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Friday, April 15, 2011

Terminal Comfort: SFO's New T2 Dazzles with Food Choices

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 7:53 AM

Rotisserie chickens from Tyler Florence: one of many upscale food options at SFO's new Terminal 2, which opened Thursday. - LUIS CHONG
  • Luis Chong
  • Rotisserie chickens from Tyler Florence: one of many upscale food options at SFO's new Terminal 2, which opened Thursday.
SFO's brand new Terminal 2 (T2) became operational Thursday at 5 a.m. It's the most food-centered, modern, and eco-friendly airport terminal ever built. The list of innovations is off the charts, using recycled and sustainable materials, replaceable modular carpets, maximum use of natural light, low-energy consumption, filtered air, 0.5-gallon flush toilets, hydration stations, free WiFi, laptop workstations at every gate, more restrooms (six), ticketless boarding, and more. And the food choices that put T1 and T3 to shame (though visitors to T2's departure lobby will only get to see a Starbucks Coffee).

SFoodie attended the open house last Saturday, so here's a glance of what Virgin America and American Airlines passengers get to see once they pass security. [To see T2 in pictures, check out SFoodie's slideshow.]

First stop, the "Recomposure" area: Six thousand square feet of well-illuminated open space and cushioned benches offer a relaxing atmosphere after your TSA groping. High-end retailers flank the terrazzo flooring that leads to a communal dining area. A tip: Avoid awful in-flight meals and instead grab prepackaged fresh sandwiches, salads, drinks, and snacks from Napa Farms Market. This marketplace houses half a dozen local vendors, like Acme bread and Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, both great for an impromptu picnic (but no charcuterie). Also, no fresh produce in sight, probably due to CBP regulations.

Hot food options at the market include Tyler Florence's rotisserie chicken, plus made-to-order pizzas, piadini, and grilled sandwiches from Live Fire Pizza. Its WoodStone oven makes perfectly blistered thin-crust pizzas in just a few minutes.

We have mixed feelings about wine-by-the-glass vendor Vino Volo (blame previous experiences with passengers reeking of alcohol). Those with spare time can enjoy the view, the cold seafood bar, and cocktails at Cat Cora, or leisurely dining at Lark Creek Grill. T2 has something for every taste. Pinkberry for froyo aficionados. Vegetarians can munch at the Plant Cafe Organic for under $10 (but sadly, no veggie burger). Casual takeout from Wakaba Sushi and Noodle, Andale Mexican, Burger Joint, two outposts of Peet's Coffee, and snacks at SFO News Express.

Parents seemed to love the two children's play areas, one with spinning butterflies and a bird landscape with built-in xylophone-type instruments. We love anything that helps exhaust kids' bountiful energy to keep them asleep during flights.

In short, T2 is beautiful and unique. Same goes for the comfy, $7,800 (retail price) Fritz Hansen retro-style Egg chairs.

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Luis Chong


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