Restaurant month at airports

Rosemary GrilledShrimp-HMSHost Airport Restaurant Month May 2016


If you enjoy Restaurant Month deals in your home town, then you’ll be pleased to know that HMSHost is once again bringing the concept to airports.

Through May, HMSHost is hosting Airport Restaurant Month in about 90 participating restaurants at more than 50 airports across North America and Europe, including those operated by HMSHost’s parent company, Autogrill, at Brussels Airport, Zürich Airport, and Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome.

During restaurant month in my town, each restaurant creates their own special menu to highlight their offerings.

For HMSHost’s Airport Month, each restaurant is customizing a core menu of dishes created by HMSHost’s corporate executive chef and culinary team.

Guests will receive a choice of entrée, accompanied by several side dishes. Some of the dishes travelers will find include Rosemary grilled shrimp; flat iron steak; Parmesan-crusted chicken; and a baked Portobello mushroom.

You can see the full list of participating restaurants at


United adds Garrett Popcorn to the menu

If you’re a big fan of popcorn in any form and trying out locally-themed treats on the road, then you’ll be pleased to learn that United Airlines has added snack-sized bags of Garrett Popcorn to its by-on-board menu.

United Garrett Popcorn_edited

If you’ve ever traveled through Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, you’ve seen – and perhaps bought a bag, or three, of Garrett Popcorn.

And then gone back for more.

Now, if you don’t have time to buy the popcorn at the airport, you can buy a small bag of Garrett Mix -(CheeseCorn and CaramelCrisp) on flights longer than two hours. Price. $3.99

United is also adding a kid-friendly snack box to its by-on-board menu. The Ben Flyin Snack Box will have a turkey stick, animal crackers, apple sauce, a game (Wikki Stix) – but no popcorn.

Help fund a film about airline food

Singapore food testing

If you’ve ever been curious about the food offered to passengers on planes, you may be interested in throwing in a few bucks to help out the folks over at inflightfeed, who not only love eating and reviewing airplane food, they’re got a Kickstarter campaign going to fund a film on the topic.

Their goal: $74,049.

So far, just over $2000 has been raised. But they’re early in the process and, well, who wouldn’t want to see what inflightfeed founder Nikos Loukas describe as “a very cool airline food documentary around the globe about Qantas, Air France, Turkish, Cathay, Air Baltic plus quite a few more airlines.”

The project sounds tasty: “We will have wine tastings, food tastings, and first class cabin mock up experiences,” said Loukas.

As Kickstarter projects go, there’s a long list of perks being offered for folks who pledge at various levels, including the opportunity to be a taste tester on the set.


United perks up its coffee offering

United coffee art

If you’ve been disappointed with the quality of the coffee being served on your United Airlines flights, get ready for a tasty jolt of something far better.

As announced last November, United is bringing on board coffee from Italian roaster illy – starting in July.

Coffee is so important to so many people that United has not only gone to Italy to get the new coffee, in preparation for the July roll out the carrier sent a team of managers to illy’s intensive University of Coffee at the Culinary Institute of America’s campus in St. Helena, California to learn just what goes into growing, roasting and preparing great coffee.

I tagged along and, during the highly-caffeinated course (at one point I had to go walk off the buzz) students conducted many tastings and learned about everything from the “discovery” of coffee to how coffee is best cultivated, harvested, processed, roasted, stored, ground and — of course — brewed. Grounds covered included the many variables that can affect the taste and quality of coffee, how to make a perfect espresso and how to add foam art to espresso-based drinks.

It takes at least 50 beans to make one cup of coffee, but just one bad bean to ruin a cup. Class exercise-find the bad beans.

Take a look at my USA TODAY story about how United’s newly minted Coffee Experts will spread the word.

United team wiht their cups

Airport eating: cage-free eggs

Photo courtesy: Nationaal Archief via Flickr Commons

HMSHost – operator of many of the airport restaurants you already frequent – has announced that it has plans to switch to “cage-free” eggs at its more than 2,000 airport and highway locations.

They’ll start off by making the switch in early summer at several HMSHost restaurants at Los Angeles International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and McCarran International Airport Las Vegas.

By June you’ll be served cage-free eggs at Tuscany Café, Goose Island, and Tortas Frontera (already serving cage-free eggs) at Chicago O’Hare International Airport; Gladstones and Campanile at Los Angeles International Airport; HMSHost’s restaurant 1897 Market at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and PGA TOUR Grill and Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill at McCarran International Airport Las Vegas.

Cage-free eggs will show up on the menu at all the company’s restaurants by 2025.

No doubt there are other airport restaurants already serving cage-free eggs, but it’s good to know HMSHost is joining the flock.