May 30, 2007
Local flavor, on the flyBy Regina SchramblingLos Angeles Times

In the last week, I have eaten serious crab cakes from Baltimore, barbecue from Texas, cheesecake from Chicago, chili from Cincinnati and lobsters from Boston. My toast has been topped with marionberry jam from Oregon, my salads dressed with cranberry vinaigrette from Seattle. And I’m a little sugar-woozy from Derby-Pie from Kentucky and coconut patties from Florida.

What all those specialties from all around the map have in common, besides their final destination in my kitchen, is their point of origin: All of them are sold in airports.

Hard as it is to believe, the most dreaded places in the country — thanks to flight delays and security hassles — also happen to be sources of excellent local food. And now that travelers are spending more time waiting, the pickings are improving, just in time for peak flying season. Concessionaires in airports are working harder than ever to make connections with local legends such as Legal Sea Foods in Boston and the Salt Lick in Austin, Texas.

Even better, you no longer have to strip down and pass through security to shop for these far-flung flavors. If you are not in the airport, you can buy them over the phone or online, directly from the producers.

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