I'm planning on wrapping up the Celebration of Food focus soon, but I keep getting inspiration for food-related topics!
Last night, I was in the Detroit airport for over three hours. But guess what? It was probably one of the most pleasurable times I've ever spent en route.
Why? I came across a place in the terminal, post-security, called Vino Volo -- http://www.vinovolo.com/. This is a wine lounge featuring wine, small plates, and comfy leather chairs. It is the polar opposite of the typical airport fast food kind of place. Here is culture, beauty, relaxation -- through wine. To add to the experience, the lounge faces huge windows to the west. As I sat there, the sun came through in the most beautiful shades as it began to set.
First I enjoyed a "California Kings" wine flight. Three glasses were brought to me on a narrow metal tray, underneath each glass a description of the respective wine. I got to taste a very nice Merlot, Cabarnet Sauvignon, and Old Vine Zinfandel. With that, I had an order of their tasty ziti gratin, made with three cheeses and truffle oil -- grown up mac and cheese. Then I tried their Italian wine flight and a small chicken sandwich. Mmmm...Montepulciano.
All the while, I was able to sit back and relax, savor the wines, and pretty much forget I was in the airport...except for seeing the travelers gliding by on the moving walkways. I had a great phone conversation with my parents, and I was able to just enjoy the moment.
The atmosphere reminded me a tiny bit of my favorite Italian cafe/restaurant in Berlin, Artusia on Ernst-Reuter-Platz. Artusia was another part of that August of 2002 in Berlin. During the day, when I was researching at the Technische Universitaet library, I would take a break every once in a while at Artusia. They had just opened, so they had a number of wonderful special offers, including Caffe Machiato for 1 Euro. (And this was real Italian coffee -- not Starbucks attempts! Imagine that, priced perfectly for a student!) I met Tanja there sometimes, and occasionally, we would have a light lunch with a glass of wine and an amazingly fresh salad. There I learned the secret for simple, incredible dressing: high quality olive oil drizzled on, followed by balsamic vinegar (from Modena, of course), some salt, and fresh ground pepper. These ingredients were brought to you at the table, so you could dress the salad yourself.
Even though Vino Volo wasn't the same as Artusia, it brought back memories I had not thought of in years. And it was wonderful in its own right. There are branches in select airports around the country, so next time you travel, keep an eye out!