Vegetable Sandwich – Le Petite Bistro, Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia, PA

“Le Petite Bistro” barely exists. If I had to wager it, I would say “Le Petite Bistro” is the most common and least creative name for a restaurant in the world. Information about the eatery online is sketchy; some say “Petit”, some say “Petite”, some add an “Express”. Regardless, sandwiched between a wall of windows and a Dunkin’ Donuts in Philadelphia International Airport’s D Concourse is Le Petite Bistro, and when you are vegan in a restaurant, it is a blessing.

I’ve never been as uncomfortably hungry as a vegan as I have in airports. Charlotte’s airport has a California-style burrito place in their foot court, which is nice. Usually I am limited to Alternative Baking Company cookies and classic Lay’s. The Bistro provided a strange, reclusive jump away from that feeling while never quite removing it, presenting fresh vegetables and crisp, wet lettuce from behind a glass cafeteria case, served to me by people wearing rubber gloves. The vegetable sandwich (which was known both as “roasted” and “grilled” depending on the sign) was what airport food almost always is — exceedingly “all right”, pushed up to “tasty” by virtue of it being there in your hands.

The bread was unremarkable. The vegetables were fine, but tasted as though they could’ve been squirted from a Del Monte can moments before. The only vegan side dish offered was a banana, and it is not a far jump to think this fruit had lived a previous life in a wax bowl. Unfettered, I scarfed it down. I cannot remember how my stomach felt on the following plane ride. That may be the theme for this sandwich, and Le Petite Bistro. I’m happy it was there, but thinking back I can only truly remember how badly I wanted it.