Category Archives: sandwiches

Artisan Cheese Gallery, Studio City

Don’t you find it difficult to answer when people ask you what your ONE favorite food in the world is?  I mean, there are so many delicious options that I’m not sure one can truly name just ONE thing that is their absolute favorite.  It depends on my mood, where I am, even the weather- I love a bowl of rich, deeply-flavored boeuf bourguignon, but it’d be the last thing I’d want to eat in August when stuff like ceviche is more what I’m craving.  Unless you’re an extremely picky eater and are happy eating the same thing every day (how one can live like that is beyond me!), I doubt you could narrow your food love to just one. 

That said, “sandwiches” could be a working answer for the often-asked question, only because there is such a variety and there are also many loose interpretations out there.  Almost all sandwiches include bread, which is a Top Five Favorite Food of mine, and many contain cheese, another Top Five, so naturally a marriage of those plus some other nice ingredients would elevate the sandwich near the top.  However, as with most things, there are plenty of bad representations of The Sandwich – I can’t tell you how many times I’d had the entire contents of one fall into my plate (or lap!) after one bite and I find few things as disgusting as soaking wet bread on a badly constructed sandy.  Talk about an appetite suppressant! 
Luckily for every Subway there is a baker, chef, cook or plain old food-loving soul that gives The Sandwich the respect it deserves, and in using top quality ingredients creates a masterpiece.  Take, for instance, the folks at the Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City.  J and I found ourselves in that neighborhood last weekend and decided to check it out after several tweeters (Twitterers?) suggested it as a good place to eat lunch.  The place was small and quaint, with a cheese counter on one side and some gourmet jams and other goodies lining the shelves next to some tables where people were eating. 

J bemoaned missing out on a crab salad sandwich from the specials menu that was sold out, but there were plenty of other delicious-sounding options to choose from, so he ordered the Lentil Soup and the Rosemary Chicken Panini (Grilled Chicken Breast, Provolone, Pancetta, Smoked Paprika Aioli, and Arugula on Ciabattina).  I, on the other hand, had my mind set on a turkey on multigrain bread which they didn’t seem to have, so I asked the man at the counter if they offered a “build your own” option to which he quickly answered, “NO.”  Then he added, “but you can order a sandwich off the menu and make changes.”  Good enough.  I decided to get the Turkey Sandwich (Turkey Breast, French Brie, Sliced Granny Smith Apple, Pickled Red Onion, and Arugula on Baguette) but changed out the brie for cheddar and the baguette to multigrain.  I was also going to hold the apple, but the two changes I’d made took the man about 4 minutes each to punch into the register (I’m not even over exaggerating and J was giving me the “MUST you always tweak?” evil eye) so I just figured I’d take them out myself.  I’m sure some of you are probably rolling your eyes at me, like “why don’t you just trust the chef?!” and I know, you’re probably right, but I spied the multigrain bread on someone else’s order and felt I made the right choice, and I’ve never been a big brie fan.  After what seemed like an eternity, we sat down and waited for our food.
Any doubts I had about making all those changes were erased when I saw my beautiful sandwich.  I decided to try a bite before taking out the paper-thin slices of granny smith apple, and am I glad I did!  The tartness of the apple cut the richness of the white cheddar, and the peppery arugula brought it all together with the turkey.  It Was Perfect.  I liked it so much I vowed to start putting apples in my sandwiches at home.  For a girl who doesn’t like fruit in savory dishes, it was quite a revelation. 

J’s lentil soup was outstanding, with a nice smoky flavor from the bacon.  His sandwich (first photo of this post) was also very good- the smoked paprika aioli really stood out and of course the provolone cheese was top quality.  Not only were both sandwiches delicious, but very well-constructed with no part of the filling escaping during the noshing process.  Win-win!
The staff at Artisan Cheese Gallery weren’t the, um, warmest people…we tried to interact with three separate people working there and they weren’t rude exactly, but there were no smiles to be had.  I wonder if they were peeved by my sandwich tweaks?  They probably didn’t like me messing with the menu, which I do understand, but what if I’d had some allergies and am making the necessary adjustments?  Just a thought.  Regardless, the food was excellent, and nothing can come between me and an amazing sandwich, not even a few grumpy counter people.  

Artisan Cheese Gallery

12023 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604

(818) 505-0207 tel.

The Little Flower Candy Co. – Pasadena

Have you ever dreamt of a fantasyland filled with piles of giant, sweet-smelling cookies and buckets of fruity, shiny lollipops in all the colors of a rainbow? A place where big, homemade marshmallows in chocolate and coffee billow out of bags and perfectly wrapped sea-salt caramels fill every shelf? If you have, it probably looked a lot like The Little Flower Candy Co. – a small store/café located just south of the 134 on Colorado Blvd, which also happens to be less than five minutes from my house. How lucky am I? This is the kind of place I think of when I hear the phrase, “Visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.”

As most of you know, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, although I have been known to enjoy a good cookie or pastry now and again. Luckily for me, The Little Flower Candy Co. has lots of things that would fill my non-sugar fantasies- several kinds of homemade soups each day, two different quiches, a nice selection of salads and, most importantly, a fantastic sandwich menu.

Now you know I love me a good sandwich. Sandwiches rank near the top of my favorite food list but as common as a sandwich is in this world, a good, well-made sandwich is a rare breed, which is unfortunate. I love the sandwiches at Europane, although it’s a bit of a drive to grab a quick lunch, and although Nicole’s uses amazing baguettes on all of her sandies, I sometimes need a bit more selection. This is where The Little Flower Candy Co has come into my life and filled that emptiness and I seriously couldn’t feel luckier. I could LIVE on their veggie wrap. I know, I know- now before you start accusing me of being a Crunchy Granola Hippie, I gotta tell ya- this wrap is so good it’d satisfy any meat eater, myself included. I don’t order it because its veggie- I order it because I NEED it. Crave it. Require it. It’s no longer a want, it’s a habit. The elements couldn’t be simpler- a nice, large whole wheat tortilla blankets a garlicky green hummus, fresh cherry tomatoes, crisp English cucumber, shredded carrots, lettuce and a mound of warm, tender brown rice. The warmth of the rice is KEY- no one wants to eat a burrito full of cold rice- and it just wakes up the garlic in the hummus which mixes with the cool veggies and combines into one perfect flavor combo. My husband J can’t seem to bring himself to order anything else as he, too, is an addict.

The tempeh sandwich (I know, AGAIN with the vegetarian option!) is also divine- thinly sliced, nicely seared tempeh piled on wheat bread with lots of veggies, perfectly rip avocado and tapenade (which, hello- I don’t even LIKE olives but it works so well here!). Can’t live without meat? The pulled pork sandwich is piled high with wonderfully meaty, tender pig and I love that the flavor of the pork is as prominent as the flavor of the BBQ sauce. On most days they offer a pulled chicken sandwich as well if you’re not into pig (but seriously, why would anyone NOT be into pig?). Although I’ve yet to try it, the egg salad sandwich seems to be one of their most popular items, along with the meatloaf sandwich (thick and tender) and the roast beef (bring an appetite!) made with arugula and house made aioli. Every sandwich comes with 2 pickle sticks- one pickle is “new” and greener, less tart; the other is older and has been pickling longer, so you get to try both. There are daily specials ranging from a Dal bowl to bahn mi, and you can get all of this, in addition to their soups, to go.

……which brings me to what made the Little Flower Candy Co famous in the first place- their sweets. If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen their sea salt or vanilla caramels and giant, homemade marshmallows in boutiques and specialty shops for years. Both are delicious and taste nothing like their mainstream counterparts. If you haven’t had a homemade marshmallow, you haven’t had a real marshmallow. I prefer to grab a cookie after finishing a sandwich, my favorite being their cutout butter cookies which are flavored with liberal amounts of lemon or lime zest (or oil?) and the citrus flavor lingers in my mouth long after I’ve eaten it. YUM. It’s pretty hard to choose between those, their enormous chocolate chip cookies, mini red velvet cupcakes topped with a dollop of cream cheese icing, the frangipane tart with fresh raspberries or the chocolate croissants….I mean, what on earth is a girl to do?

The shop is filled out with tables boasting more sweet treats and a small selection of children’s books and cookbooks. I can just imagine how a kid must feel when they walk in (and many do), seeing the bars of chocolate and bags of candy filling the shelves. I feel that way when I look over the sandwich menu!!!

I have to say, it’s always great to see a small, local business thrive, but The Little Candy Co is doing so because they are putting out quality product made with great care, love and attention to detail. It’s evident in the faces of the staff- whether it’s owner/chefs Christine Moore and her husband or one of the nice ladies running the register. They always have a good recommendation if you can’t decide what to order and take the time to greet everyone, give a smile……as jaded as I can be sometimes, I gotta say…’s lovely. And it seems their love is spreading- the place gets pretty packed during lunch hour and you may have to wait for a seat, but it’s totally worth it. Just grab a cookie and cup of coffee- there are worse ways to wait, after all!

Little Flower Candy Company
1424 W. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105

Hours of business
Mon-Sat, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sun, Closed