Monday, January 10, 2011

Why I Don't Eat On Planes. Or Anywhere Near An Airport.

Is it just me, or has flying gotten crazier these days? Back in October I flew from Orlando, Florida to Lexington, Kentucky. Since it was on the way, we made a three-hour stop in Detroit. (Which, of course, makes complete sense if the booking agent doesn't own a map.)

After counting the layover and early arrival time to participate in the new TSA security procedures (a choice of full-frontal nude photos that may or may not wind up on Facebook or an intimate body search conducted by someone who has been trained in such matters by studying full-frontal nude photos on Facebook), it took me almost nine hours to fly to a city I could've driven to in eleven.

And the price of this convenience? Around $300.

I was smarter when I had to fly to Kentucky a second time in December. This time I chose Allegiant Air. They offer non-stop flights from Orlando to Kentucky and they're dirt cheap.

Roundtrip cost? $79.

’Course if you want food, you have to pay extra. But after looking at the sandwich that the guy beside me ordered, I figured it came out to around $3 for each slice of bread and another $2 for each slice of ham and each piece of lettuce. The Saran Wrap it came in probably added another couple of bucks. Purchasing a sandwich that was actually made on the day of the flight was also a little extra, so I passed on the food.

Anyway, since I saved so much on airfare I decided to forgo the Standard TSA Body Search and upgraded to the Enhanced Pat-Down Option. I even slipped the woman assigned to me an extra $10 if she would warm her hands first.

That was the best $10 I ever spent.

Unfortunately, back when I flew to Kentucky the first time, I not only skimped on the $10 hand-warming fee, I even took advantage of the $25 discount they give if you opt for Basic Groping in lieu of the Standard Body Search. I was rewarded with a visit from a guy whose name tag read Boris. He was a double hand amputee and sported stainless steel claws at the end of his arms.

That was the worst $25 I ever saved.

(Note to self: Obviously, 'Please be gentle' when translated into Ukrainian means 'Is that all you got, ugly man?')

After applying a few strategically placed Band-Aids, I joined the other passengers and flew to Detroit so that we could all de-plane and wait for our flight to Kentucky. It was around dinner time and I was hungry. At first I thought about calling up a friend to meet me at a restaurant downtown, but all of the taxis at the airport had been hijacked by masked thugs with semi-automatics needing rides to the next pillaging.

So I resigned myself to grab a bite at the airport. After all, they have restaurants with familiar names like Ruby Tuesday, Fuddruckers and TGI Friday’s. (I rarely eat at places like these but I was hungry and the fast food options were even worse - can anyone say Popeyes?) So I wandered from one restaurant to the other checking out their menus. I recognized the pictures but I sure didn't recognize the prices. I hate paying the going rate for casual restaurant food as it is, but when they jack up the prices like these guys did? Fah-ged-aboud-it.

Yep, I sure learned my lesson. So on my December trip I successfully smuggled in some bistro pork tenderloin, roasted red potatoes, and a ramekin of creme brulee in the lining of that ten-gallon hat I bought in Texas last year.

Boris the stainless steel TSA groper may be good. But he's not that good.

Say, would you like a glass of Merlot with your dish? I got a bottle in my sock.

Bon appetit!



PREP: 10 minutes       COOK: 40 minutes


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2” by 2” strips
3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced


1. Melt butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic
and sauté for 1 minute. Arrange tenderloin strips in one layer. Cook,
turning occasionally, until browned on both sides.
2. Stir in tomatoes and season with basil, salt, and pepper. Cook until
mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cover.
3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in another skillet over medium heat. Sauté
peppers and onion until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 8 minutes.
4. Stir peppers and onions into pork tenderloin and tomatoes. Continue
cooking until pork tenderloin strips are melt-in-your-mouth tender,
about 20 - 30 minutes.


  1. A crack up as always! Thankfully this year I didn't have to deal with the airports and opted to drive 2300 miles in two days from Houston to Ohio. As for that pork tenderloin... get in my belly! Sounds fantastic. Glad you were able to fly for both business and pleasure. Haha!

  2. @Pretend Chef - Thanks, Rochelle. Glad you enjoyed. And you're more than welcome to the tenderloin. I'm just glad you brought along the Smoked Salmon and Cardamom dip and the crackers since I didn't pack an appetizer. :-)

  3. I like your funny style of writing... Very amusing :)
    I have had those sandwiches in planes.... I found them to be stale and horrible! what a waste of money! So, now i just carry my own

  4. @cake. Thanks Abeer! If you'd like, I'll let you know where I got my hat at. It'll allow you to bring more than a sandwich on board. LOL

  5. What a scream - thanks for the laughs ! I've had my fair share of airport nightmares recently, thankfully no Boris as yet...

  6. Glad you stopped by, Mimi (or Katie? lol). I try to post every Sunday...okay, sometimes feel free to drop by often. There's always room at this table. I'll be sure to save you some seats. :-)

  7. Extreme! There's no need to take the airplane with such inconveniences...

    That pork recipe souds terrific!



  8. The less I end up having to fly, the happier I will be. What a great post. Thanks for the smile and the great recipe. The tenderloin sounds scrumptious.

  9. You crack me up!!, I can appreciate the whole flying procedure that you have to go through. When I lived in Alaska, and had to travel to Maine to visit my parents~it was literally and ALL DAY affair, and that is with the smoking and drinking on the flight~sans Sept.11.2001, now I could imagine I would have to type out my own itinerary for the flying alone., be patted, x-rayed and interrogated. Glad I am rooted now. Thank you for sharing. :)

  10. @Rosa. Exactly why I don't fly if I don't have to. Especially here in Florida. I can drive to Miami faster than it would take me to fly there from Jacksonville. Can you believe that? LOL

  11. @Kristen. Thanks for dropping by. And yes, you have to try this pork tenderloin recipe. It gets a two-thumbs up every time I make it.

  12. @Paige. Glad I could crack you up - at least I accomplished something useful today :-) And I can't imagine what it would be like flying from Alaska to Maine. Man, you must rock!

  13. First time on your blog and I'm addicted already, what could be better than a story that makes you laugh, and in the process gets you the perfect stomach workout so you could try that awesome pork tenderloin recipe! I have not tried pork tenderloin (yet), but the recipe and the description make me want to try it right now!!

    Speaking about Airplane food, I must add that it gets the signature bland and cardboard-like taste, and those sky high prices only because of the proofing treatment each ingredient goes through before it is loaded on the plane! As we gain altitude in an airplane, our ability to taste and smell reduces significantly since the layers of Oxygen in the atmosphere thin out! As for the blandness, there are only so many ingredients that can be carried on an airplane, like a red wine reduction would likely have a toxic effect on a passenger at 30,000 feet as compared to sea level.

    But for what it's worth, they'd better serve their passengers some yummy treats nonetheless if they have to send them through the Standard Boris Procedure ;) Else I'd have to get more details on that special hat too :)

    Loved reading you! I am off to the next post already :)

  14. It is kind of ridiculous that in most cases it is just cheaper to drive, especially when it is more than two people. As far as your recipe, I love pork tenderloin and yours sounds delicious!

  15. @Caramel Wings. Thanks for stopping by! And if you do find that you need one of those big old Stetsons, let me know, I can get you a deal :-)

  16. @Annie You're right about flying, especially if it's the whole fam. Unless I get a killer deal (like Allegient or sometimes Southwest) we just drive and make an adventure of it!

  17. Ha, You crack me up. I used to have to fly weekly for work, I am so glad I am not subjected to that torture anymore!!!

  18. @Cookette. Fly weekly, Melissa? Geez, you must've gone through quite a few boxes of band-aids! LOL

  19. Funny ... I always think I'd pay up for the airline food if it were nice. You are so right - just junk that you wouldn't want to eat. If they spent time preparing nice food like your bistro pork I bet they'd sell a lot more :)

  20. @Amy. And I went easy on describing that sandwich lest I incur a lawsuit lol. But if the airlines do buckle under to those of us like you and me who want real food on our flights, what am I going to do with my 10-gallon hat?!

  21. Travel food has become such a joke. Trying to find something tasty and healthy - you're were totally spot on - forgetaboutit.
    Love your idea. I'll have to steal it. And that recipe!

  22. @BakingWithoutABox. Fuhgetaboutit! LOL

  23. Oy. Flying and I aren't friends, but not because of security. I haven't flown internationally in years though (only within Canada) and am kind of interested to see how things have changed. I'm usually too out of it on Ativan to realize anything that happens during the entire airport and flight experience. If pat downs and body screenings could prevent pilot and mechanical errors, I might feel better about it. Until then...

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful stores and recipes!

  24. @Leanne. Thanks for dropping by! I agree, if pat downs and screenings could also prevent pilot/mechanical errors, that could make a difference in traveler attitude. :-) And if those same procedures could also improve the food, I think it would be a no-brainer for folks. lol! (PS. I read it as 'stories' mind filled in the blanks, I guess. Take care!

  25. Oh I do love airport and plane food. "We have 2 day old meals for $10 and one day old meals for $20" I can still remember when plane food was actually edible. Those days are obviously gone.

    I used to be a frequent traveller, and didnt mind the flights. There was once a time when the big mac index in the airport matched the city you were in. Those times are no more, guess all the airports got hit by a big case of inflation.

    My favorite airport food incident:
    On My last trip back from England through Chicago, I was served a hot cup of tea in a beer mug. Gotta love it!

  26. @K. Belfield. Too funny! Those were the days, eh? And yes, you gotta love the hot tea in the beer mug! LOL

    Thanks for stopping by, I try to post weekly so feel free to come by often.