Even as I type this, I’m on a non-stop evening flight to Phoenix. I had every intention of packing myself a bevy of interesting foods per usual. Alas, a work commitment ran long and I barely had time to zip my suitcase shut before my ride to the airport arrived. I did take a moment to grab a container of leftover edamame-black bean-cauliflower-broccoli-tomato-green chili salad [note to self: start making up better names for your food conglomerations], some raw nuts and raisins, and three apples into my bag. This actually turned out to be a lot of food, but since I hadn’t eaten lunch, I was feeling as if I were one meal behind. So, since I got through security with a little time to spare, I decided to hunt for a healthy gf food option as well as a bottle of water and maybe a cup of coffee.
I was in luck! Au Bon Pain shown like a beacon at the entrance to C concourse. And, as I expected, they had soups clearly marked with their ingredients. Alas, the only vegetarian GF offering was eggplant soup in a tomato stock. Didn’t appeal AT ALL. My family of origin were not eggplant eaters. My partner Jenn is actively opposed to eggplant anywhere near her food. I’ve attempted to work it in to an occasional recipe, with no real homerun to show for it. And I really didn’t want to pay airport prices for a soup I didn’t think I’d enjoy. The quest continued.
I passed a number of food places that I thought would not work. I lingered at the Chinese place in the food court area, and decided not to brave the steamed veggies over white rice. It didn’t sound that appealing and I didn’t think I could get to a place of confidence about non-contamination. Finally I looked at the refrigerated case in the Le Bus corral (for non-Philadelphians, Le Bus is a pretty cool establishment that serves good food in a number of locations in town. I had no idea they had a place at the airport.) For context, this Le Bus was very Starbucks-esque: mostly all about baked goods and coffee. They did have bottled water and yogurt, so I decided to give those items a go. I collected the water and vanilla Siggi’s brand yogurt from the case and ordered a small coffee. I was scandalized when it rang up at more than $8! The yogurt was $4, and the container was small, so I told the man who rang me up that I could live without it. Unfortunately he was unable to fix the order and his attempts to reach a manager or implement a work-around solution failed. I said that it must be fate and that I’d go ahead and get it. He was very sweet and suggested that I could get something different, maybe a muffin or something?, from the baked goods offerings. I declined, but asked if he could throw in a banana. He said yes! I felt better about spending $8.57 for water, coffee, yogurt AND a banana.
Whew! Who knew it would be so hard! Of course, if I were starving I would have just sucked it up and gotten the soup at Au Bon Pain. Still, it was like a game to see what I could come up with that fit my dietary criteria, my budgetary limits, and my personal tastes. And since I packed enough provisions I knew I wouldn’t starve if I walked away empty-handed.
Oh, and the Siggi’s Yogurt! It’s very PC, as yogurts go: happy cows, no BGH, no artificial anything. Clearly marked as gluten-free. Not overly sweet, and quite thick. Maybe a little too thick. The packaging waxes poetic about it being akin to skyr, the national yogurt-like product of Iceland. I was very dense and filling, and in hindsight I’d say it was a $4 value. I’m not sure I liked it $4 worth. I had the vanilla flavor and I wonder if I would have liked a fruit flavor better. I bet I’d like the vanilla WITH something or ON something, I’m just not sure what.
Oh, the coffee was good though a little coffee-shop strong and delightfully hot. Unfortunately when juggling all my stuff at the gate the lid detached and I splashed hot beverage down the only pair of jeans I had for the trip. Grrr. The banana was a little beat up I think by my own hand as I juggled hot coffee, a backpack, a rolling suitcase, a bottle of water, a container of yogurt, a spoon and a couple of napkins getting to gate C23. The water was cool and refreshing and just as I expected it to be.