Casey and I don’t have platinum status for airlines, but we are frequent flyers. We’re usually chasing the best deal, so we hit different destinations with different airlines. This means we’ve been to a lot of airport bars and eaten a lot of bad airport food. Most of them are more or less interchangeable, but there are two in the US that stand out.

The worst

Zatarain’s Kitchen, NOLA

Did your mom feed you Zatarain’s mixes as an alternate option to Hamburger Helper? Somehow they have not yet gone bankrupt, despite tasting like rice seasoned with trash. Be prepared with exact change, as your server is never going to come back.

The best

4th Street Vine, Long Beach, CA

I have not yet been to Long Beach, but let me say that my stop-over at the Long Beach Airport was the absolute best part of my trip to Alaska. Aside from Thorn’s Showcase Lounge and the unexpectedly fantastic Anchorage Museum, my experience in Alaska was pretty terrible. Anyway, Long Beach Airport is fantastic. It has two tiny sections separated by a lovely patio. They’ve brought in local cafes to run the airport restaurants, so there’s actually good food and a nice drink selection. You can drink cocktails and eat tapas while watching the planes land. Win.

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