Today is National Sandwich Day, and the Subway chain has a BOGO deal to mark the occasion. Free stuff is good, but eating at Subway to celebrate the magnificence of the sandwich is like guzzling a six-pack of Natty Light to commemorate Craft Beer Week.
So instead of actual comestibles, I offer a list of my top seven favorite sandwiches:
1. Corned beef at the Carnegie Deli in NYC: I’m not designating a particular outlet for the other sandwiches on this list, but in this case, the maker makes all the difference. They bring a pile of corned beef as big as your freakin’ head, plus a whole half a loaf of extra bread because you’ll need it to construct additional sandwiches. It’s so damn good you’ll just keep eating until your stomach ruptures, then you’ll tie a napkin around your middle and eat some more. I’m glad I only have access to this sandwich once or twice per decade.
2. Steak and cheese: I’ve tried them at the most famous places in Philadelphia and thought they were all great. The arguments over which techniques to use and provolone vs. Cheez Wiz, etc., strike me as false dichotomies, like New York or Chicago style pizza — both, please!
3. Beef on weck: A regional specialty I’d never heard of until I married into the Buffalo Diaspora, “weck” is the linchpin of this sandwich, weck being a roll similar to a Kaiser roll except that the top is coated with caraway seeds and kosher salt. It is layered with thinly sliced roast beef that is gently heated in au jus and served with horseradish.
4. Grilled cheese: It’s a classic that welcomes endless variations, but a basic model with the bread grilled to the exact right shade of golden brown, cut diagonally and served with a cup of tomato soup on the side is heaven on a plate.
5. Thanksgiving sandwich: My family and I have a post-Thanksgiving tradition of having a picnic the Friday after the holiday. Our Thanksgiving sandwich is made on Cuban bread and features leftover turkey, dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce. Two of us like mayo on it, and one does not.
6. Cuban sandwich: Speaking of Cuban bread, its highest purpose is to lend its thin, firm-to-the-point-of-shattering crust and soft middle to the eponymous sandwich that made it famous, which is properly made with salami, roast pork, boiled ham and Swiss cheese with mustard and mayo — pickles optional.
7. Lobster roll: Sweet Jeebus, a well-made lobster roll is a five-star dining experience, even if you’re consuming it while seated on a milk crate at a fishy dock, collecting a waffle pattern on your bum while shooing away the seagulls that swoop and dive for your lunch. This is especially true if your lobster roll is lightly dressed with just a touch of mayo, maybe a sparse sprinkling of the most finely diced imaginable celery for crunch and the merest hint of lemon. Lobster rolls are so damn classy that they even manage to elevate a regular old hot dog bun (split, buttered and grilled) to haute cuisine.
There are plenty of other sandwiches I would kill and die for, including a PB&J, a classic club sandwich, a tuna melt and some odd combinations of my own creation. But right now, these seven are at the top of my favorites list.
Your turn! Or discuss non-sandwich issues — open thread!
I have always loved the “Corned Beef Special” which is a cousin to your Carnegie Deli sandwich. A Corned Beef Special must be made on rye, with cole slaw and Russian dressing. Very specific combo. It’s acceptable to put a slice of swiss cheese on it, but no other variation. (You can also make a “Roast Beef Special” the same way, but it’s not as good as the Corned)
Here ya go, Ms Cracker!
Only tourists and poseurs eat their cheese steaks with whiz.
The genuine roast pork sandwich with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe is the true Philly delicacy.
Subway is just fine.
grilled triggerfish po-boy at Mikey’s in Gulf Shores. You have to ask for it. Not on the menu.
OT shout out to our own Tom Levenson!
Big ole hound
The the image in the comic strip would not be tolerated if the guy was the hitter instead of the hittee. I guess PC has different meanings.
All these samiches are delicious.
You left out Peanut Butter and Jelly!
What is wrong with you?
PB&J is one of the fundamental particles of sandwiches, like protons are to atoms.
EDIT: Oops, I just read the numbered list. Didn’t read the paragraph below it. Still PB&J should be in the tops of sandwich lists, unless you have kids with peanut allergies.
For me, all good sandwiches are note-perfect. All bad sandwiches are hell. I treat sandwich quality like Potter Stewart treated pr0n – I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.
Oyster po boys, also quite good.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Depending on the season and mood: Grilled cheese, tuna salad, good ham on a good baguette with good mustard, Chicago-style Italian beef, pork tenderloin on a good pretzel roll….
I can not imagine that there aren’t as many different great sandwiches as there are eaters of same.
For me it is a sandwich from a long time ago, the early 60s. We had a hot lunch truck made from an old school bus and operated by a stereotypical Italian couple. Wonderful people made the best pastrami I’ve ever had. And I’ve tried them from many, many delis and never had one come close. The thing just melted in your mouth, someone with no teeth could eat one of these.
Second place was a pizza/sandwich shop that I used to frequent in HS. Clone couple to the lunch truck ran the place, they (she actually) made a great grinder. And the best pizza ever but this is a sandwich thread.
Alas we all get older and both couples are long gone.
A Döner Kebap for me.
Pastrami, pastrami, pastrami. Dark bread, any cheese, pickles, mustard. And the knife that spreads the mustard must never have touched mayonnaise.
Hooray, free sandwich day. Feel sad for Chipotle.
This thing I used to make at the market with a baguette, fresh tomato and avocado, and grilled beef (coupe coupe) made over a steel barrel.
The turkey reuben (I refuse to call it a Rachel). Turkey on rye with Russian dressing and coleslaw, pickle on the side. Amazing.
Muffaletta at Central Grocery (is that too touristy? Better Muffs ;-) in NOLA? Central still open?). Turkey/swiss mayo lettuce tomato Exchange St Cafe Pawtucket RI. They roast the turkey breast daily in those elec roast pans (with the white covers).
Not Carnegie for the corned beef. Katz’s. No comparison.
All of those make my mouth water, here at 12:22 pm, but the Cuban may well be quite simply the finest sandwich ever devised by the minds of humans.
A Ruben is about the best sandwich I can think of. Although sandwiches are about one of my favorite foods of all when done well (quality bread people, good bread).
Since I moved from DC back to rural IL, and we are talking 10 years plus, every time I go someplace and I am told these folks make good sandwiches I order a Ruben. Not had even an average one yet.
So somebody out there please have a Ruben for me today.
Betty: God bless you for using the Featured Image correctly. You should be a “role model” for most of the other Front Pagers :)!
1. I would also recommend Slyman’s in Cleveland for corned beef.
2. A strong second on grilled cheese and tomato soup. We use ciabatta, sliced thin, filled with finely shredded Comte (or gruyere, buttered liberally, and cooked low and slow, so the bread gets nice and crispy and the cheese melts completely. Tomato soup should include croutons made of the same bread, sauteed crispy in lots of butter.
3. Cemitas Puebla in Chicago makes ridiculously good Mexican sandwiches, like the Arabe (spit roasted pork and onions) or the Atomica (carne enchilada, milanesa and jamon)
4. Another Chicago sandwich is the Jibarito, a Puerto Rican sandwich invented in Chicago. Basically a steak sandwich, with smashed and fried plantains substituting for bread. Try this one at Papa’s Cache Sabroso in Humboldt Park (and be sure to meet Papa)
Now. I’m hungry
@gene108: There is peanut butter and there is peanut butter. I grew up with the commercial product, the Jif and Skippy stuff, and still love it, even though peanuts are just one of the ingredients. It’s smooooth emulsified shit, and it triggers childhood bliss memories in me.
Mrs. Shoemangler, on the other hand, prefers Natural Peanut Butter, which contains only peanuts. Which is fine, but the peanut oil separates. Wouldn’t be a problem, except she insists on pouring out the oil into a separate container, which she then refrigerates and uses for cooking. The stuff that remains in the peanut butter jar is something I call spackle.
Panera Bread: Tomato & Mozzarella On Ciabatta
Simple, but crispy and greasy at the same time. Delicious! Never go to Subway anymore now that my town has a Panera Bread.
Mingobat f/k/a Karen in GA
I didn’t know about Nat’l Sammich Day until a little while ago. I’d kill for any NY deli sandwich, but I haven’t been back to NY in 10 years. So you know where this is going:
Subway is 1/2 mile from the office, so I grabbed a sandwich for myself, one for the receptionist/office coordinator/life-saving goddess here at work, and got in a brisk 1 mile walk. (Weight Watchers activity points FTW, people — down 21.5 pounds and counting.)
So I suppose there’s a place for bland strip mall pseudo-food. As long as the food isn’t the actual objective.
No mention of the BLT yet? Never met anyone who doesn’t like them.Of course, all sandwiches mentioned by Ms. Cracker and other commenters are mighty fine eating, too.
Use the same as your better half but I do mix up the oil so that I can spread it on the bread rather than through the bread.
@Tom Levenson: You’re not the first person to tell me that, and I’ve tried Katz. I don’t deny that Katz is great — it’s wonderful, in fact. But it’s still Carnegie for me. Just renewed my allegiance last summer when I was in town for my sister’s Big Fat Gay Wedding.
Katz’s and Second Avenue Deli are better (and cheaper) sandwich options than the Carnegie, which is more of a tourist place these days (but still good).
As for sandwiches, I nominate the Super Heebster from Russ & Daughters (practically next to Katz’s):
Whitefish & Baked Salmon Salad with Horseradish Dill Cream Cheese and Wasabi Flying Fish Roe on a Bagel
Definitely have to try beef on weck now that I’ve learned about it!
And…it’s lunch time. Now I really want a beef on weck. With an order of curly fries. Mmmm. A beef on weck is a thing of beauty, but I think my favorite sandwich is a turkey club on lightly toasted whole wheat.
Since this is an open thread, I wish to lodge a complaint against our cat.
Downstairs we have a gas stove. Looks just like an old-fashioned woodstove, except it’s gas fired. Fine. It gives off nice heat, and even when it’s turned off, the top radiates some warmth (because the pilot light is always on). When it’s off, Cat loves to sit on it and soak up the warmth.
Last year she vomited on it. Right over the top vent. I cleaned it as best as I could. Took the whole fucker apart and cleaned everything.
But now, every time I turn the damned thing on, the whole room stinks of burning cat vomit.
It’s on right now, and I can feel my lungs clenching up from the indoor air pollution.
So I am here to make a formal complaint against this cat.
Nice Guy Eddie Cabot
If the “thanksgiving sandwich” had a celebrity name, it would be the “John Revolta.” Jesus, who eats that shit? I wouldn’t throw one at Mitch McConnell’s fuckin head.
Eating this would probably kill me today, but decades ago I lived near the Ballston Metro station in N. Va. when it was the end of the orange line and before it was built up. There was a place called the Super Garden deli, and they made the king of sandwiches: The Reuben BLT Club.
It was exactly what it sounds like. On one level, pastrami (my choice, although then as now corned beef was more orthodox), swiss, kraut, 1000 island. On the other level, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo. On pumpernickel (again, my choice, rye was more orthodox).
The Reuben level was hot, as Dog intended and the other two pieces of bread were toasted.
The challenge was to take a bite where you got a little bit of everything.
It wasn’t the size of a Carnegie Deli sandwich, but it was still huge — basically the profile of an elongated softball
Back in the mid 60’s there was a pizza place in Warehouse Point, CT that we used to go for lunch. They made the very best Hot-Oven Grinders. I’ve never had one as good. Missed the place after I moved away. Went back there a few years ago and the pizza place was gone, naturally. In its place is a fancy seafood restaurant run by the family of pizza shop owner who unfortunately had passed on. Still miss those great hot oven grinders and also their pizza which was unique.
@JMG: Yeah, what the hell?
smedley the uncertain
@jeffreyw: Porn! yum.
speaking for chicago:
1. manny’s corned beef (much like carnegie deli, almost too much to eat at one sitting).
2. italian beef almost anywhere.
3. grilled cheese at the green door tavern: chedddar, mozzarella, swiss, apple-wood smoked bacon, somerset house bacon, tomato, your choice of white or rye.
Fried tarpon at Robbie’s Marina on A1A in (Islamorada? Matecumbe?). A finer sandwich and location cannot be found.
Mingobat f/k/a Karen in GA
@Germy Shoemangler: Did you fill out the form? I have a bunch if you need them.
Muppet the psycho semi-poodle has her second UTI in the five months we’ve had her. Both times I figured out something was wrong when I found a big yellow stain on the bed on which she sleeps — which wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s my bed too. Plus her new favorite snack is acorns, a/k/a canine Ipecac.
Can I borrow your pen?
@Tom Levenson: Cool article on Gizmodo and it’s convinced me to buy your book. I’m sure I’ll love it!
I will give a hearty thumbs up to the Cuban sandwich. The best I ever had was at El Molino Rojo, at 161st street near the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. I used to go to lots of Yankee games, and this was a must. Sometimes I got something else, in which case I got the sandwich to go. It never lasted the whole game.
Technically, the place was Dominican, but the roast pork didn’t know that.
Since this is a sandwich open thread, and since I am among friends here, I wish to make a confession:
Last week I was hungry and I didn’t feel like cooking anything. Mrs. Shoemangler wasn’t home (if she had been home, she would have scolded me). I made a butter and onion sandwich, and enjoyed it to the point where it induced a vividly euphoric state.
We had some sweet, raw onions from the farmers’ market. I had some potato bread rolls. And some unsalted butter. I sliced the onions, sliced the butter, and made a sandwich out of it.
I try to live healthy. I eat vegetables, exercise regularly, drink lots of water. Avoid fatty foods. But that butter and onion sandwich was some sweet sin.
And you know what? I will do it again.
As a vegetarian, it’s the sandwich I miss most. All the sandwiches. Because what’s a sandwich without meat? Bread and extras.
Jeet? Wanna sangwidge?
@Bobby Thomson: I love fried shrimp po-boys…. And PB&J
Peanut butter and banana. Yum!
@Germy Shoemangler: I noticed a strange odor in the air this morning. Do you live in Saratoga County perhaps?
How can Bánh mì not be on that list!?
Still, I am excited to see Beef on Weck gets its due (alas I hear Annacone’s has closed, it really was a full, and cheap, experience). Few people realize that wings are just one of the many junk foods that are prevalent in Buffalo. Socal might be a food mecca in many ways, but I have yet to find a decent Kaiser roll of any sort, let alone a ‘weck’ (short for “kummelweck” I hear).
I also like a good Reuben, and use it as a baseline by which to judge various diners.
Also missing: Egg on a roll, the great, fast, and cheap downstate breakfast!
@Mingobat f/k/a Karen in GA:
It’s out of ink.
The crab sandwich at Nick’s in Pacifica is well worth the drive from San Francisco. The view of Rockaway Beach just adds to the experience.
Stage > Carnegie. And, amazingly enough, LA has two delis that are the equal of any in Manhattan, Langer’s and Cantor’s. Langer’s has better pastrami than Stage or Carnegie.
@Germy Shoemangler: My grandfather used to eat Vidalia onions as if they were apples. He’d just remove the outer skin and take a big bite. With a glass of buttermilk!
@redshirt: Well, grilled cheese is a real sandwich! PB&J also, too! You’ve got two of the classics still at your disposal.
Because I’ve never heard of it. Care to describe it?
I like Subway. Well, one thing at Subway: whole wheat flat bread with whole egg, spinach and yellow peppers. A little sweet onion dressing please. This is my standby when I’m on the road, which is always.
It’s not that this is what I would always choose to eat, but Subway is everywhere in North America, the sandwich is always the same and it’s relatively nutritious. It’s my default away from home because it’s efficient and reliable.
No Subway here in Germany that I’ve seen though.
The Debris Sandwich at Mother’s in New Orleans.
@Betty Cracker: Banh mi
@Germy Shoemangler: You are asking forgiveness? I see no transgression.
If those around you can deal with it, eating more raw onions than one gets on a salad is probably good for you. I have yet to hear of a doctor saying “Cut down on the alleuvials” as long as your stomach can take it.
@JMG: Yikes! Forgot about BLT myself. How could I? Seriously one of the great ones, but utterly dependent on fresh local (preferably form the backyard) tomatoes.
By the LRT station across the street from the Petronas Towers is a sandwich shop called Melts that makes a decent approximation of a Philly cheese steak sandwich. The cheese is the kind that comes in slices from the supermarket, alas; but the bread is very fresh, and the sandwich comes to you piping hot. I should try their lamb sandwich one of these days.
Gin & Tonic
@Tom Levenson: Truth
Other great SoCal sandwiches: the number 16 at Togo’s, the french dip at Philippe’s near Union Station downtown (touristy but still worth the trip), the Cuban sandwich at Felix Continental Cafe on the circle in Old Town Orange, bahn mi at Lynda Sandwich on Beach Blvd. in Westminster.
@Felonius Monk: Sadly, no.
My own homemade Cuban sandwiches are the best, but NOTHING beats real Cuban bread, like the kind you get in Miami.
AND, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!!! Fellow Pennsyvanians, for the first time since the late 1700’s, there are three open seats on our Supreme Court. When the next redistricting comes up in 2020 (and we are in one of the most gerrymandered states in the country), they will be the ones to give it the thumbs up or down.
Right now there are two dems and two repubs on the court. We must get two of the three at least, and I think we have a good chance for all three. In the last election, dems took every statewide seat. Lets’ have a repeat!
I’m an African American female and last election we came out to vote at 70% nationwide. C’mon and have our back, we can’t do it by ourselves.
Best sandwhiches? Hmmm.
Porchetta from Porchetta
Grumpy Russian from Schnitz (Pork schnitzel, greens, pickled cherries and gorgonzola)
Meatball sub from Veselka
Mac-n-cheese, meatloaf & chicken fingers from I can’t remember where.
And I guess my homemade favorite is turkey, stuffing and whatever thanksgiving leftovers are available.
What the hell happened? It seems the site is suddenly borked.
Who turned out the lights?!!?!1!
@Betty Cracker: One of many great foods that came from French imperialism in Vietnam. A hard baguette, with Vietnamese BBQ pork, Vietnamese pickled thingies (what are they? Carrots? Burdock root?), lettuce, hot peppers, mayo (trying to remember I’m forgetting something). Pure heaven.
1. Banh Mi Dac Biet – aka a special combo banh mi (sliced pork, pork sausage, head cheese & liver pate). I’m also partial to BBQ pork banh mi. Lots of good hole in the walls in Bay Area to get one. Little Saigon area in SF’s Tenderloin has some good ones.
2. A pastrami sandwich from one of the new school Jewish deli’s bringing artisanal cooking to the deli, like the house made pastrami at Kenny & Zuke’s in Portland, or the Slovenian Pastrami at the Rye Project in SF.
3. Southern style pulled pork sandwich with simple sauce like a traditional Carolina vinegar sauce, and some cold cole slaw on the side.
4. A croque-monsieur, in the traditional cafe style, with bechamel and Gruyere. Small simple salad on the side with tomates. And a glass of chilled Beaujolais.
5. A torta, the Mexican sandwich, loaded with refried beans, pickled jalapeños, onions, avocado, cilantro and crema. Occasionally some shredded lettuce. I’m partial to chorizo with Jack cheese.
6. The fried soft shell crab po boy from Hayes Street Grill’s stand at the SF Ferry Building Farmers Market. A cappuccino from Blue Bottle. A view of the sparkling Bay. Heaven.
Oh, we’re back.
Must have been a brownout.
“regular old hot dog bun”
Umm, no, New England-style hot dog bun, thank you.
Someone in the back room must have tripped over something. Everything seems to be okay now.
@Germy Shoemangler: Why sadly?
@Amir Khalid: Maybe the hamsters started to go on strike.
Nothing much wrong with a good tomato and mozzarella sandwich with pesto on a good roll.
Your cat worked really hard on the improvements to your stove, and you should give them a fair chance instead of blindly refusing to accept change.
@Marc: Technically, (I was told) sauerkraut makes it a “Reuben” and cole slaw makes it a “Rachel”.
I’m a firm believer in letting people use their own labels, for their own reasons, but I found it to be a very good distinction, not because one is bad and the other good, but because they are *very* different, and getting one when hungry for another would be like finding out your planned night of riotous sex has been replaced by a warmly affectionate hand-job. It’s still nice, mind you, and you could even say it’s a beautiful act of love… but it’s not what you wanted!
Oh: divine sandwiches?
A grilled pizza sandwich. Grilled cheese with the right amount of pizza sauce, and the correct pizza toppings. Me, I microwave pepperoni just enough that it’s a tiny bit crisp, so it won’t leak (too much) grease on the inside of the sandwich. You could do the same thing for many pizza toppings, except those that need open, dry heat for proper appreciation.
While I’m a lover of dense breads, this one takes a relatively lighter bread to avoid causing bread-to-filling overload.
(Does everyone know that if you use lower heat, you’ll warm the insides more before the outsides toast? And if you use higher heat, you’ll toast faster, with less heat transference? And if you do the low heat, and the let it cool on a cooling rack, you’ll let the cheese slightly re-solidify?)
If you ever get near Gaithersburg MD, try
Roy’s Place. The menu has over 120 sandwiches. My favorite is Lassie’s Revenge – kaiser roll, with a brat, baked beans, Swiss cheese and grilled onions, served hot.
Can’t have a Cuban without the pickle! Versailles in Miami a good choice, but these days they are everywhere.
I’m a Wiz Wit man myself in Philly, but discussions of the best way often lead to violence there, I’ve found.
Surprised the Canadian contingent haven’t weighed in yet with Schwartz’s smoked meat. It is most excellent. And right across the street is The Main, another smoked meat place of great renown. Now I’m hungry.
@Betty Cracker: A Vietnamese sandwich. Probably one of the best all around, have anytime, sandwiches. Comes from post-colonial Vietnam – the Vietnamese took the traditional French baguette sandwich and did their usual fresh & yummy Vietnamese thing to it.
The base is a special kind of short baguette, made by adding rice flour in addition to regular flour. It makes the outside crust crackling thin, while the inside is super light and fluffy. Base stuffings are smear of mayo, pickled julienne of carrots & daikon, cilantro, cucumbers (also julienned), thin slices of jalapeño or other chili. Then you choose your meat – BBQ pork or chicken, pork meatball, liver pate, a cold cut combo, etc.
Taste is your typical Vietnamese profile – fresh, simple and light tasting, with layers of contrasts between sweet, sour, savory, crunchy etc.
Super cheap (usually a few bucks), filling, and easy to transport (usually gets wrapped in parchment paper secured by a rubber band)
@Goblue72: I finally tried a torta recently (there’s just so many other great Mexican items, I always figured why get a sandwich?), I can confirm that is was really good. I have had a few more since then.
The bahn mi is the world’a greatest sandwich. It even blows away the Cuban pork sandwich, and it’s hard for me to admit that.
Plus it’s quite versatile and can be made with pork, chicken, or even sliced tofu if you swing that way. Find a place with a neon “Pho” sign in the window and try one.
If they try to serve it to you on regular sandwich bread instead of a chunk of crunchy baguette, it will still be tasty, but not a bahn mi.
(Actually, I’ve discovered that overall I prefer Vietnamese food to other types of Asian food. It’s not as heavy and has some interesting flavor combinations thanks to the French influence.)
@LeonS: Agreed. I’m sane way. When there’s burritos, tacos, enchiladas, or tamales on the menu, getting a torta just seems like a distant third. Plus, I’ve had some bad tortas, usually due to stale bread. But as a sandwich – have burrito meat, refried beans, avocados, etc in sandwich form? Kinda genius.
Apple butter thoroughly mixed with peanut butter between two Graham crackers. ( not rednecks with the famous preacher surname)
Any Chicago area resident will tell you that a traditional Chicvago Italian Beef is one of the greatest pleasures one can indulge in. One can argue who does it best, but unless your a total hack hot dog joint it’s tough to get it wrong. Head and shoulders above any Cheese steak from Philly, and I’m not knockin a good philly Cheesesteak.
Also a hamburger is a sandwich, used to be called a hamberger sandwich in the beginning. And there is one in Chicago that tops them all. At a place called Au Cheval they have a burger voted best in the country. Went in thinking, how much better can it be? Holy crap was I wrong. Lived up to every bit of hype that surrounded it. Have to try it to understand, (Go for lunch, or you’ll never get in) amazing.
I had a truly excellent pastrami on rye at Citi Field in September. Even though there’s an unbelievable cornucopia of dining options there, that’s what I’ll have next time I’m there, washed down with a Goose Island IPA as before.
As for lobster rolls, I insist on the Connecticut lobster roll; strictly melted butter and lemon (perhaps a hint of cayenne), no goddamned mayo, thank you.
I think this is partly due to the relatively late arrival of Vietnamese cuisine in the U.S., so it hasn’t been here long enough to become an unrecognizable bastardization of the original.
1) Second Avenue Deli isn’t on Second Avenue anymore. Some years ago their rent was going up — nearly doubling — and they moved. Don’t remember where they moved to, maybe Third Avenue.
2) I like bacon in my tuna salad or grilled cheese sandwiches. Also some garlic in the tuna salad. First had bacon in the tuna salad at Ryan McFadden’s Pub.
3) First tasted a Cuban sandwich at a little Cuban restaurant just before South Beach — Nick and I were driving down A1A from Boca Raton to Miami and stopped at this place randomly. I tried finding it on other trips to Miami and couldn’t. Bah humbug. They had good food.
4) Years ago (circa 1970) there was a deli restaurant on 8th Street in the Village 9dog, what was its name) that had pastrami to die for. On rye bread with mustard, that’s all you needed. And Cheesecake; oh the cheesecake was great. Of course they closed sometime in the 1980s. Another victim of a rent increase.
5) Got some good ideas for sandwiches from the thread. Thanks to everyone for their comments.
@Amir Khalid: When I come back from a link, the page is black and spread across the screen. I have to hit reload to get back to regular page. Is this what is happening to you?
It also helps that I’m in So Cal where we have a vibrant Vietnamese-American immigrant community that’s kind enough to share their cuisine with the rest of us.
1) Betty, since when does an authentic Cuban sandwich involve mayo?
2) I’ve noticed recently that a number of local places in NoVA seem to be serving their pulled pork sandwiches with Carolina gold bbq sauce (yellow mustard, cider vinegar, and brown sugar) – hallelujah!
3) Also for the list of ‘classics’: meatball & cheese sub and I’d like to second Mnemosyne’s banh mi addition, holy cow are those good.
Thanks to all for the info on bahn mi, but I’m afraid its charms might be lost on me because I generally cannot abide pickled things, including pickles, of course. I may try it anyway just to be sure, because sometimes a flavor combination just works so well that even the presence of Satanic items is tolerable — nay, even necessary! Example: sauerkraut (gag!) on a Reuben.
@moderateindy: Au Cheval? Are you sure it’s not a HORSE burger?!?!?
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): Indeed so much good food in SoCal… if we could just get some decent freakin’ kaiser rolls! Is that too much to ask?
@Betty Cracker: Keep in mind that this is Vietnamese pickled – not very much like sauerkraut or dills, very mildly sweet and sour, and very crunchy, almost as crispy as fresh carrots. They are an essential part of the sandwich!
Another Holocene Human
Salami on a Cuban? WTF.
The veggies are very lightly pickled, so I think you’ll be okay. It’s more of a coleslaw flavor than a dill pickle.
Another Holocene Human
@Jeffro: Best mustard BBQ I’ve ever had was in SC at a joint where the owner was a loud and proud racist. *sigh*
Another Holocene Human
@Jeffro: Why not? Imperial rice has mayo on it (gag).
@Goblue72: Thirded. How do you turn down tacos? On the other hand, the best airport food I’ve had is the tortas at Fronteras in O’Hare.
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): Sushi first – then Vietnamese – then the rest.
Another Holocene Human
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): If you ever visit Florida, St Petersburg area has a lot of Vietnamese. Although there’s good Vietnamese in Orlando proper as well. There’s even a district. A lot of Vietnamese migrated to the Gulf in the 1970s for jobs in shrimping or (as in St Pete) in the fishpacking industry.
@Another Holocene Human: You must favor Miami-style Cubans, which usually don’t have salami. I prefer Tampa-style sammies, which usually do (purists of both cities frown on mayo, but fuck them, I say).
@LeonS: What LeonS said.
Do chua are pretty mild. Thin slices (julienne) of carrots and daikon that get a quick dry cure with salt and sugar, before getting refrigerator pickled with vinegar, water and plenty of sugar. Closer to a bread and butter pickle, but less sweet, milder and crunchier. And there’s no dill or other flavorings in the brine. Just sugar, vinegar and water.
great SoCal sandwiches: the number 16 at Togo’s
You’re right about the sandwich: the Italian, with oil and vinegar and pepperoncini and salt and pepper is one of the all-time greats.
But Togo’s is a NoCal chain; first location near San Jose State.
@The Golux: The best chicken noodle soup I’ve had for a head cold is chicken pho.
@Goblue72: Ha! I was going to say “What Goblue72 said” for your bánh mì description.
All these Sammiches are amazing! I for one miss a regional concoction from the the Triple Cities of the SouthernTier of NY State, Binghamton, Endicott and Johnson City.
It is called the “Spedie”. Marinated Lamb on a skewer. Served on a crusty piece of real Italian Bread.
Simplicity! Awsome! Such fare got me thru SUNY.
@Another Holocene Human: Yup. Carolina gold really hits the spot some days, as does NC-style ‘sauce’ (although I hesitate to call it that, as it’s just cider vinegar and hot pepper flakes). Having grown up on bbq drowned in sweet brown sauce, I’d say it’ll be decades before I get tired of these other types.
As a good Iowan :
The breaded pork tenderloin at the Spic N’ Span on S. Commercial in Mason City was legendary.
A boneless loin chop, pounded thin, seasoned, beer-battered and deep-fried, served with a nice center slice of onion a quarter-inch thick, five or six dill chips, and mustard.
But the Spic N’ Span is long gone; the Suzie Q and Butcher’s do their best, but it’s not the same.
I generally cannot abide pickled things
That’s just sad.
Have to echo the banh mi love; one local place in particular sets a banh mi bar so high I’ve not even found its equivalent at an actual Vietnamese joint. Once had a Monte Cristo I basically wanted to marry at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I’ve since stopped trying to find its equal because when they’re not done well they’re a giant pile of glop.
Definitely a yuuuge fan of the post turkey day turkey sammich. Globs of homemade cranberry sauce and am also in the pro-mayo camp. Turkey needs tot have been brined and smoked.
the best part is paying fifteen bucks for the experience.
i gotta second the banh mi. oh, baby.
@mellowjohn: Excellent choices! Also any gyro at any place in Greektown.
Beef on Weck is the food of the gods. (Why yes, I do live in Buffalo. Why do you ask?) and here is the place to eat it.
@Betty Cracker: @Tom Levenson: You’re both confused, your poor ignorant benighted heathens. For corned beef, there is no place comparable to Slymans in Cleveland.
Forget the waterfront. Forget the amusement park. Forget the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Slymans is the only reason to go to Cleveland, and it is enough reason to travel there from anywhere in the country on a moment’s notice even in the dead of winter.
@joel hanes: Never heard of a breaded pork tenderloin sammich before. Had to Google it. Thanks!
One of my favorite sammiches is the grilled cheese with bacon and pepper jelly at a restaurant called Pangea in Avon, NC. I get one every time I’m in the area, which is quite often.
I’ve never had a lobster roll, nor will I ever. Some things are just not worth dying over.
During a time when I wasn’t up to cooking very much, my brother sent me a care package–a Reuben-making kit. “So where’s this Zingerman’s?” I asked, thinking it would be somewhere near where he was living in Queens at the time. Nope. Ann Arbor. But great sandwiches.
Did Harvey Pekar take Tony Bourdain there when they filmed the “No Reservations” Cleveland episode? I don’t recall much detail other than drinking beer on a frozen lake, or somesuch.
Pambazos. Wear workclothes.
I was born in Cuba and have been eating Cuban sandwiches my whole life. I have never, ever had one made with salami (that’s a Tampa addition) or mayonnaise.
@trollhattan: Huh. I have no idea. I only know that I’ve been to Cleveland three times in my life, was introduced to the place on the first visit, and now start salivating like Pavlov’s dog when I hear that I have to go back to Cleveland on business.
@Jparente: Ah Spiedies! Definitely a top sandwich, and even though they come in all meats, you are correct, lamb is the way to go, although pork alternated with venison is pretty damn good too. Pancho’s Pit is my favorite (from 30+ years ago). My Socal wife doesn’t even like them, so despite 360 or so grilling days a year, I can’t prepare them myself for the family.
I have been away a long time, but hail from Endicott, “home of the square deal” originally. A lot of great pizza in that area too if you know where to look (Endicott’s Italian north side is a good place to start)… and Pat Mitchell’s Ice Cream! I’m old enough to remember Pat himself.
So despite Upstate NY being a cultural wasteland, I have been pretty fortunate on sandwiches, between the Southern Tier and Buffalo. I suppose with no culture you just sit around and make great food…
I think the Reuben is one of the greatest culinary inventions of all time. If it is on a menu I’m very likely to order it. I love the fact that it’s made with corned beef and rye and not kosher, with origin stories that start it in either New York or Omaha, very American!
I like my Thanksgiving sandwich open face layered with soft white american bread, a smear of cranberry sauce, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatos, and a good dollop of gravy. Then microwaved until the gravy is bubbly. yum.
As Warren Zevon said it is important to remember to enjoy every sandwich
@gelfling545: Where the best wings at these days? I used to be partial to the Central Park Grill back in the day.
The oyster po boy I ate in a roadside shack outside New Orleans in 1995 or so.Can’t remember the name or place but I will remember that sandwich for the rest of my life.
Agree totally that roasted pork with aged, sharp provolone and broccoli rabe is the true Philly delicacy.
What is this “steak and cheese” of which Betty writes??? Sounds vaguely familiar… like a cheesesteak.
What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
@Tommy Young: Make a weekend trip to Ann Arbor, MI and get yourself to Zingermann’s deli. They have I think three different reuben (one corned beef, one pastrami, and another one that is either corned beef or pastrami but is a variation on the others) and all are to die for. Seriously, as a Michigan State fan I don’t like saying good things about anything in Ann Arbor but Zingermann’s has delicious sandwiches. May be a haul if you’re too far downstate in Illinois though. From Champaign north I wouldn’t think the drive would be much longer than 4-5 hours tops.
If you’re at all a fan of the show, the episode is worth chasing down. Pekar is profoundly weird in an endearing way and Tony is nothing if not a fan of the weird.
Have never had the opportunity to avail myself of the city of light, city of magic but one never knows….
How about a nice MLT; Mutton, Lettuce, and Tomato?
Each one perfect in its own way.
For those of us living in close proximity to our neighbors south of the border, such as myself, all is not lost. For we have the Torta! I will be having one today to honor the sandwich. Carne asada torta. Marinated, grilled, then mixed with avocado and slathered on to some form of Mexican bread whose name escapes me at the moment. Good stuff.
More love for the BLT. Especially when the first ripe tomato comes out of the garden. Of course, just a plain mater sandwich must first be devoured with that first tomato of the season.
All sound great…crab rolls also, too!
You’re a fucking idiot. How’s that for a Philly wet kiss? Your taste in sammiches is otherwise sound, sport!
Shapiro’s Deli in Indianapolis…..sliced beef brisket on rye with brown mustard. About four inches thick and worth every penny of the eleven bucks.
Betty, you have to try a lobster roll with butter instead of mayo. So much tastier. The other neat trick about this is that it can only be made with butter to order so the lobster roll will have to be nice and fresh. The mayo lobster salad mixture may be a couple days old by the time you order it.
Thanks for telling me about Subway’s BOGO. Just finished off an Italian meat sub. So much bread. But rather tasty.
I would love a lobster roll. Or banh mi.
Watched Supergirl last night.
Supergirl’s boss riding the elevator up to her office. Supergirl’s super hearing picks up her talking to herself:
“Drunk at nine a.m. That’s the last time I have breakfast with Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
Where the best wings at these days?
Madison Bear Garden in Chico, CA.
Almost as good as the late lamented St. James Infirmary on Moffett in Mountain View (burned down years ago).
Also too, the Italian beef sammich at Al’s Beef. Chicago, of course.
@Jeffro: The BBQ I hate the most is the one I can’t have, right nao! I’ve lived the ‘cue wars here in NC and it’s so dumb…anyone who slow cooks their local delicacy, I’m gonna eat it and savor every bite.
@moderateindy: I grew up in Chicago and an Eye-talian Beef is one of my first needs whenever I return. Your correct that most places in Chicago do them well, I especially like mine dripping wet, but you have to eat them quickly before they get cold or fall apart.
The problem with Italian beef sandwiches elsewhere is that they don’t put enough meat on them. This is generally true of most places outside big cities (Chicago, New York, Philly, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Miami, NOLA). In those towns the sandwiches come stacked with meat and other ingredients, elsewhere (especially here in the South) the sandwiches are more bread than filling.
@Goblue72: I have a seafood allergy. I’ve never had a lobster roll, and I never can have a lobster roll. Have never had an oyster po boy either. I also stay away from any cuisine that uses fish sauce, oyster sauce or any of those other fish based sauces in their cooking. Those things could actually kill me.
This. I’ve been going to Katz’s for 20 years. Though I’m partial to the pastrami over the corned beef myself. The sandwiches are expensive, but they cut the meat right in front of you and pile it up so high you won’t need to eat for two days. And pile the plate with pickled cucumbers and tomatoes on the side.
Carnegie Deli is an overpriced tourist trap.
Excuse me, gotta stop off at Katz’s before I go home.
Okay, that’s flat out hilarious. Notorious RBG FTW!
@joel hanes: I’m torn between arguing that the best wings, by definition, must be somewhere in Buffalo, NY or rejoicing that they might be somewhere I can actually get to these days (although its a bit of a haul). After all, as someone with professional wing cooking experience, I can tell you great wings can be made anywhere. All you need are good wings, clean oil, and good hot sauce (Franks from the bottle would be the classic).
So for some reason I can’t begin to fathom, I really had to go get a sandwich for lunch. I went to the local Pho joint and they didn’t serve Bahn Mi. No problem, I went next door to the Mexican place… but *they* didn’t have Tortas! Oh, woe is me, I had to walk several store fronts down, past the Subway, to the Cajun place, thank goodness they had Po’ Boys. No oyster though, but enjoying the andouille, with extra jalapeno, very much.
I’m partial to the reuben and the patty melt.
@LeonS: And we’re having beef on weck for dinner tonight. Sometimes resistance is futile!
@redshirt: also a vegetarian and disappointed with the terrible lack of creativity in restaurant/deli vegetarian sandwiches. There are a ton of vegetables, ways of preparing them, a zillion kinds of cheese, and yet the offerings are almost always the same: cheese+lettuce-like raw things.
While in LA recently, I had an amazing vegetarian torta at BS Taqueria in downtown. The star was beets in several ways: made into a breaded patty, pickled with chilies and one other way.
Some Indian restaurants have spicy things between bread that can be interesting, like the pav baji (?) and frankie (?).
One thing to love about Los Angeles:
1. Cubans at the Tropical
2. Tortas at food trucks
3. Pastrami at Canter’s (Also on Fairfax–Little Ethiopia)
4. Gyros at Zankou
All within a few miles.
@call_me_ishmael: Lester’s or GTFO. Eat a Lester’s smoked meat sandwich and there is no comparison to Schwartz’s bone-dry offering.
Cemita (Atomica, FTW)
J P Graziano Mr G (Sharp imported provolone, hot sopresatta, Prosciutto di Parma, Volpi genoa salami, truffle mustard balsamic vinaigrette, hot oil, marinated roman-style artichokes, fresh basil, lettuce w/ red wine vinegar & oregano)
Maxwell St Pork Chop Sandwich
–North of the Border–
Pea Meal Bacon
@Juju: A former boyfriend was very allergic to anything remotely seafood/fish. His first ex-mother-in-law convinced him to have a seafood stew in a Chinese restaurant once, telling him he wouldn’t even taste the seafood. They made it to the hospital in time to get epinephrine into him to counteract the seafood. Doctors told him that the next he had seafood/fish he wouldn’t have the time even for that. Every mucus membrane in his body would dry up in an instant. So, yeah, you can die from that reaction. (He remembered as a child that when his parents tried to get to eat seafood/fish his throat felt funny and he’s spit out whatever it was he ate. His parents didn’t push him to finish eating whatever it was. So on his own he stayed away from seafood/fish.)
Well, if we’re going ethnic, a boerewors roll. Toasted hotdog roll, grilled boerewors (farmers sausage), topped with fried onions and tomato. Lovely !
I weep for a lobster roll. Our local lobsters are all but fished out and now just the tails are exported to Up North by factories and us locals can’t get ahold of one and I crave that taste to this day.
Adam L Silverman
@p.a.: I’ll post my muffelata recipe later in the week. I hope you like hot!
Adam L Silverman
@Betty Cracker: Betty C. Next time you’re in Tampa try Pho Quen. Its on The SE corner of Hillsborough and Memorial. They do excellent food overall, but their Bahn Mi are very good too. If you’re on the Pinellas side instead there’s one on Park near Tyrone Square Mall and another up near me in Palm Harbor on 19 N (west side of the street, right next door to the transgender and transvestite burger bar – as in the clientele is predominantly transgender and transvestite, not the burgers).
Adam L Silverman
@redshirt: have you considered marinated and roasted vegetables? There’s also the old Scottish standby the chip butty. Its a roll stuffed with chips (fries/frites) covered with HP brown sauce.
No ham in any sandwich, thanks. Have yet to encounter any ham which isn’t much too salty for my taste buds.
Sliced pickles belong on the side.
Stumbled upon one place (probably long gone) many years ago in Manhattan which made a killer falafel-in-a-pita sandwich.
Smoked sable on a good fresh bagel, with a schmear and one slice each of onion and tomato, is to die for.
Tuna salad* on lightly toasted seeded rye is right up there on the list.
*Obviously thoughtfully crafted, not the commercial sludge.
Nathan’s used to serve a whole deep-fried softshell crab on a bun spread with tartar sauce that was nummy (though disconcerting, as the claws dangled out from the bun).
The concept of a sandwich carried too far (IMHO) – and it’s from Ms Cracker’s own Florida.
Used to similarly enjoy a good butter and sliced radish (with just the merest sprinkle of pepper) sandwich. Been many a moon since prepared one.
Fairly sure I read someplace that the Second Avenue Deli now has two locations – one the relocated downtown original, the other somewhere in the vicinity of Herald Square.
Adam L Silverman
@Betty Cracker: Betty C: The best Cuban in Tampa is at the Floridian on Kennedy, just east of Westshore BLVD on the south side of the street. Its not Cigar City style, so no genoa salami, but it is one of the best Cuban sandwiches I’ve ever head and I grew up in Tampa and went to Miami for one of my master’s degrees.
Adam L Silverman
@LeonS: Alibi’s, Carlisle, PA across the street from Dickinson College. Thursday’s are 25 cent wing nights. Big, cooked properly, and with almost a dozen choices of dusting, coating, or sauce.
AJ ‘s on Main in Grapevine TX was one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I’be eaten down there.Then again I was at the Grapevine Fest so the alcohol may have affected my judgement.
When in Philly visiting family I like Tony Luke’s for cheesesteaks right off of I95. Nothing beats a good crab cake sandwich as well!
A BLT is one of the simple pleasures of life as are Ruebens.
Had a fellow from Estonia worked for my dad and then me for something like 20 yrs. Every day a large red onion, eaten like an apple. It did get him peace and serenity around the shop, no one would get near him for I think fear of catching on fire if he breathed on you.
@burnspbesq: langers pastrami will stand up to (and win) any pastrami sandwich in the world.
@Adam L Silverman: I’ll have to check out the Floridian — I used to work in that area years ago but can’t quite place that location. Has it been there long?
The best Cuban in Tampa, IMO, used to come from the Howard Ave Market, which is long since gone. Not sure what made it so special, but I do miss it!
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Second on the Italian beef! And I say that as someone who grew up in South Jersey on a diet of cheesesteaks and hoagies. Also too, the reuben, a hoagie on an Amoroso roll, and a Chicago hot dog with sport peppers and the fluorescent green relish.
Adam L Silverman
@Betty Cracker: I had many of them from the Howard Avenue Market. Another good one was at the Family Sandwich Shop on the corner of Henderson and Dale Mabry – don’t think its around anymore either.
The Floridian has been around for a while. They used to be about three blocks closer to Dale Mabry next to the Smoothie King, but they moved a bit west for more space. Here’s the link to their website:
Another good Cuban was Hutto’s corner, as well as the original Whaley’s market and Alessi’s bakery used to make a very good one as well.
But for sheer size and variety of sandwiches the The Olde World Cheese Shop. There was one in Temple Terrace near USF, one on North Dale Mabry in Carrollwood, and one over on Hillsborough just west of the airport. The sandwiches were immense and the choices were numerous.
Tongue and melted swiss, russian and a touch of cole slaw, on marbled rye with a half-sour on the side.
At Lloyds Deli on the corner of Waterman and Brook in Providence.
(But never on Show Day — that’s Death. Tongue, Death. Tongue, Death.)
@Adam L Silverman:: When right next door were mussels and frites, or Waterzooi?
@Adam L Silverman: Hutto’s Corner! Now there’s a blast from the past! I used to live not too far from there, down by the river. My grandparents used to live in Wellswood, and I remember them taking me to Hutto’s when I was a kid.
West Tampa Sandwich Shop on Armenia was still there last time I checked. They make a great Cuban — President Obama stopped by for one some years ago. Did you ever have a deviled crab from Seabreeze?
Thanks for the link to the Floridian; I will definitely check it out! I’m out in the boonies now instead of in Tampa proper, but I make into town fairly frequently, and now I’m craving a better Cuban than I can get at Publix.
25 years ago there was a spot in chicago ( Lincoln Avenue) called BW3 – Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck. According to Wikipedia, they dropped the Weck in 1998.
I’m surprised no one mentioned the concoction from Primanti Brothers. Tried it once, damn fine sandwich.
Also, someone mentioned Cemitas Pueblas in Chicago, fantastic sandwich, never seen it anywhere else.