Monday, May 11, 2015
Monte 52: The Most Hidden Gem Sandwich Joint of Hidden Gem Sandwich Joints.
I like to think of myself as the Indiana Jones of hidden gem sandwich joints. What exactly do I mean by that? Does that analogy even work? I'm not really sure. All I'm trying to say is that I will feverishly track down solid sandwich spots in the most unlikeliest of places. They are my Sankara stones. (That's an Indy reference.) For many Eastsiders, Monte 52 is no longer such a thing. People in the know on the eastern sphere of LA are well aware about the deliciousness that awaits those who can find it.
But, for a westsider like myself, who rarely finds himself in Highland Park, I knew nothing of the place. In fact, without a good amount of sleuthing and, well, being hungry as hell, I may never have discovered the hidden gem. Because it's located... within a rather nondescript, unassuming bodega. In the back. Even the prices threw me for a loop. Could a good sandwich exist in Los Angeles in 2015 and cost so little? Is this a goddamn trick by the eastside?
Good news: no trick. The place is legit.
Located on the corner of Monte Vista and Avenue 52, hence the name, Monte 52 possesses of the greatest sandwich-quality-bang-for-your-buck anywhere in the Southland. They make almost all their meats and sauces in house, use high end cheeses and the sandwiches are rather sizeable, yet nothing on the menu exceeds $8. Most of the menu is actually $6 or $7. These aren't paltry, ho-hum sandwiches either. Close your eyes and you can very much imagine yourself biting into a sammie easily twice the price. Does Monte 52's hidden, out of the way real estate probably enable them to charge such affordable prices? Yes, absolutely. But that doesn't mean it's still not an incredible deal.
I love a good turkey sandwich. And Monte 52's Turkey Cran Blue is my favorite I've downed this year. It starts with house-roasted turkey as a base and packs on caramelized onions, blue cheese, cranberry compote and arugula, on a plush sub roll. Bursting with freshness and flavor, it FAR exceeds its $7 pricetag. Even better: the Turkey Cran Blue is just one of over 20 sandwiches on the Monte 52 lunch menu. There's even an additional three breakfast options, plus salads and housemade soups.
No doubt, Monte 52 is hard to find. But like most of Indy's adventures -- minus the last movie in the series -- it is very much worth it.
(Inside La Tropicana market).
5200 Monte Vista St, Highland Park.
Mon-Fri: 8am-6pm; Sat: 9am-5pm; Sun: 10am-3pm.