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Food Network Kitchen Opens at Fort Lauderdale International Airport

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The Presidential election is behind us for now, so we can turn our television sets back to what really matters.

24-hour-a-day non-stop food porn, courtesy of Food Network. If you're like me, you live and breathe these guilty pleasures disguised as television.

Now you can eat it too, with the Fort Lauderdale opening of the first ever Food Network Kitchen, a restaurant featuring items created in the network's New York City test kitchen.  There's only one catch -- you have to be flying somewhere to dine there. The restaurant, the first of its kind, is located inside the security date at Terminal Three of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

I was invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday, which meant showing my ID at the Jet Blue ticket counter, waiting on line at TSA Security, taking off my shoes, and passing through that naked X-ray machine (Sigh --what we do in the name of research).

All the while I prepared myself for a terminal restaurant that had

memorabilia a la Hard Rock Cafe (Look honey, we're eating a burger under

Guy Fieri's bowling shirt!).

The restaurant is surprisingly

subtle. True there are flat screen televisions that, instead of

football, show Anne Burrell making love to a pot roast. But the rest of

the place is bright and cheery, with citrus pops of color and drawings

of food on chalkboards. There's also a fast-grab section where you can

purchase food and drink for your trip.

The restaurant is sourcing local produce and ingredients when at all possible. Breads are furnished by Gran Forno and treats are from We Take the Cake.

Susan Stockton, senior vice president of culinary production at Food

Network has been working for months to procure fresh, local ingredients

along with Charlie Granquist, the network's director of culinary

development. 

Granquist, who says his title is fancy-speak for

chef, will travel back and forth to the Fort Lauderdale location to

check on operations. "Not a bad place to escape to." 

The

restaurant, which obviously caters to travelers, has a menu heavy on

sandwiches and salads, all well priced between $10-$14. Breakfast items

like steel-cut oatmeal ($6) and a Cuban breakfast wrap ($8) are also a

good value considering that at most airports a stale doughnut and coffee

will set you back twenty bucks.

Craft beers, wines by the glass,

and specialty cocktails like the Papa Doble are available. Looks like I found an excuse to visit family up north for the holidays.



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