Airport Chow Ritual: NYC Airports

Posted in At the Terminal, Domestic US, JFK

Everyone has their own habits and customs when it comes to eating in airports. Whether it’s the hidden McDonald’s with the shortest lines or that local place with the airport kiosk serving up items just as good as the original, Airport Chow Ritual highlights the places to hit in various terminals around the world.

Since this is the first edition of the Airport Chow Routine, it feels like cheating that I’m writing about something that’s not available in the airport. That said, every time I’m in New York, I follow the same routine on my departing flight. Just before I leave for the airport, I stop at the closest bagel place to wherever I’m staying and pick up a bagel and cream cheese. Specifically, a toasted egg bagel with scallion cream cheese. Sometimes I’ll add lox, sometimes I’ll go leave it off. I take the bag, throw it into my backpack and head to the airport. Today, that airport was JFK. While I sat on the C, then the A, then the Airtrain, I kept my backpack close to me. There was just a faint smell of bagel (okay, fine, it was probably the lox I was smelling), but it was so comforting to me.

After I made my way through security at Terminal 8, I hurried to my gate and looked out the huge glass windows at all of the new American planes departing. As I took my first bite of that beautiful flavor combination – the sharp bite of the scallions washing out the smoky lusciousness of the salmon, all off-set by the dense egg dough of the bagel – I couldn’t help but nod my head. Yes, I was saying. This is New York to me. This is what it feels like to say goodbye to the City That Never Sleeps.

Whether I’m at JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark, the experience is always the same: saying goodbye with a city’s iconic food is the perfect way to put a fine point on the end of a trip. Thank you, New York bagel. You mean more to me than you’ll ever know.

What’s your Airport Chow Ritual, Fly&Diners? Tell me in the comments below.




  1. Airport Chow Ritual. Too Funny. Yes, like many other frequent flyers, I have my own – sometimes by airport, but also by brand. I never miss ordering a Mango Madness at Jamba Juice (and I never think of getting one outside of an airport). I never miss a train to Terminal A at DFW to visit Pappadeaux’s and also I rarely miss an opportunity when connecting through DFW to visit Terminal D and do a margarita shootout between Cool River, Reata Grill, Cantina Lareado and Blue Mesa. Also, through LHR I almost always want to arrive early to take train to T5 and enjoy Wagamamma’s and ORD is an easy ritual … T1 and T3 for Tortas Frontera and like you I have never connected through ORD without a bag of popcorn from Garrett’s. I have a ritual at every common airport I fly through including my #1 ritual at CDG and NCE: pastry at Paul (I both eat it there AND order takeaway).
    This is a really, really bad topic to get this blog started – really (I’ll be back, really)

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