Thursday, July 29, 2010

LAX airport restaurants eat-in at Patina

This morning the winning bidder for the largest airport food concession at LAX held an "eat-in" media event with their participating restaurant partners at Patina restaurant at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Pat Murray (pictured below), a Vice President at SSP America, spoke about his winning bid and the local restauranteurs that are participating in the vision for enhanced dining options at the airport.

Partner restaurant chefs/owners such as Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken of the Border Grill, Megan Logan of Nick + Stef's, Rod White of Bertha's Soul Food and Andrew Cherng of Panda Express all spoke about their excitement at participating in the expansion and improvement of the dining options at LAX. Cherng (pictured below) referred to it as a "once in a lifetime transformation."

White of Bertha's Soul Food said, "We intend to make the best of this opportunity and show the world what true diversity looks like and tastes like. He then quoted Bonnie Raitt and said 'Let's give them something to talk about.'" The chefs each prepared a dish or dishes reflective of their restaurants. The offering from Border Grill Taqueria was Yucatan Pork Tacos, which Susan Feniger is pictured holding a tray of below.

Other dishes included Chiles Rellenos from La Serenata de Garibaldi and SweetFire Chicken Breast from Panda Express, both shown below on the table. Nancy Silverton's Sputino offered a spicy focaccia with roasted chilis and tomatoes.

The restaurants represented a diverse array of both cuisines and price points from coffee specialists groundwork and LA Mill Coffee to Asian restaurants such as Park's Korean BBQ, Geisha House and Panda Express.

Chef Tim Goodell from 25 Degrees served mini sirloin burgers and mini chocolate malts, both of which were particularly delicious.

The various chefs shared limited space in the Patina kitchen and the chef below from Panda Express is shown cooking the SweetFire chicken breast.

LA Mill Coffee (shown below) provided coffee and a selection of teas to the attendees, which included members of the media as well as representatives from the fifteen local establishments that are part of the consortium. Other local participants in addition to those mentioned above are Market Cafe, M Cafe de Chaya, Red Mango, Buttercake Bakery and Pete's Coffee.

The winning bid would displace longtime incumbent LAX food service provider Host Marriott. Today's event attracted protesters outside who marched and shouted that the airport needed affordable and flavorful food options. It was strongly hinted that these protesters were organized by Marriott and other news outlets reported that some protesters confirmed this.

Construction should begin at the airport in January 2011 and I look forward to having more options, at different price points when I travel in the future, than the meager options available now.

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