The Earl of Sandwich would have been pleased to have eaten in any of these recently reviewed restaurants. The Beverly Restaurant and Market (342 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (213) 274-4271). A good sandwich should start with good bread and the breads baked at this Beverly Hills restaurant and market fit the bill--crusty, fragrant, and fresh. Big, thick golden slabs of corn bread are some of the world’s most beautiful and tasty, rife with red peppers, chiles and onions. The hamburger, a rough chunk of grilled ground beef, scarcely shaped, served on a toasted poppyseed-and-onion roll, has an amazing fresh, sweet flavor. The brisket is sweet and tender, and the turkey breast tastes like someone took the time to baste it carefully. For a real money-splurging treat, why not try the lobster club. Lunch and dinner daily; brunch Sat.-Sun. MasterCard, Visa and American Express. Beer and wine. Street parking. Sandwiches from $5.95-$14.95. Cafe Rialto (1021 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena, (818) 799-4404). Cafe Rialto is a soda fountain and campus coffeehouse rolled into one. The food is simple--sandwiches, salads, quiche, a soup of the day and desserts. The grilled turkey and the Jack cheese with avocado is quite good. There’s also a roast beef with Cheddar and smoky-sweet barbecue sauce that is excellent. Nice for a light lunch is the turkey checkerboard--turkey with Muenster cheese, alfalfa sprouts and tarragon-flavored mayonnaise in alternating squares of white and whole-wheat bread. A mix and match section combines half-sandwiches with a salad or soup of the day. Lunch and dinner daily. MasterCard and Visa. Beer and wine. Parking in rear. Sandwiches from $3.50-$4.50. Cafe Sixty North & Pasadena Dessert Factory, (60 N. Raymond, Pasadena, (818) 793-9000). The menu says this is a European-style cafe and bakery, but it’s more the casual little sandwich shop. People rave about the generous amounts of meat found between the slices of fresh whole-grain bread, baked on the premises. The standard ham, turkey, roast beef, pastrami and BLT are offered but there are also spinach and cheese, spinach and mushroom and the European--a mixture of ground beef, mushrooms, onions, spices and Cheddar cheese served warm on either whole-grain, white, sourdough, rye bread or a croissant. Greek offerings include filo triangles with meat filling or cheese and spinach. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., breakfast and lunch only Sun. Cash only. No alcohol. Street parking. Sandwiches $3.75-$4.50. El Rincon Taurino (14551 Nordhoff, Panorama City, (818) 893-5927). The jukebox has everything from Spanish ballads to Huey Lewis and the view of the intersection outside the restaurant provides nonstop drama. It’s a Mexican fast-food stand/bullfighting shrine (bullfight posters and memorabilia fill the walls) with traditional Mexican fare at its best: tacos small enough to encourage experimentation and meal-size tortas (sandwiches) and burritos. In addition to familiar hits-- carne asada and carnitas-- there is food for the daring: sesos (brains), lengua (tongue), buches (stomach), cabeza (beef head), milaneza (fried steak), chicharrones (deep-fried pork rinds), pierna (pork leg). Try the awesome al pastor, barbecued pork that’s carved off in shreds and heated on the grill with pickled onions until the flavors are highly concentrated and the meat reduced to dark little squiggles. Lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. No liquor. Parking lot. Tortas, $2.77. Kokomo Cafe, Farmer’s Market (3rd Street and Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 933-0773). At Kokomo’s you can smell everything from seafood, fresh-made peanut butter, even whiffs of burritos. Welcome to the Farmers Market. Sandwiches, which mostly come with a delicious bun of egg bread with sweet caramelized onions on it, are things like an excellent charbroiled fish or chicken breast. Both come with sweet peppers, lettuce and tomato, except that the fish has a lime mayonnaise and some toasted sesame seed. The burger served on the delicate bun tends to fall apart. One of the few sandwiches not served on the bun is the BLT, a really excellent bacon sandwich with spectacularly smoky bacon on good sourdough bread. Breakfast, and healthy-type foods are also served here. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Cash only. Beer and wine. Parking lot. Sandwiches from $3.25-$5.75.
Sandwiches an Earl Could Eat
Compiled by KATHIE JENKINS