My sister has been going to Nicole's Gourmet Foods (http://nicolesgourmetfoods.com/) in South Pasadena for ages, but I finally made it there only recently. Well, I've been there twice in three days - is that bad??
The store itself boasts an great variety of French delights, like mustards, breads and chocolates. Her deli offers fantastic baked goods like madelines and pear tarts. On the savory side, she has cheese platters, cured meat plates, pasta salads and...wait for it...amazing French sandwiches.
Is it hard to find a good French sandwich in LA? In my experience, yes. But Nicole's are absolutely perfect. Crusty, slighty chewy French baguette, sliced in two with the "innards" scraped out a bit (so you don't have TOO much bread); a thin layer of country pate, some tangy cornichons, a few lettuce leaves and presto - the perfect Parisian pate sandwich. That was my dinner last night. The other evening it was her smoked chicken sandwich, on the same bread, but this time with dijon, butter, sea salt, lettuce and tomatoes. Fabulous!
I'm sorry I haven't been able to eat in, as Nicole's has a very cute front-side patio with nicely shaded chairs and tables. Yesterday I saw people enjoying bottles of rose and their crustry French loaves with rich butter and cheese and an array of meats - what a perfect scene! The only bummer is that the place closes around 6 p.m. and is not open on Sundays.