Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Joan's On Third

I didn't want to like Joan's On Third. Nearly an institution in LA, for years I avoided the take-out spot and casual eatery in spite of -- or probably because of -- it's popularity. How could I feel I'd found a hidden treasure when everyone knew about this one?
A couple months back I arrived early for an appointment just across the street from Joan's (early morning and parking was plentiful) and slipped in for a coffee and a, okay I admit it, delicious blueberry cornbread muffin.
The parking is nothing short of tragic. The multiple counters and cashiers is confusing. The market products are absurdly expensive. Though I spent $26 for Italian torrone I somehow couldn't resist. But, I love Joan's. If I had a restaurant it's the kind of place I'd like to have. Hearty sandwiches with finesse, a huge variety of read or serve entrees, salads and sides (pasta, meatballs, lentils, meatloaf, roasted vegetables, brussels sprouts -- a generous list every day ), pastries, ice cream, a cheese counter, soups to go. Simple rustic food, well prepared for a beautiful people clientele who looks like they never eat. Oh, and the bread!
The ordering system is chaotic. There is always a line. There is barely room to walk through the one winding aisle. But, I love the metal baking tray and pie plates Joan's uses for serving (can I do that at home?).  I love the oversized farmhouse table right in the middle of the refrigerator cases. I love the bottles of water the cheerful servers bring to the table. I love Joan's but I'll never tell.

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