The Unvegan

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Lunchtime at Lunch (CLOSED)

Look at those little toast-bubbles.

The nice thing about having random days off for New Year’s Day because the actual New Year’s falls on a Saturday is that I get to test out some lunch places that aren’t around my office. This is what led me to the creatively named Lunch (which surprisingly also serves dinner) in Culver City. Cue your Abbott and Costello references. Lunch is pretty much what you would expect from your average lunch joint, with soups, salads and sandwiches. But they do toss in some nice twists with sandwich creativity and even offer a make-your-own-sandwich option called Ideal Sandwich.

Although some of their own sandwiches looked great, each one had some sort of vegetable that I wanted no part of. So I turned to the Ideal Sandwich, which was a Counter-style checklist of sandwich options, with a base price of $9.95. Looking it over, I knew I wouldn’t be content with simply one meat. Although it cost me an extra 2 bucks, I began with both bacon and turkey. The cheeses were actually pretty impressive and rather than offering just simple cheeses, the list included gorgonzola, goat and brie. I went with the goat on this one. Then when it came to toppings, just as suspected, I found a long list of of vegetables. I had the option to choose three before paying extra, but the only two I could find that were acceptable for my diet were green apple and avocado. I thought the apple might give the sandwich an interesting twist and figured it was hard to go wrong with avocado.

Next came the choice of spreads. This was another long list, but more difficult to choose than the over-vegetated toppings list. It included interesting options like peanut butter, hummus and fig spread. But with all these choices, I decided that pesto would do best on the sandwich I had built. This left me with one final choice: bread. Again, there was a nice variety to choose from and I went with the baguette. I checked off the TOASTED? box and my sandwich was finally set. Or so I thought. When I brought it to the register, I was informed that they were out of avocado. This was sad, but not devastating and I made no changes to my order. Oh yeah, the sandwich also came with a choice of sides, which was fortunately not limited to the basic salad, cole slaw or fries. One of the choices was mac and cheese, which I knew I had to order. I also thought it could double as a sandwich stuffer to replace to avocado.

What the hell is this doing here?

After not too long, the sandwich came out and looked beautiful. The crust of the baguette had been perfectly toasted to a crispy, bubbly state (in that the bubbles themselves were crispy) and I was glad to see the innards of the sandwich were of good size. In fact, I was almost glad they were out of avocado because then sandwich may have been too big with that. This was fortunate, as it meant I could eat the mac and cheese separate. With all this joyfulness, I almost missed something on the plate. A pickle! Egad! I looked closely and realized that although it lay in a pool of pickle juice, none of the juices had made contact with any of the goodness on plate. Close call…I was ready to eat.

Mac and cheesey, with a bit of flavor.

The sandwich ended up being quite delightful. Sometimes making your own sandwich is worrisome, because you have no idea how the ingredients will perform together, but on this there was a great performance. The crispy bread, creamy cheese, crispy bacon, tender turkey and tasty pesto all mixed together into a great sandwich. And let’s not forget the apple, which added just a touch of sweetness and an additional, yet still welcome, texture. The mac and cheese, although nothing monumental, made for a decent side that worked well with the sandwich without distracting from it too much.

In all, I had myself a pretty good experience. I can’t exactly speak for their in-house-conceived sandwiches, but they sure did a great job with the sandwich that came from my head and used their in-house ingredients. So great a job that I could almost forget about that pickle. Almost.