Restaurant Review #68: Stroh's Gourmet, Venice

How did I discover Stroh's Gourmet? Well, it's funny you should ask. I was waiting at the bus stop on Abbot Kinney to catch the bus home from my first day of work in LA when a homeless schizophrenic man decided to come up and chat with me. I've dealt with my share of crazies, having lived in major cities my entire life, so I wasn't too worried. My bus would be along any minute. But it wasn't, and his escalating anger about not being able to get a haircut because he was black was starting to worry me, so I decided to take refuge at the nearest place I could.

I walked into Stroh's and went up to the first person I saw, assuming that he was an employee. When the crazy schizophrenic guy (I know, because he showed me the pills he wasn't taking, or, I should say, shook the pill bottle at me) followed me in, this guy dealt with him incredibly calmly, unlike the usual irrationally angry and confrontational way people tend to handle conflicts in LA.

Well, it turned out that the guy didn't work for Stroh's, he worked for their lettuce supplier. He was an organic farmer. So because of this crazy schizophrenic guy, not only did I discover Stroh's, I also discovered how utterly amazing organic lettuce is--Maggie's Farm has such good lettuce that I actually munch on it plain, one leaf at a time. You can find them at the Santa Monica farmer's market.

Anyway, back to Stroh's. They sell a variety of thick, thoughtful sandwiches made with real bread--roast beef, caprese (tomato, basil, and mozzarella), turkey avocado and brie, and a couple of others. I've tried most of their sandwiches, and haven't been disappointed by any. My favorite, vegetarian tendencies be damned, is the roast beef. They also have a selection of fine cheeses, amazing cookies and other simple desserts, chocolate bars, gourmet sodas, and other goodies you expect to find at a small gourmet sandwich shop.

In spite of being gourmet, Stroh's mostly does not feel pretentious. Some of the staff are native French speakers, and a bit curt, but otherwise, hey, it's casual Venice. There are a couple of tables outside on Abbot Kinney, but this is really a to-go kind of place. Sandwiches cost about $6-7 each, and cookies are $1.50 or so. Go early, or your favorite sandwich might be sold out.

Stroh's Gourmet
1239 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 450-5119

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