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Planes, Trains & Automobiles

November 24, 2010

In some ways, the more I learn about food, the less I want to eat it. Thankfully there are a few places that make food so delicious that I try to forget everything I know about where the ingredients come from, and just enjoy how the food tastes.

I was just thinking about Ala Shanghai recently.  The pork for their Xiao Long Bao surely isn’t happy, but biting into one of those hot, soupy dumplings is a pleasure nonetheless.

But when traveling, your options are seriously limited.

It is not uncommon for me to cruise around an airport on foot scoping out all the available food options trying to suss out which one sells something that is closest to real clean food.

I thought I hit pay dirt at a smoothie place in the Albany airport.  But the only way I was able to coax a satisfying and modestly healthful treat from the ingredients they had on hand, was to work closely with the woman behind the counter.  This could never have happened on a busy travel day, much less the busiest travel day of the year.

Train stations and highway rest stops aren’t much better, and for the most part they are probably worse.  The only upside to traveling by car is that you can leave your path in pursuit of better food.  But the Fussys do no such thing.  Not with little kids in the car.  Those little creatures are ticking time bombs until we reach our destination.

The upside to my story is that I end in Connecticut, and even the bad pizza there is delicious.  So I can at least hope that we can get checked into the hotel before the pizza place closes for the night.

Generally we pack food.

These days it’s mostly peanut butter sandwiches for the car.  Surprisingly the kids love them.  In college I knew a guy who would carry a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter in his backpack at all times.

But as a kid it was always my dad’s tuna fish sandwiches as we took the Long Island Rail Road out to see the grandparents.  I recall the grandparents would send us with kosher salami sandwiches for the ride back.

The best sandwich I ever packed was for a JetBlue flight from JFK to SFO.  Before heading to the airport, I stopped into The Carnegie Deli to pick up a corned beef sandwich to go.  The TSA agent threatened to keep it for herself.  She seemed to be joking, but maybe only half joking.  Either way, I feared for my sandwich.  Since I was in Manhattan for the broadcast upfronts, I had some schwag from the networks.  I think I gave her my spiff new NBC pen, as a token of my appreciation, and hurried off with my prize.

On the plane when the flight attendants passed out snacks, the rather sizable man next to me munched on his little packet of blue potato chips as I unwrapped my monster sandwich.  I felt a little bad for the guy as he hungrily watched me eat the whole thing.

It was delicious.

For those of you who will be traveling today or tomorrow, I hope you have both a safe and delicious trip.  If you find anything super tasty on the road, I’d be curious to hear all about it.

Tonight we dream of stuffing, and tomorrow we feast on dreams.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah M. permalink
    November 24, 2010 2:08 pm

    You were THAT guy, eating a big smelly sandwich on the plane? Oh, Daniel B., say it ain’t so.

  2. Kerosena permalink
    November 29, 2010 12:43 pm

    Oh dear, the other people on the plane must have wanted to vote you off. What else was on the sandwich? If there were pickles, onions, sauerkraut or coleslaw involved, you are automatically d/q’ed as a “good traveler!”

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