Day: June 2nd, 2007

Airport food

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007 | All Things

Mom and Dad were off to Tahoe and San Francisco for the week so C, J and I piled in with the luggage for the drop-off run to LGA.

Theirs was not a direct flight to Reno, and since airlines have eliminated meal service on all except transcontinental domestic flights, we knew Mom and Dad were in for a long foodless haul. C insisted that they have a light meal before boarding, but the options at the airport’s Central Terminal Building were not all that inspiring.

LGA art

The pride of the food court – if there can be such a thing – is Figs Café, celebrity chef Todd English‘s first New York City venture. Months before he seduced Manhattan with his David Rockwell-designed Olives at The W Hotel in Union Square (and years before he flamed out with his peculiarly-named English is Italian), English imported a branch of his award-winning Boston-area pizzerias to LaGuardia Airport. Dad, though, may be the only person I know who doesn’t like pizza(!) so we opted instead for a couple of combination plates from the Asian Chao kiosk. We weren’t familiar with this particular chain, but years of encounters with its suburban mall brethren Wok N Roll, Manchu Wok and Panda Express had set our expectations pretty low. And indeed the “eclectic” menu had a few surprises in store: Beef with Broccoli, Lo Mien, Egg Rolls… Bourbon Chicken? Fried Bananas?

It’s a hackneyed bit of classic Seinfeld observational humor, but so true:

Do you think that the people at the airport that run the stores have any idea what the prices are every place else in the world? Or do you think they just feel they have their own little country out there and they can charge anything they want? You’re hungry? Tuna sandwich is nine dollars. You don’t like it; go back to your own country. I think the whole airport airline complex is a huge scam just to sell the tuna sandwiches. I think that profit is what’s supporting the whole air travel industry. I mean think about it; the terminals, the airplanes, it’s all just a distraction so that you don’t notice the beating that you’re taking on the tuna.

Aside from the obvious dating of the 1992 prices (Così tuna sandwiches run at least close to $9 now), substitute “sesame chicken” for “tuna” and you get the idea of the sticker shock we experienced at the airport. It was, hands down, the most expensive Chinese take-out we’d ever had in our lives.

On the subject of airports: check out the new Sydney post.

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