We’ve all been there...waiting for our plane, sitting idle, wondering what we will eat on the plane and if we should eat now or later. As we look at our options, sometimes we are pleasantly surprised with a plethora of choices and plenty of restaurants to choose from. Other times, we are forced into choosing between places or stands that we would never eat at if we weren’t confined behind the gates and security of the airport.
As I walked through the mid walkway of Miami International Airport, I noticed a few different restaurants on the way to my gate. Some were crowded and buzzed with chatter as if it were Friday evening and happy hour was in full swing. Other restaurants barely had one person in line. Some of the restaurants were traditional chains, and others were unique or a reflection of the Miami area. How do these restaurants end up here? Is it simply a purchase of a lease. Or is it strategic? Does someone study the demographics and say to themselves, “we really have a lot of hot dog lovers….let’s get a Nathan’s hot dog stand at this terminal asap!”
I try not to pre-judge airports, food, or anything for that matter. However, I’ll admit it….after walking through the airport, and listening to my stomach growling I had low expectations for my lunch ahead. I passed by the “Villa Pizza”. I have never eaten here, and they probably make great pizza. However, being a native of New York and probably one of the pickiest pizza eaters known to man…I knew that I shouldn’t set myself up for failure. So, I quickly moved on. I approached the “Manchu Wok.” Decisions, decisions. Once again, my New York roots has set the bar so high for pizza and Asian food, that I was skeptical. Not to mention, that I do love healthier options and fried rice, a fried egg roll, and sweet and sour chicken fried and battered didn’t seem to line up with the plan I had for the day or for my calorie counter on my Fitbit. The stands of cold sandwiches and cold salads didn’t seem as enticing as their neon lights tried to present them. “Café Versailes” was another contender.” From the looks of the restaurant, I felt like it was going to be a “hit-or-miss” with no in between stage. I knew that I was going to either love it or hate it, and I was too hungry to flip a coin today.
As I was about to give up and head back to my seat, I walked over to the packed “Islander Bar and Grill.” Every seat was taken and the food on the tables looked quite tasty. I looked at the menu, and I wasn’t surprised to see the exorbitant airport prices. It feels like someone is standing in the camera area, watching me and laughing. As they hold their belly and chuckle, they say,
“Yeah, it’s high, but where else are you going to go? (they pause because the laughter is making them speak unclearly) You’re stuck here (more laughter)!”
I swallowed the frugal portion of me that told me to have a seat and wait for the lunch that would be provided on the plane and ordered a coconut shrimp salad. The food was brought out within 5-10 minutes. I must say….pre-judging is a character flaw that I will definitely have to overcome. My coconut salad, filled with feta cheese, candied pecans, and mangos was absolutely divine! I swallowed each bite whole, shaking my head, and repeatedly stating, “OH MY GOSH, THIS IS SOOOO GOOD.”
Lessons of the day for me:
Prejudging almost caused me to miss the best salad ever.
Some high prices are worth it. The quantity and quality of the salad actually fit the price.
If you’re at the right airport, airport dining can actually be a great experience.
Thank you Miami International Airport for making my tummy happier than it thought it would be!