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Fact: grilled cheese, as with pancakes and steak, always tastes better when someone else makes it. Heywood, the newish grilled cheese shop in Silver Lake, has ambitiously taken up the task. Named after John Heywood, a 16th century British writer who once wrote an ode to cheese, the little eatery is, itself, an ode to the art of ultimate comfort sandwich.
The menu runs the gamut from recognizable to experimental. There’s The Classic, a standard combination of white bread, cheddar and butter, and then there’s The Bon Appetite Brie on cinnamon raisin bread, sweetened with fig jam and topped with raspberry sugar crystals. Fantastically unsubtle, The Italian Blue Jeans is a well-proportioned mix of mozzarella, blue cheese, walnut pesto and sundried tomatoes that packs quite the wallop. You can also choose from a list of breads, cheeses, fruits, veggies, and spreads to build your own. Vegan cheese and butter can be substituted on most sandwiches.
All sandwiches are served on a wooden board with mixed greens and a small cup of tomato soup for dipping. The soup is a velvety bisque that far outshines local contenders like the rather watery one they sell for an arm and a leg at nearby LAMill, for instance. It’s so good that you—but not I—could forgo the sandwich and pair a full-sized portion with one of the two salads on the menu. We tried the Mix Spring Salad, mixed greens topped with cheese and tomatoes. It was nice enough.
Prices range from $7-11, and some will argue that you can make 20 grilled cheeses for that kind of money, but if you just want one really good one, leave your griddle in the cupboard and check out Heywood.
They’re open ’til 3am Fridays and Saturdays.
Heywood A Gourmet Grilled Cheese Shop
3337 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, 90026
If you read this blog, then you know that working in Santa Monica causes me to cling to the eastside of town on the weekends. Only very special cases can lure me onto the freeway come Saturday, and this would qualify as such.
Christine, one of my best friends and also the talented artist behind the design of this site (you can see her portfolio here) was having a birthday. She was only allowing the most low-key of celebrations, so a trip to one of her favorite lunch spots, Artisan Cheese Gallery, was in order.
This was my first ever visit to the Studio City cheese/sandwich shop, and I was pretty dazzled. Namely because they have everything I dream of for lunch: salads and sandwiches with imagination, make-your-own cheese plates, a nice selection of wine, fancy sodas and house-made soup. What more can you ask for?
UPDATE: BOMB! Salads is now BOMB! Foods, but you can still find them in the Silver Lake Farmers’ Market.
When Rowan Moore Gerety wrote me, he had two questions: a.) had I tried Tacos La Fonda in Glassel Park and b.) did I know about his salad stall at the Silver Lake Farmers’ Market. The answer to both questions was no, but I was easily lured by his description of BOMB! Salads—fresh salads made to order with produce purchased on the spot.
Sign me up.
Every Saturday until 2pm, Gerety and his business partner, Jesse, (who’s taking over while Gerety is away on assignment in Mozambique) whip up salads, soups and mashed potatoes from scratch. The menu and ingredients change depending on what’s in available at the market. On my visit, I tried two salads: one with chopped broccoli, julienned apples and cilantro (pictured above) and another with curly kale, gold beet, dandelion and cucumbers. Both were really delicious with a light dressing of sunflower with lemon and yellow mustard on the kale and green pea and peppercorn on the broccoli salad. The crunch factor of both salads (super fresh!) was a plus, and the plate-sized portions were a fair deal for $6.
The space that houses the newly opened FOOD +LAB might be cursed. A few doors down from Dusty’s, near the corner of Sunset and Descanso, the teeny storefront was most recently occupied by the very short-lived Meet Market and Flore Café before that. If not cursed, it’s not exactly lucky.
Yet, despite the open-and-shutter reputation of its address, FOOD+LAB’s future looks bright. For one thing, this is the third installment of the mini chain founded by mother-son catering team Esther and Nino Linsmayer—they also have a location in West Hollywood and a kiosk in the Pacific Design Center. For another, their menu is innovative and full of the fresh, organic ingredients that everyone seems to be craving these days.
Currently serving breakfast and lunch (a dinner menu is coming soon), FOOD+LAB offers a long list of traditional sandwiches with major personality. Think: Organic Turkey with pear, honey, and fig compote; Austrian Meatloaf with dried tomato aioli, fried onions and Dijon; Grilled Cheese with three fancy cheeses and caramelized onion. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available.
I ordered the Egg Salad Sandwich with asparagus on 5 grain bread. No complaints. It wasn’t overrun with mayo and the asparagus had a nice snap to it. The mayo-chicken ratio was a little off on the Pulled Chicken Salad, but the additions of apples, grapes, candied pecans and mandarins saved it. For better or worse, the portions are huge.
The chalkboard menu also features complete coffee selection and a range of fresh juices. I had the lemonade, which was pretty thick and easily split (and diluted) to make two full glasses. Also squeezed into the small café is a market section of sweets, teas, coffee and other tantalizing goods to take home.
Sandwiches: $8-12; Organic Salads: $11-13; Breakfast: $5-12.
3206 West Sunset Blvd (Map It)
Los Angeles, CA 90026
I recently enjoyed a delicious dinner with friends at Cube on La Brea. If you’ve never been, I really recommend it, especially if you’re a cheese lover–they feature 85 different varieties from all over the world. It’s where I first fell in love with aged gouda, so I’m forever grateful.
Cube’s always-seasonal menu is filled with plenty cheese-centric dishes, including the Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Peach Salad, which was such a standout of the wine and small plates feast we had, that I had to recreate it at home.
This is a very simple salad–peaches, heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar–but the flavors are out of hand. The salad at Cube includes buffalo mozzarella, but we went full-force with burrata, which is more decadent. When the cream spills out, it mixes so nicely with the oil and vinegar. Make sure you have some bread on hand to sop it up!
Should we discuss this gorgeous thing, first? I think so. It’s a blood orange upside down cake, and it’s just what you need if you’re part of the underserved population that’s not into super-sweet desserts.
The slightly dense texture of the cinnamon biscuit cake doesn’t allow the syrupy goodness to soak all the way through, so the flavors are really distinct—fluffy and wholesome on the bottom and bittersweet on top. And oh, my goodness, the candied orange peels and the way the top gets all crispy and crusty toward the edges really bring it home.
This cake is a good example of the decidedly un-boring menu at the new Four Café in Eagle Rock. It was tough to choose from their offerings of sandwiches, salads and desserts, which go well beyond the predictable, but I went for the Grilled Asparagus Sandwich (shown below), filled with avocado, arugula, sheep milk feta and shaved fennel.
The high points: This is a hearty sandwich made with a nice rustic french bread. It was drizzled with enough olive oil that you could taste it, not swim in it. The cheese was smooth and really flavorful, and I always love the intensity-meets-subtlety quality of an avocado and feta combo.
The low point: The asparagus was a little too salty. It didn’t kill the sandwich because the bread and avocado were able to mellow it out, but there were some slightly unpleasant bites. This could have been helped if the asparagus was cut into smaller pieces, so that you wouldn’t have to deal with a mouthful all at once. Still, I enjoyed it overall.