Locali Brings Grilled Cheese Inivitational Winner to the Masses

Like many attendees of this years Grilled Cheese Invitational I left hot, sweaty, and completely grilled cheese-less.  If you didn’t have a “judges pass”, the entries were off limits, and if you didn’t want to wait in long lines at one of the few mobile vendors selling food, you were basically SOL. So when I heard that Locali, the “conscious convenience” store on Franklin & Van Ness was selling their DaVincheese sandwich- the 1st place winner in the Professional/Kama Sutra category- I headed right over to see what I had missed out on.

I admit that I haven’t done a good job hiding my disdain for “healthy food” since moving here to L.A.  (I’m particularly angry at dry white meat chicken) so walking into Locali was not exactly a pleasant experience.  The shelves were filled with all sorts of supposedly healthy, weirdo health food crap that so many people in L.A. derive comfort from. (If I could have looked past it, I’m sure I would have found some worthy locally sourced products, but I couldn’t… so I didn’t.)   But I didn’t let it discourage me from trying the DaVincheese… which sounded too good to pass up.

Kalamata olive bread, with organic goat chevre, provolone, and swiss, topped with organic eggplant, organic garlic, balsamic vinagrette, olive oil, honey, salt, cracked pepper, and Italian herbs. Holy mackerel this thing was good. Oily, gooey, crunchy, tangy- with a hint of sweetness, and a touch of rosemary… there is nothing healthy about this sandwich. In fact, there are a lot of sandwiches on Chef Heather Morrisson’s menu that are probably not low-fat… like the Loaded Homer (with roast beef, chicken, turkey, and monterey jack on pretzel bread), or the wayward pilgrim panini (turkey, swiss, crushed walnuts, spinach, rasberry jam, dijon mustard, and red onion on a six grain) or the log cabin breakfast sandwich (with smoked chicken, sliced apple, swiss cheese, and maple syrup on a croissant).

And then it dawned on me. Locali is my new favorite place in all of L.A. They lure the L.A. health nuts in, with their totally believable “healthy” decor, and “organic” and “all natural” ingredients, only to sledgehammer them in the head with delicious (and completely fattening sandwiches). It’s the ultimate switcheroo, and I love it.

Sure there are the requisite vegan substitutions, and the obligatory vegetarian salads, but I can tell from this grilled cheese sandwich alone that the brains behind this operation cares more about flavor than making things “low fat”. And that is just the kind of “healthy” lunch that I can get behind.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I love high quality ingredients, and believe in organic and sustainable eating… as long as the shit tastes good!  And this place tastes good.
  • It looks like a health food shop, but doesn’t taste like one
  • I’m vegetarian/vegan/celiac and am looking for tasty lunch options in Hollywood

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I don’t care how good it tastes, I don’t eat at places that serve “vegan meatballs”
  • Everything is made to order, so the panini take way too long, and there really isn’t any seating.  I’d recommend ordering in advance, and taking it to go.
  • $9 is too expensive for a grilled cheese sandwich (even if it is award winning!)

Locali, 5825 Franklin Ave. (nr. Van Ness), 323-466-1360  www.localiyours.com


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