Happy Foodie Friday! Is today one of those “eat on the run” kinda days? If you’re a frequent flyer like I am, you spend many hours in airports, eating peanuts and watching flights come and go. Fortunately, the culinary scene in our U.S. airports has been dramatically elevated with innovative concepts, chef-driven menus, and elegant design. Today, we’ll take a look at 5 fantastic dining options for your next long layover.
Chicago O’Hare’s Coastal Getaways: Wicker Park Seafood and Summer House
Patrons at the Windy City airport can enjoy sushi and sake at the 104-seat Wicker Park Seafood and Sushi Bar and California-style dishes at Summer House Santa Monica. Check out Wicker Park’s diverse menu of specialty and classic sushi rolls, elegantly simple nigiri and sashimi, raw bar items like oysters on the half-shell, and more.
Even if there’s snow and sleet on the tarmac, you can still relax in the summertime vibe of Summer House Santa Monica. Try their fresh salads, tacos, burgers, and breakfast items as well as house-made desserts and pastries. (Take a look at their menu here!).
Houston’s Cajun Haven: Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
On the second floor of the airport, away from the bustle of the main terminal, you can relax with a Lousiana-style cajun spread at Pappadeaux. Try classic New Orleans dishes like gumbo, shrimp and grits, and etouffee, or steakhouse favorites like aged ribeye, Alaskan king crab, or grilled lobster tail.
Tucked away in Terminal 5, you’ll find a beautiful tapas bar with a vaulted, tiled ceiling reminiscent of a modern-styled wine cellar. At the helm of Piquillo is chef Alex Raij of the noted Manhattan Spanish restaurants, El Quinto Pino and Txikito. It’s the first tapas bar to open in a U.S. airport, and serves delectable options like both hot and cold tapas, small plates, salads, sandwiches, and more. Items range from the familiar—fusion items like the Piquillo Burger with spicy mayonnaise and pickled onion—to the adventurous—such as the Paella Marinera with Spanish rice, calamari, clams, shrimp, and mussels.
Denver’s Artisanal Charmer: Root Down Restaurant
Named in homage to an album by 1960s jazz performer Jimmy Smith, Root Down offers and eclectic and inspired menu featuring dishes prepared with seasonal, organic ingredients sourced from regional farms (bonus: nearly everything on the menu can be ordered gluten-free). Kick back with their creative beverage options like the beach-worthy mocktail Virgin Coconut Fizz, tequila and pepper-spiked Spicy Paloma cocktail, classic libations like the New Orleans Sazerac, or one of their 24 Colorado draft beers on tap!
If you’re heading out of town this weekend—bon voyage, bon appetit, and Happy Foodie Friday!
And, of course, for something a little weird…
If you’re looking for authentic food truck fare while you’re traveling by plane, LAX has the perfect solution: the Kogi Taco Truck! Chef Roy Choi’s Kogi serves street-style Korean-Mexican fusion food like tacos and burritos topped with kimchee.