L.A. BENTO: Redefining Lunch in a Box

September 24, 2009

I live in Northeast L.A.  When my husband and I moved here from Hollywood (a whole 7 miles), someone suggested we join the NELA Yahoo Group.  I’m so glad we did!  We’ve found out about great events and restaurants and stores in our area that we’d have no idea existed otherwise.

A few days ago, I came across this post from the NELA list.  It’s about L.A. Bento, a neat little lunch-in-a-box place that just opened up in Glassell Park!  Bento is a Japanese word for single-portion takeout and L.A. is the word for…  Well, you decide.   Together, they mean “really yummy gourmet lunch!”

I went there this morning to meet some friends and got a coffee, and because I’d heard from Ara on the NELA list that the croissants were “out of this world,” I had to try one.  Ara was right.  The croissant was perfect.  Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Rebecca, you would have been drooling!  And the coffee was fresh from Jones in Pasadena.  ‘Nuff said.

While waiting for my coffee, I asked the very friendly Matt about how the lunch-ordering thing works.  He pointed me to the menu.

That’s it!  Choose a sandwich and side.  Everything is $10.  Also, they will deconstruct the sandwhiches and serve them as entree salads, if requested.  They have:

  • Turkey
  • Roast Beef
  • Tuna
  • Muffletta
  • Chicken Salad
  • And a vegetarian option

But it’s not that simple.  The turkey has oven dried tomato, homemade pickles, havarti, and remoulade.  Yum!  I ordered the muffletta.  It was salami, capicola, ham, provolone, muffletta relish, pepperoncini and it seemed like there was a garlic spread as well.  Here’s my lunch (at my desk later this afternoon):

For my side I ordered the Quinoa salad.  They also have Orzo and Cous Cous.

When lunchtime came I found myself going “mmm” and “m-mmm” with each new bite.  The  sandwich was perfect and the Quinoa salad was amazing!  The potato chips were fabulous and I’m a potato chips snob.  And the cookie was the right kind of soft.  A perfect-tasting, perfectly-sized little chocolate chip cookie.  Ooo, it was a good lunch.  Gotta treat yourself once in a while right?

So the idea with these guys is that they are there so that if you live in the Glendale/Glassell Park/Highland Park/Eagle Rock area, you can drive by there in the morning from 7 AM to 10 AM and pick up your gourmet lunch for the day.  But it gets better!  All their proteins are hormone-free and sustainably farmed.  All their breads are baked daily at Breadbar (artisan bread-makers).  And they use 100% recyclable paper products for their packaging!

Furthermore, L.A. Bento delivers!  Both figuratively (in all that I’ve mentioned above) and literally!  If you get your order in by 11:30 AM!  For orders of 10 or more, the delivery fee is waived.  This would be a great way to cater an office lunch or a small (or large!) film shoot.   Healthy and yummy!

Or just come hang out on their sidewalk, listening to the Glassell Park roosters, from 7 am to 10 am and enjoy some great coffee and an amazing croissant.

You might wonder why I have no picture of the box, since it *is* a “lunch-in-a-box” place!   Well, these guys are so fresh-on-the-market that their snazzy boxes haven’t arrived yet.  They arrive Tuesday September 30th.  But no worries about this food establishment, it’s run by the creative and passionate minds behind Room Forty.  Check ’em out!

Here’s the deets one more time:

  • 7 am – 10 am – buy coffee, pastries and an awesome to-go lunch at the window
  • until 11:30 am – order lunches for delivery (for orders of 10 or more, delivery is free)

L.A. Bento

3329 Division St, LA CA 90065



    September 21, 2009

    I have several friends who make soap; but one particular friend (who just moved west – you know who you are) who makes gorgeous-smelling soaps!  Her soap company is Luka Organics.

    We had her and her husband over for a little get-together recently and she brought me two bars!  They smell awesome.  The green one is spearmint-eucalyptus and the orange one is honey-almond-oatmeal.  They’re heavenly!

    I had purchased a whole bunch of these for myself and for friends just before Christmas.  They were awesome.  I’m looking forward to using these soon.  After all, soap was made to be used and enjoyed!

    We’re finishing up some organic oatmeal soap bars that I’d purchased from Whole Foods right now.  After that, honey-almond-oatmeal!  Yum!


    September 9, 2009


    Along with the loss of life and homes, this photo encompasses the reason I feel great sadness regarding the Station Fire.  As of this post, here’s the information from the incident report (note that the Est Containment Date has been pushed back one week!):

    Basic Information

    Incident Type Wildfire
    Cause Arson
    Date of Origin Wednesday August 26th, 2009 approx 03:30 PM
    Location Los Angeles River Ranger District / Angeles National Forest
    Incident Commander Dietrich / Fender

    Current Situation

    Total Personnel 4,497
    Size 160,357 acres
    Percent Contained 62%
    Estimated Containment Date Tuesday September 15th, 2009 approx 06:00 PM


    September 4, 2009

    One of our two RED cameras for Duncan Christopher came from Josh and Rebekah Weigel.  Josh and Rebekah just finished production on a short film called:

    The Butterfly Circus

    It’s a short film featuring Nick Vujicic along with Eduardo Verástegui (Bella) and Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, Fantastic Four).  Our friends, Elizabeth Pennington and Dan Amos were also in the film at the beginning as a poor depression-effected family.

    The synopsis: at the height of the Great Depression, the showman of a renowned circus leads his troupe through the devastated American landscape, lifting the spirits of audiences along the way. During their travels they discover a man without limbs at a carnival sideshow, but after an intriguing encounter with the showman he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed.

    More info here!