Earl's Gourmet Grub celebrated its matriculation from well-trafficked Farmers' Market sandwich stall to full-service retail with a very soft open last week, in a sunny, modern space adjoining Venice Grind coffeehouse. Earl's shares a rear patio, a landlord and clientele with the Mar Vista beanery--the path of travel is such that you can enter the shop and place your order, nosh under a sunbrella out back then exit via the Grind with an iced cappuccino for the trip home.
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The latest foray into the burgeoning bistro-marketplace concept, the fully opened Earl's--named after the Earl of Sandwich, the apocryphal originator of the bread-meat-bread lunch delivery system--will offer a roster of designer sandwiches, salads, breakfast compositions sporting mascarpone and goat cheese, artisanal pastries, charcuterie and nibbles to go, including a rainbow of collector's edition potato chips, already displayed along the "pixelated" main wall.
Squid Ink was excited about the Heartichoke sandwich, sporting lumps of marinated artichoke, hearts of palm, mache, pickled red onion spread and chevre pressed between crisped pain de mie, the brine-upon-brine tang and the sweetness of the onion compote parrying good-naturedly with the richness of the cheese. There was a delicate slaw, spiked with radish and mint but spared the sodden mayonnaise, and the simplest item on the menu, wilted kale with sesame, did a fine impression of a bento box seaweed salad. Other scheduled sandwiches include the Pigtail with speck, tomato, romaine and arugula on a peppercorn aioli-basted baguette, and the quixotic Tuna, featuring Albacore, Gruyere de Comte, watercress, pepperoncini and fig hash on three-season bread.
Earl's Gourmet will be completing its cold case and adding additional seating as vendors come online over the next few weeks. The pantry will be stocked--house-made pop tarts and all--very soon.
Earl's Gourmet Grub: 12226 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles; (310) 313-1717.