Beyond Seattle 2011: April (Good Bologna)

I’m in airports frequently, with O’Hare in Chicago one of my least favorites for food. So I was excited to learn that Rick Bayless opened Tortas Frontera in Terminal 1. Using locally sourced ingredients, Tortas serves a number of the namesake griddle-baked sandwiches, as well as molletes, which are the open-faced variety. Tortas is a bit on the expensive side, but maybe the best airport option at this price point. My favorites have been the pepito (beer-braised beef short ribs, pickled jalapenos, chihuahua cheese, black beans, cilantro crema, and arugula) and the cochinita pibil (Yucatan pulled pork, black beans, pickled red onions, and habanero sauce), pictured here:


The plane-change in Chicago was due to a trip to Columbus, Ohio. Here I enjoyed lunch at Skillet. (Urban. Rustic. Food.) A really fabulous little place doing food right. Along with spicy tomato soup with gorgonzola picante, I had an amazing fried “bologna” sandwich made with griddled Daniele mortadella on brioche, with grainy mustard, smoked provolone, and spicy pickled giardiniera:


From here, a stop at Pistacia Vera for some great bakery treats. In addition to sampling a macaron and a kouign amman, I bought a couple of things to bring back to Seattle, but they became emergency rations for my flight delay the next morning. A cheerful little place:


Later that day, I was excited to visit North Market with all its merchants and eateries. Still stuffed from lunch, and with thoughts of dessert dancing in my head, I figured a quick bowl of pho would do the trick. This one, from Lan Viet, was just okay, but I enjoyed sitting at the counter and talking with the workers and the other customers:


And then it was time for ice cream at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. I’d heard a lot about Jeni’s, with its local mission and pride in quality. There are lots of interesting flavors, and after the worker indulged me in allowing me to sample most of them, I settled on one scoop of cherry lambic sorbet (bright and delicious) and one scoop of corn syrup custard with whiskey and pecans (rich, sending me into a complete food coma):


A few days later, I was in Syracuse and made a quick stop at Dinosaur Bar-B-Q:


I feel like I’m back in college in Ithaca when I visit Dinosaur, partly due to the proximity, and partly due to the tunes, as The Who and The Kinks and such play on the speakers. Good vibe and decent food, as I went all-in on my pork rib, chicken, and beef brisket platter. I didn’t care much for the rough-cut slaw, and the baked beans were somewhat gloppy, but I did like the Cajun Foreplay Spice Rub and the Sensuous Slathering Sauce:


I flew home from upstate New York via Newark, and absolutely famished at the airport, settled for an early morning Smashburger. (small. sizzle. savor.) It’s convenient, it’s fast, and it’s perfectly mediocre (pictured is the All-American, with American cheese):


Newark needs a Tortas Frontera. Actually, most airports do.

Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless on Urbanspoon

Skillet, Rustic. Urban. Food. on Urbanspoon

Lan Viet on Urbanspoon

Pistacia Vera on Urbanspoon

Jeni's Ice Creams (Short North) on Urbanspoon

Jeni's Ice Creams on Urbanspoon

Jeni's Ice Creams (Grandview Heights) on Urbanspoon

Jeni's Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

Jeni's Ice Creams on Urbanspoon

Dinosaur BBQ on Urbanspoon


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