“I am starving” – some vegan waiting in line at Panini Stop
Yes, sweet 20 something downtown hipster vegan, truer words have not been spoken. This was what I overheard while waiting in line at Panini Stop, a vegetarian lunch time oasis and the latest of downtown’s edible offerings. For the record I think Vegans or any polarizing eater is the Taliban coming home to roost, armed with fork and knife. Typically I walk right passed these “produce stands” passing themselves off as restaurants; if I wanted salad I would have just stayed at home. But like all hungry creatures of habit, I become occasionally wowed by a great caprese, Ethiopian vegetable stew or in this case, a meatless panini; life is more fun when you flip the script and so here I am racking my brain on a menu that went something like this:
An all vegetarian sandwich menu seldom looks this good on paper, but seldom are you at a shop on 7th and Spring, pushing this kind of green, in a such a cool and calming bright white interior. The $5 soft opening price makes this a run don’t walk spot and truth be told, the #2 is substantial enough to share but highly unlikely, as these sandwiches are good enough to make the greenest vegan a little greedy.
Being the most decadent choice helped me, the wary carnivore, feel at ease with the promise of a belly filled with rich pesto and lip-smacking feta. Your mind will rest easy as well with a ten ingredient sandwich that blends the best of the Mediterranean with elements of Greek(red onion, feta, spinach), Italian(roasted red peppers, pesto, balsamic), the two countries mutual affinity to all things olive , and a touch of California in the menu stated but taste wise undetected use of avocado. In all sincerity the vegetarian, even vegan diet can be absolutely delicious as long as the food remains focused on what is there versus what has been modified or omitted. Notice that this sandwich, or any other on the menu has nothing close to resembling the dreaded “meat substitute”. The smack of salt from the feta, the crisp taste of brine from the olives, the rich oily goodness from pesto is all the “meat” you need.
And most important at Panini stop? Yes, you guessed it – the panini. The bread is pressed golden just perfectly to retain complete sandwich composition to the very last bite.
So if you are looking to detox after last week’s FYF concert, readying yourself for an animal protein extravaganza this Labor day weekend or are even just looking to flip the script, the Panini stop is certainly one you should make. Stop and munch the roses. Listen to the starving girl talk about how full she got. I can see the Freshman fifteen flying off your waist line already.
The Panini Stop
700 S. Spring Street
Downtown Los Angeles 90014