Who wants to eat lunch inside on these perfect early summer days? A salad is too messy to eat from your lap unless you carry a cleaning kit with you. But a sandwich? That's why it was invented. You could pack your own peanut butter and jelly, but if you want a lesson in the art of sandwich making, try one at any of these three places. I could list a good many more worthy sandwiches — the tarragon chicken salad at Joan's on Third, the egg salad at Clementine, the duck confit báhn mi at Josie Next Door and the simple, perfect jambon beurre at Cookshop in Echo Park. But let's start with these three.
8360 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (323) 651-5866, http://www.mvink.com. Sandwiches, $4 to $7.
You've got to have confidence to take on the pastrami sandwich in a town where Langer's has ruled for some 65 years. But Micah Wexler has the moxie to do it. For a while now, he's been curing his own pastrami from scratch and offering pastrami sandwiches as a special on Sunday nights at Mezze in WeHo. He slices his pastrami thick and uses plenty of pepper in the curing, and he even makes his own whole-grain mustard.
401 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 657-4103. http://www.mezzela.com. Pastrami sandwich, Sundays only, $15.
Son of a Gun
If you think chefs chow down on foie gras or rich saucy dishes after service, you think wrong. A cold beer and the fried chicken sandwich from Son of a Gun is more like it. Served on a hamburger bun, it's a messy, completely delicious fried chicken breast sandwich heaped with spicy bread-and-butter pickle slaw and dosed with a fiery aioli. That fried chicken sandwich is so popular it's practically become the signature dish at Jon Shook and Vinnie Dotolo's casual, mostly seafood restaurant.
8370 W. 3rd St. (at Orlando Avenue), Los Angeles, (323) 782-9033, http://www.sonofagunrestaurant.com. Fried chicken sandwich, $11.