Quicksand honors the simple goodness of meat and bread

By Jacqueline Fitzgerald

Quicksand’s BBQ pulled pork sandwich

Quicksand, 10868 Washington Blvd., Culver City (310) 876-1118; quicksand.la

Quicksand wants to pull you in — with fast, fresh and globally inspired lunchtime fare. Walking into the airy and light-filled space, you’re bound to notice the decorative “homage to sandwich” wall that lists entries from around the world. Some are familiar favorites (Cubano, croquet monsieur, doner kebab, Elvis, hoagie, patty melt, po’boy, muffalata) and some are less well known (bauru, mitraillette, pan bagnat).

Over 25 years in the restaurant business, Quicksand owner Jeffrey Stuppler has crossed many time zones and sampled countless forms of the longtime lunch staple. “I’ve always loved sandwiches, and whenever I travel I try to find interesting things to bring back,” says Stuppler, who also owns Bergamot Café and another Quicksand at 12201 Santa Monica Blvd. One constant, as far as sandwiches: “You want something that hits all those comfort notes, that you can hold and eat easily,” he says.

Turns out, ease of use and convenience has always been a large part of the sandwich’s appeal. While humankind has enjoyed a bevy of bread and savory filling combinations since ancient times, the word sandwich came into use in the 18th century when John Montagu (the Fourth Earl of Sandwich) requested that two pieces of bread and roast beef be brought to him so that he could eat without leaving the gaming table (or without leaving his desk, depending on which version you believe).

Not surprisingly, the multitasking Montagu’s idea caught on. Roughly 100 years later, America began making its biggest contribution to the art of the sandwich with the rise of delicatessen in New York City. It didn’t take long for deli sandwiches — many people’s definition of classic comfort food — to catch on elsewhere.

Fast-forward to today, where L.A.’s casual dining scene has been reshaped by food truck culture and technology. In particular, meal delivery services such as Uber Eats and GrubHub have widened the playing field for restaurants and heightened the competition. Also, the introduction of the Metro light rail and increased popularity of bike riding has made Westside neighborhoods more accessible.

Stuppler says these were all factors in his decision to open Quicksand last fall. And of course Angelenos are often attracted to a farm-to-table philosophy. As Stuppler puts it, “We try to put a Southern California spin on the menu by sourcing the freshest ingredients possible.”

Speaking of Quicksand’s menu, it’s easy to navigate. There are about 15 sandwich choices (including hot, melts and cold). Highlights include: The Autostrada, aka The Italian (capicola, prosciutto, salami, arugula, roasted red peppers and melted smoked mozzarella on grilled sourdough); Turkey Banh-Mi-Tloaf features turkey meatloaf topped with Asian slaw, pickled cucumbers and sriracha aioli on ciabatta; and the Textbook Tuna Melt (starring albacore, sliced Romas and Tillamook sharp Cheddar). You’ll also find soups, salads and sides, plus catering packages for events and meetings.

Open on weekdays for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and lunch until 3:30 p.m., Quicksand also serves Lamille coffee, on-tap kombucha and matcha tea drinks. For dessert, don’t miss the decadent red velvet ding-dong cake. It’s a superb ending to a standout lunch, and one mighty slab is easily shared.

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