Food

United starts pouring illy coffee on July 1.

United coffee art

You can stop saying “No, thank-you” when flight attendants on United Airlines flights come around offering coffee.

That’s because starting Friday, July 1, the carrier will start serving a specially chosen dark roast coffee from famed Italian coffee roaster illy on all flights.

“We acted on customer feedback and are delivering a product our employees are proud to serve, while bringing excellence and passion to every one of the 72 million cups of coffee we serve inflight every year,” said Jimmy Samartzis, United’s vice president of Food Services and United Clubs in a statement.

After merging with Continental Airlines, United had stopped serving Starbucks brand coffee in favor of the brand Continental had been serving. Customers noticed.

To fix that, United went all out – sending Illy coffee experts and caffeine-conscious employees into airports and onto flights to do taste testing and gather feedback on which coffee blend might be the best replacement – and the dark roast blend “won.”

United began serving the illy coffee in its United Club locations in December, 2015. Now that illy has had time to ramp up a special production line to make enough pillow-packs to supply United with the 50 tons of coffee it needs monthly, United passengers will be getting the better brew too.

United was really serious about this coffee switch and back in April, sent a team of key personnel to illy’s intensive University of Coffee at the Culinary Institute of America’s campus in St. Helena, Calif., where they learned about growing, roasting and preparing great coffee.

United team wiht their cups

I got to go along and wrote a piece for USA TODAY about the experience – and about United’s goals in making the switch.

You can read those stories here and here.

Coffee University_United's Jeffrey Pelch conducts taste test at illy University of Coffee in March 2016

Free meals for military at airports

Armed Forces

Between Memorial Day and Independence Day 2016, active and retired military personnel traveling through many of the nation’s airports may show a military ID when or ordering or at check-out and receive a free meal (an entree, salad, or appetizer and a non-alcoholic beverage), courtesy of the Treat of Troops program of airport retail and restaurant operator Paradies Lagardère.

Here’s the list of airport restaurants participating in this program:

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport – Sweet Auburn Market

Asheville Regional Airport – Blue Ridge Tavern

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport – Say Si Bon!, Washington Pour Bar, U Street Pub, Wow Bao and Magic Pan

Denver International Airport – Say Si Bon!, Magic Pan, Big Bowl and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Long Beach Airport – Long Beach Marché, The Boathouse and 4th Street Vine

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport – Jammin’ Java, Coastal Roast, Say Si Bon!, Smokewood American Grill and Core Brewing Co.

More ice-cream at CVG Airport

What’s better than at an airport kiosk dispensing small batch, handcrafted ice-cream?

CVG  GRAETER'S

It was great that Graeter’s Ice Cream had a kiosk at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) but now there’s 657 square foot Graeter’s storefront in CVG’s Concourse A serving up decadent pastries, candy and ice cream.

Bonus: the storefront is open daily from 5:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

CVG GRAETER's INSIDE

CVG recently announced another sweet airport amenity: miniature therapy horses will be visiting the airport on a regular basis.

CVG Pony 2

Good work CVG!!

Art of Food exhibit at MSP Int’l Airport

MSP_Art of Food_NowShowing Poster

A new exhibit at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport is all about the foods and branded edible items that hail from Minnesota and show up on plates around the world.

MSP_DoughboyPersonality1970

Some of the Minnesota-based brands in the exhibit include General Mills Inc.
Land O Lakes Inc, Hormel Foods, RyKrisp and Summit Brewing Company and, in addition to food items, the exhibit includes reels of vintage commercials and their familiar jingles.

The exhibit opened at the end of April and will run through November 15, 2016 in the art gallery near Gate 12.

So far, “the response has been amazing,” said Robyne Robinson, Arts & Culture Director of the MSP Airport Foundation, “It strikes a chord with travelers – They burst into the Spam song from the 1970’s Monty Python sketch, or playfully spar over which cereal was best – Cheerios or Lucky Charms.”

MSP food bottles

msp food guy snap

Photos courtesy MSP Airport and and the Minnesota Historical Society

Hello Kitty cafe opens at Singapore’s Changi Airport

Hello Kitty Changi Airport

Fans of Hello Kitty now have a great reason to hang out at Singapore’s Changi Airport: the 24-hour Hello Kitty Orchid Garden restaurant, in Terminal 3, Arrival Meeting Hall.

Hello Kitty Changi waffle

In addition to the Hello Kitty retail section and the all the Hello Kitty-themed food, the restaurant (part of a chain that has outlets in Seoul and Bangkok) has a garden decor built around the orchid – Singapore’s official flower.

The menu lists everything from Hello Kitty-themed quesadillas and a “Cowabunga Wagyu” dish with a side-order of Hello Kitty-shaped rice to a Hello Kitty banana split made with brûléed bananas, macarons and berries

Hello kitty changi quesadilla

hello kitty changi banana split

Photos courtesy Hello Kitty Orchid Garden