Thursday, February 14, 2013

Your Options at Tampa Airport: Gate A

Options are limited:

Sam Snead's (a cross between a Denny's and a Chile's), Quiznos, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Wolfgang Puck Express, Zia (a Freshens smoothies place), a Ciao Gourmet Market, and a Green Iguana. 

Pizza Hut:

Who knew that Pizza Huts, at least in airports, have breakfast sandwiches? I felt the need to review the situation.

A dozen pre-made sandwiches and cartons of potato rings are all just kept under a heat lamp, seemingly from opening till 11am or when they run out.

The potato rings came in a pack of four - one was hiding at the bottom of the carton when I took the picture. They suffered greatly from the heat lamp situation, being neither crisp nor hot anymore. The sandwich was fine though, at least in the sense that it was never going to be any better than that, even fresh. That same biscuit, congealed American cheese, greasy sausage patty and egg square you get at all fast food breakfast places.
Tasty? Yes, I still enjoy grease and salt and fat and protein and soft, buttery carbs. I did some jumping jacks in the restroom afterwards to feel better about myself. And I hope that man who stood three feet from me squirting ketchup onto his Quiznos breakfast burrito (ketchup, mustard and grape jelly being the only condimentary options) couldn't hear the noises coming from my pants.


Green Iguana:


FA Rating: f+
Price: $+


At 11am everyone else was drinking beers or Bloody Marys. The bartender was friendly but really pushing the shrimp Lava Martini and the Steak and Blue Cheese Salad. "They'll cook it any way you like it!" he proudly reported.

I would eventually hear him recommend these two dishes to seven people, all of whom seemed slightly annoyed and ordered something else.

He tried to upsell me fries, alcohol and, failing that, a soda. I really wished I'd been seated at a table, but the waitresses were in the back and failed to greet me for the sixty to ninety seconds I stood at the "Please wait to be seated" sign until the garrulous bartender waved me toward a seat at the bar.

The lady two seats to my left, who was finishing the first of the two Bloody Marys she would finish before 11:30, tried to make conversation ("They're really pushing that shrimp, huh?"), but I just didn't feel like talking to her. I'm tries of getting engaged by strangers I'll feel the need to entertain while I'm just trying to enjoy my food.

Iggy's Coco Shrimp - "Hand dipped in orange batter and coconut panko. Served with orange cilantro horseradish - $8.79"
My shrimp came out a few minutes before my wings, which was nice. They were hot, crisp and coconuty with a hint of orange. The "orange cilantro horseradish sauce," which was of course the reason I ordered the dish, tasted like it should've been called a "sweet herb vinagrette." Orange? Cilantro? Horseradish? Nothing. I even confirmed with Lava Martini man that this was the "orange cilantro horseradish" sauce.

White BBQ Jumbo Wings - $8.79. Mr. Lava Martini said the white part of the sauce is mayo. It was a little spicy, a little sweet, a little creamy, and of course bbqy. My girlfriend, who's from Upstate NY, has been showing me her favorite wings and explaining their superiority, so I was trying to figure out why these aren't as good as NY wings. Maybe they're not quite as big, and they do seem to get a little dry faster. An order came with five legs and four wings.

I loaves-and-fishes-ed the remains of my two dishes into a nice salad.

The Green Iguana being the only reasonable sit-down option in Gate A, I'd recommend it for bar-type food. Just don't sit at the bar. Seat yourself at a table if you have to.





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