The Vibe: Airports are a strange mix of elation and fatigue. Thrilled lovers wait to greet their partners after long absences. Frustrated parents try (and fail) to not yell at their ADHD whelps pitching the third fit of the day in the middle of a seemingly unending security screening line.
There are few places to get a snack this side of the TSA x-rays. But once you pass inspection, there are a dozen or more overpriced eateries to choose from.
The Café: This being the Café Car, I hopped one more rail line--the tram to the N Gates, from which most United flights depart. A large food court and attached sports bar sits to your right as you reach the top of the escalator from the tram. But the real jewel of this remote terminal is Bigfoot Food & Spirits (17801 International Blvd., North Terminal, 248-2700).
The menu pulls none of its kitschy punches; everything is named in keeping with the theme. Among the dinner options are the Savage Monster Burger and the Wookie Wings. I go with Sasquatch's Favorite Salmon, a fish patty with barbecue sauce and sides of baked beans and potato salad. If it's good enough for Bigfoot, surely it will satisfy my hunger while I wait for a flight to Spokane.
Not unexpectedly, the food has that strange staleness that seems to linger on all airport grub. But it's filling, and for $10.99, not as egregiously overpriced as the $3 bottled water in the nearby gift shop.
And anyway, the food isn't the best part about eating at Bigfoot--that's the dining area. It extends well into the terminal. From almost any table, it's a people-watcher's paradise. A mix of foreign tourists, weary parents, doe-eyed lovers, and the worst-behaved children I have ever seen, parade past while you eat in the shadow of an enormous sasquatch wall hanging.
Being the apparently reclusive type, it's hard to believe Bigfoot would choose to eat in the middle of an airport terminal. But if the beast really enjoys being all up in strangers' business, I can see why he'd drop in here for a salmon burger.