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Food for plane on route from midtown to LAX


I did a quick search and this topic didn't look covered. Pardon me if I am wrong on that.

The route will be La Brea and/or La Cienega south from about Wilshire. I'm looking for some dinner that I can bring on the plane, and I am making this trip frequently, so please chime in with different options.

My main criteria:
1. Portable and not something too messy or that TSA will confiscate (soup out).
2. Quick in and out, so I don't miss my plane.
3. Relatively compact food, so I can balance laptop, backpack, purse, etc. and still find my license, remove my shoes, you know the deal.
4. Not too pricey ($10 tops), but if they take credit cards, great.
5. Pretty much any cuisine, except I'm not a big fan of diner-esque burger and fry platters (my impression of what Panns would be).

Thank you so much!

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  1. My first choice would be to go to La Brea bakery and do a bread and cheese thing - you can make up sandwiches before hand so as not to create too many crumbs on the plane. Also great cookies and small pastries and such.

    Pann's certainly can be fried platters, but their food is pretty good in general. Very good fried chicken, which is pretty portable! I almost always go for breakfast (FINALLY had the corned beef hash!) but I've heard they make a good BLT, and other sandwiches too.

    If you're going to be going during the day and are willing to detour a little, Langer's for the best pastrami sandwich in the world. (Not under $10 though....) If you don't want to go that far out of the way, Label's Table on Pico and Robertson.

    Sky's Tacos on Pico.

    Empanadas from the place at Venice and Sawtelle. (Called Empanada Place, I think?)

    Bibi's Warmstone Bakery, Pico west of Robertson. Israeli/Middle Eastern food, including sambusack (like a calzone), bourekas, things in pita

    Earl's Gourmet Grub, Venice around Centinela. Haven't eaten there myself, but gets good reviews on Yelp and the pictures look great! Also open only during the day. Sandwiches.

    I feel like I must know a lot more places than this.... I'll keep thinking!

    2 Replies
    1. re: arb

      Thank you for the suggestions, although it looks like you're sending me farther west than I need to go. I'd really like to keep to La Brea/La Cienega within a few blocks. The point isn't the best meal I ever ate, but just not always defaulting to subway...

      La Brea I could check out, although I'd have to backtrack a little. Do they have sandwiches or just cheese? (and bread obviously). Is it hard to get a spot in their little lot? We are talking 5pmish.

      1. re: sasha1

        Sorry...didn't see this before I replied.

        You'd have to backtrack a couple of blocks from Wilshire.
        The sandwich I like to bring along is a tomato/cheese on a crusty baguette. They grill it for you and it travels well. They also have salads to go...
        It's not hard at all to get a spot. The lot is right next to it and you can park and run in....no charge. At 5pm you might need to call ahead and make sure they have what you want and have it ready for you...everyone in there is very nice and accommodating.

    2. Komodo (same as the food truck) has a cafe on Pico, just west of Robertson. The orders are packed in paper boxes (just like the 8"x8" styrofoam boxes) with utensils, napkin. You can park behind the cafe in a public lot on the west end of the alley behind Pico.

      Dishes that I or my co-workers like: Mochiko fried chicken with salad & rice ($8); all of the tacos ($3/ taco; $8 as a burrito; $9 as a bowl); miso steak (intense miso flavor -- may be too salty for some tastes); chinese chicken salad/ french Cobb salad ($7 each). It's not the cheapest place in LA, but the ingredients are good, and the owner has worked in high end hotels.

      JR's BBQ is on La Cienega where Fairfax branches off. Good BBQ (BBQ'd, not grilled, meats.) Pork shoulder BBQ sandwich (with BBQ bean, potato salad/ cole slaw ~3 oz) $8.50. (Beef rib sandwich won't work -- it's a rib with a roll on the side; too messy.) Nice owner, has own parking lot with traffic signal at entrance (in other words, fast in & out).

      Warning -- La Cienega (between Stocker & La Tijera) is only two lanes in either direction.

      Komodo, 8809 W Pico Blvd, 310.246.5153
      JR's BBQ, 3055 S La Cienega, Culver City, 310.837.6838

      3 Replies
      1. re: vickie2172

        I thought of JR's but wondered if it might be too messy for a plane. The pork sandwich might work, especially if you get sauce on the side.

        I didn't know Komodo had an actual place - good news!

        1. re: vickie2172

          BBQ sounds tasty. Where does La Cienega branch off of Fairfax? How far south of Wilshire. Here's another question. I'm one of those weird ones who doesn't like fatty meat. It isn't even a diet thing - just the mouthfeel of meatfat is a turnoff. So, some places have relatively lean bbq, and some don't. How would you classify JR?

          1. re: sasha1

            La Cienega and Fairfax diverge just south of Adams. Take a look at the pictures on Yelp - it's good bbq, the fat is pretty much cooked out.

        2. What a fabulous smart question!

          I can verify that Bibi's is lovely.

          You might also want to hit the Trader Joe's in Culver city (or on La Brea) - you can pick up a great salad, sandwich or wrap, for $5, plus some airplane chocolates...

          On La Brea, there has to be a nice italian restaurant that can pack you a great sandwich. Isn't there? Somewhere?

          I'm by Glendale and often I'll just grab a sandwich from Portos for the flight, or if I am lucky enough to be in the SGV, a good banh mi, and I am happy.

          And if you could get a godmother from Santa Monica you'd be set for days : )

          Safe Travels to you!

          1 Reply
          1. re: happybaker

            Tell me about it. If I could stop by Bay Cities and justify that 30 mile detour... Or even the place on Lake where I've been reading about "the Sandwich!" But alas, the point is not to get stuck in extra helpings of LA traffic - it's to get to the airport with a decent meal.

            Trader Joe's refrigerated prepared foods have all left me cold, which is too bad because the La Brea one is very convenient.

            I do love middle eastern/mediterranean. So maybe I'll see if Bibi's doesn't add too much to my trip.

            Re there must be a lovely restaurant, I only moved to this area a month ago. I don't know anything.

          2. It takes you a bit North but have you considered getting something from Mozza 2 Go [Melrose near Highland] or Joan's On Third [3rd between La Cienega and Crescent Heights]? Little Next Door [also on 3rd] might be an option as well. Both Joan's and M2G take phone orders so your food can be ready to goi when you get there.

            5 Replies
            1. re: New Trial

              lunch under $10 at mozza2go?
              no real choices at that price level at that establishment.

              1. re: westsidegal

                "but if they take credit cards, great." which I take to mean OP is willing to go above $10 if the place accepts credit cards. Sandwiches at M2G are $12-15 and salads are $8-16.

                1. re: New Trial

                  maybe you're right.
                  maybe the words <<$10 tops>> don't apply if credit card can be used.
                  if that's the case, that opens up an entirely different category of possibilities. . . .

                  1. re: New Trial

                    No, that's not what I meant. $10 is really the top of the budget. The comment about ccards, maybe poorly worded, intended to mean that I understand cheap places are sometimes cash only - all the better if they also take plastic.

                    1. re: sasha1

                      in that case, completely forget about mozza 2 go.

              2. Fox Hills Mall isn't far from La Cienega, tho it's a matter of parking and walking into the food court. But if you don't mind that, there is 101 Noodle Express with their beef rolls and Kyochon for their Korean style fried chicken.

                Also M&M Soul Food.

                Closer to LAX is the Good Pizza, just off La Tijera. Great thin crust pizza. Bristol Farms near LIncoln and Manchester has nice takeout offerings as well.

                Also, Pann's strength is not their burgers, but their patty melts, but maybe that's the same difference.

                16 Replies
                1. re: Ogawak

                  Dolce Isola on Robertson near Venice Blvd, makes delicious sandwiches and salads.(and desserts).


                  1. re: maudies5

                    They look fabulous (I want to go!) but they are only open until 4pm.

                  2. re: Ogawak

                    I agree with the suggestion of La Brea bakery. They have about 5 cold prepared sandwiches to choose from. They travel well and are not messy. The turkey with avocado, arugula and chipotle aioli is probably my favourite of the cold ones and the oatmeal currant cookie is my favourite of their small cookie selection. Parking is easy.
                    Leo's taco truck at the Unocal station on the corner of Venice and La Brea. I think they're there by 5p. Tacos won't be warm after the long wait but a burrito wrapped in foil may still be palatable.
                    Moving a mile or so east is Larchmont Wine and Cheese. Call in your sandwich order ahead of time and it will be there waiting for you. Because they are not loaded with wet stuff, they do not suffer from hours of neglect.
                    There's a Nicaraguan? restaurant on La Brea about 1.5 blocks south of Washington on the east side of the street. I haven't been but I recall a positive write-up a couple of years ago.
                    Moving closer to LAX is The Good Pizza in Weschester. They have 4 sandwiches to choose from. They sound slightly messy but may be worth it. I've only had the pizza from them, but that only comes in full pies IIRC.
                    Lastly, there's the In-N-Out on Sepulveda a stone's throw from LAX. I don't like waiting to eat burgers but you may be less picky.

                    1. re: Wolfgang

                      There's an in and out 300 feet from my apt. I smell it every time I open my windows.

                    2. re: Ogawak

                      Same difference to me. Sometimes I want a great burger - just not often. It stays with me both too long, and not long enough, if that makes sense. Better to keep it vague.

                      Unless the foodcourt was unlike any other mall food court, I would not go out of my way for it. Not a big fan, except the occasional asian mall food court.

                      Soul food I would check out.
                      Sorry to diss most of your replies - I think we probably just don't have the same food tastes.

                      1. re: sasha1

                        Actually Fox Hills is unlike any other food court in LA. In fact Gold did an article on it. And I don't know which Asian mall food you frequent, but you couldn't do better than 101 Noodle Express or Kyochon.

                        1. re: Ogawak

                          Really? Ok well I'm willing to research it. Re asian food courts - I go to one in BC, so that's not really a good point of reference. I am splitting time between WA and Socal - hence the many flights...

                          1. re: sasha1

                            OMG. Yes.

                            My husband and I went to an asian food court (inside a korean market in vancouver). We were stunned - and then spoiled. The quality of the food was so high - and the price was so low. I still dream of the FRESH dungeness crab roll.

                            1. re: sasha1

                              j gold's article notwithstanding,
                              i live 6 minutes from the fox hills food court and have not found anything there that i'd order a second time.
                              also, the parking situation at that mall makes it so that if you don't already know where to go, you could end up driving in circles in the parking structure for a while. . . .
                              navigating the parking is not intuitively obvious.

                              1. re: westsidegal

                                >>also, the parking situation at that mall makes it so that if you don't already know where to go, you could end up driving in circles in the parking structure for a while. . . . . navigating the parking is not intuitively obvious.<<

                                Parking at this mall is easy if you go directly for the roof parking. The only time it gets rough even on the roof is around the holidays.

                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                  i know that, but i live 6 minutes from there.
                                  i was there this afternoon.
                                  imho, it is not intuitively obvious for a first timer with a plane to catch to figure out how to access the roof parking and to know that most of the other parking entrances/exits (especially those that actually have decent signage) can lead you into a vehicle version of the roach motel. . . .

                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                    Well then, for who ever - take this advice for what it's worth. And for that matter, most malls with parking structures usually are no fun - I guess that's obvious.

                                2. re: westsidegal

                                  Re: parking at Fox Hills, I always park on the north end of the mall coming from Slauson, which would be from where Sasha would come.It's much quieter than the crazy south side.

                                3. re: sasha1

                                  I think malls in general are a hard sell to someone in a time crunch. You have to park, traverse through the mall the food court, then do the ordering and waiting, and reverse. If there is a place I can stop at the door, with a lot, I can cut out all but the middle steps of ordering and waiting for the food.

                                  1. re: sasha1

                                    I think if I were you and doing what you're doing I'd pop into La Brea Bakery and grab one of their salads and have them grill one of their paninis.
                                    The parking's easy, they put it all in a bag for you and you're off....

                                4. re: Ogawak

                                  >>...but you couldn't do better than 101 Noodle Express or Kyochon.<<

                                  I haven't been back to 101 Noodle Express after trying it a few times (prob within 2 months post-opening), but it was definitely not representative of the one on Valley in SGV. The textures and tastes only vaguely resembled what I became accustomed to. They also had issues with carrying what items that were on the menu - mainly dumplings. Also, the french fries (to me) just didn't make sense.

                                  Can't speak to Kyochon since we only tried it once at this unit, and I don't even remember what it was like either way.

                                  Has anyone been to either recently?

                            2. I'm not really sure what time you are en route to LAX, but I would highly recommend Cabbage Patch in Playa Vista. I think they close @ 4PM, might be too early, but there is no indication of time mentioned by the OP.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MahiMahiFish

                                Almost always around 5pm - catching an after work flight.

                              2. Mendocino Farms should be opening it's new 3rd and Fairfax location very soon. I always take sandwiches from their Marina Del Rey location with me on trips. They travel very well.

                                1. I may get flamed for recommending a chain, but Popeye's is the best of the fast food chicken, the food will come boxed and will hold up, and it is easily accessible on La Brea just north of Jefferson, on the N/E corner.

                                  1. The Bobby or Capastrami at Capriotti's.

                                    1. i'm surprised no one has mentioned Versailles yet - great option if you like Cuban. it's on the west side of La Cienega just south of Pico.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Versailles is divine - but may not travel well. Years ago my husband was forbidden to bring their chicken to his office as it was so garlicky!

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          Hey! They do offer sandwiches! And they don't look too garlicky, so they could be perfect for the plane. Good call.


                                          1. re: happybaker

                                            <<And they don't look too garlicky>>
                                            respectfully beg to disagree about the odiferous quality of Versailles's sandwiches.

                                            very, very, smelly.
                                            imho, not at all appropriate to bring onto a plane with an enclosed cabin with recirculating air.
                                            practically could be considered a hostile act. . . .

                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                              I adore Versailles, and I can eat it before I get on the plane. Worth checking into, especially the sandwiches. I've only had the platters.

                                              1. re: sasha1

                                                if you eat it BEFORE you get on the plane, it is a somewhat less hostile act than actually carrying it onto the plane:
                                                just your breath and body odor would be affected in that case. . . .

                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Versailles will make you very unpopular on a plane.

                                            1. re: JudiAU

                                              I know their chicken or pork would.

                                              But the sandwiches don't list garlic or garlic mayo, so I figured they might be way less stinky.

                                              Westsidegal, so you've had them? And they are stinky? Sigh.

                                              1. re: happybaker

                                                they are not at all shy about their use of garlic and onion.

                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              didn't realize their sandwiches were so stinky as i've never had one (just the platters/entrees). mea culpa.

                                            3. Not sure if there are any places that sell these in the area, but Bahn Mis are very good on planes. This (or the Roma Deli Sandwich) is what I usually take. I also try to be considerate of my plane mates and not get anything that smells too much or bad.

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: WildSwede

                                                Thank you for saying that. Smells on planes that you can't escape are a nightmare. Please eat considerately. No garlic fries.

                                                1. re: wienermobile

                                                  Funny you mention. Smells do get me on planes, but what gets me more is people who bring peanuts and casually fling the shells and remnants about. I have a son who is anaphylactic, and although he hasn't been travelling with me lately, just seeing everyone throwing their peanuts stuff about irritates me. They don't particularly clean the plane between flights...

                                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                                      Sitting next to a guy a few months ago...

                                                      He brought a very strong smelling teriyaki bowl (it was very strong) he'd specifically brought along for the plane ride. The woman on the other side of him commented on it and he responded by saying, yes he knew but he didn't mind the smell.
                                                      Totally clueless to the comfort of the rest of the riders.

                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                        I'm pretty cognizant of these things, and not really into annoying other people. Nothing gets my goat more than people who are simply unable or unwilling to look past their own nose at how they are affecting the comfort of others. Drives me crazy. I would not intentionally garlic someone, but to be honest, most foods smell. I can't think of too many that are so innocuous that it really wouldn't bother most people. Sometimes when I'm not feeling great, or stressed out, the smell of someone's turkey sandwich, or spinach wrap, will gross me out.

                                                        1. re: sasha1

                                                          Agreed and you're right....most foods smell one way or another and being held hostage in a cabin with fools like that are infuriating. However, on long flights we need to eat.
                                                          I like to bring vegetables, fruits etc. and neutral smelling cheeses like mozzarella along with crackers or bread. It's simple but effective.

                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                            there are so many things people do on planes more annoying than eating strong smelling food it seems...what's the word...naive? fruitless? redundant?...help me out here... to complain about it.

                                                      2. re: WildSwede

                                                        Wildswede - we are too much alike. (Except that I am not wild or a swede. Sigh.)

                                                        A few times my husband and I have gotten Bahn Mi's from Siagon Bakery for our flights - and we've been in heaven. They do travel well indeed and are light yet satisfying. We've also done well with sandwiches from Portos - the cuban and, the tomato feta.

                                                        1. re: happybaker

                                                          Heehee, you can come join our team - it's fun!! ;-)

                                                      3. Fairfax and La Cienega (for JRs) is precisely on the route to the airport if you are halfway between La Brea and La Cienega--take Fairfax south until it ends at La Cienega. JRs is basically at that intersection. I am thinking Versailles, on La Cienega might have something good to go as well.

                                                        1. Since you are coming from Glendale, if you come between 11:00 and 5:00 you could stop at Larchmont Wine and Cheese on Larchmont just south of Beverly Blvd. They make all kinds of greats sandwiches all under $10. They also have different things in their fridge in containers to go. You can call ahead and have it ready when you get there. I love their #1 with fresh burrata, basil tomato, I have either turkey, of if they have it their tuna. Even tastes good the next day.
                                                          If you want deli, just stop at Canters, doesn't take long to run in. If you want a salad or some chicken, go to California Chicken Cafe on Melrose just west of Highland. You could order a nice salad or sandwich from Cayenne on Beverly near La Brea.
                                                          If you leave in early evening, stop at Leo's on LaBrea and Venice for some soft tacos or burritos. They get there at 6p.m. every night.
                                                          Koo Koo Roo on Beverly and Larchmont for chicken or salads.
                                                          You could go into the Original Farmers Market and have lots of choices.
                                                          Let us know what you find out.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: paprkutr

                                                            Totally not coming from Glendale - how did you get that idea :) ?
                                                            Fairfax delis are a smart idea, although that part of Fairfax is jammed with traffic.

                                                            Larchmont is in the wrong direction.

                                                            1. re: sasha1

                                                              I think they saw my comment about Glendale and misread.

                                                          2. You might consider La Maison du Pain on Pico & Ridgeley, a stone's throw from La Brea http://www.lamaisondupain.net/ where they have small sandwiches and several types of quiches if you don't mind eating them cold (they could reheat them for you but not sure it will stay that way until you reach your gate) and of course many pastries.
                                                            If you go at the end of the day they're often out of many items, but the owners are super nice so if you call ahead and ask them to save things for you, I'm sure they will.

                                                            Not far from them there's Bloom Café http://www.bloomcafe.com/ that has several types of salads, sandwiches and wraps., and a quinoa/tandoori/chicken bowl that would be my option on a plane (healthy, easy to eat, good cold as well as warm, not smelly). They also have decent pizzas. The same owners have Chic Café/Wine Bar across the street, I've never had their sandwiches but they list a banh mi and other options http://chicwinebar.com/index.html

                                                            I think there's also a Fresh & Easy on La Cienega and 18th street (?), I've never had their prepared food and I don't know if they're marginally better than TJ's, but it might be worth a try.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: bad nono

                                                              Oohhh... The sandwiches at Chic Cafe look good! And I've heard nice things about Bloom Cafe.

                                                              I like the fruits and veggies at Fresh and easy (somehow their strawberries are always sweet) but you would do better elsewhere for sandwiches.

                                                            2. Slightly North but not much is Joan's. Favorite plan snacks ever. Order ahead.

                                                                1. Everyone - I am overwhelmed by the quantity of responses - thank you! I got a serviceable chashu chicken rice bowl from Ramen Jinya on the first flight. And yesterday, wouldn't you know it, the dumb car broke and I had to cab it. In a rush and ate a nasty croissant in the terminal. Looks like I'll have my hands full choosing something for the next trip - that's a good thing!

                                                                  1. can you take food from out of the airport through the security screening?

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                      Yes, but not drinks or liquids. You can take small amounts of condiments, too. However--and of couse this doesn't matter going to SEATAC from LAX, but in Hawaii, you can't board with fruits or vegetables--so our salad dressings passed TSA, but we had to eat the fruit out of the salads before we could get past the agriculture dept screening.

                                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                                        I've been asked to throw away a little cup of salsa that was wrapped separately from a burrito.