Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching my second oldest daughter’s volleyball team, the University of San Diego, take on the beloved team of my hometown, Cal State Long Beach, during the first round of NCAA playoffs at my alma mater, UCLA – just a game in a big arena for everyone else, but quite an event for me with so many of my worlds colliding, causing me to reflect and twaddle on, my youngest kid rolling her eyes, tuning me out at every mention of where I used to live, hang out, and get my hair done; how all my favorite stores and restaurants had been replaced.
I’d hoped to return to my old college campus today for San Diego to take on the winner of the second game (which turned out to be UCLA). Instead, Long Beach swept USD in three, bringing our tournament hopes and my daughter’s last season to a close. [Sniff]
But why not take advantage of being in such proximity to so many new and remote restaurants (yes, I know UCLA is only 25 miles or so away from the LBC, but traffic to get there is a u-know-what). After some deliberation, I made my way to TLT Food, the storefront of the much-hyped winner of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race.
And it was there that I officially named Friday, December 5th Sandwich Day, with me as the Earl, as I took down my third sandwich of the day (see Black Sheep GCB) with my trip to TLT. Okay, I suppose three sandwiches isn’t exactly a binge, but it did send a message to me that perhaps I have a thing for protein between two slabs of crusty carbs. The only thing that might have made Sandwich Day better is a breakfast item of some sort – perhaps next December 5th, I’ll begin with a visit to Burger King for an egg and cheese Croissan’wich.
My choice at TLT Food was the Bangkok Chicken, a lively dish flavored with the spices and textures of Thailand. Most enjoyable for me were the bits of cashews that dazzled and delighted me every few bites, surreptitiously tucked into a zippy slaw. The sliced chicken was delicate, kicking you in the taste buds only once you’d found the sweetness, the juiciness of it. What brought (and held) it all together was the bread, a perfectly crisp Ciabatta roll toasted just enough, and proportioned right for the sandwich stuffings. As tempted as I was to throw into my order a taco or their Chimi Wings, I honestly was still pretty full from sandwich #2. Instead, I asked for the two-buck side of roasted corn – a half cob slathered with chipotle-honey aioli and cotija cheese. The sweetness of the honey emboldened the already luscious corn, but the cheese and aioli curbed things nicely, providing quite the quixotic combination.
The only unfortunate thing about TLT Food is their lack of a liquor license, one I didn’t realize they didn’t have until after I’d ordered their spiked limeade, made alcoholic not with tequila but a tequila-flavored wine. A cold beer would have been a better choice, but I didn’t want my 12-year-old (who begrudgingly joined me because I was her ride home) to give me the frowny eyes. Still, the fact that I downed my limeade means I can’t complain too much, even if the downing only served to speed along the agony that is tequila-flavored wine spiked limeade.
Overall, TLT Food amazed and awed and left me wanting more once I fully digest these three sandwiches. Perhaps by next December 5th? Let’s hope.
TLT Food in Westwood (there’s a 2nd location at the Irvine Spectrum)
1116 Westwood Blvd.
*Note to self and the other 7 readers of Dianderthal: TLT also offers a brunch that appears un-pass-upable, featuring breakfast burritos, breakfast tacos, and breakfast nachos; a sourdough French toast, and bottomless mimosas – feel free to hit a sista up if ever you want to roll early on a Saturday/Sunday afternoon. You can drive. 🙂