Friday, November 23, 2012

Earl of Sandwich

One of the highlights of our trip to Orlando, FL, two years ago, was discovering the Earl of Sandwich fast-food place in Downtown Disney. Now I make a pretty good BLT—my all-time favorite sandwich—but the Earl’s was the single best BLT I’d ever eaten in a restaurant: lots of thin crispy bacon on a toasted bun. I loved it so much, we ate there twice even though we were in Orlando only a handful of days. When we returned home, I looked for an Earl of Sandwich in the L.A. area, but the closest one was in Las Vegas! I was crushed.

Then about a year ago, we heard that the Earl was coming to our Downtown Disney in Anaheim! Tim checked the website regularly for updates and every time we went to Disneyland we walked by the construction site to check on its progress. The last we heard, the Earl wasn’t opening until after the new year.

Well, we were driving through Anaheim a couple of days ago and decided to make a quick run into Disneyland. The big parking lot was full, so we pulled into Downtown Disney. As usual, we took the long way around so we could get an update on the Earl of Sandwich . . . and there it was! It had opened in early November without us. The line to get in was enormous, so we decided to go to the park first and then grab our sandwiches on the way out.

A mob scene inside - we were the oldest
people on line!

The line was even longer by the time we got there, two hours later. I whispered to Tim that the Earl needed a FASTPASS™ line like the most popular Disneyland rides. I didn’t dare look at the time, but I think we waited at least 30 minutes before we finally got to order our sandwiches. It was then another 5-10 minutes before our beeper started to flash.

BLT heaven

Tim said he’ll never wait that long again. I, on the other hand, was in hog (OK, bacon) heaven and only wished I’d thought of getting two BLTs—one for then and one for the next day. But not to worry. I can never stay away from Disneyland for long and so should be returning again soon. As if I needed yet another reason to go to Anaheim!

The world's greatest sandwich, indeed!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Adieu, Campanile

Ive been on hiatus, but am now back, catching up on our activities this past month. Here’s the first of more to come . . .

Located in the mid-Wilshire district of L.A., Campanile was our favorite restaurant when we lived in Park LaBrea in the mid-1990s. Not only was the food fabulous—award-winning chefs Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton continue to be world-famous—but the Spanish-style building that housed the restaurant was rumored to have been Charlie Chaplin’s former studio. And, of course, it was adjacent to La Brea Bakery, one of the best bakeries in Los Angeles. Campanile quickly became our destination for celebrating special events and taking out-of-town visitors.

The studio courtyard was covered and
served as the front dining room

Looking down on the kitchen from the upstairs dining area

Although we haven’t eaten there much since moving to Culver City—five mid-city miles can be grueling, especially during rush hour—we were nonetheless sad to hear that, after 23 years, Campanile was closing its doors on Halloween. So we decided to have one last meal there in late October.

Karen made the reservations for a Sunday morning and lucky, too, because everyone else seemed to have the same idea. Our favorite waiter, who once served me the best cheese platter I’ve had ever had, said the place had been packed every day since the closure was announced. Most of the foodies in town were mourning its loss.

Tim, post-meal, under the La Brea Bakery sign

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best meal we’ve ever eaten at Campanile, but it was the last, so we took lots of photos and bought a bagful of baked goods to take home. Not quite the same, but at least the La Brea Bakery and café still live on at Downtown Disney. We will miss you, Campanile!

Inside the bakery

Charlie Chaplin's former studio and exterior of Campanile