If it weren't for the prices, Marcona could easily become my go-to lunch spot. The shop is neither so small that you feel compelled to take your lunch elsewhere nor so large that you feel neglected. Gourmet mustards and other imported foods line the shelves, but you won't feel any oppressive pretense here. It's all about you, your sandwich, and watching passersby stroll by the window on Melrose. Now this is a place where a person can eat lunch in peace.
I tried the Spanish Gyro ($11), which presented itself open-faced, a generous amount of spicy lamb merguez resting on top of a tall heap of arugula. Hidden among the leaves were piquillo pepper and cucumber. Sheep's milk yogurt served as a thin but pleasant binder. The pita was thick and just sturdy enough to fold this oversized gyro in half (I wasn't able to manage a roll), but I had to hold it over my platter to prevent yogurt from dripping into my lap.
Eventually, I was no longer capable of eating this gyro in a tidy, civilized manner, so I gave up and resorted to picking out the delicious merguez. I loved the fennel seeds that flecked each slice. The piquillo and cucumber were solid backup players to the arugula and sausage.
My order came with a side of pickles, and anyone close to me knows I never turn a pickled vegetable down. All this needed was the housemade mint lemonade to fill in the pauses between bites.
7368 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046 (map)