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Chelsea’s Kitchen

January 15, 2013

As I’ve told you, my husband and I spent our long Christmas weekend in Arizona.  We flew into Phoenix, drove down to Tucson, headed further south to Benson, and then found ourselves back in Phoenix.  On Christmas Day, the day we were scheduled to fly from Phoenix back to Southern California, we decided to drive part of the Apache Trail in the morning prior to heading back to the airport.  The Apache Trail begins at Apache Junction, approximately 35 miles east of Phoenix via the aptly named Superstition Freeway.  Of the 45 miles of the Trail to Roosevelt Dam, 22 miles are paved, and the rest is on unpaved roadway.  The scenery along the drive is spectacular with the Superstition Mountains as a backdrop there are vistas, canyons, switchbacks up the mountain and back down the other side, a gorgeous view of Canyon Lake, and the cute – but touristy – tiny town of Tortilla Flat that looks like it came right out of the old west!  Unfortunately, due to time restrictions and the need to make sure we made it back to the airport in time for our flight, we only drove the paved section of the Trail.  Hopefully, one day in the future we’ll be able to go back and drive the rest of the Apache Trail.

After a couple of hours or driving, and then heading back to the airport, we were starving!  Of course, it’s into the early afternoon and we haven’t had anything to eat, and it’s also Christmas Day, which means essentially nothing will be open.  We even had a hard time finding a gas station that was open so we could fill up our rental car!  However, the one thought that both my husband and I had as we drove through the deserted streets of Phoenix was that nothing may be open in the city, but the restaurants at the airport can’t be shut down!  You can always count on the airport being operational.

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After surveying our many options for food at the very nice Phoenix SkyHarbor International Airport, we chose Chelsea’s Kitchen for lunch.  Chelsea’s Kitchen has a location within the greater Phoenix area alongside the Arizona canal.  They call themselves a roadhouse that pays tribute to the history of the area by providing guests with “high-quality, honest food that is always fresh and never frozen.”  Within the airport, at Terminal 4, they had a large dining room area as well as a nice lounge/bar area with comfortable seats and a wall of large flat-screen televisions showing sporting events.  And of course, being an airport location, the restaurant itself had nice wide large booths so that guests could easily fit their luggage alongside their tables before making their way to the gate for their flights.

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After looking at the beverage selection on the menu, I chose a drink that I absolutely love, and I would normally never write about because usually, it’s nothing special, Orange Fanta.  However, this time, instead of getting a glass of Orange Fanta from the fountain machine, I was brought an old-fashioned glass bottle of Orange Fanta made with pure cane sugar.  I thought that was kind of neat.

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My husband was in the mood for a burger, and when he saw this particular burger on the menu, it caught his eye: the Green Chile Burger.  If this isn’t a southwestern-style burger, I don’t know what is.  The burger featured grilled poblano peppers, cheddar cheese and chipotle aioli topped on a burger that is ground fresh throughout the day.  This huge burger came to the table topped by this enormous grilled poblano pepper.  It scared me, but excited my husband as he loves peppers.  One bite of the burger and he loved it.  Though, he did say it was spicy and wouldn’t be something that I would like at all.  But he must have loved it because he ate the whole thing.  Better him than me.

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For my lunch, I also chose a southwestern dish, ribeye steak taco platter served with made-to-order corn tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo, and a kale salad.  What I thought would come to the table was a medium rare, sliced ribeye that I could stuff inside the corn tortilla to make my own taco.  Instead, what came to the table was a full ribeye steak.  Gorgeous, beautiful and delicious.  It was like ordering a steak meal and getting the side fixings for a taco.  The ribeye was beautifully cooked, flavorful and made for a perfect taco.  I didn’t know this was what I was looking for, but it was a terrific lunch.  And the kale side salad was pretty tasty as well.

Chelsea’s Kitchen was a great find on Christmas Day at the airport, especially when alternatives probably would have been McDonald’s or some other sort of fast food chain.  This was certainly quality food, cooked right, and served in a nice setting.  Not really things you associate too often with airport food.  I’d stop here again for a meal before catching a flight.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2013 1:31 pm

    Way better than a McDonalds. It sounds like you both had a terrific meal and at the airport, no less. It is funny about poblanos…sometimes they are like eating a green bell pepper and other times they are hot.

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