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Los Angeles is a quilt of communities, each with its own culture. One patch is Mar Vista, a diverse neighborhood spanning less than three square miles on the west side of LA. Here you'll find Earl's Gourmet Grub, the brainchild of Yvonne McDonald and Dean Harada. Earl's began as a popular stall at the Mar Vista Farmers' Market and later evolved into a brick-and-mortar shop, mere steps from the market.
Try the Pig-n-Fig ($9), one of Earl's' most popular creations, which strikes that perfect balance between savory and sweet. Studded with walnuts and hazelnuts, the bread is toasted to give it a dense crunch. Layer upon layer of smooth prosciutto di parma is laid atop fig hash, which lends just enough sweetness to set off the prosciutto's savory bite. The blue cheese and aioli add creaminess without heaviness, and last but not least, there's a generous handful of spicy arugula.
My side was pasta with peas in a garlic dressing, along with a mixed green salad. Paired with hibiscus iced tea laced with lemongrass, lemon verbena, and mint, the Pig-n-Fig made for a memorable lunch.
Earl's Gourmet Grub
12226 Venice Boulevard, Mar Vista, CA 90066 (map) 310-313-1717
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