Leftover. Two four letter words back-to-back, which is exactly how many feel about them. But leftovers are not always a bad thing. Leftover bones make the best stocks because they come pre-roasted and then there is the magical golden liquid known as bacon grease. When it comes to a dish that is synonymous with a good use of leftovers, there is chicken salad. And at Green Peas, Mikes Deli and Attari Sandwich Shop, we found chicken salad sandwiches that are leftover worthy themselves.
Jose Maciera's recipe for the curry chicken salad was a leftover from his 14 years as a chef before he opened up his casual eatery, Green Peas. With Green Peas, Maciera's goal was to provide his customers with healthier and ethical meal choices. It is that reason that most of the items on his menu have a vegan counterpart, including the curry chicken salad.
Too often curry chicken salads taste dusty or muddled. Maciera's version, with its soft tumeric yellow hue, is not so much balanced as it is nuanced. Notes of cinnamon and the hits of sweetness from the raisins play off the slightly spicy curry powder. Maciera told us that the spice recipe remains the same for both versions -- and after trying both, they taste nearly identical. In the end, we found ourselves preferring the vegan, as we found it slightly creamier.
Lunch at Mike's Deli is about two things: customized sandwiches stacked high with freshly sliced deli meat, and dessert. Big slices of red velvet cake, banana pudding, and the most prized leftover of Los Angeles Thanksgivings, 27th Street Bakery sweet potato pies. But the focus here is always on the sandwiches, and their chicken salad exemplifies this. Made daily, thick slabs of roasted chicken breast are lightly dressed in mayonnaise, bell pepper, scallions and generous shakes of pepper
Upon ordering, Mike will ask, "Everything on it?" Although the addition of anything else more might seem like it could get in the way, say Yes. Mike shows careful restraint: a smear of mustard on top and a neat pile of lettuce, tomato and thick kosher pickle chips on the bottom. While eating this precarious sandwich, the meaty chunks of chicken and cool greens highlight the element of the salad in the chicken salad.
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When it comes to hearty but not hot sandwich fillings, there is chicken salad and egg salad. There are even those who might admit to making potato salad sandwiches. At Attari Sandwich Shop, their Olivieh Chicken sandwich combines the three: chicken, egg and potato salad together in a baguette. Spears of crisp pickles and plucked parsley leaves run through the center, adding bursts of freshness, and making it quite easy, even on a hot day, to finish an entire sandwich in one sitting. Luckily, Attari also sells their Olivieh in tubs to go. So that there is always the opportunity for, well, leftovers.
Green Peas: 4437 Sepulveda Boulevard, Culver City, (310) 397-9815, Mike's Deli: 4859 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, (323) 298-5960, Attari Sandwich Shop: 1388 Westwood Boulevard., Los Angeles, (310) 441-5488