What is a good food that can last 3 hours in a car?
My parents live in Fresno, while I live here in LA. I go home to visit about twice a month, and typically like to take home some part of LA for them to enjoy. For example, I took a cookie basket from MILK last visit. The visit before that, Zankou Chicken (which didn't last the 3 hour trip... by the time I got home, it tasted like regular rotisserie chicken. The garlic paste, though, was still sublime.)
My question is, chowhounders, is what do you think would be a novel and thoughtful food item to take home that might be capable of lasting the three hour trip home?
I wish I could take Pinks or Langers, but there is just no way that they could last the three hour trip.
Pastries from Porto's? Those cheese rolls are quite fab. The potato balls and meat pies reheat well, too.
If you're familiar with dim sum, you could grab dim sum to go...some places actually sell it cold and you could reheat when you arrive. I know Empress Pavillion has a to-go shop outside the restaurant, but it's quality is not what it used to be. I'm sure there are some CHs that would have great recs for Chinatown to-go dim sum.
315 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203
3614 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
Empress Pavilion Restaurant
988 N Hill St # 201, Los Angeles, CA
I don't mean to suggest the obvious, but a small cooler in the car would help a lot. I think a Langer's sandwich in a cooler, then slightly reheated upon arrival, would still be pretty good. Chinese or Vietnamese food would also reheat well, especially bahn mi. I haven't been to Fresno lately, so I don't know if those are available there.
I see what you mean about the Zankou chicken, but how about a selection of middle eastern salads from Carousel, Moishe's, etc.?
There was a thread on achieving a less expensive Langer's pastrami experience a couple of years back -- buying the pastrami by the pound and their wonderful twicebaked rye by the loaf, I don't remember if it factored in some cole slaw and their "zippy" cheese. I don't know if the ultimate cost was as low as half the price Langer's charges per sandwich, but it was a significant savings. And keeping the meat separate and gently heating with steam or other moisture would create a much better sandwich hours later.
Which is similar to what I did yesterday with corned beef and rye from Brent's Deli, purchased in bulk at noon and eaten as a sandwich around 11 p.m. (Their fabulous chocolate-covered creampuff also did well, unrefrigerated.)
I rarely go out the door without a cooler, plastic storage containers (so many restaurants have only floppy styrofoam), and several ice-packs, because I frequently bring food home from distant farmers markets, grocery stores, and restaurants. Recently, in addition to Brent's, I've carried home meals from Bludso's BBQ, some Chinese place in Diamond Bar, Yuca's, Pann's, La Casita Mexicana, and the Hitching Post in Buellton -- and all survived well. I even take the cooler with me to Vegas (although I'm careful not to bring back any stand or grocery-store fruit, which can cause problems at the inspection station).
A few hints: (1) Have utensils handy, in case you need to transfer food to the plastic containers. (2) Ask for cold food, when feasible. Otherwise, let the food cool in open containers in the trunk (winter) or car (summer) before placing on ice. (3) Ask the restaurant for the best way to reheat, then use your common sense. I generally let food come to room temperature, then reheat as appropriate. (4) Many places that bring out the styrofoam also have containers with tight seals -- just ask. More than once I've had fried chicken or leftover steak put into a soft-drink container with a tight lid.
Kyochon chicken is surprisingly not bad even after a few hours. It's not as good as when it's fresh and hot, but the way they cook it means it doesn't get that soggy. I've always thought it would make a great picnic food.