Joan’s on Third: Love At First Bite
Posted by Austios on March 18, 2010
Do you believe in “love at first sight”? I personally don’t, and I can’t think of anybody I know who does. But I’m sure there are people (maybe you) that do believe in it, maybe not for themselves, but of its existence. As a God-fearing human being, I just simply don’t believe it for anybody. But I digress.
I am, however, the type of person, that when it comes to lots of foods, just the mere mention or sight (i.e. a photograph), I get an instant craving. Well, mainly at the mention of a food. At the sight of a photograph, especially if I read up on it and find out that the restaurant that produces such dish is local, I begin to covet. Yes, my religion forbids me to covet, but what’s the harm in coveting food? And I’m not talking about gluttony. There’s a fine line between loving to eat and gluttony. I fortunately fall into the former category.
Such is the above case with this bad boy:
That, my friends, is the grilled cheese and short rib sandwich from Joan’s on Third in Los Angeles. I subscribe to Bon Appetit and once I saw this cover and what page it was on, I immediately flipped to said page (as well as almost drool on my fresh magazine). Bon Appetit had this section which is basically a reader recipe request, in which they send in a request for the recipe of something they had and loved at a restaurant they went to and BA will respond by posting it in the magazine. So yes, this means I do have the recipe of this sandwich and technically can make it at home.
Once I realized this was from Joan’s on Third, I immediately made note of it to come in one day and have this sandwich.
Just the other day I had decided I was going to go in this week for lunch for the sandwich as well as go down the street to Kiss My Bundt for dessert. Long story short, I was able to get Andrea from LA Easy Meals to join me and decided to meet her for lunch today, of all days, St. Patrick’s Day.
After parking in the surrounding residential neighborhood *cough* 2 hours 8AM-6PM *cough*, and walking up, there was quite a bit of outdoor seating. Walking in, to my pleasant surprise, this place is more than just a restaurant. It’s also a food boutique with a bakery counter, small gourmet foods market, as well as a charcuterie and cheese counter. They also had an assortment of confections, chocolates, and candy for the Easter season. I arrived before Andrea did and walked around the for sale items while I waited. This area reminds me of Nicole Gourmet Foods in South Pasadena.
I really liked the minimalist decor this place had. The tables on the inside were marble top, the floor was bathroom-esque tile, but beyond that, pretty simple. The place, while not insanely crowded, was still hustling and bustling during the mid-week lunch hour. When Andrea arrived, we went up to the sandwich/deli counter. They actually had a moderately sized poster of the Bon Appetit cover hanging from the ceiling. I though that was cool. When I got to the front, the guy asked me what I wanted
“I want that” pointing to the poster. The guy just smiled and put it in. I also ordered a side of the bocconcini(?), which was basically little balls of fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, chiffonade basil tossed in olive oil. I personally love fresh mozzarella so it was a no brainer. Andrea apparently ordered a sampler of salads. Well, not like leafy salads, but I one was like some curried chickpea salad? *shrug*
However, I finally took a bite of my sandwich and immediately was transported to degustational bliss. Yes, I probably just made up that word. Wait no, I’ve used “degustational” before. As Krista, the owner of Kiss My Bundt just down the street told me via twitter, the bread was perfectly crispy and not too greasy, and the entire sandwich just worked so well. The caramelized onions are actually pickled, which simply vinegar and sugar are added to the caramelized onions in the pot until all of the vinegar is absorbed. The short rib was moist and tender and there was just the perfect amount of melty cheese. I will have to say the arugula got lost amongst the other ingredients, but it’s cool that its there.
Within just a couple of bites, I had already determined this was probably one of the top 3 sandwiches I’ve ever had. Actually could arguably be THE best sandwich I’ve ever had. The Godmother from Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica is definitely up there. And then there’s the bbq pulled pork sandwich from The Oinkster in Eagle Rock. Yes, definitely top 3.
Though unlike other grilled cheese sandwiches, this one was still REALLY REALLY good at room temperature. Natassia of Let Me Eat Cake, who apparently is a manager here at Joan’s on Third, had come by to chat it up and talk. We hadn’t met in person so it was cool to finally meet. But again, allowing my sandwich to get “cold” after our chatting, the sandwich was stilll AMAZING. And also, as Krista and I had agreed when we went in to her shop that the bread was still crispy after sitting for so long and did not get soggy from the short rib or the cheese. THAT, my friends, is a result of good toasting.
Damn, just writing this up makes me want another one of those sandwiches. I seriously was *THIS* close to going back and taking another sandwich to go after our visit to Kiss My Bundt. It is seriously to die for!
I am VERY happy to know that the sandwich was as good as it looked.
Joan’s on Third
8350 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048