The Best Business Travel Bites

May 21 2009 by Chris McGinnis
Comments (8)

Business-Man Eat.jpgIf I were not a travel writer, I'd be a food writer. My gastronomic passion is wide ranging...I'm fascinated at how eating at airports has evolved in recent years. I even frequently arrive early just to see what's on the menu. In-flight fare has never bothered me all that much and I enjoy the break from the monotony of a long flight.

I'm an arbiter of taste when it comes to the hotel breakfast buffet. I'm happy to know that May is National Hamburger month. I love judging the quality of the "krinkle kut" French fries and homemade pies at a roadside diner as much as the foie gras at the latest, greatest bistro in New York or Paris.

All of that brings me to this question: What are the best foods for business travelers? I've got some ideas, but would like to hear yours, too. Please post your favorites or comments below!

HANDLES: In the era of swine flu, clean hands are of utmost importance. But when you're in transit, touching escalator handrails, doorknobs, gas pump nozzles, pens, seat backs or dirty luggage, hands get filthy. And there's not always a bottle of Purelle or a sink nearby. For that reason, I'm a big fan of food with handles when I'm on the go. Corn dogs, grilled meat skewers, frozen fruit bars, those ubiquitous and yummy Dove ice cream bars. A long, thin baguette sandwich that I can wrap in a napkin also works well. All these foods with handles serve business travelers well when one hand is holding a suitcase or briefcase, and there's only one hand free to eat with.

CUPS. From a hygienic standpoint, a meal in a cup is another good idea. I can devour a nice cup of warm soup or chili held in one hand while the other hand is on the steering wheel or roller bag. It's great when you find a cup of freshly-cut fruit to toss back. I love those McSalad Shakers that McDonalds has ingeniously packaged in clear plastic cups that can be eaten with single hand (and fit in the car cup holder).

COMFORT. I'm always game for a fine dining experience but when I'm on a long trip, I really appreciate comfort foods. A sign that says "fresh homemade pie" will nearly always prompt me to pull over. If there's a homemade soup on the menu at a roadside truck stop, I'll grab it. (I'm particularly partial to the Country Market & Cookery diners at Flying J Truckstops along interstates.) I'll nearly always jump for a quick cup of "chowdah" at Boston-Logan airport. When I'm changing planes at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, I make it a point to grab a cup full of fried okra, a fried chicken drumstick (it's got a handle!) and a sweet tea at Paschal's, which has been serving comfort foods to Atlantans for at least 50 years.

So road warriors, what are YOUR favorite road foods?

Categories : Road Warriors

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    8 Comments

    By Jon Kiger on May 22, 2009 10:54 AM

    Chris- I agree that it's fun to stake out local places. I'm always discouraged when I ask at the front desk of a hotel about places to eat and they default to the chains that tend to be within a block or two. I really press them - after all I have a car, no one else (usually) to worry about so what's the big deal with driving 15-20 minutes? Fortunately online sites help fill the void when looking for this information.

    I also don't mind the inflight food. After all, it's produced under less than ideal circumstances and it does break up the monotony of the flight.

    -Jon

    By Bartow Rainey on May 22, 2009 11:55 AM

    You hit the nail on the head. When I have an early morning flight from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, I alway leave enough time to get a FULL breakfast at Paschal's. I rarely eat fried bacon and grits but there's something comforting in an uncomfortable airport about a plate of their greasy but GOOD food. And the bisquits!!! Great!!

    By Leigh Almond on May 22, 2009 12:57 PM

    Hi Chris, I am with you on everything, even airplane food! Now my new thing is hot tea, which I find very comforting in hot or cold weather, especially as it is also good for you. And speaking of handles, Texas does the corn on the cob with the husk pulled back to make a handle and then choices of what to season the corn. Yumm. They also do a fritos pie that comes in it's own container. A single serving bag of fritos is slit down the middle and then chili is poured in. It is served with cheese and onions and jalepenos. Tacos can go the same route as well, as burritos. When I lived in Texas I discovered many food items designed for eating while mobile.

    By Malcolm McNeill on May 22, 2009 1:54 PM

    I fly frequently out of JFK, and have found the food in several terminals has upgraded nicely over the past year or so.

    JetBlue's new T5 has excellent choices beyond the fast food that encompass really good salads, sandwiches, soups and smoothies that are nutritious and not just tasty.

    While you can no longer find a Balducci's Food Lovers Market in Manhattan after the last 2 just closed, there is one at Delta's Terminal 3 that carries excellent choices of unusual salads, fresh sliced fruit, and great sandwiches (like a Prosciutto, Pear and Gorgonzola Ficelle). They also have great healthy snacks in containers ready to go.

    While away, I had a rule to never eat in the hotel, but Iíve relaxed that restriction as more properties have leased out space to excellent restaurants. Even room service has increased the amount of healthy choices in most properties which I find really convenient.

    By Melissa Libby on May 23, 2009 9:30 AM

    Popeyes! I use my time in the Atlanta airport to indulge in my favorite guilty pleasure. It's the only time I allow myself to eat that yummy, greasy chicken, those fluffy, buttery biscuits, and that creamy coleslaw.

    By Chris on May 24, 2009 2:20 PM

    My favorite thing about Popeyes at ATL is when the lady behind the counter calls you "baby." Love that!

    By John on May 27, 2009 1:34 PM

    Great post

    By Alex Walker on May 27, 2009 3:22 PM

    Great post!


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