Really, really, REALLY good Sandwiches in Downtown L.A. Did I say “really” already?
Downtown Los Angeles, a place that I will only be in (for lunch, anyway) in the middle of the day if it’s a weekend or…God forbid…Jury Duty.
This time, it’s Jury Duty.
With an hour and a half for lunch, I decided to take the time to do some culinary exploring. And…well, what’s this Mendocino Farms place I keep hearing about? I mean, it’s only three blocks from the Courthouse. Maybe I should give it a dance.
I’m happy I gave it a dance.
Now, Mendocino Farms does say “Sandwich and Market”, but I didn’t see no market. Maybe they meant “Sandwich Market”. I’ve seen that on their signage as well. That’s just as well, where I was, I couldn’t bring in a side of beef anyway back to the Jury Assembly Room anyway. A sandwich was gonna do me just fine.
The Downtown location is a bit hard to find. It’s under the Omni Center Hotel which is itself just next door to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), and it’s not totally obvious where it is at first, but have patience gentle Sandiwch-eater. Things shall soon be made clear.
Come down the steps, cross the Plaza, lean to your left, in the dark, under the shadows and you’ll find Mendocino Farms. Odds are, there will be a line out the door already. But not to worry, the very friendly staff are there to guide you. You’ll first be handed a laminanted Menu to peruse. Then as you get to the front of the line, one of these same staffers will take your order down. Then you head inside.
At that very moment, you’re in line, your order has entered its own line, as in a line of Mendocino crew working on your sandwich. In the meantime, you go ahead and go pay. Grab your chips and whatever you want to drink and pay up. From there your name is called, and you go away happy with your Sandwich.
Now, if only you can find a table. Because the place is that popular. Deservedly, so.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, a Sandwich, of course. But which one…which one…
I will say that any non-Vietnamese place that carries not one, but two Banh-Mi sandwiches on its menu gets my immediate respect. They also had a Summer Cubano Sandwich up as a Seasonal special.
But where they had me at Banh-Mi, they doubly had me at Pork Belly. And so I dived in face first to a lovely Banh-Mi Sandwich with Pork Belly on Ciabatta bread. I’ll tell you as that bread soaked up the juices from the Pork Belly, melding with the sauces from the sandwich itself, I became a very happy man, despite my circumstances.
Like I said, I was on Jury Duty.
There are a number of Sandwiches on this menu, I’d come back for, but anything involving Grilled Pork is going to get my loving attention (and Sandwich dollars) first.)
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: For this locaiton, the real trick is going to be finding the place. I’ve left as many visual clues on this space as possible, but if you’re looking for a sign that says in big friendly letters “Mendocino Farms” which will lead you to your Sandwich destination, you’re out of luck. Just read what I’ve written in the introduction, and look at these pictures. Remember head down into the overhang, and lean left. Look for a Restaurant line in blue, and you’re there.
PARKING: Oy. This is Downtown, that nest of Vipers and Theives. Unless you’re doing Jury Duty, things will not be cheap for you. I hope whatever brings you to this particular location of Mendocino Farms, you’re also there to do something else. There’s Disney Hall for a Concert, the Colburn Center for a less refined, but hopefully still pretty good Concert, and if all else fails you can find yourself at the Museum of Contemporary Art, but only if you absolutely have to.
Then again, you could be on Jury Duty, which even I think is better than going to MOCA.
Also, bear in mind this particular location is open for Lunch hours only, 11am-3pm. I’m sure they’ve like me to mention that they’re Catering hours are open all day…and so I just did.
Mendocino Farms (Downtown)
300 South Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Tel: (213) 620-1114
Monday-Friday: 11:00am – 3:00pm