Bite into some of the best things on sliced bread.
By Linda Domingo | Photos by Edgar Obrand
They have been there for us since we were kids, encased in their namesake plastic bags, faithfully waiting for lunchtime. Sometimes we traded them, hoping to upgrade to something more exciting: bologna for peanut butter and jelly, or maybe tuna for ham and cheese. Now that we are old enough to earn our own lunch money, our sandwich options are a lot more interesting. Whether it’s because they have exciting flavor combinations or use quality ingredients, here are some tasty Laguna Beach spots that serve sandwiches you won’t want to trade with anyone.
230 Forest Avenue Restaurant & Bar
If you’re seeking sophisticated sandwiches, head to 230 Forest Avenue Restaurant & Bar for a savory sandwich paired with a craft beer. Sandwiches are available on the lunch menu between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sit out on the patio for prime people watching, and try the prime rib dip, served with caram
elized onions, Gruyere cheese, horseradish cream and a side of fries. If seafood sounds appealing, the Asian-influenced grilled salmon sandwich comes seasoned with soy ginger and wasabi cream. (949-494-2545; 230forestavenue.com)
Zinc Cafe & Market
Zinc Cafe & Market’s sandwiches are almost too pretty to eat. Almost. The grilled cheese will make vegetarians proud and make meat-eaters seriously reconsider their need for meat. This favorite consists of melted Gruyere cheese with pickles, marinated onions, tomato and whole grain mustard served
on sourdough bread. Other popular sandwiches include the Mediterranean, with smoked Gouda, roasted tomatoes and pesto, and the egg salad sandwich, which has a spicy and tangy kick thanks to a little Tabasco and mustard. If you’re looking to mix it up, Zinc also offers a half sandwich plate, served with a cup of soup or chili and greens, for all sandwiches except the grilled cheese and Zinc Burger. (949-494-6302; zinccafe.com)
For sandwiches with an Italian flair, both Laguna locations of Gina’s Pizza have crusty creations worth trying. The grilled pesto chicken sandwich is a nice afternoon bite with provolone cheese, tomato, arugula and pesto aioli, served on toasted bread. Heartier options include the meatball sandwich with homemade meatballs. Fresh baked focaccia bread is a great complement to the roasted eggplant sandwich that is also served with mozzarella, basil and marinara sauce. (949-494-4342; ginaspizza.com)
The folks at Orange Inn have been practicing the art of sandwich making since 1931. If it’s morning and you get past the taunting display of muffins, the Orange Inn has hearty breakfast sandwiches such as the ham and cheese or spinach and cheese croissant. Once lunch and the barefoot surfers roll in, the shop’s popular sandwiches are the Lagoona Toona, stuffed with albacore and seasoned with cilantro and onion, and the good old turkey sandwich. If you’re feeling festive, try the Holiday Turkey, which also has cranberry sauce. All lunch sandwiches are served with a dill pickle, chips and of course, an orange wedge on the side. (949-494-6085; orangeinnlagunabeach.com)
Anastasia Cafe’s food and stylish atmosphere attract both breakfast and lunch crowds. During lunch, enjoy sandwiches made with fresh, high-quality ingredients, such as the poulet, sautéed blackened chicken breast with sautéed onions and avocado with melted smoked Gouda on French bread. The jambon comes with a generous helping of black forest ham, smoked Gouda, lettuce and tomato on French bread. The addition of garlic aioli and mustard dressing makes this sandwich a great lunchtime treat. (949-497-8903;anastasiaboutique.com)
For more veggie options, walk up to The Stand and order one of their ultra-healthy sandwiches to go. If the meal is too guilt-free for your tastes, you can always pair it with a Date Shake. Known for being vegan-friendly, The Stand has a nice selection of sandwiches including the popular avocado sandwich served with avocado, tomato, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts and guacamole with lemon herb dressing. The avocado sandwich also comes with Have’a Chips. If sweet sandwiches are your taste, the peanut butter banana sandwich is made with no-salt peanut butter, and the bread can be toasted upon request. (949-494-8101)
La Sirena Grill
We couldn’t leave out the sandwiches from down south. Tortas at both Laguna locations of La Sirena Grill come topped with lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, melted jack cheese, aioli and jalapenos, but they can nix the peppers if you’re not in the mood for spice. The carne asada torta is a favorite, and grilled veggies are an option for non-meat eaters. Other options include pollo, carnitas, blackened salmon and blackened ahi. All of these organic ingredients atop a lightly toasted bolillo make a fresh and filling meal. (Downtown: 949-497-8226; south: 949-499-2301; lasirenagrill.com)
While the sandwich can easily be overlooked on a menu of singular specialties, these Laguna restaurants and the many other standout establishments locally offer some breaded bites that truly step outside of the flavor box. So the next time you’re seeking a childhood favorite with flair, a meatless meal, exotic flavors or a complement to a cold one, drop into one of these locations to get your sandwich fix. LBM