Last week I was called in for jury duty, and I was picked in the first round.
As a person who doesn't like to waste opportunities when it comes to sandwiching, I decided to hit up some Downtown LA sandwich shops while doing my civic duty.
The one place I've wanted to visit downtown since reading Los Angeles magazine's top 17 sandwiches of LA was Gram and Papa's on 9th street in the fashion district.
The article raved about the Chicken Salad sandwich and I was determined to have it in order to complete the list.
The only problem is that I was never able to get downtown during G&P's hours, but now that I had an hour and a half break from court to walk 3 miles round trip, I set off.
From the outside, Gram and Papa's doesn't stand out much, and if you're not looking for it, may pass it by at first, but the inside is a different story.
A cozy little restaurant with plenty of tables that fills up quickly, Gram and Papa's is an inviting place to have lunch with friends or co-workers. Brick walls, dim lighting, and large print photos of actors that adorn the walls (the absolute coolest one being Dennis Hopper staring directly at camera), this place has atmosphere that just makes you feel cool by eating there.
Before I start with this review, I should note that I've never been a huge fan of chicken salad sandwiches, but I wanted to remain open-minded after hearing so many great reviews about Gram and Papas' and their delicious sandwiches.
My sandwich was quickly made and I grabbed a spot in a corner and unwrapped it. The brown pretzel bun stared back at me, promising DANGERous sandwich glory, would it hold up?
The first bite of this sandwich, I can't even describe. The pretzel bun was soft, with a smooth outside, that just melted in my mouth.
The chicken was roughly cut into generously sized chunks. They were tender, juicy, and full of flavor. It may be the best chicken I've ever had on a sandwich.
My one problem with chicken salad has always been the amount of mayonnaise used. This sandwich mixes the right amount in with the chicken. It moistenes the sandwich, adds a tasty flavor to the chicken, but does so without making it too moist or even overpowering the other flavors in the sandwich.
The lettuce was crisp and fresh, and the tomatoes were juicy and flavorful, without having any of the meal-y texture that I find so often in sandwiches that use tomatoes. These red gems made me almost rethink my stance on tomatoes in sandwiches.
And last, but certainly not least, what else did I find? Yes, sliced almonds.
This was a special extra that made the sandwich. The almonds added to the crunchy texture of the sandwich (along with the lettuce) and provided a slightly nutty flavor that stood out while still complementing the rest of the sandwich. Well played.
The verdict is in on this sandwich, and the defendant is...delicious.
Gram and Papa's may be out of the way for Angelenos that don't live or work downtown, but of all of the sandwich shops I've visited, this is definitely one that should be a destination spot for all true sandwichologists.
Until next week DANGER fans...
Chicken Salad Sandwich
**** 1/2 Stars
Gram and Papa's
227 E. 9th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015