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There are many options for a meal at CDG, but when one of them is Frenchy’s Bistro, it’s an easy decision. Gilles Epié was given a Michelin star when he was only 22, and was the chef at the famous l’Orangerie in Los Angeles. It was a fitting place to eat before my flight at a restaurant run by a chef with a long history tied to Los Angeles.

As you can see from the menu, prices are very reasonable for a quality meal inside an airport. Set menus promise that you will be served within 30 minutes so you can be sure to make your flight at the gate just a few steps away.

My friend ordered the pasta special which was a filling dish with the cream sauce and cheese. It was not particularly noteworthy, but a good option for vegetarians.

I chose the classic Steak Frites with salad and a glass of wine, all for under $25 USD. The steak was tender and cooked rare as I requested, served with a light red wine sauce, the fries were crisp and hot, and a small green salad with a vinaigrette on the side made for a classic French bistro lunch.

Part of me will always be in Paris, no matter where my physical address may be 🙂

Paul Martin’s is about halfway between the South Bay and Los Angeles, so it was my last meal stop before returning home from my 3 day Beach Odyssey. It’s also very close to the airport (LAX), so it would be a great place to stop for a meal during a layover. I met my friend Shelly here and since she was pregnant with her second child, this was both a belated birthday and a prechild celebration.

Shelly had a cranberry and soda with lemon and said she was glad to get a different taste than her usual order of an Arnold Palmer (half iced tea and half lemonade). Shelly’s drink order made me want to try a Bistro “Champagne” lemonade made with house infused meyer lemon vodka, lemon juice and a touch of fresh basil topped with Piper Sonoma bubbles for $9. It was a refreshing balanced drink which had a nice minty taste (from the basil). Perfect for a hot day.

Shelly chose the soup and salad combo for $13 with the roasted tomato soup, cream finished with fresh basil pesto. It was so good, she literally pulled it away from the busboy who wanted to take it away with only a few spoonfuls left!

She also ordered a Caesar salad with chicken addition ($3). It had so much chicken compared to the romaine that it was more of a chicken breast with salad addition.

I chose the grilled prawn salad, with butter lettuce, pt. reyes blue cheese, candied walnuts, apples, maple vinaigrette for $16. This was a great combination, although I would have substituted goat cheese or feta for the blue cheese. The salad ingredients would have better suited red meat or even poultry, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The prawns were perfectly grilled and the dressing coated without overwhelming the salad.

It was great to see my friend and have a good meal. The only sad part was leaving the beach and saying goodbye to my friend, but that just means it’s time to plan another trip and another visit!
Paul Martin's American Grill on Urbanspoon

I am back from my trip to Greece, so my upcoming posts will be about my trip to Santorini and Athens (with lots of photos for those who wish to travel vicariously).

My trip to Greece started at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, the ultra modern British Airways transportation hub which features shops like Harrod’s selling everything from Thierry Mugler dresses to Lulu Guiness handbags.

Of course I did shop, but my main pastime is food, and with Caviar House in the terminal, I had to stop by for a taste (that is water, not vodka in the picture).

They offer a great selection caviar tastings, smoked salmon, or seafood plates (I opted for the seafood salad since I didn’t want to blow my vacation budget on my airport layover). Considering that I was in an airport in London, this salad was actually quite decent, with fresh greens and tender seafood (about $25 USD); I was not wowed by it, but the staff was so friendly and the location so animated, that I would make this a stop again if I had time to eat or have a drink in Heathrow.

Because Caviar House is associated with Prunier, the French chcolatier in this airport endeavor, they serve their coffees with a taste of their fine dark chocolate; anyone wanting more than a taste can buy some at the shop across from the restaurant to take home (I resisted).

My five hour layover gave me enough time to actually have another light meal before boarding, so I opted for a salad at Plane Food, Gordon Ramsey’s chic take away or eat in restaurant, figuring I had to try his food even if I hated his personality. The space is beautifully designed with a view of their kitchen on one side and the runways on the other.

I ordered the duck salad on rocket (arugula) for about $30 USD, thinking it would be a light tasty meal before boarding my 3.5 hour flight to Greece. The salad looked lovely when it arrived.

But once I ate the top, the middle of the salad was drenched in a sickeningly sweet dressing that made it inedible. For $30 USD this was a total waste of money. Fortunately the waiter did notice that I did not eat my salad and sent the manager over when I told him it was inedible. The manager offered to remove it from my bill but since I had already paid, this was an empty gesture. He offered a gratis glass of wine, which I did accept simply to try to erase the taste of the salad dressing from my memory.

Hopefully I will not have another five hour layover at Heathrow, but if I do I know to avoid Plane Food and head straight over to Caviar House.

There are several options when you need to either get to or get home from the airport, but none of them are perfect.

Getting a ride to the airport from family or friends is not always possible; taking a shuttle which stops at 5 other locations before dropping you off is annoying and time consuming; self parking your own car can be worrysome or expensive depending on where you decide to park (I was once at a self park at LAX and they returned the WRONG car to the man ahead of me!); taking a limo is a great way to go but it can be expensive and let’s face it, a limo for one takes up a large carbon footprint.

What is a better alternative? You can share a ride and self park at a good facility like 105 Airport Park which offers valet and luggage service. Or try Hitchsters; it’s a free car and ride sharing service for the Manhattan and San Francisco airports that matches you up based on flight times. You can even choose a gender preference or requirement (i.e. you can specify that the match MUST be a specific gender or no match). Their philosophy is that every time you take a cab you are sharing it with a stranger anyway (the cab driver), so why not share it with two strangers and save some money by splitting the cab fare?

They are a new concept and company, so the more they get people to use their service, the more they will expand to other cities; give them a try next time you are in NY or SF so that they can expand to LA and a city near you.

>There are several options when you need to either get to or get home from the airport, but none of them are perfect.

Getting a ride to the airport from family or friends is not always possible; taking a shuttle which stops at 5 other locations before dropping you off is annoying and time consuming; self parking your own car can be worrysome or expensive depending on where you decide to park (I was once at a self park at LAX and they returned the WRONG car to the man ahead of me!); taking a limo is a great way to go but it can be expensive and let’s face it, a limo for one takes up a large carbon footprint.

What is a better alternative? You can share a ride and self park at a good facility like 105 Airport Park which offers valet and luggage service. Or try Hitchsters; it’s a free car and ride sharing service for the Manhattan and San Francisco airports that matches you up based on flight times. You can even choose a gender preference or requirement (i.e. you can specify that the match MUST be a specific gender or no match). Their philosophy is that every time you take a cab you are sharing it with a stranger anyway (the cab driver), so why not share it with two strangers and save some money by splitting the cab fare?

They are a new concept and company, so the more they get people to use their service, the more they will expand to other cities; give them a try next time you are in NY or SF so that they can expand to LA and a city near you.

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