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Looking for something yummy in the general vicinity of the East Village where we can pick up a late afternoon meal to eat on our 6:00 flight from LaGuardia...

We've always been partial to a tasty "souvenir" plane meal we can enjoy as a parting memory of the city we're leaving behind. This time, we're looking for something we can pick up around 3:30-4:00 on a Saturday afternoon, within the general vicinity of the EV (or a little further out so long as it can last the extra time), that will be little worse for the wear after a couple of hours of transit and which can be enjoyed without refrigeration or reheating.

I suppose that some kind of a sandwich might be the easiest option (banh mi? deli? Italian sandwich?) but we're open to anything. The biggest challenge seems to be that many spots are closed mid-afternoon - a few ideas I had were Zabb Elee, Sao Mai, Parisi Bakery, DeFonte's, Torrisi -help? Thanks.

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  1. Some ideas:
    Katz's Deli
    Banh Mi Zon
    Sunny and Annie's Deli
    Luke's Lobster?

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      I'll 4th Katz's ( you can't go wrong there, if you're like me the pastrami will repeat on you and be memorable for your whole trip)
      Porchetta is a possible idea,especially the pork sandwich,,i don't know if the potatoes and pork will be good after it cools down.
      Luke's I second and get a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips there
      Walk a few blocks west to Num Peng and get any sandwich,,they will hold up fine.. I take their sandwiches to the movies quite often, especially the coconut shrimp.
      Further South in Tribeca,,,Takahachi bakery has some delicious sandwiches, salads, and plates.ready to go.

    2. Momofuku Ssam Bar. You can get the duck over rice, pork buns, potatoes in black bean sauce, broccoli salad, pork sausage and rice cakes... all travel surprisingly well. Just make sure to slather a ton of the ginger-scallion sauce on the duck over rice before you leave.

      Good sandwiches at JoeDough.

      Second Katz's Deli - or, another old-school option, bagels & lox from Russ & Daughters.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sgordon

        Note to the OP: Momofuku Ssam closes for lunch at 3:30pm and I imagine the kitchen might close 15 minutes before that.

        Pork buns actually do not travel well IMO -- the mantou bread dries out or gets soggy quickly.

        I love the pork sausage and rice cakes, but they're really oily, and might leak.

        1. re: kathryn

          At milk bar they specifically recommend against getting the buns to go because they claim they don't travel well. Their crazy filled croissants (pastrami and rye, thanksgiving) are delicious though.

          Pok pok wing might be more fish saucy than yummy after a few hours, and the papaya salad could be good, but could be a soggy mess.

          Count me among the katz's and Russ and daughter's voters.

      2. go to the Union Square Green Market: purchase: wholegrain flat round rye bread from the Finnish bread people...some cheese...some sunflower greens...some smoked pheasant sausage...some fruit...i did this before my flight to London a few weeks ago and i was the happiest camper on the plane...

        (and as much as love some of the Asian restaurants mentioned above, those foods will not keep as well as the picnic stuff from the Green Market...duck, pork laab, meat buns, etc will be both greasy and messy after sitting in a bag for 2 or 3 hrs pre-takeoff)...

        1. My vote is for DeFontes and Katz's. Everyone on the plane will be jealous!!

            1. re: alkonost

              We love B&H but Blintzes to go? Oy vey?

              1. re: Motosport

                They have a good whitefish sandwich :) But yes, a lot of other things on the menu aren't finger friendly.

                  1. re: Motosport

                    Nope, it's got a lot of other items despite the name. It's really old school, their cold borscht is pretty good too. There's lots of vegetarian options there.

                    1. re: Motosport

                      It is dairy only. FIsh can be eaten with dairy or with meat. I love B&H's whitefish. Not crazy about the borscht, because the vegetable pieces are too big.

                      1. re: small h

                        I never understood kosher deli rules, but as long as the food is good! Yeah the whitefish is great and I love their thick babka bread! Did you have the hot borscht or the cold? They're prepared and made differently, the cold doesn't have huge chunks of veggie in it, just diced/shredded beet (small pieces).

                        1. re: alkonost

                          Hot. That must have been the problem. But the bigger problem is that I take one look at that giant sandwich and say to myself, "Self, you can't possibly eat all this. Just have half and take the rest home." And the next thing I know, the sandwich is gone.

                          According to my Source for All Yiddish Knowledge (she answers to Mindy), fish does not count as an animal because you don't have to kill it. You just take it out of the water, and it dies. Therefore, it isn't alive the way mammals and birds are alive.

                          1. re: small h

                            There is a mermaid joke in there somewhere. My mind is racing.

                            1. re: small h

                              ive never heard the "dies on its own" explanation before. my (decidedly non-definitive) understanding is that the Torah prohibits the consumption of meat (beef) and milk together. This was extended to chicken out of caution because it could accidentally be confused with beef (?). Apparently this confusion was deemed to be less likely to occur with fish.

                              looking for consistency or rationality in these distinctions is a fruitless endeavor.

                              1. re: tex.s.toast

                                The specific line in the Torah translates to something akin to "Thou shalt not boil a kid (as in baby goat) in its mother's milk" - and since who knows where your meat and your milk came from, for all you know your milk might have happened to come from the kid's mother, so best to avoid combining them at all. It was a Talmudic scholar who later interpreted it as extending to calves and lamb as well, then all mammals - even cross-mixing (i.e. it's not okay to put sheep's milk cheese on a hamburger, even though there's no possible way it came from the mother of the cow...) - then eventually decided to include birds as well, for reasons completely unknown, since you can't milk a bird.

                                1. re: tex.s.toast

                                  That makes as much sense as anything else, I guess. Maybe the Fish Exemption (and that is totally going to be the name of my band) was reverse-engineered specifically to allow for bagels with cream cheese & lox.

                      2. re: Motosport

                        I've taken blintz leftovers home from Sarge's, but not through airport security. They pack them up in massive amounts of foil. I wonder how LGA security would react to foil-wrapped leftovers. ;-)

                        1. re: prima

                          having brought foil wrapped burritos from SF's mission to nearly every place i traveled i can safely say that foil is not a problem with airport security.

                    2. Luke's is a good idea, but you need to be careful of the mayonnaise on the lobster rolls. Unless you have an insulated bag to put it in, you can't leave it out for very long at all.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: HippieChick

                        If I am not mistaken the "bad mayonaise" thingy is a myth that has been debunked on CH.

                        1. re: Motosport

                          Really? I'd be interested to hear more about that...it would make me a lot less nervous about carting shrimp salad sandwiches around on trips.

                          1. re: HippieChick

                            Found this: "Mayo that has already been spread on a sandwich or contained in a dish such as macaroni salad should be eaten within the hour unless the sandwich or dish has been refrigerated. Any dish or sandwich with mayonnaise already spread or contained within it should be eaten within 3 days of refrigeration"

                            1. re: HippieChick

                              While mayonnaise may not be as much of an issue as traditionally thought because of the vinegar, the fish and eggs contained in salad spreads can harbor bacteria that cause food poisoning if kept unrefrigerated for long periods of time. Food poisoning on a plane or even right after getting home does not sound particularly pleasant...

                        2. Thanks to all of you for the amazing suggestions. We love Katz's and Russ & Daughters - been many times to both. And with any luck, we'll be having lunch at Ssam on one of our days so we won't have to worry about poorly-traveled pork buns. Simon, your suggestion reminded me of another souvenir plane meal when we ate leftover prosciutto from Lupa, cheese from Murray's and some bagels (I know - a bit unconventional but so good). Of the remaining suggestions, the sandwiches at Num Pang caught my eye the most (wow, their charity sandwich sounds so great but today's the last day!) - also, the location and hours are perfect. I'm going to keep this thread on hand as it'll depend on what we're in the mood for and how tight we are for timing - thanks so much!!!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: peppermint pate

                            Num Pang was a great suggestion. And you'll be close to the greenmarket, so you could supplement as suggested by Simon above. Enjoy, and safe travels.

                          2. I'm going to dissent on the Katz's. Their bread won't hold up for 15 minutes much less a trip to the airport.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: kurtt

                              yep...none of the greasy and/or soggy options are good ideas imo...people aren't factoring in the "waiting a few hours and then eating the food on an airplane" part of the question :)

                              (and as veteran in-flight picnic eater, i've tried a lot of options :)

                              1. re: Simon

                                I am going to agree that Katz's does not travel very well. I actually just brought a Katz's pastrami sandwich to eat for dinner on my flight back to Toronto on Monday, and it was not great by the time I got to eating it on the plane. Much better warm!

                                1. re: Simon

                                  Many suggestions are not considering THE SMELL of some of these items and how your surrounding fellow passengers may not appreciate the smell of your Chinese, for example. Unless the OP plans on eating smelly foods at the gate, once through security. Which reminds me - might not be able to get dipping sauces and the like through security. Though I guess you could just throw it in your baggie, with your shampoo and lotions.

                                  1. re: thegforceny

                                    new idea: go to Chinatown fruit market, purchase whole durian, crack open after takeoff, and offer tastes to surrounding passengers...dirty looks guaranteed, emergency landing possible :)

                                    1. re: Simon

                                      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Love that idea!!!

                                      That's a great way to make sure you get the whole row to yourself.

                                2. re: kurtt

                                  Katz's will sell Pastrami and bread separately so you can build your own on the plane. Get some mustard, Russian and cole slaw to complete the construction!!

                                    1. re: Motosport

                                      though if you went this route, you should really do yourself a favor and buy your rye somewhere else

                                    1. I've gotten treats from Milk Bar to go, for the trip home. The slices of Candy Bar Pie & Crack Pie are individually packed and refrigerated until you buy them. The Compost cookies and other cookies are wrapped in cellophane.They're fine for the trip back to ON.

                                      I often get a sandwich and sweets from Dean & DeLuca for the flight home. Not as interesting as some of the other foods mentioned in this thread, but I really enjoyed Dean & DeLuca's fancy black & white cookie on one of my return flights earlier this year.

                                      2 other places that aren't too far from the EV:
                                      take-home treats from the Union Square Greenmarket or Eataly

                                      Have a great trip!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: prima

                                        OMG, you guys are amazing - boundless suggestions and some
                                        fascinating sidebars on kashruth and food hygiene for good measure. Will have to think hard to come up with the tastiest, safest, least soggy and least stinky option. Really appreciate all the input.

                                      2. I used to always travel with a 2nd ave. deli pastrami sandwich. The secret was to deconstruct it - separate the bread from the meat, and bring the mustard on the side. You can do the same at Katz's. Reconstruct on plane.
                                        Stinkiest thing I ever traveled with was my mother's delicious pate campagne - which smelled like cat food when I unwrapped it. I've never gotten so many dirty looks in my life. But I still remember how delicious it was.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: hungrycomposer

                                          Maybe they were jealous!

                                          While I've been annoyed by kids who kick the back of my seat, and by loud talkers, I can't remember being annoyed by the smell of someone else's food on the plane or at the gate. Maybe I'm relatively tolerant when it comes to food smells some people find obnoxious.

                                          If I had to make a choice, I think I'd prefer the smell of someone else's pate campagne, pastrami or take-out Chinese to the smell of someone else's LGA-sourced Auntie Anne's pretzel dog or Au Bon Pain Salad.

                                        2. While the list here is great, I'll add Russo's on 11th near 1st for their Italian deli sandwiches. Those are our go-to for the airplane. Especially interesting is the roast artichoke and munster (or was it swiss? - not the mozzarella you expect).

                                          1. ...and the (hopefully better late than never announcement of the) winner was...well, a tie actually. We started with a pork belly sandwich from Num Pang. It was fantastic - wonderfully seasoned pork, pickled veg, spicy sauce, chili mayo and a fresh pile of coriander on a perfectly crisped bun. It smelled and looked so good that we couldn't stop after one bite and ending up eating the whole thing ont he way back to the hotel! So...that still left us with our airplane meal to figure out and so we stopped at Zabb Elee. The restaurant was empty and the staff were just about to sit down for their late lunch - I pointed to a couple of things they were eating and they graciously whipped them up for me. Delicious but holy moly spicy papaya salad and their pork larb which was just okay. Very nice people at both places. Love the tiny-ness of num pang - would have certainly never found it without you guys.

                                            Of the other recs, we enjoyed Luke's Lobster and Momofuku Ssam at other times on the trip - will post a little report later today.

                                            Sorry to be so late in reporting but a million (belated) thanks for your wonderful suggestions!!