LA is a huge place and just when I think I know all I need to, it hits me with a surprise. Sometimes that surprise is unwanted, like closing a lane on the highway that I take to work every day. But more often, it is a pleasant surprise like Handy Market. This local market in Burbank has all the looks of any regular, old-fashioned grocer, but if you head to the back, that all changes. Back there is one of LA’s best-kept secrets, a meaty sandwich lover’s dream.
But first, I want to say that this place reminded me on many levels of another meat paradise called Superior Meats in Wisconsin. Whether it was the grill out front that supposedly is used in full force over the weekends, the friendliness of the staff, the selection of meats or the prices, I kept seeing signs of Wisconsin and the simpler life everywhere I turned.
Who is Gabriella Cilmi? To some, she is completely unknown. To others, she is an Australian music star. And to the most important, she is a meat-lover. While on tour with Leona Lewis, Cilmi is having herself a difficult time. It’s not because of the stress of touring, the rigors of performing or the constant pressure to keep here fans happy. No, her difficulties are much more important than that.
In the aftermath of the botched terrorist attempt over Christmas, airports have beefed up security. This has made flying more inconvenient, which is fine because I would rather be inconvenienced and be safe than move fast through the lines and feel like I am in danger. When it comes to eating meat, though, this is more than just an inconvenience.
The little town of Monteverde is a haven for international tourism. Built right into the mountainous rain forest, hotels, hostels and adventurous activities abound. Although a lot of restaurants offer Mexican fare (catering to the American perception that all food south of our border involves tacos and burritos), the town also has some good variety. One of these places is a nice Italian restaurant called Tramonti. After a long day of zip-lining through the rain forest, this is a great place to relax with a good meal.
The decor of Tramonti instantly made me feel uncomfortable. I was wearing cargo shorts, a t-shirt and a zipper fleece, which made perfect sense for the rest of the day. Apparently I missed a memo, though, because everyone else in the restaurant had a shirt with some sort of collar on. I got over my discomfort quickly as they found us a table far from the front door and windows. Also, the Imperial Beer I ordered helped me feel better.
I discovered a Togo’s coupon at work that seemingly granted me one of the cheapest meals ever. It said that I could get a free sandwich with the purchase of chips and a drink. Not too shabby in a world that usually offers minor discounts on chips and drinks after you purchase the sandwich. I decided to try it out and see how good of a deal it really was.
I handed the lady behind the counter the coupon and proceeded to order the meatiest sandwich available. The best I could find was the capicola, salami and provolone. Keeping it simple and veggie-free, I didn’t get anything else on it. I picked out my chips and drink, and went to get rung up. Amazingly, the total came to $2.73! I couldn’t believe what a deal I had somehow been granted. Cheap, however, is not always the best thing. I had to make sure it still tasted alright.