Guide

11 Great Sandwiches To Eat Alone In Your Car

It's called self-care.

For many Angelenos, your car is one of your closest companions. Not only does it get you where you need to be, but it’s also your reliable safe space to laugh, scream, cry, make calls, and unleash any kind of emotion that hits you while waiting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 110. It also can be a personal dining hall. Spending a lunch hour or early morning commute or 15 minutes before a therapy session inhaling food in your driver’s seat is an LA rite-of-passage. The tricky part is filling your stomach with someone that actually tastes good. This guide is here to help. 

THE SANDWICHES

ORDER: The Black Pastrami Reuben

At this point, we probably need a punch card for how many times we’ve sat in Brent’s giant Northridge parking lot alone with a sandwich. This classic Jewish deli makes close to 50 different sandwiches ranging from egg salad to a gooey monte cristo, but the black pastrami reuben is the official order. The peppered and perfectly marbled pastrami mixes with the tang of the sauerkraut to form one of LA’s great power couples, and unlike so many others in this town, they’re in it for the long haul. Oh, and swap out the steak fries for the curly ones. You won’t regret it.

ORDER: Tongue Sandwich

This classic daytime-only sandwich shop on Westwood Blvd. has over 15 different sandwiches on the menu, but if it’s your first time here or you’re simply looking to eat something that’ll support you through the second half of the day, go for the beef tongue. The meat itself has been cooked with onions and saffron, giving it a tangy, aromatic quality that’ll stay on your lips until dinner. It also comes topped with mustard, mayonnaise, tomato, and pickles, all wrapped inside a fresh baguette that provides the perfect amount of crunch.

ORDER: Zhengyalov Hatz

Zhengalov Hatz is a tiny, counter-service Armenian spot in downtown Glendale that only serves two things—sweet paxlava and its namesake zhengyalov hatz. And while we’re always down for a midday dessert moment, your focus should definitely be on the latter. This warm, doughy flatbread that’s wrapped around 15 different herbs and sunflower oil is a delicious, perfectly constructed wrap and the kind of quick lunch that fills you up without putting you to sleep in the driver’s seat.

ORDER: Bagel & Lox

The reparative qualities of eating a bagel and lox before 10am is science at this point, which is why stopping at Maury’s on your way every now and then is so essential. The tiny shop in Silver Lake makes some of our favorite bagels in town—soft and chewy, but not so springy that you’re going to sprain your jaw. They still crunch a bit when you bite into them. However, the real star of the show here is the salt-cured lox served with capers, red onion, and housemade cream cheese. It’s salty, simple, and the exact kind of satisfaction we need after filling up on gas that was $6.96 a tank.

ORDER: The Masterpiece

We first ordered this sandwich simply because of its name, but will continue to order this East Hollywood sandwich shop, because it is, in fact, a masterpiece. Stacked with prosciutto, marinated eggplant, tomato confit, roasted red peppers, stracciatella, arugula, and red wine vinaigrette, it’s a balancing act between sweet, savory, and acidic elements—all of which complement each other perfectly and is scientifically proven to dry the tears streaming down your face.

ORDER: Menchi Katsu Sando

Katsu Sando is a tiny sandwich shop in Chinatown that pays homage to Japanese convenience stores. The menu is filled with grab-and-go onigiri (Japanese rice balls), katsu curry plates, and a variety of excellent milk bread sandos. While the pork katsu and egg salad sandos are all worth ordering, our current favorite is the menchi katsu. A deep-fried wagyu beef patty topped with frisee, mustard miso ginger slaw, and katsu sauce—it’s a perfect late afternoon snack after telling your boss you’re running to your car, but instead left the premises entirely. Don’t miss the wagyu curry cheese fries, either.

ORDER: Beef Double-Dipped

LA has no shortage of classic sandwiches, but Philippe The Original’s beef double dip might just be the most classic of them all. After all, this iconic deli in Chinatown has been in operation since 1908 and is the birthplace of the French dip. Yes, this place is touristy, but there’s no denying their double-dipped beef on a crunchy baguette (with plenty of table mustard) hits the spot every time you can’t face the reality of going back to the office. 

ORDER: Milanesa De Lomo De Puerco

Cemitas Don Adrian’s menu of 20+ different tortas can admittedly be a lot on the eyes—particularly after spending all week staring into virtual spreadsheets. Give your corneas a break and order the milanesa de lomo de puerco. It comes with breaded pork loin, bright queso fresco, avocado, your choice of jalapeños or chipotle salsa, and stringy Oaxacan cheese (for an additional $1.99, which you should absolutely do). It’s a glorious, perfectly built sandwich that’s both smokey and savory with just the right amount of heat to get your brow sweating.

ORDER: Bangin' Breakfast Sandwich

The breakfast sandwich at Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen (with locations in Inglewood, View Park, and Eagle Rock) keeps things short and simple, a lesson your boss could learn for his 8am conference calls. It’s essentially just some bacon, a fried egg, cheddar cheese, and a drizzle of hot sauce, all atop a brioche bun. But the fried egg is picture-perfect, the hot sauce is spicy (but not overpowering), and the cheese has been baked onto the bun. And the bun itself might just deserve its own caption—it’s fluffy, delicious, and texturally reminds us of our own pillow, back when we were able to take 8am conference calls from bed.

ORDER: Ira Glass

Picking a favorite sandwich from Wax Paper is like going to Yogurtland and not getting full from the samples first—you can’t. That said, ordering the Ira Glass is always a good idea. Nothing about an avocado, cheddar, sprouts, and cucumber-topped sandwich sounds particularly groundbreaking, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better—or more substantial—vegetarian sandwich than this one. It’s available at both their Frogtown and Chinatown locations.

ORDER: Chicken Katsu Banh Mi

Maybe your right side mirror flew off on the 101 in the Santa Ana winds. Now you’re at Autozone during your lunch break, you can’t stop saying “Get in the zone, Autozone,” and you’re hungry. Head to Banh Oui in a strip mall on Cahuenga in Hollywood. This little counter-service lunch spot uses ridiculously fresh ingredients (the produce comes from the Hollywood Farmers Market) to construct sandwiches worth crossing town for. We almost always order the chicken katsu—the crispy katsu holds up to the handful of cilantro and pickled vegetables, and chicken liver oozes out of the sides and into the fluffy baguette. Get in the zone, Autozone. 

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