Is it just me, or has flying gotten crazier these days? Back in October I flew from Orlando, Florida to Lexington, Kentucky. Since it was on the way, we made a three-hour stop in Detroit. (Which, of course, makes complete sense if the booking agent doesn't own a map.)
After counting the layover and early arrival time to participate in the new TSA security procedures (a choice of full-frontal nude photos that may or may not wind up on Facebook or an intimate body search conducted by someone who has been trained in such matters by studying full-frontal nude photos on Facebook), it took me almost nine hours to fly to a city I could've driven to in eleven.
And the price of this convenience? Around $300.
I was smarter when I had to fly to Kentucky a second time in December. This time I chose Allegiant Air. They offer non-stop flights from Orlando to Kentucky and they're dirt cheap.
Roundtrip cost? $79.
’Course if you want food, you have to pay extra. But after looking at the sandwich that the guy beside me ordered, I figured it came out to around $3 for each slice of bread and another $2 for each slice of ham and each piece of lettuce. The Saran Wrap it came in probably added another couple of bucks. Purchasing a sandwich that was actually made on the day of the flight was also a little extra, so I passed on the food.
Anyway, since I saved so much on airfare I decided to forgo the Standard TSA Body Search and upgraded to the Enhanced Pat-Down Option. I even slipped the woman assigned to me an extra $10 if she would warm her hands first.
That was the best $10 I ever spent.
Unfortunately, back when I flew to Kentucky the first time, I not only skimped on the $10 hand-warming fee, I even took advantage of the $25 discount they give if you opt for Basic Groping in lieu of the Standard Body Search. I was rewarded with a visit from a guy whose name tag read Boris. He was a double hand amputee and sported stainless steel claws at the end of his arms.
That was the worst $25 I ever saved.
(Note to self: Obviously, 'Please be gentle' when translated into Ukrainian means 'Is that all you got, ugly man?')
After applying a few strategically placed Band-Aids, I joined the other passengers and flew to Detroit so that we could all de-plane and wait for our flight to Kentucky. It was around dinner time and I was hungry. At first I thought about calling up a friend to meet me at a restaurant downtown, but all of the taxis at the airport had been hijacked by masked thugs with semi-automatics needing rides to the next pillaging.
So I resigned myself to grab a bite at the airport. After all, they have restaurants with familiar names like Ruby Tuesday, Fuddruckers and TGI Friday’s. (I rarely eat at places like these but I was hungry and the fast food options were even worse - can anyone say Popeyes?) So I wandered from one restaurant to the other checking out their menus. I recognized the pictures but I sure didn't recognize the prices. I hate paying the going rate for casual restaurant food as it is, but when they jack up the prices like these guys did? Fah-ged-aboud-it.
Yep, I sure learned my lesson. So on my December trip I successfully smuggled in some bistro pork tenderloin, roasted red potatoes, and a ramekin of creme brulee in the lining of that ten-gallon hat I bought in Texas last year.
Boris the stainless steel TSA groper may be good. But he's not that good.
Say, would you like a glass of Merlot with your dish? I got a bottle in my sock.
BISTRO PORK TENDERLOIN
PREP: 10 minutes COOK: 40 minutes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2” by 2” strips
3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1. Melt butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic
and sauté for 1 minute. Arrange tenderloin strips in one layer. Cook,
turning occasionally, until browned on both sides.
2. Stir in tomatoes and season with basil, salt, and pepper. Cook until
mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cover.
3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in another skillet over medium heat. Sauté
peppers and onion until vegetables are tender-crisp, about 8 minutes.
4. Stir peppers and onions into pork tenderloin and tomatoes. Continue
cooking until pork tenderloin strips are melt-in-your-mouth tender,
about 20 - 30 minutes.