53: The Sycamore Kitchen's Double BLT-A Sandwich
Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 4), we'll be counting down, in no particular order, 100 of our favorite dishes.
A. Scattergood Sycamore Kitchen's Double BLT-A sandwich
53: The Sycamore Kitchen's Double BLT-A Sandwich.
Quinn and Karen Hatfield's newish casual place on La Brea, The Sycamore Kitchen, is an exercise in incommensurateness, albeit a very L.A. one. It is a breakfast and lunch place with valet parking. The outdoor patio has an almost picnic-table feel to it, yet there you are on busy La Brea Ave., hardly the most pastoral place in town. You order at the counter and take a number, yet the plate that arrives at your table may be filled with pastries that wouldn't be out of place at the most sedate of Parisian pâtisseries, or a constructed salad that could be equally at home at Hatfield's, the couple's fine dining palace on Melrose -- where the chefs in the open kitchen actually wear toques.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the sandwiches at The Sycamore Kitchen are, well, more than ordinary sandwiches. The BLT is a creation that most of us take for granted on a lunch menu; like an order of omelet-and-hash-browns at a diner, it's there because it should be, a reminder that, despite a turbulent world, the ordinary machinery still works.
The Sycamore Kitchen's BLT, called a Double BLT-A, is also a reminder that, in the hands of excellent chefs, a sandwich can be a very hands-on experience, so to speak -- both for them and for you. The bread is made in Karen Hatfield's excellent pastry kitchen, not a sourdough exactly but a bread built simply with levain and good flour and technique. There is not only bacon, but pork belly -- an ingredient on too many menus in this Era of the Gastropub, but in this case exactly where it should be.
There are slices of avocado and perfectly ripe tomatos -- both in season -- and supple leaves of butter lettuce. There is also a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar, which is what puts this sandwich in a different ontological category. Why vinegar? Because Karen Hatfield loves it. Because balsamic vinegar and tomatoes are a sublime combination. And because the vinegar's acidity keeps the utter richness of the other components from becoming overwhelming. Oh, and it looks pretty too. Which is to say that this sandwich is to the ordinary BLT what, perhaps, a Wes Anderson film is to a normal family movie.
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
100: Lukshon's Dan Dan Noodles
99: Cemita de Milanesa at Cemitas Poblanos Elviritas #1
98: Chichen Itza's Cochinita Pibil
97: Tsukemen at Tsujita L.A.
96: La Cevicheria's Bloody Clam Ceviche
95: Duck Shawarma at Momed
94: Peruvian Chicken at Pollo a la Brasa
93: Squash Blossom Quesadilla at Antojitos Carmen
92: Thai Boat Noodles at Pa-Ord
91: Baco Mercat's Bazole
90: Furikake Kettle Corn at A-Frame
89: Live Santa Barbara Spot Prawns at Providence
88: Fried Pig Tails at Night + Market
87: Egg Salad Sandwich at Euro Pane
86: Galbi Jjim at Soban
85: Truffle Honey-Laced Fried Chicken at Manhattan Beach Post
84: Mool Naeng Myun at Yu Chic Naeng Myun
83: Chicken Vampiro at Mexicali Taco & Co
82: Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus
81: White Anchovy, Tomato and Fresno Chile Pizza at Pizzeria Mozza
80: Shu Mai at Elite Restaurant
79: Tandoori Chicken at Al-Watan
78: Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding at The Hungry Cat
77: Agedashi Tofu at Izakaya Bincho
76: Pork Chop at Salt's Cure
75: Porcetto at Sotto
74: The Sea Urchin Tostada at La Guerrerense
73: Wood-Roasted English Peas at Tar & Roses
72: Persian Mulberries at Weiser Family Farms
71: Hunan-Style Preserved Pork with Tofu at Hunan Chilli King
70: Brisket Banh Mi at Gjelina Take Away
69: Yukhwe Bibimbap at Oo-Kook Korean BBQ
68: Lamb Pie at Beijing Pie House
67: Son of a Gun's Uni and Burrata
66: Pastrami Reuben at Art's Delicatessen
65: Beef Koobideh at Kabab Mahaleh
64: The Whipper Burger at Hawkins House of Burgers
63: Slippery Shrimp at Yang Chow
62: Whole Channel Island Red Sea Urchin at Water Grill
61: Going Dutch Panini at Bread Lounge
60: Huckleberry's Green Eggs & Ham
59: Pickled Watermelon Salad at L&E Oyster Bar
58: Spaghettini with Abalone, Pickled Cod Roe and Truffles at n/naka
57: Brown Brown Bread Ice Cream at Scoops Westside
56: Smothered Chicken at R and R Soul Food
55: Duck Fried Rice at Jar
54: Taco Sampler at Guisados
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