You'll walk by a window showing busy people making sausage, pressing dough, chopping vegetables, and other kitcheny pursuits before you even walk in the door, so your appetite is already clamoring for attention. Porta Via is a local favorite, with every needful thing for a lunch, a catered party, or, if you're like we are, evenings spent watching movies on the grass in a cemetery.
The deli counter is a big L-shaped presence along two walls; the rest of the space is populated by shelves of foodstuffs and condiments for them. Wander around with eyes searching the menus until you figure out your life, then order one of their sandwiches or salads.
The house-made turkey meatball with provolone, for instance. You'll be compelled to flip it upside-down in order to eat it without imperiling your shirt, but the meatballs are toothsome and the marinara tasty. The Toscano-grilled chicken panini, with provolone, baby greens, pesto and balsamic vinaigrette, is thin (well, duh, it's a panini) but packed with intensity. The Autostrada is mortadella, prosciutto, soppresatta, coppa, provolone, and pepperoncini, all those "this is a pile of cured meat and cheese and that's all you need to know" words that make an Italian sandwich godlike.
The counter has a number of nifty pasta salads to accompany your sandwich, but being concerned with quality over quantity, they won't pile that much onto your plate.
The parking lot is large but shared by everyone in this corporate lot, including the popular Los Tacos spot next door. Across the parking lot is an expensive but brutally awesome antique shop. Go there if you like iron candle holders and torch sconces, and heavy rustic furniture.
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Italian, Deli, Bakery/Patisserie, American, Coffee/Tea/Desserts, Pasadena/San Gabriel/Alhambra )
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