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Let's Do Lunch: Mendocino Farms

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There are some great lunches to be had in this town, and we want to celebrate the midday meal. So, let's do lunch, shall we?

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Cross-section of a section of a "Not so Fried" Chicken Sandwich at Mendocino Farms in West Hollywood (Lindsay William-Ross/LAist)
Fewer food items symbolize lunch like the sandwich. Sure, you can line up to have your favorite "sandwich artist" load on the usual processed meats at the nearest chain stop, but for those who are near one of the four locations of Mendocino Farms, your sandwich can be not just made with great ingredients, but taste a helluva lot better, too. The self-proclaimed "sandwich market" recently opened up in West Hollywood, and are serving up artisinal eats made with local ingredients inspired by the seasons.

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A boon for veggies and vegans, Mendocino Farms has many selections among their soups, salads, and sandwiches that fit meat and animal-free diets. (Omnivores, you'd be surprised at how much you can love their Vegan Club sandwich, too.)

Mendocino gets playful with their concoctions, putting together twists on familiar flavors and items, like their “Not So Fried” Chicken sandwich, which uses "krispie"-coated baked chicken in place of the greasy original. They riff on other sandwich staples, too, like Vietnamese Banh Mi, the Tuna Melt, and grilled cheese. Entree-size salads are brimming with local veggies as well as artisanal cheeses and other tasty accoutrement. Side salads, many of them vegan, make for flavorful alternatives to that sad ol' bag of big brand chips you might otherwise find in you midday meal combo.

There are plenty of Downtowners who already love Mendocino Farms, and the restaurant's recent takeover of the CASA space at California Plaza means one more quality option in the area for dining out will be open for business soon. We got to take a peek at some of the cool collaboration creations that will be on the menu of Blue Cow, including some wild sausage creations, like the lamb sausage sandwich with cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, and harissa, that hatched from the culinary minds of Mendocino Farms' Mario Del Pero and Ellen Chen and chef Jason Travi of Fraiche.

In the meantime, when lunch means you are heeding the call of the sandwich, it's worth a trip to the ever-growing Mendocino Farms to see what's on the menu. True, that cheap-o sub sandwich will cost you less than the Mendocino fare (items average $8-10 there) but it's also true that you get what you pay for, and frankly, when you're fueling up to face the rest of your day, a little more is a lot worthwhile.

Mendocino Farms has two Downtown locations, as well as locations in Marina Del Rey and the newest in West Hollywood. Menus vary at each location.