A Proper Pre-Boarding Menu

While sharing nibbles from my trip to Seattle last month, I neglected to mention a delightful epicurean experience in the most unlikely of places -- the airport.

In all fairness, Sea-Tac, the airport serving the Seattle/Tacoma, Wash. area, offers a variety of dining options that keep sub-par nacho opportunities to a minimum. Mister MA and I were flying cross country on Southwest, which means stocking the carry-on baggage pantry for the long airborne journey.

Little did we know that after the security line we were in store for a groovy wine bar offering tempting edibles to take on board. The delicious find in question is the cleverly named Vino Volo ("volo" means flight in Italian), a brilliant new concept now available in five airports around the country, including two in the Washington area.

In fact, the very first Vino Volo opened its doors in September, 2005, at Dulles (Concourse C, United Airlines), followed by an outpost at BWI (Concourse A, home to Southwest Airlines). Although I haven't been lucky enough to belly up at either local location, the Seattle spot is like a little oasis, sleekly designed with a decidedly calm feel. There are at least 12 wines available by the glass, including local pours (so at Dulles, you'd probably have a chance to sip on something from a Virginia vineyard), and if you've got time to kill, two-ounce wine flights.

We had just enough time for one glass and ordered an artisanal cheese plate for the flight, a much tastier alternative than the Lorna Doone sampler passed out by the flight attendants. We also had a choice of cured meats, smoked salmon and a chicken sandwich on focaccia. Everything felt so un-airporty. What a concept. Moreover, the Vino Volos have been strategically placed after security lines, which means you can buy a bottle of wine to take home without worry of it being confiscated.

Earlier this month, New York's JFK airport got in on the Vino Volo action, in the new American Airlines terminal. Apparently, Taste Inc., the San Francisco-based entrepreneurs behind this stroke of brilliance, have more airports on the brain, so hopefully soon, we will have no more excuses to drink bad wine and eat sub-par food whenever we fly the friendly skies. Life is too short, right?

By Kim ODonnel |  September 28, 2007; 8:27 AM ET Travel
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I'm glad you had a chance to sip and sample the brillance of Vino Volo. I'm a frequent business traveler (3-4 trips a month) and always stop by when I can.

You touched on a new pet peeve of mine which is food, especially smelly food, being brought onto the plane. While I don't think that I would have any problem with your's and Mr. MA's cheese platter, I am becoming increasingly frustrated with all manner of the various foodstuffs and the lack of manners of my fellow passengers.

Two months ago, I sat next to a mother and 5 years old child. As soon as the wheels went up and the tray tables went down, the mother brought out (I'm not kidding) spaghetti. You can imagine what happened to the child's portion (and if not, it ended up in his and my seats.)

Maybe you and the Travel bloggers could do a joint blog on this. Thanks for letting me vent.

Posted by: minniwanca | September 28, 2007 10:27 AM

There's also an Ivar's in Sea-Tac. Yum!

Posted by: MBinDC | September 28, 2007 1:18 PM

NICE! I never would have guessed there would be good airport food. I always pack granola bars & gatorade (I guess I would buy one after security now) as snacks. Then I eat a huge meal at home before we leave. That way, I'm just not hungry.

Posted by: DC Cubefarm | September 28, 2007 1:33 PM

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