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Hidden jewel is easy to pass

December 24, 2005|By By Bill Scollon

There's a little out-of-the-way, jewel of a sandwich shop on Pass Avenue that's easy to miss if you're not looking for it. Studio Caffé Magazzino is a small, intimate space with a funky country décor and a passion for healthy and uncomplicated fare.

Before the 4th Earl of Sandwich popularized the dish that bears his name, a sandwich was merely known as "bread and meat" or "bread and cheese." The popularity of sandwiches really took off once bakeries began selling sliced bread in the early 1900s. Magazzino's makes no pretense about sandwich making. None of the over-stuffed, over-glopped mega-sandwiches here. At this eatery, it's all about simple, fresh ingredients assembled with care.

Consider the Arabo sandwich. Grilled fresh spinach and Brie cheese drizzled with olive oil. I had it on olive bread -- there are four breads to choose from -- and it was delicious. Lightly grilled, the sautéed spinach tasted sweet and fresh and was nicely complemented by the Brie.

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The Caprese transfers the popular Italian salad to a sandwich -- buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil with some lettuce on top, I suppose to make it more sandwich-like. My wife enjoyed it on fresh ciabatta bread.

I've also had the tuna sandwich that is decidedly not tuna salad. This more healthful version features fresh tuna, roasted red peppers, lettuce and tomato with a light touch of Dijon mustard spread over your choice of bread -- rosemary this time. It was quite good, but having been raised on my mom's tuna salad, which featured celery, onion, chopped sweet pickles and a heavy dose of mayo, Magazzino's tuna was perhaps a tad too healthy for me. (Which says more about me than the restaurant!) The menu lists eight sandwiches and I plan to try them all.

The daily soup is always vegetarian and nondairy. I've had both the carrot and celery soups. Both were simple and fresh -- pureed vegetables thickened with potato. I recommend getting a combination of soup with half of your choice of sandwich. It's a great value and the half-sandwiches seem full-size to me. You can also have a combination with the house salad. Comprised of mixed greens, goat cheese, roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes, the salad is fresh and tasty.

Magazzino's also offers an espresso and tea bar, and a selection of baked goods. (Tip: try the carrot cake.) So the next time you're down by Warner Bros., keep an eye out for Magazzino's. You don't want to pass up this charming neighborhood treasure.

FYI

WHAT: Studio Caffé Magazzino

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

WHERE: 109 N. Pass Ave., Burbank

COST: $4.50 to $7.95

EXTRAS: Espresso and Tea Bar

PHONE: (818) 953-7220

FAX: (818) 953-5060

* BILL SCOLLON is a Burbank resident and president of Scollon Media Arts. You can reach him at ewscollonhotmail.com.

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