My trip back to Toronto was silly and involved several transfers and a night spent at an airport. Even though airports mean I’m going somewhere, be it home or otherwise, I generally don’t like being in them. They also often mean standing in lines, being treated rudely, potentially paying for wifi, and not having anything to eat for the duration of my stopover beyond potato chips/trail mix, Subway or weird tinny flavoured cubed fruit.
PDX (Portland International) is easily one of my favourite airports (and I’m not the only one that thinks so, it’s been named as Conde Naste best airport for business travelers repeatedly), with its free Wi-Fi and ample plug-ins, and vegan cookies (Mac and Jac), and the secret security line that no one ever seems to go to (p.s. it’s at Concourse C.) it’s hard not to get cozy and pass the time internetting while snacking on a macadamia nut chocolate cookie.
My usual experience with airport food is that there are often decent options to choose from before security, but once you’re past it, it’s not that great. Other than the usual semi-DIY/creative ordering that I’m pretty sure vegan folks have become familiar with, and chips and cookies and juice, nothing jumped out at me, and it’s weird, because you’d think… I’m in Portland!!!
My next airport of the day was Minneapolis-St.Paul (MSP), I tend not to look at those little guides that they have at airports because I never find them very useful, but on a whim, I thought… why not, and oddly enough, they have little green V’s next to places that have vegetarian options.
Of course, lacto-ovo-vegetarian options aren’t exactly hard to do, but in my quick search for vegan ones (at 8:55pm when almost everyone was getting ready to close) I did find at least one place with something specifically listing the good V word on the menu – French Meadow Bakery (which is located across from Checkpoint One, in “the Mall” at MSP, i.e., after security.) They had a vegan black bean chill, or at least they usually do, just not so soon before closing. When I asked if they had anything else that was vegan friendly, the server said no. Shucks.
So where did I end up going in MSP? Subway. The only place open 24hrs. (And if you pick up the MSP dining guide at any of the big maps, there is a coupon for a dollar off a footlong.)
Then I rushed to my gate, jumped on a plane a flew over to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). My advice about the Dallas/Fort Worth airport… don’t get there after midnight, because you wont be eating anything. Ways to entertain yourself include riding around on the light rail (aka SkyLink) to all of the different terminals, sleeping on giant (probably leather) chairs in Terminal E, and checking out some of the art.
12 hours later I was back home in Toronto. I learned that MSP isn’t a terrible airport to stop in if you’re there before 8pm and vegan, Subway is still an option and if you’re really hungry, it’ll probably be really tasty, DFW has an interesting art collection and an LRT that will take you around in circles for hours (24/7), as well as giant chairs that I wish I had in my house (in a non leather version).
My Canadian customs experience was atypically nice and easy, the guard didn’t even make a face at “blogger conference,” and all of my luggage actually made it to my destination.
Getting home felt really really nice, and I knew that in a week or so, I’d have another vegtastic thing to be excited about, the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival, plus all the other stuff just starting up in the city (Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto Indie Film Fest (where vegucated was having their world premiere), community festivals, etc) So much to look forward to.