One of the unfortunate facts of life is that, in general, air travel isn’t as convenient as it used to be. In these days of higher fuel costs and lower profits, most airlines have trimmed back their food service, mostly replacing it with expensive “buy-on-board” meals. We’ve got the silly TSA liquid ban as well, which also make it harder to bring stuff with you. Which makes it increasingly likely these days that on longer plane trips, you’ll be getting some of your sustenance from various food vendors at the airport. Unfortunately, in most cases, airport food sucks. While there are a few notable exceptions, the general airport fare is either poorly done versions of your basic fast food fare, ultra-expensive, or both. However, there are a few places that seem to fill the airport food niche decently. Recently, on a trip to Miami we had a nice long layover at Newark’s Concourse C, and we spied Garden State Diner and decided to give it a try.
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
A few years ago, my coworker Nick invited us to his house in Lebanon for a summer party, and in addition to coworkers, a lot of his neighbors were in attendance, and there was a pretty good spread of food. One thing that everyone was commenting on was that someone had brought two giants trays of food: one was fried spring rolls, and the other was beef skewers, and both were really good. Talking to Nick, he said that was his neighbor Sarin, who was a Hypertherm worker who did some catering on the side, and he was looking to start up a food truck. Well, a few months later he pulled it off, and a “Phnom Penh Sandwich Station” food truck started showing up at different spots around the Upper Valley, usually at the Lebanon green around noon, and the Hanover green for the late evening crowd. The food was quite good, mostly involving either rice dished or banh mi sandwiches served up out of the truck, often as a lunch special with some minted tea. The service wasn’t always fast, but that was for a good reason: for the main dishes Sarin doesn’t cook anything ahead of time: order a pork sandwich, and the marinated pork goes onto the grill right as you order, and it takes a few minutes to cook. Well, people didn’t mind the wait, and business was brisk. Enough so that, last Fall, Phnom Penh Sandwich Station opened their brick-and-mortar location.