Haute Airplane Food and Fancy In-Flight Fare
Even if you're flying coach, you can still grab a first-class meal on the ground at many international airports, which are taking advantage of their captive audiences by expanding dining choices in the terminals. At New York's JFK, good steaks are easily found at Todd English's Bonfire steakhouse or the Palm Bar & Grille. In Paris, at Charles de Gaulle Airport, say "oui" to Miyou, a new gourmet fast food concept in a modern setting from chef Guy Martin of Paris' Le Grand Véfour. Los Angeles International Airport has invested $80 million into revamping its international terminal with options such as Michael Voltaggio's sandwich shop ink.sack, and — the sky's the limit — a caviar depot by Petrossian. After leaving its landmark city location, Campanile is set to reopen under Mark Peel at LAX in the spring of 2013, along with Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken's Border Grill and Real Food Daily. In the meantime, people on the go can choose culty Pink's Hot Dogs.
Snowed in at Chicago's O'Hare? Make it a fiesta! At Rick Bayless' Tortas Frontera, we recently enjoyed a delightful roasted corn and poblano chowder with cilantro crema, alongside tender Yucatan pulled pork with crunchy pickled red onions. You can also sip elegant, hand-shaken margaritas there, made with fresh lime juice and Tesoro Anejo tequila at the cozy bar overlooking the tarmac. At Tampa International, Mise en Place's First Flight offers a menu by chef Marty Blitz that includes patés, charcuterie, smoked fish and artisanal cheeses along with a sophisticated wine list; Florida's oldest restaurant, Columbia, has also opened a branch there serving Cuban and Spanish specialties. Atlanta's first upscale airport restaurant at Hartsfield-Jackson International is One Flew South, where chef Duane Nutter (formerly of The Oakroom at The Seelbach Hilton, Louisville in Kentucky) serves up gourmet Southern fare such as pecan-dusted scallops and a pulled duck sandwich — but also sushi! An early check-in in Hong Kong let us enjoy a white tablecloth experience at Pak Loh Chiu Chow Restaurant where we were lucky to dine on first-rate abalone and fish maw stew, as well as soyed duck's web.
Savvy airport restaurateurs are also capitalizing on to-go options. At London Heathrow's Terminal 5, Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food offers dining in the handsome restaurant or a picnic option served in a Gordon Ramsay shoulder bag for in-flight dining — with choices of smoked Scottish salmon, roasted Hereford rump of beef, and an English cheese selection with quince and berries. When departing the U.S., chef Guy Savoy likes to pick up a Wolfgang Puck Express pizza from one of Puck's many airport outlets to enjoy on his way back to France. It's almost enough to make one hungry for flying.