Vegan-Friendly Airports

Monday, June 21, 2010

First off, I want to say thank you for all of the support with my beloved dog passing this past week. It was a really hard thing to go through, and receiving the support that I did from all over really helped. So, thank you all so much for your words of kindness.

I travelled from Wisconsin to Washington, D.C. this weekend to spend some much needed time with my mom, where we shared many happy memories of the friend we had to say goodbye to. This was also the first time that I have travelled via airplane since going vegan (I like to drive wherever I go since flying is rarely a positive experience for me…I’ve even driven cross-country to avoid airports!) and needless to say, I was quite nervous about what my food options would be. So, I have put together a little rating system, if you will, for the airports that I travelled through:
Milwaukee, WI: F
Detroit, MI: A+++
Washington, Dulles: D-
Minneapolis/St. Paul: A

I left from the Milwaukee, WI airport, and let me tell you, they FAIL the vegan ratings. I found one place in the entire airport that sold a “veggie southwestern salad”. This salad’s description listed cheese, but I tried ordering it without the cheese. The guy then proceeds to tell me that all of the salads are pre-made and that they actually have chicken on them, too, because “nobody wants a salad without chicken.” Ummm…really?! I asked if he could make me one, and he said that they don’t stock the ingredients. So, starving Danielle had to wait, and pray that I’d have better luck during my layover in Detroit.

Let me just say, I left work that day at noon, was not able to grab lunch before driving the 90 minutes to Milwaukee (we were going to grab food before the boy dropped me off, but a bad traffic jam caused us to run a bit late), and so I had only had a small bowl of oatmeal the entire day. It was now around 5:30 when I arrived in Detroit, and I honestly thought I just might pass out (my own fault for not packing snacks, I know…but my head was in outer space when I prepared for this quick trip). I walked off the airplane, and knew that I had entered the Vegan “Oz” of airports…there was literally restaurant after restaurant, more than I had ever seen in an airport, and as I read every menu hanging outside, I realized that every single one not only offered vegan and vegetarian options, but clearly labeled them as such as well!! I was literally drooling after about ten restaurants, and since I had a few hours, I decided on the Mediterranean Grill located at gate A54 (if I recall!). I was sat quickly, greeted quickly, and since I had looked at the menu posted outside, I knew what I was going to order and quickly ordered the falafel pita platter with dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). My food was out in record time, and I quickly dug in. The super spicy falafel was like heaven in my mouth. Tucked away in a perfectly toasted pita, and stuffed with hummus, tomato and lettuce, and of course, plenty of falafel. And to top it all off, I had four massive dolmas awaiting my stomach. Even with how famished I was, I could hardly manage to finish ¾ of my meal so I went ahead and took the bill…$8.49?!?! This couldn’t possibly be right. A nice, sit-down restaurant in an airport I already knew was going to set me back around $15-20. But, I managed to sit down, have a beautiful meal presented to me for less than ten bucks!! I was so happy, and am actually looking forward to the next time I get to travel through Detroit, as there were so many delicious looking places that I cannot wait to try!

Mediterranean Grill, Detroit Metro Airport

On my way back, I left from the Washington D.C./Dulles airport. I honestly thought I’d be all set here, because, well, it’s a huge city, a massive airport, and I truly thought I would at least be able to find SOMETHING. Well, I was clearly mistaken. The ONLY think I was able to find was a mini carton of Silk Chocolate SoyMilk. I found this at a little coffee shop where I tried to get a plain bagel. The man at the counter asked what kind of spread I wanted on it, and I said I didn’t want any. He told me that the price includes it, and I said I don’t mind paying full price, but I don’t want any spread. I was told they couldn’t do this…what?! What kind of crazy rule is that?! So, after standing in line, I at least wanted something, so I picked up a carton of soymilk and bought that. Not too tasty (I hate anything with a milky texture, real milk or not), but it was something in my tummy until I got to my next destination.

I arrived in Minneapolis and was at first disappointed, as the only options I saw right away were the standard Burger King, McDonalds, and Starbucks. However, the closer I got to my next gate, the more options started popping up. I ended up eating at a little place directly at my gate called the French Meadow Bistro, as their foldout sign clearly exclaimed that their soup of the day was a Vegan Black Bean Chili. Obviously excited by the fact that they were so proud of their “vegan” chili, I stopped in. I took a look at their menu, and they had a plethora of vegan options, which were all organic as well. Yay! I ended up just getting an order of the chili, which came with a side of vegan sourdough and every single bite was a perfect little taste explosion in my mouth. Perfect. And at $4.95 for a cup and bread, it didn’t totally break the bank either.

French Meadow Bistro, Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport

So, these were my experiences at these four particular airports. Has anyone else had good/bad experiences at any other airports? Would love to hear suggestions!


Vegmom said...

Sorry about your loss, just found your blog from TKL site. I recently had a travel experience and the airports were actually, surprisingly Vegan friendly.

In the Las Vegas Airport I even found a place that made fresh Raw Juices and gave the lady a list of items that I wanted from their stash. Ended with the best Green Juice, EVER!

Like you, I want to support the places that have these things so I HAD to purchase a Vegan Cookie also *wink*

Danielle said...

Vegas? I've actually never been to that airport. Since I lived in LA, we would always drive the 3.5 hours, but now that I'm in the midwest, the next Vegas adventure is sure to take us through the airport. I'll remember the recommendation!!

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