Welcome to Miami: nice airport, mediocre food

I will have been in eleven different airports on this trip, and they still fascinate me.  Airports reflect the cities they inhabit, but they also have that generic, institutional feel.  Like Miami’s airport, for example.  I had a layover there for an hour or so and needed some food.  They had the average pre-made sandwiches, hot dogs, and subpar baked goods, but they also had a Cuban quick service place.  Of course they do.  Cubans and their culture have greatly affected Miami’s history, so to have a Cuban eatery in the first and last place one might see when visiting Miami makes total sense.  I had to eat there.  When would I get to eat plantains in an airport again?

So I grabbed my cafeteria tray, metal fork, and plastic knife (I was in an airport), and sidled up to the line.  On the other side of the sneeze guard, there wasn’t some overworked but eager chef sauteeing fresh garlic and onions as Buena Vista Social Club played in the background.  There were metal pans filled with food and a lady in a paper hat staring at me.  I felt like I was back in my high school cafeteria.  I ordered the chicken with rice and plantains, and the lady slopped it on my plate.

That chicken might have been the dryest piece of meat I ever ate.  Leather would have had more moisture.  The plantains were overripe and overcooked.  The rice tasted okay, but screwing up white rice is pretty hard to do.  As I walked to my gate, full but disappointed, I came to a realization:  airport food might embody a city’s cuisine, but it’s still going to taste like airport food.

May 2010
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

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