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Something delicious to bring on the plane with me, but must buy the day before

I have a morning flight back to NYC, and I'll want to bring something onboard for lunch. But since it's a morning flight, I won't have time to pick something up before heading to the airport, nor will places be open or serving lunch items. While my fallback option is to get or make a sandwich, I'm hoping to have something a little more creative and representative of LA, that can withstand several hours in the fridge and be sufficiently delicious and not completely soaked or stale by the time I want to enjoy it. Can you think of anything that meets this challenge? The last burrito I brought on a plane tasted good enough, but quite a mess. I'm a bit stumped on this one. Appreciate some ideas.

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  1. Tamales, Spring Rolls, Bao, Cheese plates, Salads from Lemonade...

    Ask me how I know... ;)


    1 Reply
    1. re: Dommy

      Second Lemonade and tamales. Banh mi and goi cuon holds up pretty well too. You may want to look at some of the posts on this active thread for picnic ideas for the Hollywood Bowl as well - I can see a fair amount of this working for your situation:


    2. bay cities godmother. i only like to eat these several hours after they are made because their bread is so hard. since it will be overnight, i might ask for the hot pepper salad on the side and just put it in when you'll eat it. but this should definitely keep overnight and will be amazing! it's kind of like getting a muffaletta when leaving new orleans.

      3 Replies
      1. re: dtud

        I've had 1-hour-old godmother and found it a soggy mess
        Pasta salad would be my first choice.
        how about Korean mungbean pancakes?
        also, Galleria Market sells a soba noodle salad with boiled eggs, assorted veggies & spicy dressing. Might get a bit smelly for the plane though...
        how about a pastrami sandwich from Langer's - meat & bread packaged separately
        I also like the bao suggestion.

          1. re: soniabegonia

            I've taken bindae duk (Korean mungbean pancakes) on a flight before, and it was great, except the garlic smell was pronounced and drew more than one look of disapproval.

            Refined over years of travel, my guidelines for food to bring are:
            - doesn't require sharp cutlery
            - doesn't smell
            - not crumbly
            - won't produce (too many) crumbs
            - won't leak or drip grease

            Some things that have worked well:
            - bagel and cream cheese
            - sandwiches
            - cheese scones
            - calzones
            - quiche

            My personal favorite is a pastrami and corned beef sandwich from Greenblatts -- their sandwiches are not overfilled and the bread holds up well. It almost makes me look forward to flying.

        1. Bahn Mi with the veggies in a separate container? I don't know how well the bread might hold up overnight though. But I've done it by getting it earlier in the day.

          2nd the bao suggestion. That always holds up well. Heating it is a bit tougher, the char sui ones eat a bit better cold than the mixed ones.

          I also like most cantonese noodles even if they're cold. Chow mein, if you don't get it crispy or chow fun.

          1. I get the three salad sampler from Huckleberry ($12-13). All the salads hold up very well overnight, portions are generous, all healthy and delicious, and the packaging makes it a very easy meal to transport on the plane.

            1. I always bring some kind of cello wrapped bao or bun from a Chinese bakery. (Korean bakery would do just as well.) They're meant to last more than a day, very convenient, not messy, and you probably don't need more than 3 or 4 of them for a cross country flight.

              1. Bento from Shin Sen Gumi's sozaiya in Gardena?

                1. Recently heard about this place...haven't tried it yet but some of the things sound delicious (esp. the deli salad of albacore tuna confit)

                  The Point
                  (310) 836-8400
                  8522 National Blvd
                  Culver City, CA 90232
                  Monday-Friday 8am- 6pm


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: condementia

                    I LOVE The New Point, they are running a wonderfully tight ship and had the Ruben which was wonderful and Kobacha squash soup, which was wonderfully rich tasting but not heavy. The thing is, I found their to-go boxes rather flimsy! I would opt Surfas Cafe instead...


                    1. re: Dommy

                      do they still carry those butterscothc puddings at point?
                      the parking situation there is beyond terbbile though.

                  2. Sugarfish in MDR makes a to go sushi pack made just for airplane travel. You can pick up curb side on the way to the airport.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: wienermobile

                      respectfully disagree with this recommendation
                      #1) imho sugarfish sushi is subpar to start with
                      #2) even good sushi is not so good after being refrigerated overnight. the fish is not as good and the rice hardens.
                      #3) air travel, these days, will probably mean that there will probably be stretches of time that the sushi won't even be refrigerated at all. the 'refrigerant bricks' are considered to be liquid by security.

                    2. I have a weak spot for the Asian-style egg & ham & mayo sandwich at Olympic Bakery. These sandwiches are pre-wrapped in plastic. They keep great in the fridge.

                      Reminds me of the awesome sandwiches one can buy for trips on the Shinkansen in Japan.

                      Their mango cake is excellent too, but may be a bit messy for a plane ride.

                      Olympic Bakery
                      5623 Rosemead Blvd.
                      Temple City, CA 91780
                      (626) 285-8532

                      AND/OR you can get yourself a takeout portion of the "oily rice" (yeow fan) at SinBaLa in Arcadia. Again, pre-packaged in plastic already. So good. It should keep well one night at room temp (assuming you keep in sealed).

                      1. Representative of LA?....how about a Tommy's Burger?
                        I've refrigerated them and eaten them cold and they aren't as bad as they sound. Chili gets kind of congealed with refrigeration and isn't as messy as a hot one.
                        Don't laugh until you've tried it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: monku

                          UGH!!! I LOVE tommys but just can't stomach one cold... That pinky fat congeals so I can't deny I'm slowly killing myself by loving their Chili...


                        2. Banh mi from Mr. Baguette had worked well for me. I find that that their #5 chicken sandwich and their Eggs and Ham sandwich hold up well overnight for the next day. To preserve the bread, put each sandwich in a plastic bag and seal it tight. Make sure the whole sandwich is in the bag. Put in refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature for consumption. The sandwiches will be safe to eat for the entire day. The chicken sandwich will come with some optional veggies.

                          1. i recommend taking a look at all the items that are offered in the refrigerated deli/salad/prepared food section located in the rear of most gelson's markets.
                            they offer a wide array of items that will fit your purposes well.
                            you can mix and match.
                            they will be sealed and packaged well for your trip.
                            they will be easy to eat (i.e. cut into manageable pieces so you won't need a knife)

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                What are the Zelo calzones like? I had a pizza there a few weeks ago and thought it was carefully made and unobjectionable (the cornmeal crust wasn't as off-putting as I had expected) but unexciting, like something produced in a tidy kitchen by a very competent Betty Crocker cook. The service from a young waiter and waitress was quite businesslike, by the way -- a far cry from the usual teenage gumsnappers.

                                1. re: Harry Nile

                                  They are wonderful, the same thin corn based crust, in some ways I like them more than the pies because they make them a bit more fresh...

                                  The thing is, they are absolutely STUFFED with meat... Usually not a bad thing, but I dunno if I can stomach eating one and still fit in the standard economy airplane seat.... LOL!


                                  1. re: Dommy

                                    They will do a half-half veggie and meat Calzone combo upon request. And, yeah, the regular meat Calzone is, um, very "meaty"!

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Smart!!! I will have to remember that for next time!

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Sounds like a great practical suggestion. OK, I'll try one of those half-meat, half-vegetable calzones.

                                2. A pizza from Mozza2Go. I happen to love cold pizza, especially Mozza's, and it is small enough that you could stow it in a carry-on. Get a butterscotch budino for dessert.

                                  1. Thanks for the suggestions. I had a lot of leftovers from the last couple days in LA, so I was able to make a little lunch box from a few sources. First, tarna and mutabal, along with some of the pickled turnips from Zankou in a little takeout container (plus pita bread). Also, a container of leftover pad kee mao from Sanamluang. Then, wrapped in foil, a leftover sausage slice from Zelo. It was a little more than I was hungry for en route, so I had some LA leftovers for the next day.