Side Dish 

What comestibles do local chefs take on the road?

Is that pâté in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me? A plastic cylinder filled with green-peppercorn pâté is what chef Mark Wentz, of Chez Leon, conceals in his Brooks Brothers slacks when he travels. "You don't believe me, do you?" he asks tartly as he describes this unlikely airport snack. "I love it. Sometimes I take duck pâté or quail terrine." Owner Leon Bierbaum also comes prepared, toting beef-tenderloin sandwiches, black and green French olives and fine chocolates in his overnight bag. In fact, many St. Louis chefs and restaurateurs prefer to pack their own meals when they're flying. But Steve Komorek, of Trattoria Marcella, gets by with a chopped salad or a roasted-pepper-and-goat-cheese pizza from California Pizza Kitchen (Lambert Concourse A and East Terminal). Fio Antognini, of Fio's La Fourchette, usually stows away just a sandwich and a piece of fruit (for which he was once accosted by Australian customs officials for failing to declare that he was harboring "plant life"). And chef Dave Owens, of Cardwell's at the Plaza, says he's reduced to purchasing "salty, crisp things in little packages" from vending machines. Owens, who's a vegetarian, concedes that the food in airports around the country is improving, but he's not optimistic -- and stashing a little duck pâté in his Dockers, it seems, is out of the question.

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