Few things in life go together as well as peanut butter and jelly. (Except peanut butter and chocolate, and you can’t call that a meal.) PBJ.LA is a bustling new food stall at the Grand Central Market, bathed in neon purple light, and dedicated to making nothing but PB&Js. These sammys, classic for kids and all dressed up for grown ups, will delight your whole family for BL or D. Scroll down for all the ooey gooey goodness!
Where the Nuts Are
PBJ.LA is the brainchild of Umami Burger founder, Adam Fleischman and his partners who are recreating classic American staples, one at a time. This is not the high fructose corn-syrup laden Wonder Bread lunch box “treat” of your childhood. Oh no, dear modern parent concerned with health and wellness, this is PB&J done the LA way: organic, healthy and clean. House-made nut butters are ground fresh daily and (for those with peanut allergies) care is taken to avoid cross-contamination. The comfort here comes not only from the sandwich itself but knowing that kiddos will be both pleased and well nourished.
Savor a New Flavor
Influenced by cultures around the world PBJ.LA infuses recipes with unexpected yet tasty flavors. For those seeking a departure from the sweetness of a traditional PB&J (though rest assured, picky petites will find their classic untampered), you will find sophisticated and savory alternatives in the Indian (curried cashew butter and spicy mango chutney) and Italian (toasted pine nut butter and basil cherry tomato jam) versions. Speaking of the Italian, be sure to request that one toasted and with cheese for enhanced flavor and texture. Kids typically gravitate toward the Old School (classic) or New School (almond butter with strawberry jam) options but if you feel like shaking things up, ask any of the staff what they suggest, and you’ll be in slightly sticky but very good hands. For sweet treats, you can’t go wrong with the Chocolate Haze, which marries chocolate hazelnut spread with a cherry jam.
photo: Kris J. via Yelp
For Here or to Go?
Like every great sandwich, the bread is as important as what’s on it. PBJ.LA sources their vegan bread from an super secret local bakery. For convenience and portability, sandwiches are pressed on a crimping machine which seals the edge and forms a disc, looking like a Smucker’s Uncrustable (but tasting NOTHING like it!). The sandwiches are on the smallish side which makes them perfect for little ones with big appetites. Don’t forget to grab an almond-based milk drink; strawberry is a crowd pleaser (like Strawberry Quik, but tasting NOTHING like it!) for wee ones, but grownups will dig the Vanilla Lavender (quick tip: save a swig to put in tomorrow’s coffee and you won’t be sorry).
photo: Janette F. via Yelp
Jam on It!
PBJ.LA can be found at the bustling Grand Central Market and is open from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Parking is available in the adjoining parking structure and is free for the first 90 minutes. Grand Central gets pretty crowded and stuffy come Saturday and Sunday, which renders strollers useless. Our suggestion, plan to visit during a weekday when they open at 11 a.m.
Please note: current hours posted are only temporary and subject to change. Be sure to check out their website and highly active Facebook & Instagram accounts to stay connected before you visit, or you may find yourself coming when they’re closed, and that will put you in a sticky situation with your kids!
photo: Janelle Connor
What’s your favorite way to eat PB &J? Let us know in the comment section!