Last week, I hit George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) with a boarding pass in hand, butttt did not take a flight.  What happened next was probably the coolest blogger event to date, a tasting tour of Houston’s International Airport! While it was odd being at the airport and not taking a flight, it was so much fun. So follow me for my Tour & Taste Through IAH Terminal E with United Airlines and OTG (the brains behind the culinary operations!)

Yume

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Our first stop, Yume is a beautiful restaurant serving great Asian food to passengers.  This ain’t your typical airport takeout folks.  Yume actually serves dishes that you would find at high end Asian restaurants like tuna rolls topped with caviar.  I literally could not get over caviar being offered in an AIRPORT. The items at this stop were fresh and they also have great Asian inspired cocktails.

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If you are looking for something quick, Yume has a self-service salad and noodle bar which is perfect for those in a rush to make a connection.

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Q – Texas BBQ Smokehouse

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We could smell our next spot as we walked up in true Texas barbecue fashion.  Q aims to give travelers a taste of the Houston BBQ culture and I think it does a pretty good job. To achieve this, Q sets up smokers right in the middle of the airport and if you doubted that this was real, they made their kitchen open so you can see all of the happenings!  Here we dined on finger licking good wings, brisket sliders and stuffed peppers.  My favorite of these options would have to be the brisket sliders!

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The wings!

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I also want to note that I ate breakfast at Q before heading to Aruba earlier this year, so I can say that even outside of a media tasting it is pretty good!

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The cocktails here were prettttty impressive.

Tanglewood

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Up next was Tanglewood a restaurant with typical American fare like sandwiches and salads.  We tried some great dishes at Tanglewood, but the pretzels (yes a PRETZEL) stole our hearts. They are large enough to share, served warm and super soft.  If that was not enough, they provide a cheese dipping sauce with crawfish in it.  What a Texas thing to do.  I imagine visitors to our airport will find this odd, but I love that it is true to Houston cuisine.  So listen, those pretzels were my favorite thing of the night and a few of us may have left with half a pretzel stashed in our purses.

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The best pretzel EVER.

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Also, am I to assume that the restaurant is named after the Tanglewood neighborhood in Houston? Which would make sense considering that IAH’s namesake has called that neighborhood home for years.

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Check out this cool cocktail served in an orange!

Gavi

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By the fourth stop, I reached my daily step goal and honestly did not think I could eat anything else.  But then they said it was Italian food and who says no to Italian food? Not me! Here, you can dine on pizza, meatballs and pasta as to be expected.  The highlight at Gavi though has got to be the cannoli.  One of the best I have ever had quite frankly.  I recommend grabbing one of those for a snack on the plane.

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Gavi should also be on your radar because of their impressive wine collection.  The wine is dispensed through a fancy machine that everyone should have in their homes.  Also, for my gluten-free readers, Gavi also has you covered with gluten-free options.  That’s not something you hear often from an Italian restaurant.

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The Negroni

Highlights

My favorite thing about these restaurants has to be the iPads!  IAH boasts over 2,500 iPads for guests to use as they dine.So yes, they have games, news and apps like a typical iPad, but you can also use them to place your orders.   When you cozy up to the bar, you can scroll the menu, place your order and pay all right from your iPad.  For United Frequent Flyers, just scan your boarding pass to load up your frequent flyer account an then you can use your points to pay for your meal.  Super convenient!

The Takeaway

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If you are not from Houston and are not familiar with the culinary greatness of Houston, IAH is providing a great sample of what we have to offer.   You really cannot go wrong with any of these four restaurants and luckily they are strategically placed through out the terminal so you will pretty much find one near your gate.

For Houstonians, this just means that we should head to the airport catch a good meal before heading out on our next adventure!