Earl’s Gourmet Grub is one of my favorite new places in LA. The Mar Vista sandwich shop offers everything I love—fresh ingredients, uncommon flavor combinations, and unabashed passion.
Take the Tuna Sandwich (pictured above) for instance. It’s an unexpected mix of tuna with layers of thinly sliced gruyere, fig hash and pepperoncini between two slices nutty bread. Sounds like overkill, but somehow the flavors stay distinct and, well, super yummy. Co-owner Yvonne McDonald (her partner is Dean Harada) says that’s all part of the plan: “We put a lot of thought and experimentation into the sandwiches, every element is meant to create the perfect balance for your eating experience.”
The Earl’s concept took shape in a popular farmer’s market stall, where their Pig n’ Fig (Prosciutto, blue cheese, fig hash and arugala) became a hit—it’s still their most popular. Now, in their new brick and mortar digs, they’re keeping it real, making everything from scratch while using mostly organic/local ingredients and all natural meat.
Here’s the Heartichoke Sandwich, so named for its chunks of marinated artichoke and hearts of palm. The cheese is goat, which works well texture-wise with the veggies. Plus, the mildness of the chevre didn’t mess with the tang of the artichokes and pickled onions. There’s also an artichoke-jalapeno spread that I really didn’t notice much, but I did like the addition of nutty-flavored mache.
The Who Dat Crab Po-Boy doesn’t boast the traditional fried filling, but it’s still marked by richness—the baguette is spread with melted parsley butter that mixes with the Canjun mayo and a hefty lump of snow crab. The cabbage adds a cool crunch.
There’s salami in almost every bite of the Chopped Salad, and it’s not cheapo salami either. That’s definitely something to celebrate, but I think even the veggie version they offer of this salad would be very satisfying thanks to the avocado, Roquefort and egg. It’s tossed with Green Goddess Dressing.
“I like fresh, natural taste that’s not too tinkered with,” says McDonald, and this Roast Beef sandwich is a good example of that ethos. Very simple with roast beef, onion hash and a thick layer of mayo. I only had one bite of this, and I had some serious sandwich envy for the rest of the meal.
Isn’t it great that S’mores have transcended the campfire? McDonald says the perfect introductory meal at Earl’s would have to include one of these (along with a Pig ‘n Fig and Southwest Chickpea Salad) and I think I agree. Disclaimer: I was given one for free.
They’re also pulling out all the stops in the chip department, showcasing bags of hard-to-find varieties from all over the country. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a great Utz collection on the West Coast, and I’m particularly psyched about the Route 11 pickle chips, which are uncanny in their dillness. Make sure you grab a Mexican Coke or Jarritos Mineragua (best trend ever) from the fridge, too. The lemonade is also quite good.
P.S. The restaurant itself was designed by Freeland Buck, the architectural firm that designed both Cafe de Leche and The York. It’s very modern and airy, which seems to be their thing.