Picnic Sandwich: My Neighborhood Sandwich Shop

Being from New York City, I cannot stress enough the importance of “the sandwich” to you all.

East Coasters in general have a very special connection to all things stuffed into two pieces of bread. Whether it’s a Jewish Deli, an Italian Eatery or just a good old fashioned sub shop, sandwiches really are what makes the world go round for us. So much so that we have an endless list of terms for them like “submarine sandwich,””grinders,” “sammy,” “hoagies”  and the most affectionate term of all, “hero.”

We literally perceive our sandwiches as heroes, saving us from hangovers or hunger.

And everyone, I mean, everyone has their neighborhood sandwich shop back East. Somewhere you can walk to and load up on some of your favorite comfort foods.

Now Los Angeles has no shortage of sandwich spots, but only a fortunate few can claim that they have an awesome neighborhood sandwich shop. I am one of those fortunate few and it’s called Picnic Sandwich, located on Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake.

My neighborhood sandwich shop.
My neighborhood sandwich shop.

Helmed by Shanna Lynn Milazzo, formally the executive chef at The Belmont on La Cienega, Shanna too has an obvious love for sandwiches and their power to sooth the belly and the soul.

Inside Picnic the space is modern and minimalist, as well as rustic and urban.

In other words, it’s just f’ing cool.

Urban, Rustic, and Cool
Urban, Rustic, and Cool

Picnic Sandwich has a very simple menu offering many of your lunch time favorites like tuna salad and turkey baguettes, but the offerings I would like to talk about are Shanna’s “T.B.S.” (The Breakfast Sandwich), “The Grecco” (Italian Cold Cut Combo) and her divine “Fried Chicken” sandwich.

"Keep talking to me baby, that's what I like." -- Tony Montana, Scarface.
“Keep talking to me baby, that’s what I like.” — Tony Montana, Scarface.

Two fried eggs, two slices of bacon, two slices of cheddar cheese on a brioche bun with… (drum roll)… jalapeño aioli and potato salad. The combination of these two elements makes this breakfast sandwich unique and stand out in a crowd. It seriously rocked my world and I wanted to get up all up in it like Al Pacino did Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface. It was rich and creamy with a good kick of heat and spice from the jalapeño.

She’s gorgeous. Truly sublime.

East Coast Love
East Coast Love

Mortadella, Genoa salami, spicy cappocollo, mozzarella, provolone, roasted red peppers and house Italian vinaigrette on a baguette. Oh Lord! You do not see this in many joints in LA. This is an Italian American classic and here Picnic Sandwich really gets “jiggy with it”. Shanna, an Italian American, truly embraces the insane flavorboner that is this sandwich.

So many flavors, so many meats, so much fatty goodness.

She was obviously inspired by her neighborhood Italian American sandwich shops as a kid because these suckers are huge! 21 oz. of meat and cheese. That is 1.3 pounds, boys and girls.

Move bitch, get out the way, get out the way. Move!
Move bitch, get out the way, get out the way. Move!

This homage to east coast Italian American culinary culture is a welcomed sight in Los Angeles where everyone is uber calorie conscious, myself included; but not when I order this bad boy.

All of that goes out the window and frankly every once and a while it should, it really should. We on the West Coast could take a cue or two from the East Coast when it comes to reckless abandon.

F*ck portion control! 

Wild Thing. You make my heart sing.
Wild Thing. You make my heart sing.

There is a fried chicken sandwich craze going on in Los Angeles.

It used to be that everyone had their signature burger but now it’s all about having your signature fried chicken sandwich as well, and Picnic Sandwich makes an outstanding one. I am not the only person saying so. LA Eater magazine, LA Weekly, and Zagat all agree that the fried chicken sandwich here is a must try.

What I love is that Picnic’s fried chicken sandwich is “chef’s choice” and it changes weekly. That is how good it is.

Each publication unilaterally said this is awesome based on a different version of the sandwich.

One was drenched in hot sauce and coconut ranch dressing; another was a tribute to an In-N-Out Burger called “The Animal Style”.

The one I had was a pickle and pimento cheese fried chicken sandwich. First off these white meat chicken breasts are enormous. They are plump and juicy.

They are the bomb.

The breading is wonderfully seasoned and has great crunch. The pimento cheese was super spicy and oddly addictive. I could dip french fries in that cheese all day long.

When moving to a neighborhood I always look for two things – a great dive bar (or at least a bar I can walk to), and a good sandwich shop. I had the first, (Thirsty Crow), and now I have the latter.

Thank you, Picnic. I feel incredibly fortunate that I am able to have a piece of my childhood and hometown customs right here in Silver Lake.

Restaurant and Bar Reviews for the impure palate