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May 9, 2012 06:32 PM

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 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?