Making the airport part of the vacation
Twenty hours of flying at the start of a vacation is made easier by the air of anticipation, but 20 hours at the end is pure drudgery. Curb the pain a little by treating layover time as an eating extension of your vacation.
I usually refuse to buy food in airports, as a captive audience often equals high prices and limited quality, but we were lucky enough to find a couple of exceptions as we returned Wednesday from a trip to Europe. It was a grueling airport-fly-airport-layover-repeat cycle.
When your layover is three or more hours long and the airline provides nothing but crackers even when the flight is 10 hours long, you may as well eat in the terminal. The act uses up time and provides sustenance. And as it is my job to eat food, I treated it as a learning experience.
At Gatwick Airport in London I had a version of an English breakfast fry-up with fried eggs, sausage and potatoes, plus grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers. On the side, an avocado and mango guacamole-type mix. Not sure how traditional that last item is, but it was delish.
Offered along with ketchup was HP Sauce, which I learned (by reading the bottle) is a "brown sauce" make in the Netherlands by Heinz (same as the ketchup). It's more tangy than ketchup, made with malt vinegar, tomatoes and various spices. Learn something new every day.
We also used up our last euros on two salads for the flight and a box of nuts.
At Vancouver International it was harder to find a traditional Canadian dish (besides poutine, which is not my favorite), although local salmon and beef were featured in the higher-end sit-down restaurants. A lot of Asian food is offered at the takeout stands here. Nothing wrong with that, but it didn't fulfill my quest to sample something local at each stop on my way home.
So I went with wine, a Jackson-Triggs merlot from British Columbia. Went well with a mushroom burger topped with local goat cheese.