Month: June, 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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“Young” alums

Friday, June 1st, 2007 | All Things, Friends

Our high school’s alumnae/i association organized a “Young Alums Happy Hour” for graduates in their early 20s through early 30s. Although I’d never attended these events in the past, I sensed that my window of opportunity to do so as a “young” alum was rapidly closing. The next age bracket up would encompass alumni in their 30s and 40s, and I knew without being told these events probably would be a whole lot less fun.

Which is worse: being the youngest people in the room, or the oldest?

I met SYB, JL and HYB (who was crashing) for dinner near the event. Despite the impending threat of rain, Blockheads already had a crowd spilling onto the sidewalk outside — $3 margaritas may have had something to do with it; we opted for quick and cheap Chinese food instead.

Tonight’s happy hour was hosted by Local, a bar/cafe (but mostly a bar), part owned by a member of the Class of ’98. After identifying our school affiliation, we were each tagged with a snap-on green vinyl wristband, of the kind usually seen at clubs, rock concerts or music festivals. My, these are  young alums. (They didn’t look so young to fellow classmate PL, whose intended joke fell flat when he directed it to a couple of the bar’s regular [non-alum] customers.)

Local East

bar bracelets

Local had Blue Moon on tap, which I’ve noticed cropping up in bars around town more recently, though the Belgian-Style “white beer” — so called due to the suspended yeast and wheat proteins which cause the beer to look hazy, or white — has been around for more than a decade. Some wheat beers are served with a slice of lemon, which, according to some, accentuates the tart, refreshing character of the beer. (Others think that “fruiting” the beer actually kills the taste and the head.) Blue Moon’s creator, Keith Villa, came up with the ingenious marketing strategy of suggesting that bars serve their beer with an orange slice, to accentuate its coriander and orange peel notes. More importantly, the unusual garnish would pique interest among bar patrons, looking to try something a little different.

Worked for me.

53rd Street

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