That’s a lie. I’m listing 11, all completely deserving, but 10 just sounds flashier. In no particular order (except the prettiest photo is going at the top)…

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Beef Tongue Schnitzel.

The Beef Tongue Schitzel, $12.00
Bäco Mercat, 408 S Main Street, 90013

Okay. It’s actually a very close call between the tongue schitzel bäco with pickles, harissa, and smoky aioli, and the toron bäco with oxtail, a cheddar hashbrown, and horseradish yogurt sauce. Maybe, in my mind, my dream bäco is breaded and fried beef tongue with a cheddar hashbrown and creamy horseradish sauce. Either way, I’m just happy I live in a world (and especially a city) where chef Josef Centeno has invented these puffy flatbread wraps with forceful meat cuts and innovative sauces and unexpected spices, with the most pleasing textures. He makes a mean mole enchilada at Bar Amá, too.

Turkey Reuben and Waffle Fries, $9.95
Home Los Feliz, 1760 Hillhurst Ave, 90027

Also known as a Georgia Reuben, Home’s turkey reuben comes with fresh deli turkey, gooey Swiss cheese, un-tinkered-with coleslaw, and tart thousand island dressing on buttery marble rye that doesn’t taste very rye-like at all. I switch out the thousand island for their sweet, tangy honey mustard dressing. But it gets better. You get to choose from a ton of sides to accompany your sandwich, and I always get their waffle fries, that comforting bronze shade of “fried,” the hot oil cooled off with homemade basil aioli or ranch dressing for dipping. But it gets better still. Home’s wonderful management encourages you to bring your dog to their idyllic patio, and your server will bring you a baggy of dog biscuits (appropriate for the size of your dog), and may even offer a boneless grilled chicken breast cut up into tiny bites. It’s juicy, with that great char-flavor, and tempting to eat yourself. (I’ve definitely eaten a third of one.) Every day, the manager selects a “patio pooch of the day” and posts a photo of the lucky dog to their Facebook page, and the dog at the end of the month with the most “likes” earns his people a gift certificate. But it gets better again. (Last time, I promise.) On the weekends, they sell $15 bottles of bubbly for mimosa-making, and the best bloody in the city for $6, to say nothing of their weekly Yappy Hour. It’s no wonder this one’s my favorite.

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The bit-into cold fried chicken sandwich.

Cold Fried Chicken Sandwich, $5.00
ink.sack, 8360 Melrose Avenue, 90069

I have a feeling that Michael Voltaggio’s technique for cooking fried chicken is not something I can easily replicate at home. There could be thermal immersion circulators and pressure cookers and a large hadron collider for all I know. But I do know how it tastes in the end: like the best leftover fried chicken you’ve never had. Unwrap the black and white checkered deli paper and you’ll find a soft white bread baguette about the size of a soda can stuffed with a few pieces of moist but unfatty dark meat with a crispy, golden exterior; perky, oozy homemade ranch cheese; a couple of mild pickle slices and romaine sprigs; and Gindo’s Spice of Life pepper sauce, which gives it a little kick. You won’t be losing any teeth or grinding the roof of your mouth on the bread, but you might get some sauce dribbling down your chin and crumbs on your shirt. It’s salty and spicy and tangy and crunchy and soft and perfect. The sandwiches aren’t huge (but they certainly aren’t expensive, either), so I recommend the pastrami sandwich to supplement it–and, of course, their homemade Old Bay chips and Mexican chocolate cookie. There isn’t a lot of seating, so make a picnic of these and have a destination in mind.

Medianoche Preparado, $5.60
Porto’s Burbank, 3614 W Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank 91505

So this sandwich is completely excessive and necessary at the same time. Take the ingredients in a cubano (roasted pork, ham, Swiss, pickles, mustard, mayonnaise), and instead of putting them on a sort of nondescript roll, put them on a sweet roll. That’s a medionoche. And then, put some ham croquettes inside and squish them down, cracking their crispy fried exterior so that their warm buttery, milky roux can ooze out and coat the other ingredients. That’s a medionoche preparado. Get some fried potato balls and chicken croquettes with your order, also excessive and necessary. I’ve never seen Porto’s without a long line, and this is probably why.

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Pastrami Nosh, $12.00
Plan Check Kitchen + Bar, 1800 Sawtelle Boulevard, 90025

Plan Check’s pastrami sandwich is almost as nice to look at as it is to eat. But don’t admire it for too long, because a nearby diner might just suckerpunch you and hoard it for themself. It arrives with a glistening sunny side up egg perched atop a Texas toast bun and a thick slab of house-cured pastrami peeking out of the side. Cut into it, and the yolk slowly oozes into the tender meat. Okay, again, stop admiring it and eat it already. You’ll taste deeply seasoned pastrami and buttery bread, with Swiss cheese adding to the unctuousness of it all, and kimchi mustard and pickles providing that perfect amount of pop. Use the last bite to wipe up any yolk left on the plate. See? Better to eat than to look at.

Truffle Burger, $12.00
Umami Burger Valli, 12159 Ventura Boulevard, Studio City 91604

I mean, holy s*. Truffle-infused hamburger meat with melted truffle cheese in a really soft, fluffy bun. All I know is that a lot of R&D goes into Umami Burgers, and that it’s all kept very secret, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Adam Fleischman has a secret farm with cows that eat only white, black, and summer truffles their entire lives, much like Iberico pigs that eat only acorns to produce the eponymous ham. I mean, how else could he do it? Anyway, if you, like me, have truffle salt and truffle oil in your kitchen at any given time, you need to have this burger. Now. Go to the Studio City location because it’s the best, and don’t make any plans afterwards because you will immediately need to go to sleep, and be a little disappointed in every hamburger you eat after this for the rest of your life. (Until you go to Vegas and order Hubert Keller’s Rossini burger with shaved truffles and foie gras at Burger Bar. But that’s a $60 burger and a whole other story.)

Double-Dipped Beef Dip, $6.75
Philippe The Original, 1001 N Alameda Street, 90012

Apparently, not a lot has changed since Philippe’s opened in 1908. Well, except for when, in 1918, owner Philippe Mathieu accidentally dropped a policeman’s French roll for a sandwich order in a pan of roasting juices, the policeman opted to eat it as-is, and a bunch of policemen came in the next day requesting dipped sandwiches–and the French dip sandwich was born. I like the beef sandwich over the pork and lamb variations, and I like it double-dipped in jus, not single-dipped or wet, and I like it with a douse of their homemade spicy mustard in every bite. It ain’t broke so no one better fix it.

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Pork, pork, pork burger.

The Pork, Pork, Pork Burger with Manchego and Romesco, $18.00
Tavern, 11648 San Vicente Boulevard

For this aptly named burger, Suzanne Goin infuses a ground pork patty with smoky chorizo and bacon, then tops it with manchego cheese and romesco sauce, both bringing nutty and tangy sharpness to complement the pork. Everything about it looks and tastes a little fatty, especially once the bun starts to absorb the olive oil from the romesco, and I love it for that. Bring an appetite. You’re gonna wanna finish it–and the fries.

Lobster Roll, $24.00
Littlefork, 1600 Wilcox Avenue, 90028

My parents are from the north shore of Massachusetts, so the way I was raised, if you wanted a lobster roll, you made one yourself. As my mom taught me, you called around to grocery stores to price their live lobsters, then you brought them home, took pictures of the cats and dogs staring bug-eyed at them, steamed them, extracted the meat, stuffed a whole lobster’s worth into a buttered and toasted soft roll, and poured a little melted butter over it all. You definitely did not eat lobster rolls at restaurants because it was highway robbery. But not so at Littlefork, where they do the exact same thing as my mom and her mom and her mom. Maybe because chef Jason Travi’s from the Boston area, just like them. Currently, live lobsters are $15 a pound in LA, making the standard pound-and-a-halfer with tax about, oh, $24. (By the way, if you want to insist Connie & Ted’s is better, I’m going to have to disagree. It’s just newer.)

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Fried chicken sandwich.

Fried Chicken Sandwich, $15.00
Canelé, 3219 Glendale Boulevard, 90039

Usually, when I see a fried chicken sandwich on a menu, it’s listed with other predictably boring options like a BLT or club sandwich. But at Canelé, the fried chicken sandwich on the brunch menu is in the company of a seared calamari salad and a homemade fennel-cured salmon sandwich. Eggs are not offered scrambled or sunny side up, but in a hole or en cocotte. The fried chicken sandwich seems like the most vanilla choice there. But get it anyway. It’s a huge pounded chicken breast with a moist and juicy interior over a slab of pickled green tomato, with as many slices of raw red onion as you can handle (the chicken can stand up to all of them) and a slick of real mayonnaise on a soft bun.

Buttery Lamb Burger, $17.00
Black Hogg, 2852 W Sunset Boulevard

Most of these sandwiches have been engineered by their respective chefs to achieve perfect flavor contrasts and textures and aromas, and chef Eric Park’s lamb burger is no exception. You wouldn’t know by looking at it, because it arrives buried under a haystack of shoestring fries, but once you unearth it and take that first bite, you know that the lamb burger, as you once knew it, will never cut it again. He incorporates butter into the ground lamb patty, then tops it with a Basque cheese and chile-infused onions. At first I was surprised with the minimalist design of the restaurant (!), but then I realized chef Park came from the Spotted Pig in New York City, whose menagerie of pig tchotchkes rivals most Applebees’ collections of dust-collectors. I can’t blame the guy for foregoing clutter. Once your burger arrives, you won’t want to be distracted from it, anyway.

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