Guest Blogger: www.loveandloathingla.com
Few things will ever come close to the joy that a simple pairing of meat, cheese, veggies, and condiments held together by bread can bring to just about everyone in existence. With so many options, so many variations, sandwiches of the world over aim to please, and a city like Los Angeles is of no exception when it comes to bringing their A-game to making this timeless staple. Here in LA we’ve got a melting pot of ideas, recipes, and ways in which to create a perfect sandwich; some stick with a more “fail proof” classic route, while some step completely outside of the bread and create completely unique, one-of-a-kind, hand held edible genious-ness. Los Angeles is home to a lot of delicious sandwiches, so instead of tackling the near impossible task of selecting 10 of the absolute best, I’ve selected 10 sandwich categories and where you can find my favorite of each type. Warning: side effects from the following information may include hunger. Potentially a lot of it. So what are you waiting for? Get your hands on some of the best sandwiches in LA, like now.
CLASSIC DELI : POTATO CHIPS DELI “TURKEY SANDWICH”
Potato Chips Deli: 308 N Stanley Ave Los Angeles, CA 90036 | 11 – 5 everyday
Words can hardly describe the feelings I feel towards the Turkey sandwich that can only be made at Potato Chips Deli off Beverly Blvd near the Grove. “Natural roasted turkey breast, harvarti, iceberg, tomatoes, herb aioli, balsamic” may sound like any typical deli sandwich but what they don’t tell you is that their fresh baked bread, is made with crack. Kidding, it’s totally safe bread but it is hands down the most delicious bread one can ever have the privilege of having hold together a simple deli meat/veggie/aioli center. To all my fellow OCD particular people out there… Potato Chips also shred their lettuce. It’s stupid how much that makes a difference, but shredded lettuce is the answer to everything sandwich related. Amiright or amiright.
CLASSIC GOURMET : PANINOTECA “CHICKEN PARMIGIANO”
Paninoteca by Scarpetta: 225 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 | 11 – 3 Monday – Friday
You ever have a sandwich that gives you the warm n’ fuzzies? Like your mom just made you your favorite meal? But in actuality you’re just having the Chicken “Parmigiano” sandwich at Paninoteca? Happens to me all the time. What about a perfectly breaded and seasoned warm piece of chicken topped with burrata and smoked tomatoes in-between a roll baked in-house (“in-house” as in “Scarpetta in-house”, hello) doesn’t sound like the best Italian comfort lunch ever? Pair that with one of their fresh squeezed juices and the best chocolate chip cookie you’ll ever have and you may just cry tears of joy. I would be the last person to judge you.
BAHN MI : EAST BOROUGH “PHO BAGUETTE”
East Borough: 9810 West Washington Boulevard Culver City CA, 90232 | 11 – 3 / 5:30 – close
So maybe East Borough’s Pho Baguette is not exactly considered a “classic” Bahn Mi, but if there’s one thing I know, it’s actually better. Sure the Pho Baguette has all the essential Bahn Mi components, but EB decided to take this little number a level up from average by creating this sandwich with beef brisket, basil, onions, hoisin sriracha aioli and “side car pho” – “side car pho” is to the Pho Baguette as “au ju” is to a French Dip. With just the perfect amount of spice, this warm sandwich flavor party will have you craving another on the reg. You’ll be in luck though, no matter what time of the day it is, because the Pho Baguette is available for lunch, dinner, and happy hour.
CUBAN : INK.SACK “CUBAN”
ink.sack: 8360 Melrose Ave #107, Los Angeles, CA 90069 | 11 – 8 everyday
Cubans, let alone good Cubans, aren’t all that easy to come by in Los Angeles, sadly Chef is just a movie and there’s not a dedicated Cubano truck roaming the streets of the city. My search for such sandwiches lead me to famed sandwich shop ink.sack, and despite the fact that this particular slice of heaven may not be panini pressed or as big as a typical Cuban, it is still one damn fine Cuban sandwich. All the things that actually matter when it comes to a good Cuban like the mustard, the pickles, the swiss cheese, the bbq pork, and the ham are all there in ink.sacks’s $6 delicious Cuban – which is in fact so delicious, that I had to order two. True story, and might I suggest you do the same if you’re a Cuban fan.
TORTA : FUNDAMENTAL LA “CHICKEN TORTA”
Fundamental LA: 1303 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90024 | Lunch: Tuesday – Friday 11 – 3
Didn’t see that one comin’ did ya! Believe it or not, sometimes the best gems are hidden in the most unlikely of places, and my favorite LA torta happens to be hiding in a little place in Westwood I like to call Fundamental LA. The “chicken torta” is available at lunch, Tuesday – Friday 11am – 3pm, and trust me it won’t be the last time you pop in for this perfectly spiced, perfectly decadent “gourmet” torta. You can get a typical torta anywhere in this city, I’m sure you’ve got your classic go-to spot, but when you’re ready to broaden your horizons and try a new take, Fundamental LA is ready to show you how they do things. Tomatillo salsa, guacamole, cotija, crema, jalepenos, iceberg lettuce, juicy chicken, and a slightly grilled warm delicious bun makes up this messy heap of happiness, so I dare you to try it and tell me it wasn’t a little mind blowing.
BREAKFAST SANDWICH : EGGSLUT “BACON EGG + CHEESE”
Eggslut: (DTLA) 317 S. Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90013 | 8 – 4 everyday
Eggslut, despite the slightly deceptive name, is one of those places that can do no wrong, and no matter what you order I assure you, you will enjoy it. In fact you won’t just enjoy all the best parts about breakfast sandwiched between a fluffy brioche bun, you’ll forget about all of your worries for 5 minutes, you’ll question whether or not any breakfast will ever be as good, and you’ll inevitably fall in love with an Eggslut. But don’t worry my friend, it happens to the best of us – welcome to the club.
OF THE “MEATY” VARIETY. : LANGER’S DELICATESSEN “#19″
Langer’s Deli: 704 South Alvarado, Los Angeles, CA 90057 | Monday – Saturday 8 – 4
I really wanted to put a sandwich in here that wasn’t so painfully obvious, and one that I secretly believed deserved more attention, but at the end of the day there’s just no getting around the fact that Langer’s makes the best meat centric deli sandwiches. I’m sorry, but the proof is in the pastrami. I love me some Wexler’s, or some Bay Cities, but the surprise I feel every time I bite into a #19 from Langer’s always feels like the very first surprise accompanied by an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. The #19 is what Langer’s is known for and once you get a massive mouthful of that pastrami, swiss cheese, and cole slaw Russian style dressing… you’ll see why. Sorry I’m not sorry on this one Los Angeles, what’s good is good – it’s not their fault they’ve been offering perfect food since 1947?
VEGGIE : DAILY DOSE “THE FARMER”
Daily Dose: 1820 Industrial St, Los Angeles, CA 90021 | M – F 7 – 8, Sat 8 – 8, Sun 9 – 4
Home to my other favorite breakfast sandwich (The Margo) and ALL of my favorite vegetarian sandwiches, the Daily Dose in the Arts District downtown is home to quite possibly the prettiest, the biggest, and the most scrumptious veggie sandwich this city has to offer, and it goes by the name of “The Farmer”. In between 2 slices of toasted olive bread you will find roasted seasonal squash, guacamole, Japanese yams, a veggie patty, heirloom tomato, and burrata cheese topped with vegan nutless pesto and ancho chili jamon. The ingredients let alone the presentation are past the point of impressive, so impressive this sandwich deserves a medal. A medal for being just as good of a sandwich as one dripping in butter/cheese/and meat, and one for making vegetables the more appealing option. Excellent work is happening at Daily Dose, excellent work.
GRILLED CHEESE : JOAN’S ON THIRD “GRILLED CHEESE”
Joan’s On Third: 8350 West Third Street Los Angeles, CA 90048 | M – Sat 8 – 8, Sunday 8 – 7
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and when it comes to the madness surrounding the complexities vs the classic, the classic wins this round in the battle for best grilled cheese in town. Joan’s On Third’s simple “home cooked” grilled cheese makes an appearance on just about every best sandwich/grilled cheese round up, and there’s clearly some rhyme to the reason – it’s simply the best, and there’s no way around it. I too am a fan of the frighteningly ooy-gooey cheese bomb buttered bread sandwich creations filled with bacon/mac n cheese/more cheese/what-have-you, but if there’s one thing Joan’s knows perhaps better than anyone, is how to cook with the best cheese, the best bread, and a fair amount of butter. What more could you ask for.
OUT OF CONTROL CRAZY : FAT SAL’S “FAT TEXAS BBQ”
Fat Sal’s: Fat Sal’s Hollywood 1300 N. Highland Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90028 / Fat Sal’s Westwood 972 Gayley Ave Los Angeles, CA 90024
There’s a moment you’ll have when you walk into Fat Sal’s, where you’ll question your strength, you’ll question your ability to “just say no”, then you’ll see everyone around you enjoying one of many mouth watering options Fat Sal’s has to offer on their menu and you will eventually enter the “fuck it” phase, as I like to call it, and completely succumb to your inhibitions. Let those inhibitions order the “Fat Texas BBQ”, don’t let all the “fat’s” stand in between you and enjoying this sandwich, because even if you just have it once in your life, it will be the best thing you’ve ever had. Picture this: bbq pastrami brisket, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, crispy bacon, grilled onions, melted cheddar and mozzarella, fries, mayo, and honey bbq all between a toasted garlic hero. Now imagine eating it. I was genuinely pissed off how delicious that $7.99 heart attack snack actually was; I’ve had Michelin star dinners that weren’t as good as this giant helping of insanity. You’ll experience a vast range of emotions dining at Fat Sal’s, but I promise in the moment you’ll find sandwich euphoria, and even if just for a second, it’ll all be worth it. Life will just make sense.