I ate something relatively famous and didn’t even know it.
No less than three fellow travelers on our flight home from Barcelona to Philadelphia suggested we kill a chunk of our 6-hour layover at the Chickie’s and Pete’s sports bar. Obviously, this is an airport space, so we weren’t expecting the same rollicking atmosphere as one of the “real” locations in the city.
On the other hand, I’d just spent the week on the Norwegian Gem eating steak, seafood and pasta, with pizza and lasagna for lunch during our Italian city stops. An American cheeseburger sounded good in any setting, and at any price. Top it off with a Coke that I didn’t have to specify how many ice cubes constitutes “lots of ice” and I was sold.
Which was convenient, because the $6.59 for that sandwich didn’t include so much as a potato chip, and they don’t offer free refills on soft drinks. But who cares when the Phillies are taking the lead against the Nationals on the big screen? So when our server asked if we wanted fries with that, the automatic answer was, “Sure.”
She looked like Morticia from the Addams Family, by the way. Long hair that shade of black simply isn’t natural. But I digress.
Within 10 minutes, she flitted over with our burgers and placed a large basket of fries in the middle of the table. We thought the white cheese dipping sauce was ranch dressing at first, proving we’ve earned that Hoosier label stamped clearly on our luggage tags. But whatever it was, we needed something to cool down the spices they piled on those suckers.
We never made up our minds whether we liked them or not, but we did finish the basket if only because it helped us hold on to the table while other folks with wheeled luggage patrolled the space, impatient with diners who had actually snagged tables and had no intention of moving until after the bottom of the ninth.
A few hours later, still at the airport taking advantage of the free wi-fi it offers on the weekends, I overheard two gentlemen talking about what they wanted to eat, when one finally said he really wanted some of those crabfries at Chickie’s and Pete’s. Crabfries? Hmmm, this could explain why my dinner and I hadn’t become best friends. I hate crab.
So I surfed over to the site and confirmed that the official name for this side dish is indeed crabfries, and they are the restaurant’s signature item. Fortunately for my digestive system, it’s merely Old Bay seasoning mix rather than crab on those things. Unfortunately for my husband, it was Old Bay seasoning mix.
Which may be why our waitress looked like Morticia, as he soon smelled as if something had died. And that’s why you should always be careful of a legend if it’s located at an airport — you might just have to take it home and share with the entire plane.
Photography: Chickie’s and Pete’s, Clinton Steeds