By Ari Kassardjian and Larry Feygin
Stumped with deciding on our next guido-filled culinary destination, we took to the streets and asked some of our best buds for their recommendations.
When we asked Ryan “Nala” Duncan for a suggestion, he repeated over and over again “Sandos,” which he described as “a hole in the wall, having only three seats, and with Connect-Four.” Larry originally had other plans in mind, but Nala’s great rhetorical skill convinced both Ari and Larry to take the risk and head to Sandos.
With Ari, Larry and Luigi piling into the Mini Cooper, we set off once again to Manhattan Beach. Larry wore a neon orange shirt and could barely fit into the Mini with the massive girth of his body and length of his legs. After this threesome finally reached Manhattan Beach, Nala and Hammerin’ Hank Trumbull joined us to turn this threesome into a big party.
We luckily found parking right outside Sandos on the corner of Highland and Rosecrans. The outside of the restaurant was Rastafarian colored, reflecting Sandos’ relaxed atmosphere.
Hank, wearing his bro-tank and swim trunks, threw open the door and exclaimed, “Ahoy, broskis!” to which the attractive lady behind the counter replied, “Hey, Hank, your THC will be right up.” Turns out, however, that Hank was not ordering marijuana, but a turkey, ham, and Cubano sandwich. The fact that it happened to be a sandwich salvaged Hank, especially after “Randy Speaks” gave his marijuana talk earlier in the week.
Not being regulars, Larry, Ari, Luigi and Will went with their gut instincts on their food choices. The menu only listed the day’s specials and Sando’s all-time great concoctions, which made it easier on the four to choose what to eat. Among the other things we heard about Sando’s was the fact that the THC and the OBS (Original Breakfast Sandwich) were must-gets. Ari followed Hank with the THC while Will and Nala got the OBS. Larry got the “Tig-ol-Bitty,” Sando’s’ play on the classic Philly cheese steak, while Luigi got himself the Eastwood Burger. He said he got it because “Clint Eastwood was AMAZING in Million Dollar Baby. I was hoping that the burger would give me the same pizzazz that Eastwood gave Hillary Swank in the movie.”
One of the best parts about all of our sandwiches was the bread. The crusty crucible provided a nice contrast in texture to the melted cheese and tender meat inside. The Guidos have often found that bad bread can turn a good sandwich into a soggy mess.
The THC got Hank and Ari high in all the right ways. Ari said, “Forget Prop 19. I’m proposing a bill that makes all convenience stores sell the THC.” The turkey, ham and cheese were all pronounced in flavor, making the ensemble into a memorable sandwich.
Larry’s Tig-ol-Bitty was made with freshly shredded beef, smoky bacon, and provolone cheese. The sandwich was studded with French fries throughout, giving Larry a pleasant textural and sensual surprise. He said, “I rank it much higher than Big Mike’s cheese steaks. The cheese steaks there last year were good, but the beef in the ones here is of much higher quality.” Because Larry has never been a finisher, some of his sandwich remained untouched. Nala and Will got the OBS to watch their spectacular figures since breakfast sandwiches are half the size of regular ones, but the bacon, sausage, eggs, fries and cheese more than made up for the lost calories. Luigi liked his Eastwood burger, but described it as “grintristing,” since he was somewhat unfamiliar with Western style burgers.
Overall, each and every sandwich was a winner. The fact that we could all sit on a counter looking over downtown Manhattan Beach and the ocean made it all the better. Best of all, the Eastwood burger gave Luigi enough courage to find his long lost brother Mario, who happened be a Filipino guy in a karaoke bar down the street dressed in a Mario costume.
What the Guidos loved most about Sandos was the modesty that it showed in its greatness. They have a high rating on Yelp, made the cover of Los Angeles magazine, and were mentioned in the Los Angeles Times, yet only one of these honors is hung up in the restaurant. In addition, we found out that they only use local products from their website, in contrast to gourmet sandwich shops that take every chance they get to advertise their focus on local products. In the end, we thought Sandos truly did redefine the sandwich. As goes their motto: “Sandwiches aren’t sandwiches anymore, they’re Sandos.”