Worth It/Not Worth It: 5 Sandwiches I Paid Over $10 For
If you’re a huge fan of Hatfield’s or find yourself lunching around La Brea often you were probably very excited to hear about the opening of Sycamore Kitchen. I’m neither, and yet I found myself kind of interested. Even though the small menu of undoubtedly gourmet sandwiches was relatively unexciting, and nothing is under $10, I still felt compelled to check out the latest “cheaper offshoot” of a famous L.A. restaurant- a trend that seemed to start with Huckleberry, and has continued with places like The Deli at Little Dom’s, Gjelina Take Away, and Ink.Sack.
In fact, it got me thinking. I’ve eaten a lot of over $10 sandwiches in the last year, something I never used to do when I worked in Midtown. I don’t know if it was the $9.75 sandwiches at Mendocino Farms that buttered me up, or the constant sunlight wreaking havoc on my brain, but regardless of the reason I am now a person that is sometimes willing to spend $12 on a sandwich. But for every great sandwich that has me justifying my newfound deep pockets, there is another sandwich that turns me into my Grandfather- grumbling about the days when you could get a sandwich at Langer’s for a nickel! (That probably was never the case, but it sounded like something my grandfather would say.)
So with that in mind, here are 5 kind of worth it sandwiches I have paid over $10 for in the last year…
1. Sycamore Kitchen’s Double B-LTA ($11) – If you’re looking for something crazy unique for your sandwich splurge, Sycamore Kitchen is not the place for you. There’s a turkey sandwich, a chicken sandwich, a tuna salad sandwich, and a fresh mozzarella/tomato sandwich, all with condiments that are a bit more subtle in their ability to excite cheap/fat bastards like myself. The one sandwich that shines through is the Double B-LTA, a BLT with pork belly and avocado added for… well… for people like me. I don’t know if I’d drive across town for this sandwich, but the bread is great, the produce is excellent, the mayo is tasty and the pork belly adds something new to the standard BLT. Worth It/Not Worth It: Worth it if you live or work in the area (or if you forget about the sandwich and just eat their amazing pastries!)
2. Brisket Banh Mi at GTA ($12) – Gjelina Take Away might be one of the first places that tested my willingness to break the $10 sandwich barrier. I loved their meatball sandwich, their fresh baked bread is excellent, and there’s something kind of fun about sitting on milk crates alongside Abbott Kinney laughing at all the suckers waiting for tables at Gjelina to pay a premium for what you’re getting at… a premium!? Fuck me, $12 is expensive for a normal size sandwich that doesn’t even come with anything. But their latest creation might be their best: tender brisket topped with carrots, cilantro, pickled onions, jalapeno vinaigrette and aioli, all on a perfect french baguette. Calling it a banh mi opens the sandwich up to the endless refrain of “I can get a better sandwich at 1/4 the price in Westminister” argument, but in Venice there is no equal. I hate myself for it, but I can’t quit you GTA. Worth It/Not Worth it: Totally worth it, but I won’t admit it to banh mi fanatics.
3. Hamburgesa at Mo Chica ($12) – I don’t know if I tasted alpaca or know what alpaca is supposed to taste like (and any L.A. food bloggers who say they do are probably lying), but this lamb/alpaca burger from the new Downtown iteration of Mo Chica is an undeniably tasty sandwich. And the fact that it comes with fries makes it one of the better lunch deals on a menu that was Downtown-ified quite a bit in their move from USC food court to Bottega Louie neighbor. Worth It/Not Worth It: Sort of worth it for those looking for a one dish lunch at the new Mo Chica.
4. Fried Chicken Sandwich at Son of a Gun ($11) – Sure, this bad boy was a better deal when it was $10 and came with a side dish, drink and dessert on the Cart For a Cause Truck. But at $11 it’s still the best deal on the entire Son of a Gun Menu, and a must order if you want to leave full while keeping the tab down. Worth It/Not Worth it: Look at that thing. Do you need to ask?
5. Country Fried Chicken Rolls at Blue Cow Kitchen ($11) – It’s sort of unfair to put this sandwich after what is arguably the best fried chicken sandwich in the city, but what are you going to do. You can’t see it in my terrible photo, but there are pieces of delicious fried chicken underneath all those veggies. And what’s bad about fried chicken on Hawaiian rolls (answer: nothing.) Then again I’ve got to draw the line somewhere, and with their slightly cheaper sister Mendocino Farms around the corner, and the excellent Starry Kitchen right across the way, I’m only getting this one if somebody else is paying! Worth It/Not Worth It: Worth it as an appetizer if the boss is paying.
- Sycamore Kitchen, 143 S. La Brea, Mid City.
- Gjelina Take Away, 1427 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice. 310-392-7575
- Mo Chica, 514 W 7th St, DTLA. 213-622-3744
- Son of a Gun, 8370 W 3rd St, Mid City West. 323-782-9033
- Blue Cow, 350 S Grand Ave, DTLA. 213-621-2249