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Hop Over to Last-Minute Easter Gifts, Right at the Airport

Hop Over to Last-Minute Easter Gifts, Right at the Airport

Going home for Easter but not in the mood to pay luggage fees to pack gifts for the family? You don’t have to waste precious luggage space or worry about selecting gifts that will make it through security; these days, you can find fabulous gifts for your loved ones right at the airport, saving you shopping time and energy. Thankfully Easter is a pretty low-maintenance holiday when it comes to giving gifts (looking at you, Christmas and Hannukah), so a simple card and box of chocolates will suffice. Most stores have pre-made Easter baskets and boxes prepared, making your job even easier. If you’re feeling that extra “Spring” in your step, bring home flowers for mom – she deserves it!
Easter

Knowing where to go is half the battle. Plan some extra time at your departure airport or take a little time when you land to find yourself a chocolate shop and a Hudson Booksellers  to purchase cards. Because there are so many quality options at airports these days, you will surely find a gift to bring home for Easter that does not scream “last-minute.” Here is a list of chocolate and gift shops at various airports that will melt your heart (and theirs!):

EasterInsider Tip: While you nibble on that extra chocolate treat you picked up for yourself, use your time on the plane to express how much you care in each of the cards you picked up.  Everyone loves a heartfelt handwritten note!

Steak It to Me- Top Airport Restaurants to Enjoy Steak!

Steak It to Me- Top Airport Restaurants to Enjoy Steak!

Charley’s Grilled Subs- Port Columbus International Airport (CMH)

 

Charley’s Philly Steaks are heating up the food court! Founded in the heart of Columbus, this cheese steak chain may not exactly be traditional (they serve lettuce and tomato on their sandwiches) but they do serve up a made-to-order tasty sandwich, and they do it with a smile. All sandwiches are made with 100% USDA Choice Steak or 100% All-White Meat Chicken Breast.

Insider Tip: You’ll want to order a refreshing lemonade to wash down that sandwich!

 

Elway’s – Denver International Airport (DEN)

 

It’s not often a city’s sports hero puts his name behind a steakhouse and the steakhouse happens to be one of, if not the, best in town. That’s the case with Elway’s, an amazing steakhouse that has followed the movement of other great Denver restaurants into the airport. Try any of the savory steaks that all have a succulent center coated with amazing homemade steak sauce! The experience here is everything Denverites have grown to expect at the Cherry Creek, downtown and Vail locations.

 

Insider Tip: Make sure to take a picture with the Super Bowl trophy before you leave the restaurant!

 

 

5ive Steak- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

 

Burger Joints are a trend that has found its way to JFK with 5ive Steak. Even though it is a delicious steakhouse, the burgers are a major draw. From the California burger on a brioche roll to the truffle fries, 5ive is brining notable food to terminal 5 in this New York Airport. The service and bar are spectacular, just make sure you try a variety of different items on this diverse menu.

 

Insider Tip: Try and experience the “sidewalk” seating for a different vibe while eating!

 

Burrito Elito- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)

 

Spice things up with some steak while you wait for your flight at California Tortilla. This Maryland chain serves up set-menu burritos, quesadillas, tacos, and fajitas. Or, go wild and make your own tasty creation filled with yummy proteins like Carnitas, Grilled Mesquite Steak, or Blackened Fish a top tons of fresh veggies.

 

Insider Tip: Breakfast time? Breakfast burrito time! That spice will wake you up!

 

MASH – Modern American Steakhouse- Copenhagen Airport (CPH)

 

It might sound strange to eat at an American style steak house in Denmark, but MASH – Modern American Steak House- combines the steakhouse concept with meat cuts from all over the world to create something truly special. You can order Ribeye from Uruguay, Danish Dry-Aged Long Bone, or N.Y. Stripsteaks made from Omaha cattle. Served with classic sides like French Fries, Macaroni and Cheese, or Creamy Spinach, MASH makes any meal a special occasion.

 

 

Insider Tip: Order the Wagyu style Sirloin, made from delectable beef from Australia.

 

Paschal’s Restaurant- Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)

 

Make sure you have an empty stomach for this place because you’ll certainly be eating some southern delicacies. They’ve got large portions of fried catfish, country fried steak (the local favorite), macaroni and cheese, and the traditional fried chicken. So loosen your belts for a yummy dining experience you will never forget.

 

Insider Tip: Pair the country fried steak with hand cut french fries and a sweet tea for a local experience!

 

ATL Food: Atlanta’s Favorite Bagels at Goldbergs Bagel Co and Deli

ATL Food: Atlanta’s Favorite Bagels at Goldbergs Bagel Co and Deli

Just because you aren’t in New York doesn’t mean you have to settle for a less-than-the-best bagel to satisfy your craving here at Atlanta International Airport.  Have an authentic bagel for breakfast (or lunch!) at local Atlanta chain Goldbergs Bagel Co and Deli. While there are limited bagel options comared to other chains, there are many ways to top that bagel and make it a true sandwich. Plus, sometimes sticking to the classics is the best bet when you are looking for a hole-y treat.  You can go classic with lox, tuna, or lunch meats, or make it a meal with a Reuben or Pulled Pork sandwich.  These are an excellent choice to grab on the go as you head to your connection.  You can eat this sandwich on board without getting the stink eye from your seat mates, too.

Pro Tip: Goldbergs serves a gluten free bagel option! Who knew?!

Goldbergs Bagel Co and Deli is located in Concourse T.

Image credit: flickR; Carl Lender

Chocolate: The Cure For Airport Stress

Chocolate: The Cure For Airport Stress

Travel delays got you feeling down at the airport? Indulge in some tasty chocolate! The delicious snack will not only satisfy your sweet tooth cravings but also releases feel-good endorphins. Stress be gone!

Pro Tip: If there’s a Duty Free store in your airport, check for travel retail confectionary exclusives. You can score some great deals on delicious chocolates! We love Godiva.

Image credit: By André Karwath aka Aka (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

From A to X…that’s ATL to LAX; the Airports Business Travelers Know All Too Well

From A to X…that’s ATL to LAX; the Airports Business Travelers Know All Too Well

My flight is touching down for landing. It has been a smooth flight; thankfully I was able to catch some Z’s since I have been sick as of late and run down. I don’t have much time when I land at MSP; I have a two and a half hour drive to lovely La Crosse, Wisconsin-my final destination. The good news is that when I return to Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) tomorrow, I will have an hour or so to relax and visit some of my favorite places in the airport. Think: Minnesota Wild Sports Bar for some amazing Bavarian Pretzel Sticks.  Or Brookstone-who doesn’t love the latest gadget and a free massage by chair?Drink in airport that offers international airport wifi in Dallas Fort Worth

While the fact that I have favorite places at airports is more of a statement about my work/life balance these days, it is imperative to know these places to keep me sane on the road (and tarmac). Any business traveler can tell you that they have a list of their favorite airports, a list of airports that they frequent (which hopefully match the previously mentioned list) and a list of airports they aim to avoid if at all possible. When you fly a lotyou spend an inordinate amount of time in the terminal, waiting. And although staying glued to the mobile phone is and/or laptop is always an option, sometimes I want need to disconnect. If you are like me, this parlays itself into keeping a running tab on where to go during your layover for eating, drinking and shopping. That’s why one of the ten commandments of the business traveler is: Know Thy Airport.

Here is a roster of airports that I transit through most frequently (you will probably start seeing tips from me about these airports, so stay tuned!):

I bet many other frequent business travelers in the United States have a similar list.  It isn’t any surprise that most of these are major airline hubs, consequentlyI am usually connecting through them to my final destination to visit my customers. I know them well given the time I spend in them. The good news is that this frequency creates time for me to be the consumer I always strive to be-trying new foods, seeking out new items to surprise my family with as an offering for my time away.

What is it inside of us that makes us want to know these places so well? There is a story that I always tell that lends itself to the comfortability of business travel. I once had a hiatus from traveling due to company budget cuts. As any business traveler knows, nearing the end of the fiscal year you probably won’t see many airports, as companies aim to improve the bottom line. After this break from the travel lifestyle, on my first trip back throughSt. Louis airport (STL) . I sent my brother a text message, Starbucks in hand, telling him how oddly comfortable I felt sitting at the airport and that I couldn’t decide if that was a good thing or just plain sad.

A man waiting at Atlanta International Airport.

Waiting at the Airport

All joking aside, there is some validity to that feeling – the same reason I stay at Marriott properties almost exclusively when I travel for business – I want to be comfortable somewhere that feels familiar and that I know well, if I can’t be home with my wife and kids.  I remember I used to hear frequent traveling friends referring to airports by code and thinking, “Wow, that is so confusing… can’t they just call it San Fransisco instead of SFO?” Nowadays, I find myself talking of my travels and sounding like I am helping my kids learn the alphabet. I just hope that I don’t teach them the wrong order when I actually do help them with their homework:

Addison: “Daddy, what comes after A?”

Daddy: “T-L honey…”

Like I said, it is human nature to want to be comfortable. Whether it is flying to the same airports and knowing the terminals well, or it is trying your darndest to fly with your favorite airline. OK, so maybe it is the sense of comfortability and the acquisition of frequent flier miles. Hey, a guy has to pay the family back for all of that time away with fun vacations. Am I right? Spring break at MCO(Orlando), here we come!!! Oh wait… we’re driving. No problem, I will use my airline miles for the hotel!

The Flying Salesman

Sweet Valentine’s Day Treats for Your Valentine Sweet

Sweet Valentine’s Day Treats for Your Valentine Sweet

How sweet it is to be loved by you! This is your pilot speaking.

Valentine’s Day is this weekend and for those of us on the tarmac, time might be limited to find that special someone a little treat. I’ve compiled a list of places in major airports around the U.S. where you can find something special if time is tight. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and have first hand experience at most of these places. If I missed a favorite spot of yours I apologies. The list below is meant to also showcase something only found at that airport. There are two exceptions in The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Dylan’s Candy Bar which have franchises around the country. Rocky Mountain is your classic confectionery with treats for ever taste. Dylan’s offers a large selection of favorite brand name candies that you can 4314-Truffles36_79881_01v1Wmix and match as well as pre made gift boxes. A special note on Dylan’s: If you ever find yourself just east of Central Park in New York City you will find the flagship store that offers 4 stories of candy heaven. And if you happen to be flying internationally, don’t forget you can always find delicious limited edition Godiva Belgian chocolates at Duty Free Stores everywhere. Enjoy and safe travels as always!

The Aviator

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Have Pizza, Will Travel – Local Parlors and World-Wide Chains, Volume 1

Have Pizza, Will Travel – Local Parlors and World-Wide Chains, Volume 1

You’re tired, you’re hungry, and you have a quick layover. You stand in the terminal, stomach grumbling, considering your food options. There are a few kiosks where you could grab thin, boring turkey sandwiches. The line at Dunkin Donuts is not too long. You have some Mentos in your coat pocket.

But, no! You can do better than this. Traveling is an occasion that requires real sustenance and at this particular moment, you are craving something hot and simple. When far from home, short on time, and needing food that will warm your soul from the belly up, I recommend pizza.

Because even bad pizza is good pizza , and there’s almost always bound to be a pizza place at your airport. Heck, there’s almost always bound to be a Sbarro at your airport. From sea to shining sea, from Seattle Tacoma to JFK in NYC, Sbarro can be found dishing up large slices of gooey, foldable cheesy goodness. Is it the best and most authentic pizza you’ll ever have? No. But it is warm, reasonably priced, and quite easy to eat while hovering by the gate tracking the upgrades list for the next leg of your flight. Keep in mind that chains are successful because people are consistently giving them business, which says something about the quality of the food. Other reliable airport pizza chains include Famous Famiglia, Pizzeria Uno, and California Pizza Kitchen.

If you’re craving something a little less generic, many stateside airports do have airport locations of local favorites. If you’re lucky enough to travel through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta (ATL), you could enjoy a pie from Varasano’s Pizzeria, named by Conde Nast Traveler in their article “The Bets Airport Food in the World”. This acclaimed pizza joint boasts delectable offerings like Fontina Mushroom or Margherita di Bufala and other gourmet personal pies ranging from $9.95 to $12.95. Varasano’s also boasts a stocked piano bar with ample beer and wine choices. Not bad for a food court option out of Terminal A!

Good airport pizza can even be found throughout the world. If you have a slightly longer layover at Hong Kong International Airport, treat yourself to a sit-down meal at Pizza Express. This London based pizza restaurant does take 15-20 minutes to prepare your meal but the staff is accommodating and the restaurant overlooks the runway, providing you with dinner and a show.

Wherever you may travel, you can always count on the comfort of pizza to be waiting for you at the terminal. So grab a slice (or two…or three…), we won’t tell. Wishing you buon appetito and tasty travels!

Pro Tip: Looking for a unique pie to write home about in Hong Kong? Try the Peking Duck pizza from Pizza Express!

Image credit: www.varasanos.com

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