding out if your airport has a Sbarro’s or a wine bar.”

Green said she also noticed that some airports had started to offer plenty of fine dining options. “In addition to the usual suspects, fast-food outlets, airports started to offer lots of quality restaurant choices as airport eateries are becoming branches of favorite local outlets,” she observed.

Airport restaurants are updated constantly by several decided flyers who send Green airport restaurant, airport café and airport bar information, photos and reviews.  “At the same time, I also work directly with airports, concession management companies and individual restaurants,” she said. “I receive updates constantly from these resources and revise my database right away so that flyers can reach most up-to-date information about airport food options.”

Individual eateries, airports and concession management companies correct user submitted data if there is any problem or just send in their updated information if there is any change, said Green. “I value sharing among frequent flyers and bringing most up-to-date airport food information. Given that, I made sure to make it easy to post on social media by providing the buttons.”

Green is currently working on beta version one of the site. “I am looking to further develop the site according the feedback I get from users. On www.airportfood.com user should be able to reach any information they are looking for with only two clicks and view great airport food options,” she said.

There are some other sites that focus on airports, airport shops, maps, hotels and parking but Green said she wasn’t able to find any other site or app that completely focuses on airport food. “Since I am frequent traveler and love eating I dedicated www.airportfood.com only to airport food and dining options,” she said. “Apps for Airport Food are in the development stage we will expect to release them in near future.”

Making money is not my priority, said Green. “Helping out fellow fliers with their airport food decisions and smiling every time they have a good airport dining experience is the main goal here,” she said.


Best Of Aviation Queen: Will Fly For Food

Editor’s note: kids, I’m attending a journalism convention in Orlando this week, so you get Best Ofs. I’ll be back on Monday, Aug. 5, I promise!

As an aviation journalist, I have seen the best and worst of airport food.  I also am a big fan of the $100 hamburger, which is just an excuse for general aviation pilots to fly from one destination to another.


Which is why I cheered when I saw this great article — Test crew flies Boeing 747-8 to Pittsburgh for sandwich — from our good friend Ben Mutzabaugh ofUSA Today’s Today In The Sky blog.  This story has two elements I just love — the Boeing 747-8 and great food.


The crew for the 747-8 flew from Seattle to Pittsburgh for some flight testing and took the opportunity to take delivery of sandwiches from Primanti Brothers.  Having feasted on its signature  sandwich –  grilled meat (give me ham), a vinegar-based cole slaw, tomato slices, and a mound of french fries between two hunks of Italian bread — I know why they made this particular stop, and I’m not hating on them.


Last September, I took a digital storytelling course at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.  We had to do a 2-minute story on the topic of our choice.  We were 5 minutes away from the Albert Whitted Airport, so I decided that’s where my story was.  After I shot my video, I went upstairs for lunch.  It was one of the best — and most reasonably priced — meals of my life.  I had a chicken/sun-dried tomato pasta with fresh bread that I still dream about to this day.


Another great airport restaurant is Enrique’s at the Ponca City, OK, airport.  Their chips and salsa are to die for, and you must try the Chicken Huarache.  When I went to Learn To Fly Day last year at Frederick (MD) Municipal Airport, I had a great — and cheap — lunch at the Airport Diner. The view of the runway was a bonus!


On the commercial side, I give high marks to Chicago Midway’s food concourse. You get a real feel of Chicago with its great mix of local food institutions, like Gold Coast Dogs, Lalo’s Mexican Restaurant, Pegasus on the Fly and Nuts on Clark.


So what am I missing? What commercial and GA airports offer the best meal options?