It’s why you buy mayonnaise. It’s the reason there are crumbs in your keyboard and french fries under your car seat. It’s where bacon, lettuce, and tomato meet. It’s a break we all deserve but too seldom take to our full satisfaction. It’s lunch, the middle child in a three-meal-a-day family that gets dominated by breakfast—“the most important,” they say—and dinner, which is, let’s face it, a bit of a prima donna. When was the last time you found refuge in a bowl of Cheerios or soaked up a few minutes of weekday sun with a plate of beef Wellington on your lap?
With our absurdly beautiful weather and tendency toward loosey-goosey work schedules (perpetual irritants to our East Coast counterparts), Angelenos are particularly well suited to the midday meal. A perfect L.A. lunch can be three hours spent beneath a blooming wisteria, plucking arugula from a salmon salad and sipping a frosty glass of Viognier, or ten minutes on a curb next to a gourmet Caribbean-fusion food truck. » Los Angeles is home to some of the world’s finest achievements in meat slicing, salad chopping, and tortilla wrapping, not to mention the loveliest settings in which to enjoy them. Yet too many of us spend the lunch hour by insulting it, nibbling defrosted pasta-like products at our desks or assemblages of prepackaged cold cuts on the 405. The following pages are meant to inspire you to make lunch a time to dine—not scarf—or, at the very least, make whatever it is you’re having delivered to your cubicle as wonderful as it can possibly be. C’mon, let’s do lunch.