Here are a couple of places that I love to eat lunch at in downtown Los Angeles while at work (and beyond). There are two notable favorite places of mine that are missing, which I hope to get photos of someday: Papa Christo's (greek) and Phillipe's:
Langer's is one of my favorite places to eat lunch at, but only if I have a lot of time - they don't really go fast at this deli. Langer's is one of the classic downtown places that I think everyone should try at least once!
Here is the sandwich that I love from there - they make a killer pastrami and coleslaw on rye, with russian dressing. The combination is absolutely great for me - especially the saltiness of their pastrami with the cole slaw. And of course, no deli sandwich is complete without a pickle.
If you order fries at Langer's, you get the classic krinkle-cut french fries - it personally reminds me of memories from my elementary school cafeteria!
Next place on the list - a vietnamese sandwich (banh mi) place named Buu Dien - the only one I know of in downtown Los Angeles. It is in Chinatown, and is really kind of hard to find - the official address is 642 broadway, but it is a definite hole in the wall.
Funny note: "Buu Dien" literally means "post office" in Vietnamese. The restaurant is named after a very famous banh mi restaurant in Vietnam that is actually next to a post office (although the one here isn't, as far as I know).
So, this is what they offer - for all us non-vietnamese, it doesn't help very much, lol. And no english spoken. I always order the #1, which I think is the special? A new note: So, my Vietnamese friend Huong took a look at this post, and pointed out to me that the menu is in three different languages - vietnamese (on the left), english (center), and chinese (right), but it is all the same kinds of banh mi. Ah!
Anyway, so it has all the normal stuff for a special combo vietnamese sandwich - pate, various meats that I am never able to identify, pickled vegetables, and cilantro. When the french bread is fresh, this is one of the tastiest vietnamese sandwiches I have ever eaten. When it isn't, it is only ok =P. But, still better than driving out to the San Gabriel Valley just to get a banh mi.
The next place on my list of favorite lunch places in downtown LA is Angelique Cafe. It is a cute little french cafe in the Fashion district, and has lots of great french dishes, as well as salads and sandwiches. The photo above is of my favorite sandwich - a chicken salad sandwich, for those of you that know me well. Their fries are excellent for those that like thin crunchier fries ( as opposed to the thick, soft steak fries).
Here is another sandwich from Angelique Cafe that my friend Chris likes to order - a pate sandwich.
Ok, so these two last photos aren't from a place in downtown LA, but since my work friend Chris first introduced me to this place, I figure this is as good place as any for the posting.
There is a sushi place in Beverly Hills that is a favorite of Chris's named Mako - it is Japanese/Mediterranean fusion cuisine. It is very good, and I suggest going there if you have the opportunity. The first time I went there, I had an excellent meal, and one of the best desserts I have ever had - it was a dessert bento box, with 5 different desserts that I could eat. What a great idea!!! Anyway, so we went back this past summer.
The photo above is of their special lunch bento box. Sorry, I didn't write down what the various dishes were - although I can tell you that I personally thought that the first lunch bento box I had was better, because it had less meat, and more fish. This bento box seemed geared towards a more americanized palate this time - two different kinds of meat and noodles - the kobe meatballs were good, and the other one was ok. I didn't really like the noodles - they were completely ordinary, and not something I would expect from Mako, because he is a really good sushi chef - maybe the cook who made this messed up? Anyway, it was still a good bento box overall.
And here is our desserts. Not as great as the first dessert bento box I got (I think probably because my friend Chris knows Mako well), but it still had a lot of delicious desserts to choose from. We ordered two desserts, and they provided two more - the ice cream with fruit, and the cookies. They have really great desserts here, especially for a Japanese place, which is why I like coming here.