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机场美食好去处

更新时间:2014-1-31 15:02:34 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

The Best Airport Food in the U.S. and Beyond
机场美食好去处

Travelers looking for intel on where to go in San Francisco for a stellar grilled cheese with caramelized onions and spiced fresh tomato soup, listen up: Go to Gate 55 in Terminal 2 at SFO, next to American and Virgin America airlines.

The sandwich at Cat Cora's Kitchen is a gooey blend of cheddar and feta cheeses on grilled sourdough--filling before a flight or after you get off a plane hungry and face the dreaded trek to the remote rental-car lot. It's well worth the $10.

Airport food can now hold its own at most terminals, with celebrity chefs, sit-down restaurants, farm-fresh ingredients and expense-account-quality wines. Travelers rate airport eateries on social media just like the trendiest new concepts downtown. Surveys rank airports by healthiness of food offerings. Airports focus on local eateries to create a sense of identity. Road warriors keep track of their favorites and even plan departures around restaurant meals or pick up dinner for the family after landing back home.

Gourmet has taken off at airports because travelers are, on average, a fairly affluent group willing to splurge on vacation or expense-paid business trips.

More travelers consider themselves foodies or at least gravitate to well-reviewed local restaurants, and now they expect to eat the same way when traveling. They have more time to do it at the airport since check-in and security requirements prompt earlier arrivals inside terminals. And airports want more local atmosphere so they don't just feel like nondescript depots.

Quality food brings higher average prices and more volume, so airport operators have been aggressively moving out fast-food outlets for sit-down restaurants. OTG Management, which operates restaurants at 10 airports in the U.S. and Canada, says it has replaced some chain restaurants with locally based eateries and increased sales as much as 50%. Travelers eat out a lot at home, and they want the same kind of choices at the airport now, said Chief Executive Rick Blatstein.

Travelers can be adventurous eaters. Taste of Mill City Tavern at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has bison tartare on a seasonal menu, and it sells well, Mr. Blatstein said. 'We operate restaurants inside of an airport, not airport restaurants,' he added.

Restaurateurs say airports present huge challenges: Storage and cooking spaces are tiny, and customers demand speedy service. Deliveries have to be screened by security; kitchen knives have to be tethered. Open-flame grills typically aren't allowed. And despite higher costs, most airports insist that prices be near regular prices outside the airport, making carpaccio of profit margins.

'Whatever you do in a stand-alone restaurant in New York, it's twice as hard in an airport,' said Cat Cora, the brains behind that scrumptious grilled cheese. She has outlets at San Francisco International, Houston Bush Intercontinental and Salt Lake City, and, later this year, will open in Atlanta.

Roger Berkowitz, chief executive of Boston's Legal Sea Foods, was a pioneer in the airport restaurant business, opening at Logan International Airport two decades ago. When the Massachusetts Port Authority, operator of the airport, tried to recruit him, he initially refused because the only food at the airport was high-priced and mediocre at best.

'I didn't want to be tainted with that kind of image,' he said.

But Massport sweetened the offer, and Mr. Berkowitz gave it a try. He figured he needed to offer inexpensive items but learned that, in fact, travelers are willing to spend. Expensive wines replaced cheaper offerings. And he miniaturized kitchen operations to work within the small confines of airport terminals, offering a limited menu of favorites like lobster rolls, crab cakes and tuna burgers that can be prepared quickly. Fish gets griddled instead of grilled.

Another lesson he's learned about airport restaurants: 'You want to be near airlines with more delays and cancellations,' Mr. Berkowitz said.

Some namesake chefs sign licensing agreements with concession operators, preferring to let them deal with regulations and requirements. Others, including Mr. Berkowitz, don't want to lose control and choose to run their own airport restaurants.

The mayor's office in Chicago approached local celebrity chef Rick Bayless about opening at O'Hare International Airport. 'I don't think it would have happened any other way,' said Stacy Dixon, head of development and marketing for Mr. Bayless's Frontera Restaurants. Frontera now has three licensed locations at O'Hare. 'It has brought a new level of attention to our brand,' Ms. Dixon said.

Urban Taco, a local Dallas sit-down restaurant, opened at Dallas-Fort Worth International in 2009. The concept is licensed by Gina Puente, who operates 15 various restaurants at DFW and had to find ways to turn it into faster food and even modify recipes for the airport pace and push for healthier fare. Airport recipes cut down on fat and salt compared with what's served at Urban Taco sit-down restaurants. Limited space meant nixing ingredients, like pineapple, that might be used in only one or two items.

The airport in Austin, Texas, insists that all vendors be local brands. There's not even a Starbucks, said Mike Glenn, Austin general manager of Delaware North Companies, which operates concessions at the airport.

The Salt Lick, a local barbecue favorite, cooks meat in nearby Driftwood, Texas, and reheats it before serving at the airport. Last year, more than 55 tons of brisket sold at Austin International, Mr. Glenn said. Salt Lick posted the airport's best restaurant sales totals in 2013.

SFO hasn't gone as far in terms of regional eateries, but it's close. National chains account for a scant 5.5% of current sales, said Cheryl Nashir, head of concessions for SFO. One reason: Higher-quality food is more expensive, so the average bill at local eateries is higher than fast-food outlets.

Other Middle Seat favorites: Urban Taco's chicken tinga and Dos Equis Amber barbacoa tacos at DFW, Legal Sea Foods chowder and crab cakes in Boston or Philadelphia (and returning to Washington's Reagan National this spring), and that incredible barbecue beef from The Salt Lick, which must be chased by Amy's Mexican vanilla ice cream.

Farther afield, one of my all-time memorable meals was the salade gersoise at 8e Ciel at the airport in Toulouse, France. Every conceivable preparation of duck--and Toulouse is known for its duck--is nestled on greens and priced at about $26. The restaurant, a highlight of an otherwise dreary, small airport, features regional cuisine 'advised' by chef Michel Sarran, with the added bonus, for aviation buffs, of a broad view of the Airbus factory flight line.

There are, of course, still plenty of overcooked burgers and soggy tuna sandwiches to be had at airports. And you can still find hot dog rollers at Dallas Love Field.

That's why it pays to have favorites. And if you're going to have that airport hot dog, make it the char-dog at Gold Coast Dogs at Chicago's Midway Airport.


知道在旧金山哪儿能吃到美味的烤奶酪配焦糖洋葱和鲜香番茄汤的旅客,请听好了:去旧金山国际机场二号航站楼55号登机门、美国航空(American Airlines)与美国维珍航空(Virgin America Airlines)隔壁的那家店试试吧。

Cat Cora's Kitchen松软的三明治在烤酵母面团上放入了切达干酪和羊奶干酪。无论是在登机前,还是在 肠辘辘下飞机后还得走上一段远得令人生畏的路程去租车站时,你都可以用它来填填肚子。10美元的售价非常值得。

由于有了名厨、堂食餐厅、源自农场的新鲜食材以及物有所值的优质葡萄酒,现在大多数机场的食品都达到了较高的水准。旅行者也会在社交媒体上给机场的餐饮店评分,就如给市区最时兴的新店评分一样。各项调查则按食品的健康度给机场排名。机场主要引进本地的餐饮品牌以打造一种认同感。有些“空中飞人”会记下他们最心爱的美食,甚至根据餐厅的餐品来计划出行时间,或是在搭机返回后为家人挑选晚餐食品。

机场美食家的数量大量增加,这是因为平均说来飞行旅客还算是富裕人群,愿意在假期或可报销差旅费的商务旅行上花钱。

大多数旅行者认为自己是美食家,或者至少倾向于去口碑不错的本地餐厅,如今他们也期待在旅途中获得同样的享受。由于办理登机和安检要求往往让旅客早早就到达航站楼,他们有了更多时间去品味美食。机场希望自己更具本土氛围,以免给人带来毫无特色的感觉。

高品质食品会拉升食品的平均售价和销量,所以机场运营方一直也在大力迁出快餐店,使它们让位于堂食餐厅。在美国和加拿大10个机场运营餐厅的OTG Management公司称,他们以发源于本地的餐饮店取代了一些连锁餐厅,拉动销售额上升了50%。该公司首席执行长里克·布莱茨坦(Rick Blatstein)说,旅行者在家时也常常外出就餐,现在他们希望在机场也拥有同样的选择。

旅行者也会是有冒险精神的吃客。布莱茨坦说,明尼阿波利斯- 保罗国际机场Taste of Mill City Tavern的时令菜单有一道鞑靼野牛肉,它卖得非常好。他还补充道:“我们是在机场内开餐厅,而不是开机场餐厅。”

餐厅经营者称,在机场开店带来了巨大挑战,比如存储空间和烹饪空间很狭小,而且顾客要求上菜要快。运送的货品得经过安保人员检查,厨房用刀必须固定系住,而且明火烧烤通常是不允许的。尽管运营成本更高,大多数机场却坚决要求餐厅的售价要接近机场外平常的价格,这使得它们的利润很微薄。那道美味的烤奶酪背后的创造者卡特·科拉(Cat Cora)说:“无论你在纽约的独立餐厅做什么,在机场做的难度会是它的两倍。”她在旧金山国际机场、休斯敦布什洲际机场和盐湖城国际机场都有餐厅,亚特兰大机场店将于今年晚些时候开业。

波士顿Legal Sea Foods餐厅的首席执行长罗杰·伯科威茨(Roger Berkowitz)是机场餐厅业的开拓者,20年前他就在洛根国际机场开了餐厅。当年机场的运营方马萨诸塞州港务局(Massachusetts Port Authority)想邀请他入驻,一开始他回绝了,因为机场唯一的食品价格昂贵,而且味道充其量只能算一般。
他说:“我不想留下那种不良形象。”

然而,马萨诸塞州港务局提出了更诱人的条件,所以他决定尝试一把。他原以为他要提供价格较便宜的餐品,后来他了解到实际上旅行者愿意花钱,于是高价葡萄酒取代了低价酒。他缩小了厨房的操作规模以在机场航站楼狭小的空间内运作,并推出了由热卖品组成的为数不多的系列菜式,比如像龙虾卷、蟹饼和金枪鱼汉堡这样能快速烹制的餐品。该餐厅的鱼也换作用锅煎而非烤制。

他还从机场餐厅学到了另一个经验。他说:“你要开在航班延误和取消频率比较高的航空公司附近。”

有些拥有同名餐厅的名厨则更喜欢与特许经营者签订授权合同,让他们去处理规定和要求方面的问题,而包括伯科威茨在内的一些名厨则不想失去控制权,选择自己在机场开办餐厅。

芝加哥市长办公室则找到了本地名厨里克·贝利斯(Rick Bayless)商谈在奥黑尔国际机场开餐厅一事。贝利斯名下Frontera 餐厅商务拓展与营销主管斯泰茜·狄克逊(Stacy Dixon)说:“我觉得这件事情只可能这样做。”现在Frontera在奥黑尔国际机场有三家特许店。狄克逊称:“这给我们的品牌带来的关注达到了新层次。”

达拉斯本地堂食餐厅Urban Taco于2009年在达拉斯-沃斯堡国际机场开业,该店是由在该机场运营15家各式餐厅的吉娜·普恩特(Gina Puente)授权的。开业后它不得不找办法转变为快餐式餐厅,甚至为了适应机场的节奏及其对健康食品的提倡而修改食谱。与Urban Taco堂食餐厅销售的食品相比,机场店的食谱减少了脂肪和盐的含量。空间有限也意味着要减少食材,比如菠萝可能只用在一两种餐品中。

得克萨斯奥斯汀国际机场坚决要求所有商铺都是本地品牌。管理该机场特许店的Delaware North Companies公司的奥斯汀区总经理迈克·格伦(Mike Glenn)说,机场内连星巴克(Starbucks)也没有。

当地备受欢迎的烤肉店The Salt Lick在奥斯汀附近的德里夫特伍德(Driftwood)把肉烤好,然后把它们运到机场,上菜之前再把它加热一下。格伦说,去年奥斯汀国际机场卖出了55吨多烤牛胸肉。Salt Lick是该机场2013年总销售额最高的餐厅。

在要求本地餐饮品牌这方面,旧金山国际机场的做法还没有那么绝对,不过也接近于此了。该机场特许经营店主管谢里尔·纳西尔(Cheryl Nashir)说,在当前的销售额中,全国连锁店只占到区区5.5%。其中一个原因是,高品质食品的价格也更贵,所以本地餐饮店的平均消费额要高于快餐店。

笔者最喜欢的其他一些美食还包括:Urban Taco的鸡肉烤饼、Dos Equis Amber的牛肉玉米卷饼、波士顿或费城Legal Sea Foods的海鲜杂烩和蟹饼(该店将于今年春季在华盛顿的里根国家机场重新开业),以及The Salt Lick极其美味的烤牛肉,吃完它之后你一定要再尝尝Amy's Mexican的香草冰激淋。

在美国之外的话,我所吃过的最难忘的一顿饭之一是法国图卢兹机场8e Ciel餐厅的鸭肉蔬菜沙拉。用每一种想象得到的方法烹制出的鸭肉──图卢兹以鸭肉闻名──铺在蔬菜上,它的售价是26美元左右。该餐厅是这个原本会单调乏味的小机场的亮点,它还出品主厨米歇尔·萨朗(Michel Sarran)“推荐”的本地菜。对于航空迷来说,它还有另外一个优点,从餐厅可以放眼看到空客(Airbus)的大型维修保养场。

当然,机场还是会有大量烤得过久的汉堡和湿乎乎的金枪鱼三明治。你在达拉斯的Love Field机场还能找到热狗卷。

因此,了解一些最受欢迎的美食去处是值得的。如果你想在机场吃到美味的热狗,一定要在芝加哥中途机场的Gold Coast Dogs尝尝芝加哥式热狗。

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