• quick bite: balducci’s deli, JFK Terminal 7

    December 2nd, 2010mr meanerairports, more restaurants (not LA), NYC

    Resigned to an nine hour journey from Manhattan to Hollywood with nothing but a bag or two of potato chips to eat, I could not believe my luck when I stumbled upon an entire section of Vegan prepared foods at the busy Balducci’s Deli, right outside the United gates at JFK’s insanely busy Terminal 7.

    I opted for the two vegan dishes: Vegan Udon Noodles, and Vegan Shanghai Dumpling, with a side of Chick Pea Salad (sic). Right away I was astonished at the sheer weight of this food. There were easily three portions per package, and with two packages and the side salad I lugged at least seven servings of food back to my table!

    So how was it? Well, only one pro and a WHOLE lotta cons:

    Food was good value (for an airport), fresh and tasty – certainly restaurant quality

    The only place to eat it was at tables outside McDonald’s
    The tables looked like they had not been bussed in days, or cleaned since the 80s
    There were no condiment options (no soy sauce for the noodles, no hot sauce for the dumplings)
    Balducci’s had no cutlery, so I had to steal some from Starbucks
    The food was too cold to eat properly – the noodles were stuck together fro the cold, and there were ice crystals under the box

    To sum up, this was a great food option, poorly executed. It’s akin to buying something nice from your Whole Foods prepared food section, putting it in the freezer for 30 minutes then taking it to your local McDonald’s to eat it.

    I suppose part of the target market would be travelers who take the food on to an airplane to consume some hours later (therefore it’s sub-zero temperatures keep it fresher longer?).

    Nice try, Balducci’s, despite the less than perfect dining experience, this was a fuck of a lot better than two bags of chips.

    Here are pix of the food. Nice to know there is at least an option at JFK…

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14 responses to “quick bite: balducci’s deli, JFK Terminal 7” RSS icon

  • I’m from NY and LOVE those noodles/dumplings.. they seem to be everywhere, and I think they’re really good! The sesame noodles are my favorite but the udon are great too. Wish they had them here in LA, but we’ve got plenty of other options so I can’t complain!

  • They sell that “Macro Vegetarian” brand stuff all over the east coast! My fave is the soba noodles. Sorry you had to eat them all ice-crystalled…I find they’re best warmed up in a pan, actually…

    Awesome you were able to find them at the airport though! I always wind up with a Clif bar. Or a $5 Starbucks oatmeal, ugh.

  • That’s hilarious – I ate there on my way back to LA last month!

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Vegan options at the airport seem almost inconceivable. Cool you found something.

  • You must have been so happy to find something (thought disappointed!) Cibo “markets” in several airports have some good options (there’s on in JFK terminal 8, American). Even when they don’t have sandwiches out (early morning) you can get healthy chips (oxymoron?) and humus. Every flight is better with humus 🙂

  • Better than chips indeed. I once spent 45 minutes walking around Ohare trying to find SOMETHING to put on a bagel. No dice.

    Icy and boring aside, it’s baby steps, baby.

  • Awesome, I’ll be rocking JFK next weekend. Good to know that if I’m not already loaded down with leftovers courtesy of my parents, I can purchase something to eat on the plane (since that seems to be the best option). I think I had both of those dishes from Fairway during a recent trip to NYC.

  • those dumplings look so tasty. BRING ME SOME NEXT TIME! 🙂

  • I tried their Shanghai dumplings while on the way back from Egypt this summer. It was pretty tasty. Wish they can be served warmed though.

  • Thanks for the tip! I just went through JFK and found a Balducci’s and picked up some soba noodles. Just thought I’d add that there was a restaurant near Balducci’s in the Delta terminal that sells Divvies vegan cookies! They had chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, so of course I bought both. I think the restaurant was Croque Madame. They had them in their to-go case. Divvies are a little hard and crunchy texturally but still tasty, and they were a welcome sight at the airport!

  • hmm will have to check out when i’m at the airport next week! going to nyc, so excited to try all the ny vegan spots you’ve recommended! ps next time you’re there, you should check out Gobo! it’s so good, though i think they have some non-vegan options, its totally vegetarian. & amazingly delicious!! http://www.goborestaurant.com

  • My wife and daughter had their hummus confiscated by the TSA going from JFK to Disney in Orlando. They even told them it was Israeli hummus. They still took it. Did they think they were going to fart the airplane to pieces?

    You’re right though, any mode of transport is always better with hummus.

  • This is the same stuff that 7-11 is selling in the city in their vegan test market. The problem is there is going to be a more extensive choice, more than likely, within one or two blocks of any 7-11 in NYC at a health food store or upscale market. Even 24 hour Korean groceries have vegan prepared options.

  • Wow! I can’t believe that airport food is finally coming around, at least in NYC.

    Those dumplings look excellent1 I almost thought it was a chicken dish.

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