The last two weeks have been busy with friends dropping in from colder climes to soak up our Laguna Beach sunshine.
Being the Laguna Beach tour guide that I am, I’ve been trotting these friends to a variety of Laguna Beach restaurants, and you’ll see a number of comments forthcoming on favorite old haunts and new finds. For starters, I thought I’d begin with something I don’t purposely seek out: The Best Sandwiches in Laguna Beach.
When one of my visitors asked for a good old fashioned sandwich, I was temporarily at a loss. I’ve tried plenty of hamburgers and veggie burgers in Laguna Beach (K’ya, Nicks, Belgian Bistro and Lumberyard Restaurant all scoring highly), and I have a couple favorite paninis, but it took some polling of fellow Laguna residents to land on a couple shops that provide significant fare in sandwiches. (Sorry. There’s the obvious Subway Sandwich shop in town, but I don’t cover franchises in this blog.)
[singlepic id=21 w=320 h=240 float=left]As you know, I only mention the “best of,” and I will say we visited four different restaurants that turned out sandwiches. Laguna Beach’s vegetarian “The Stand” is in fabulous class all its own, and will be the subject of a different entry. For basic, solid sandwiches, though, my visitor’s vote coincided with mine – Laguna Beach’s The Orange Inn.
In the past, I’ve written about The Orange Inn’s breakfast, monster freshly-baked muffins and smoothie entrees, all of which create snaking lines of customers out the quaint cottage’s doors. Owner John Bodrero recently made a number of changes at the Orange Inn … some of which, admittedly and initially didn’t make his age-old regulars happy (and I heard about it, OH yes) … but his expanded lunch menu adds well to his already popular sandwich board.
Maybe it’s the sprouts that makes the Orange Inn sandwiches so memorable. Nearly every sandwich comes loaded with fresh, crunchy sprouts, lettuce and tomato, and the stack is a nice, hearty presentation. Or, maybe it’s the fact that he doesn’t load you down with overbearing bread rolls – most of the Orange Inn sandwiches are on bread slices like your Mom used to slap together for your school lunch bags. For me, I’d rather taste the filling inside than have to deal with a bunch of chewy bread.
We tried the Orange Inn’s classic turkey avocado sandwich, the Albacore tuna sandwich, and John’s new grilled chicken burger, all of which were freshly made and enjoyable entrees. Happily, the grilled chicken burger was stellar. I can’t say that many restaurants in Laguna Beach serve up a classic, old fashioned grilled chicken burger, but the Orange Inn has filled that gap nicely with two different grilled chicken options.
Readers, send me your favorite sandwiches (and sandwich makers) in Laguna Beach, and I’ll add them to this entry. Enjoy your lunches out there!