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August 24, 2008

Dinner at the airport (or on the plane)

AirportPotBellyWorks.jpgI managed to get to the airport last night, although it took an hour and a half, what with getting lost and the traffic. (Can you say "Cubs game"?) As Gailor joked when she dropped me off, "I think I may get home before you do, but I'm not sure."

Once inside Midway I discovered a travel tip I'm happy to share with you. The TSA lanes there are divided into "Family Travelers," "Casual Travelers," and "Expert Travelers." Naturally the lanes in the first two categories on a Saturday night were jam-packed. I figured the last category was for those who had the new I.D. cards you pay for, but I didn't think that program had started yet.

Anyway, you know how I feel about missing a meal. ... 

It was anoint myself an expert traveler or go hungry, so I marched up and handed the woman my boarding pass and driver's license, and she waved me through to a machine. Maybe it's like an express lane at the supermarket, for those who know enough to take out their laptops and their 3-1-1 bags and pull off their shoes. It must have saved me 15 minutes.

Which meant that I just had time to wait in line at the Potbelly Sandwich Works across the way from my gate. This was my first Potbelly sandwich, and even though they are hot sandwiches, and even though it sat under my seat on the plane for an hour before I ate it, it was pretty good.  The Swiss cheese had done the sort of melty thing into the turkey, and the roll was nice and crusty.

I got the turkey and Swiss simply because it was the first sandwich on the menu, but maybe there's something else that's even better. I'd like to hear about it because I imagine this won't be the last time I eat at a Potbelly. 

Even though you may remember how I feel about the name. 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 3:08 PM | | Comments (13)


What's a 3-1-1 bag? I've been avoiding flying since the security hysteria got out-of-control and haven't been keeping up.

You can take bottles that hold three ounces or less as long as they fit in one quart zip lock bag, one per person. Of course, if I'm flying I give half the liquids I want to take to my husband. Once when I was taking Gailor six bottles of nail polish (too long to explain why) he was carrying them, and the security guard had the nerve to ask me if they were mine. EL

I had lunch at the Potbelly place near the harbor once (I had to, despite that it is a chain; it was a work thing).

The roast beef (with swiss or something) was good, and had the crusty bread you mention above. It was a very high step above Quizno's toasty sodium sandwiches.

Not too bad for airport food, but if anyone reading this is thinking about hitting the one near the harbor, you're crazy, and bad, and the lines are really really long. Go to Isabella's a few blocks away in Little Italy instead. Their sandwiches are almost as good as sex.

I work down the street from a Potbelly but can't stand the line. When I think ahead the "phone in" works well. My favorite is "The Wreck", basically an Italian sub. If I'm in a comfort food mood though the peanut butter & jelly is surprisingly good... heated with crunchy peanut butter and grape jelly. I like the salads too.

Mmmmm... PotBelly. For a fast foodish sandwich place, it's pretty good. Always eat there on my way through Midway. There is also one in Baltimore, on (I believe) Fayette Street.

At least you didn't fly out of O'Hare that place is a culinary hell on earth.

That's not its biggest drawback. EL

We had a really good breakfast bagel sandwich from Potbelly's at Reagan a few weeks ago. It was also my first Potbelly sandwich and I was pretty impressed. I expected it to be so-so because it was airport food but it was delicious!

Or you can take no liquids, using bar shampoo, tooth powder, etc.

Security theatre. I far prefer musicals. And I don't much like musicals.

Their sandwiches are almost as good as sex.

Are they as messy?

They're as messy as you want them to be. But remember I said almost.

There's also one toward the end of the C concourse at BWI. I'm partial to the smoked ham and swiss, with a light sprinkling of hot peppers.

They're as messy as you want them to be. But remember I said almost.

Are you still talking about sandwiches?

♫ Brown chicken brown cow. ♫

Elizabeth, you're freaking me out!

I was also at Midway yesterday, about the time you posted this note. My wife and I also encountered the "expert lane" and went straight for it. There were about a dozen TSA agents waiting there...and we were the only customers.

Now to test my memory and figure out if you were on my flight!

I often fly Delta out of BWI (Gate C16 every single time) and was wondering if Potbelly's was any good. Thanks for the info!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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