Airports, Airlines, Aviation

It’s Not Cheating – the Affair

By Adam Bush

In my previous blog, I talked about my torrid love affair with Vino Volo. I was in the thralls of love.

But then something changed in 2012.

I was flying to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) for a conference.  I landed in the C concourse.  As I hurried past all the strolling leisure travelers that to me seemed like they were moving in slow motion, I noticed something new – something that hadn’t been there when I used ORD as a home base for flying all over the country…and it was something kind of sexy. Wine glass chandeliers and wine pumps to ensure opened reds don’t go stale before their time.  That’s ok I said…it’s not Vino Volo and I went on my merry way. Three months later though I was back at ORD…and in typical fashion I was delayed.  In the C concourse.  Near this wine bar.

Wine Bar in the Airport

Well, I guess I could stop by for a taste, right?  I was thirsty.  Plus they had a full size piano playing next to it.  Why not?  Vino Volo isn’t here.  Who would know?  I came to find out her name is Beaudevin.  She serves great cold Australian Sauvignon Blancs and nice bold Cab Sav’s from California.  All with great attentive service.   Along with new restaurant concepts, HMS Host is starting to offer creative food dishes like a cheese and meat tray along with some good anti-pasta choices.  I better go I thought, or I might be in trouble.  It’s good that I don’t fly through ORD as frequently as I fly IAD so I won’t have this temptation calling out to me.

The Affair continues.

But then it happened again last month.  Delayed at ORD (that’s no surprise).  In the C concourse.  Near Beaudevin.  She is a small wine bar – best for grabbing a glass and less for eating.  That was trouble, because I didn’t need a place to eat.  Just a place to have a nice company-paid Cab Sav.  It was nice.  I think it will be ok – the food options aren’t as nice.  It’s not like Vino Volo and I are married anyways.  Besides, it’s not cheating if it’s in a different airport code. Or so I heard someone say once. Maybe I heard them say this in LAS (Las Vegas)?

Two weeks later though, I realized I was in trouble – no, that “we” might be in trouble.  A three hour layover at Houston (IAH) finally gave me some time to explore this airport beyond the decrepit and dimly lit B Concourse (though the brisket at Harlon’s BBQ there is quite tasty).  I made my way to the C concourse and discovered a whole new world.  A bevy of food options prevailed.  The set up and amazing choices of food at The Real Food Company tempted me – I loved all the different “food stations.”  What do you want…a fresh salad made to order?  A pizza?  BBQ?  Custom made sandwiched?  The whole concept of the Mango Taco Truck stopped me in my tracks.  Food trucks and tacos are good friends, right?  But alas I saw another siren in the sea.

Airport Wine Bar

Le Grand Comptoir and her stacks of beautiful wine bottles and long and lean wood paneled bar (drool!).  Similarly great wine options, but with something more…something I hadn’t seen outside of Vino Volo – amazing food choices.  I was hungry so I ordered the four cheese and jambon pizza (tarte).  It had a hint of oregano in every tasty bite.  I paired it with a great Malbec followed by a bold Cab Sav.  Couple this with great service and I knew it. I have found a(nother) new love.  But it’s still ok, right?  IAH doesn’t have a Vino Volo, which will always and forever be my first love.

There are so many great new options at airports around the world.  My journey started with Vino Volo, and then progressed to Beaudevin (which has expanded to several airports), and since then has also take me to Le Grand Comptoir—they all hold a special place in my heart, equal but different.  I look forward to discovering new ones every time I step into a new airport.

And this is why I like the idea of tripchi.  I want to hear the great discoveries of others and how it has helped them have a better airport experience.

Besides, if I know Vino Volo like I think I do…she’ll be cool with me seeing other airport wine bars.  As long it’s in a different airport code.

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