For years, my pre-flight ritual whenever hoping on a jet at LAX was the same: Give the self-shaming part of my consciousness an early exit for the day, get in the line at McDonald's, and order up a 10-piece Chicken McNugget. (Sweet and sour sauce, please.) The reason for this tradition was two-fold: (1) Getting on a plane, for me, is inherently scary, so I'd always be walking the terminal with the "we're all gonna go sometime anyway, might as well have some fun while we're here" mentality; (2) LAX simply didn't have a lot more to offer. There were fast food options you could "trust" (meaning, the taste, not necessarily the quality) or small shops that offered a sandwich or salad that, more often than not, was no better than whatever's in the bargain bin at 7/11.
But food-inclined travelers may have something to look forward to now.
In an announcement that certainly looks a bit, let's say, coincidental following the release of a report that ranked the healthiest airports in regards to their food options -- a report that showed LAX embarrassingly tied for 10th in the nation, behind such airports as Las Vegas McCarran, Chicago O'Hare, Miami International, and Detroit Metropolitan -- the folks at LAX have decided to get a little more modern when it comes to airport cuisine:
LAX is opening its doors starting this year to some of the city's signature restaurants, including Larder at Tavern, Cole's and Ford's Filling Station. A rotating cast of food-truck vendors including Kogi's is expected to operate out of a space with a mock truck decor. [Mark] Peel, who closed Campanile on La Brea Avenue in the fall after 23 years, is opening an airport version of the high-class restaurant. The lucky terminals include Tom Bradley International and Terminal 4, home to American Airlines.
Adding it all up, there's going to be an additional 60 dining and retail options coming into the airport. Other restaurants getting an LAX charter -- to use Sons of Anarchy-speak -- will be Umami Burger, Border Grill and the caps-key-missing folks at ink.spot. Despite the lack of an In-N-Out still -- an oversight that desperately needs to be corrected -- things are about to get pretty exciting in the food department at those two terminals.
What's awfully nice about the whole thing isn't that they're just responding to criticism of having no quality options by simply putting in a new Wolfgang Puck's or some other name-dropping eatery and calling it a day. Instead, they're actually taking established Los Angeles icons and bringing them to those making a first impression of the city. "Get a little taste of L.A. during your short layover," seems to be the thought process here.
Sure, it's certainly annoying that it took L.A. this long to get behind the new "airport food isn't airport food anymore" movement. (Seriously, if you've left L.A. via plane in the past half-decade, it's almost been annoying seeing the food options available at the next airport.) It's in keeping with the city's tradition of letting everyone else take a new food trend out for a spin before trusting it completely. (See: Craft beer, Vietnamese food, specialty cocktails, etc.) But luckily, as always, when the city does finally commit to an idea and embrace the future, they do it up right.