311 Arizona Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401-1305
On this most gorgeous Sunday, we decided to make a trek to Santa Monica to enjoy three wonders of L.A.: the sun, the traffic, the eccentricities. Each was out en masse, and since we decided to use non-English English phrases like ‘en masse,’ we figured why not keep with the theme of foreign words and visit Röckenwagner Bakery, a highly toted spot on the Westside.
After spending the greater part of an hour looking for parking (most of this was spent climbing the TEN levels within the 3rd Street parking), we walked right past the Promenade, greatly awaiting a Euro-cafe.
Instead, we entered a world of decor seemingly taken directly from Pinkberry, with a bit of Jamba Juice influence mied in. This confused, Über-modern, wannabe-sleek, pastel-colored setup immediately make us want to reconsider our choice, but since the register arrow was so narrow that we couldn’t even move (pic below), we decided to make the best of our trek.
<—note the ‘line’ of people one person-width deep. VERY long, and not conducive to much, specifically ‘efficient business.’ But I digress. image courtesy of Yelp.
Noting a menu bereft of much aside from typical coffee preparations and some ‘premade sandwiches,’ my disappointment reached a crescendo, seriously an impetus to opt-out and head somewhere else. That said, the absolutely wonderful Julius Meinl coffee was tasty, strong (in the good way) and quite unique – sourced in Austria, and distributed only there and Chicago. Assuaged by the coffee, we decided to give the sandwiches a shot. . .
And we were extremely glad we did. At $3.25/pop, these mini-sandwiches – squished way over to the side in the (again) obnoxiously laid out interior, almost enough so that they were forgotten, because they surely were not easy to spot upon walk’in – were clearly artisanal. Taken straight from the menu, we had the Tuna on brioche (avocado, tomato, mayo and red onions) as well as Salami on pretzel roll (parmesan, tomato, arugula and mustard), both of which were fresh, delicious and craftsman-worthy. Take a look:
image courtesy of L.A. Weekly
Now to say that I was impressed by Röckenwagner would be an extreme overstatement. In fact, I’d be surprised to see this particular location succeed as the ‘hey come in, we’re a modern ice cream shop’ vibe really isn’t conducive to what they’re trying to sell (I hear the Mar Vista one is tolerable, though). That said, I would DEFINITELY grab those mini-sandwiches whenever I happen to be on or around 3rd Street, and in fact would highly recommend grabbing a dozen or two to bring to the office, the classroom, or to the family. Super delicious, and here’s hoping that they come to their senses and refine the aesthetic so as not to mislead and drive off all hungrily interested consumers.