Coming Up Short at the Airport

The Place: Alaska Lodge, Sea-Tac Airport, Terminal C, SEATAC.

Alaska Lodge is in the main terminal of Sea-Tac Airport and lures people inside with neon beer signs and antler chandeliers. In all honesty, we really just wanted to get drunk and pass out immediately after boarding our flight. But when our server asked us what we wanted to order, we asked her for the two most popular dishes, figuring we might as well kick out one last Versus should our plane crash and burn (you're welcome). With a menu spanning chowders, burgers and all-day breakfasts, we were surprised that a salad was one of the main attractions. The vibe at Alaska Lodge was pretty welcoming, but how did their food fly?

The bun also works as a flotation device.
The Rivals: Mediterranean Chicken Caesar v. Cheddar Bacon Burger

The Cheddar Bacon Burger ($8.50) is a quarter-pound burger with strips of bacon and melted cheddar atop a ciabatta roll with lettuce and sliced tomato. It's served with chips and a pickle spear to help get the taste of the actual burger out of your mouth. The patty tasted like one of those Sysco pre-formed patties that are thrown in the microwave before being served. It was rubbery and synthetic-tasting and had a really foul aftertaste. The bacon was skinny and limp, but ironically supplied this burger with its best quality: super artificial smoke flavor. The ciabatta bun sounded like a good idea, but it was way too spongy for the girth-challenged beef patty.

Somebody book this chicken a flight to Cyprus.
A Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Caesar ($10.95) is not something we expected to see on this pub menu, but when our server told us how popular it was, we had to order it. The chopped romaine hearts were crisp, if not a little too cold from being in the freezer fridge overnight. The grated Parmesan was the same stuff you'd find on any take-out Caesar salad and so was the dressing. The strips of grilled chicken, however, were tender, juicy and refreshing against the tang of the creamy Caesar sauce. The only thing better than the chicken was the lavish cracker that accompanied it. With that said, we sure as hell don't know what makes this salad Mediterranean. And at $10.95, this salad is certainly no value to those who aren't looking for a healthy, tasty alternative before heading to the tarmac.

The Champ: The Cheddar Bacon Burger, while no better than a burger you'd find on an actual airplane, fell below our expectations (which were low to begin with). The Caesar salad, on the other hand, was crisp and fresh and flavorful. While not Mediterranean by any definition, we did enjoy eating it, which is why it has earned its wings in this Versus challenge.

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