USA TODAY has been running their 10Best Readers’ Choice awards since 2013. Categories run the gamut from cruise ships to romantic dining spots to holiday lights to gifts for road trippers and in 2016, they added categories that reflect airports. We got wind that voting for the airport categories are going on right now, so we wanted to give you a little more info, in case you’d like to vote for your favorites.
in the close to thirty years Sharon and I have known each other (Note from Sharon: holy crap, it HAS been that long!), we’ve traveled together a lot. We’ve learned several tips and tricks along the way, many of which we’ve shared here, that have made out travels easier and much more enjoyable. However, while having a conversation a few weeks ago I realized that I never have shared the single most brilliant travel question I’ve ever heard. I’ve been using this trick for longer than I’ve known Sharon and it’s helped me find some of the most amazing places we’ve ever gone to eat. To give proper credit, I have my father to thank for coming up with the question.
The more I’ve thought about the question over the years, the more brilliant it becomes. When I was younger, it was just something my dad said to hotel concierges but now that I’ve been using it for decades I can see the subtle elegance it conveys.
Joe and I are foodies so it’s always exciting for us to try out different restaurants when we’re traveling. Through the years, we’ve had some good luck in finding delicious and/or interesting places in Atlanta, Sedona, LAX, the greater Austin area, New Orleans (yeah, we visited a lot of bars there, too), Washington D.C. (vegan BBQ!) and even right here at home at WDW (hello, Victoria & Albert’s!) and MCO. In fact we’ve even been known to travel to some places specifically for a meal.
We’ve found a great way to try out a “new to us” restaurant, either when we’re home or when we’re traveling, is during Restaurant Week. That’s a set time during the year when a variety of restaurants in a city offer special 2, 3, 4 or sometimes even 5 course prix-fixe menus for the asking, oftentimes at prices much better than if you purchased items a la carte.
Here’s the current 2019 schedule of Restaurant Weeks across the country. Are your favorite cities included?:
I’ll admit one thing about traveling that Sharon and I have a real problem with is figuring out when to leave for the airport. We sit there and do the type of math where you know the answer and then try to figure out the number you started with.
Our last trip from JFK to home went like this: Our plane is at 4:00pm and boarding will start at 3:15p. We want to be at the gate before that and we don’t know how far of a walk it will be because we’re not super familiar with that airport, so figure we’re at the terminal gate area by 3:00pm. There might be a line for security (again, we don’t know the airport very well), so let’s be at the airport to check in our bags by at least 2:30pm. We had a hard time getting an AirTrain from the terminal to the LIRR on the way here, so we need to leave at least 20 minutes for that and there’s another 20 minute train ride from Penn Station. Leaving time for connections, buying train tickets and walking to the train station, we need to be out of the hotel by noon.
As it turned out, everything went smoothly and we were at the airport, bags checked and through security by 2 PM. Drats!
We were flying home on American so we were in Terminal 8. I have no lounge access with American so I pulled up the Priority Pass app and looked to see if there were any lounges in the terminal. What came up wasn’t a lounge at all, but a steakhouse.
When someone says New Orleans, one of the top things that people think of is the food. There are so many iconic dishes that the city is famous for, like gumbo, po-boys, muffaletta, beignets, pralines and jambalaya. It’s possible to plan a culinary adventure in the city, eating at iconic restaurants like Antoine’s, Galatoires, Brennan’s and Emeril’s and then hitting the spots claiming to have the “best” this and “world famous” that. We easily could have planned our trip totally around where we were going to eat but we didn’t do that. To my chagrin, I didn’t plan anything for the trip (besides setting up to have our parade). I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s ever done this and I thought I’d share what I learned from our make it up as we go along New Orleans adventure.
We didn’t hit anywhere too fancy because we didn’t bring the clothes for that and we’re not the type to go somewhere if we’re not going to be dressed appropriately. I’m also sorry that I don’t have many pictures of food, except for one location, because I’m not one to take a picture of everything I eat.