Think sandwiches aren't a big deal? Listen to readers of The Daily Meal's Sandwich of the Week feature.
"It's one thing to find a noteworthy sandwich at a restaurant not known for them (like La Verdad), but to miss an entire sandwich shop that does nothing but? For shame. You need to get clued in to All Star Sandwich Bar in Cambridge's Inman Square, where chef Johnny D. (formerly of The Federalist in the XV Beacon Hotel) makes astounding and gut-busting sandwiches he refers to as 'restaurant entrées on bread.'" — Chris Lyons
"For the world's best tramezzini, you must go to Venice. In the alley behind the Doge's Palace you'll find one bar beside another. They all have the best." — Nestor di Simone
"Hands down the best burger I have had is the burger at Park Avenue Summer in New York City. This burger is a Big Mac on crack, and I mean that in a very good way. All the ingredients are fresh and the sauce makes it addictive. It was so good I had to order it twice." — Jeanie Voltsinis
These, friends, are leads on sandwiches to be sought out and possibly featured as the next year's best. For now, at the end of the inaugural year of this feature at The Daily Meal, it's time to look back at sandwiches sought out, sampled, and lauded.
These 52 sandwiches came from far and wide. From the Bowery to Dublin, TX, Atlanta to Seattle, there were burgers, buns, wraps, and dogs. The feature kicked off on October 13th, 2010, in Maine with Red's lobster roll, and ran every Monday after, highlighting great stuff between sliced bread.
What makes a good sandwich? Good bread. Quality filling, be it protein or vegetable. The right ratio of good bread to quality filling. Sauce. The right proportions of bread to filling to sauce. Sometimes the perfect sandwich is a messy one you can't eat one-handed. Sometimes, it's a sandwich you can walk down the street with. The sandwiches on this list were of both types and included those in between.
Some sandwiches were classics — the White House Special, for example (check out this slideshow of how it's made). Long a go-to for gamblers and grinder-seekers in Atlantic City, if you haven't checked this one off your list, you can't call yourself a sandwich lover. Others, like Num Pang's brisket sandwich are newer, or, like the Reblochon and Jambon Cru at La Fermette in Annecy, France, a little more far-flung. Some were checklist items for the writers who sought them out. Others were eat-before-you-die recommendations for everyone. For a great overview of the feature, check out the Sandwich of the Week Map where you can find a full list of features from the past year.
There were also sandwich collections. Take, for example, a week of eating sandwiches at Eataly, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's new Italian Manhattan emporium; a look at America's best new sandwiches; a Maine lobster roll quest; and an overview of some of the country's best hot dogs. Others like a face-off between Shake Shack and In-N-Out, pitted icons against each other. There was the original Chick-fil-A at the Dwarf House, a New Mexico green chile cheeseburger quest, excellent tuna fish in landlocked Phoenix, and even excellent airport options.
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And again, the feature looked at sandwiches outside America. Cuz's blue marlin cutter in Barbados for example, should be a sandwich even the most devout seafood hater should try (you'll be turned), Richard's Bake and Shark in Trinidad is another. Madrid, Barcelona, Brazil — there's no sandwich so good that's too far away. For a great overview of the sandwiches, check out the Sandwich of the Week Map where you can find a full list of all the ones featured during the past year.
Which sandwiches made The Daily Meal's list of the 52 best of 2011? You may have missed a few. So check out the slideshow. And don't be shy with contributions and recommendations — Sandwich of the Week needs features and leads for next year.
Know a sandwich that should be featured? Email The Daily Meal or comment below. Better yet, become a contributor and write up your favorite today!