Wally’s Cheese Box Has Great Sandwiches (And Free Baguettes Until 8/15)
Just a quick look at the Midtown Lunch map and you can tell that Westwood is one of the main areas of Midtown Lunch’ing in L.A.- and not just because my wife works there. (Ok, maybe it is because my wife works there.) I still haven’t been to Sak’s Terikayi (so sad!), but Hammer Cafe is a decent deal, the completely under the radar French cafe Ratata is adorable, I’m admittedly a Pitfire fan, and of course there’s all the great Middle Eastern food on Westwood Blvd btw. Wilshire and Santa Monica (Alcazar Express, Attari, Sunin). So, when I read on Squid Ink and Tasting Table that Wally’s Wine had recently spun off their cheese selection into its own adjacent store, Wally’s Cheese Box, I was pretty excited to check it out.
I was even more excited to find out they had sandwiches! Making it a new Westwood lunch destination…
Paying close to $10 for sandwich, with no chips or fries or nothing is not exactly my favorite thing in the word to do. But when a place clearly puts thought into their meats and cheeses and bread and toppings, I don’t mind paying a bit more… and Wally’s Cheese Box definitely fits into that category.
Grilled smoked ham and aged gruyere on brioche ($7.99). What if I was to tell you that this was the butteriest ham and cheese sandwich you’ve ever had? Would you get excited? If you answered “yes”, you’ll love this sandwich. Quality ham, quality cheese, butter (I”m assuming since it gets put into a panini press), and bread made mostly with butter. Not quite at croissant level… but it comes pretty damn close. It could have been larger, and for $8 you’re not exactly going to be stuffed. But if you get hungry later in the day, you can just lick the leftover butter off your hands as an afternoon snack.
Fresh mozzarella, sun dried tomato, pesto, basil, balsamic, olive oil, on a cibatta roll ($7.99). If the first sandwich was a butter bomb, this one was an olive oil bomb. (And I mean that in the best possible way.) Pesto *and* olive oil *and* sun dried tomato- presumably soaked in olive oil (if it wasn’t before, it certainly was after.) I don’t normally love sun dried tomatoes (at least not the dried up chewy ones that seem to have dug in during the 80s and refuse to leave). What I do love is good sun dried tomatoes, which I had for the first time in Italy. They are soft and moist (usually with olive oil) and taste like the richest tomatoes you’ve ever eaten. These are those… and paired with the clearly fresh, and super pillowy mozzarella, it’s a winner. Once again, the ciabatta roll could be larger (it’s probably about 7″) but it’s tough to really complain.
Finally we got the meat-tastic super bomb known as “Wally’s Hero”. I guess super bomb is a slight exaggeration (it’s certainly not at Bay Cities level) but it’s the catch all sandwich at Wally’s… and even though it’s $1 more, it’s probably the best value. It nowhere near as big as the Godfather, and the olive salad is replaced with sundried tomatoes, but these are quality meats. No Boar’s Head here. Split that sucker up and you’d have a top class charcuterie platter. Leave it intact? It’s a delicious sandwich. ($8.99)
The bread is sourced from a new, small scale, private bakery known as Bread Lounge, and it rises to the level of the meats and cheeses at Wally’s. Plus to get people addicted to the great bread, they’re actually giving away free baguettes with any store purchase between now and August 15th. No joke. (I’ve done it twice already, once when I bought some cheese and once when I bought the sandwiches.) It’s probably worth stopping by soon just for that.
The only real downside of Wally’s Cheese Box is there is nowhere to sit, so this is a strictly take out affair. Paying $9-10 for a small sandwich *and* I have to take it back to my desk to eat it? Not good. But when top notch bread, meats, and (of course) cheeses are involved, exceptions can be made.
- I like sandwiches made from high quality products, and don’t mind paying a premium
- Lunch plus I can get my wine and cheese shopping done for the week? I love it!
- Go for the meat and cheese, return for the sun dried tomatoes
- Free baguette!
- They have a parking lot that is practically empty during lunch.
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I’m lactose intolerant.
- I like Boar’s Head.
- I can’t eat bread… do they have that hero available as a salad?
- I don’t care how good it is, I’m not paying $9 for a tiny sandwich that I have to eat at my desk
Wally’s Cheese Box, 2107 Westwood Blvd., 310-475-0606