The fried white catfish sandwich is Spitzer's standby, available during brunch, lunch, and dinner service. Generous portions of flaky catfish are lightly battered and fried until golden and crunchy, then piled onto freshly toasted ciabatta bread slathered with house-made tartar sauce and topped with fresh cucumbers, parsnip, and arugula.
What’s the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia? It’s a debate that has raged for decades. We haven’t stepped into the conversation on 22nd & Philly mostly because we do not have a strong opinion, plus enough other locals have opined ad nauseam.
However, I can tell you the best cheesesteak in the Lansdale, Pa., area — the one that I’ll plan an entire day around getting — is the cheesesteak at Ray's Pizzeria & Restaurant.
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Any discussion about the best — or at least, most famous — lobster roll in Maine would be incomplete without mention of Red’s Eats in Wiscasset. And there’s a line of customers to prove it. A long one. As a Times article documented, the wait begins in your car on the one-lane lead-up to Red’s and the bridge.
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The chili is classic Pink's (small ground), the dog is surrounded by fine shredded kraut and melted cheese that clings to it and pulls away in sticky threads. The soft bun gets squishy, there's a slight snap of the link, and a satisfying feeling that you've eaten one of the best things you can find while waiting at a terminal.
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A burger called Behemoth just begs to be taken on. So you may have already taken notice of this burger while watching the Grill 'Em All guys battle their way to the top of the Flatiron Building where they were eventually crowned the winner of The Food Network's The Great Food Trucks Race. But unless you live in Los Angeles, or caught a burger during one of the challenges the guys faced as they raced across the country, it's likely you haven't been able to sample the burger yourself yet.
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With the personal philosophy of "you can never have too much of a good thing," the magicians at Mel’s take freshly ground 100 percent Black Angus beef, cook it to perfection, and serve it on a potato bun with some of its best friends: gooey macaroni and cheese and crispy bacon.
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Num Pang's menu features six "classic" sandwiches and five seasonal specialties, but in honor of Cambodian Independence Day Chef Chau highlighted one of his favorites, Ginger Barbecue Brisket. As with all the others, it's served on bread made by Parisi according to the chef's own recipe. In addition to the white flour typically used in baguettes, it calls for semolina. "Typically, the baguette used in banh mi kills the roof of your mouth," he explained. "I didn't want that to happen."
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A few blocks from São Paulo’s Praça da República, is Ponto Chic, a traditional Brazilian eatery whose menu features at least a hundred options. Among these, Ponto Chic is most famous for just one: the Bauru. Bauru is a Brazilian city in the Midwestern region of the state of São Paulo. But the sandwich isn’t named for the region Bauru, but rather after a student from it.
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A ham and cheese sandwich? Oh, yum. Flaccid pale pink mystery meat and plastic Swiss on soggy bread slathered with cheap mustard. Be still, my palate.
But then, on the other hand, there's the "smoked ham and cheese" sold out of Beach Street Sandwiches' big yellow truck on the streets of Madison, Guilford, and New Haven in central shorefront Connecticut. I put quotation marks around the name because this iteration of the thing is both less and a whole lot more than what you'd expect. It's less because it isn't made with actual ham, but with uncured pork butt.
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Home Grown's Grant’s Stack is Southern comfort food's Sunday best jammed between two pieces of thick-cut, golden Texas toast; stuffed with panko-breaded fried green tomatoes, homemade pimiento cheese, and that patron saint of piggy parts — bacon. Perhaps saintliest of all, this giant sandwich can be yours for only 10 bucks.
Were it not for those tostones, this would be just another run-of-the-mill steak sandwich (albeit a very good one), and therein lies its genius. The well-seasoned plantains remain shatter-crisp thanks to a double-dip in the fryer even when supporting rosy, heavily-spiced sirloin steak, a slice of tomato, lettuce and garlicky mayonnaise. For the beef-averse, Borinquen graciously offers a vegetarian version, as well as jibaritos with roast pork, ham, fried chicken or grilled chicken breast.
Juan Figueroa, founder of Borinquen, named the sandwich after the rural folk in the mountains of Jayuya where he grew up, known as jibos (roughly translated to "yokels"). As his nephew Jaime puts it, imagine “the picture of the old guy in the straw hat with the guitar”, an archetype that's quintessentially Jayuya.
But easily, one of the best sandwiches in Myrtle Beach is Mr. Fish's Black n' Bleu Tuna. This hunk of beautiful, fresh fish comes properly spiced, quickly seared, topped with broiling blue cheese and served on a hamburger bun with top notch hand-cut fries. As iif that weren't enough, each plate features some golden, crunchy hush puppies on the side.
Yes, this sandwich requires a bit more effort than most, but it also allows you to have a connection with your meal on a deeper level. Part of the fun of traditional Jewish appetizing is the interactivity; a little of this, a little of that. And if you can't wait to build the final product at home, you can always take your bounty next door to the café and show all those poor saps who bought the plastic-wrapped version what they're missing. Even better, you'll still have leftovers for dinner.
Despite a delectable lineup of burgers, sandwiches, and sides, Crave’s Luther steals the spotlight with its superstar combination of sizzling bacon, onion, and a fried egg, all smothered in melty Cheddar. The best part? It’s sandwiched between two glazed donuts as the bun, and it’s yours for just $10.50. Click here for the full story.
Frankfurt is that rare combination of Old World charm and modern convenience, an international city with plenty of skyscrapers to remind you that you’re where the European Central Bank headquarters is located, and plenty of beer-and-wurst taverns where you can spot dirndls and lederhosen. There is a famous public garden, an annual international book fair hosting the world’s top literary agents and publishers, and an impressively severe and gorgeously cloistered Goethe House museum.
But let’s face it: The most noteworthy thing in Frankfurt is the frankfurter, and I’m not talking about the city’s denizens (who are called that). I’m talking about hot dogs. Hot dogs are the direct descendants of members of the German sausage family (yes, there are so many kinds of German sausages, or wursts, that they havefamilies of origin) called brühwurst, sausages made from finely chopped raw meat, usually pork or beef or a combination thereof, sometimes smoked, and always parboiled.
The frankfurter has of course become the little snack that could, a true cheap thrill known around the world for being quick to eat and easy to love. In 1987, the city of Frankfurt celebrated the 500th anniversary of the frankfurter. So you missed it by 20-odd years. The good news about Frankfurt is that its food culture is rooted in tradition. The single best place to get a frankfurter in Frankfurt is atDie Kleinmarkthalle, a two-story indoor farmers' market-butcher-fishmonger-florist in the grand European food hall tradition. This one is smaller and more intimate than most, a sweet place with an oyster bar and a tapas bar and vendors selling fresh wild strawberries in December (how’d they do that?), as well as a fairly mind-blowing assortment of pig parts from tongues to tails. The market was erected in the 1890s, and then rebuilt after a firestorm bombing (by the British) in March of 1944. When it reopened, the business occupying Stand 8, toward the back of the building, in an unassuming storefront staffed by just two hardworking fraus, was Metzgerei (Butcher Shop) Schreiber, a family-owned business offering nothing but six kinds of frankfurters: pork; pork with garlic, beef, beef with garlic, Gelbwurst (a Frankfurt special of pale blonde, very mildly flavored sausage that’s a favorite with kids), and Krakow sausage (think kielbasa — smoked pork with lots of garl
Chaps Charcoal Restaurant in Baltimore is one of those places that you might have seen on TV. The restaurant, which began as a tiny shack in 1987 and has since grown into a regional institution, has been featured on shows like Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and Man v. Food.
The restaurant serves up some incredible sandwiches, piling fresh turkey, ham, sausage, and corned beef onto fresh, soft bread. But if you go, get the sandwich that started it all: the pit beef.
The sandwich starts with a whole bottom round, placed on a ripping hot 500-degree grill (the "pit") until rare. Then it gets carved up and placed back on the grill until cooked to the desired temperature, when it goes to the slicer and gets piled on a roll. Not much is needed by way of toppings; some sliced onions, salt and pepper, and a little horseradish should do it.
Or you can go another route, and top it with more meat. This weeks sandwich, The Raven, tops the pit beef with sliced fresh-roasted turkey and a nice helping of corned beef, both hot off the grill.
One of the great things about Chaps is that you can customize your sandwich any way you want, with any variety of meat. Youll most likely end up returning a few times to try some different combinations.
But youd have most likely returned anyway.
No trip to Atlantic City is complete without pre- or post-gaming it at the White House Sub Shop. And of course, when you talk White House, there's really only one thing to say: White House Special. Extra Genoa salami, provolone, ham, and capicolla. A full-length sandwich runs about a half-yard and the quality Italian cold cuts are expertly crammed inside.
No must-eat Bajan food checklist is complete without the fish cutter (sandwich) at Cuz's outside Bridgetown in Barbados. It's just a shack off Highway 7 in the beach parking lot at Needham's Point before you climb the hill to the Barbados Hilton. But this is a fish sandwich with a following. Beach bums, locals, taxi drivers, kids off from school, they all line up for Cuz's blue marlin sandwich.
"Every student in Spain used to eat squid sandwiches," says Maria José San Román, quite possibly the best-known chef in the sunny town of Alicante in southeastern Spain. "It was just deep-fried squid and mayonnaise on a long roll."
Is Trinidad's fried fish sandwich at Richard's Bake & Shark the world's best fish sandwich? Not 'baconshark,' as it sounds like when locals say it, but bake and shark. At the least, it's one of two Trinidadian must-trys (the other being doubles), and among ten classic Caribbean dishes that have tobe eaten to complete any island culinary checklist. But that's a conservative look — for any fish-lover and sandwich-hound, Richard' is required eating.
Back in March, the popular California hamburger stand, Taylor's Automatic Refresher, changed the name of its three locations (Napa, St. Helena, and San Francisco's Ferry Building). Its owners, brothers Joel and Duncan Gott, didn't own the rights to the name, and were unable to persuade its owners to let them trademark it. So after ten years, Taylor's took the family name: Gott's Roadside Tray Gourmet.
At the legendary Round Hill resort just outside Montego Bay — where the ghosts of celebrities like Noël Coward, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, Paul Newman, and Fred Astaire might well be imagined wandering along the stone pathways above the sea — chef Martin Maginley, who likes working variations on local specialties (he makes vichyssoise out of tropical breadfruit, for instance), turns escoveitched snapper into the perfect beachside lunch sandwich.
Grease Burger Bar in West Palm Beach has a menu featuring different soups, sandwiches, chicken wings, and bratwursts, and almost just as many types of burgers, and 'burger bling' to trick them out. But looking over the menu there's one thing that stands out, an eponymous sandwich whose name is an inherent challenge to any sandwich afficionado: The Grease Beast.
Granted, Los Angeles' La Brea Bakery really isn't Nancy Silverton's anymore and hasn't been for about 10 years, but she definitely left her mark on the little café on La Brea Avenue, the place that started it all. The early '90s were all about artisan bread. By '95 artisan bakeries that baked rustic, hearty loaves daily had sprouted up in every city, and most attribute the trend to Silverton. This was definitely the pre-Atkins era.
New York City has room for another style of roast beef sandwich. And that's what the guys behind Bowery Beef are doing — a different style of roast beef. Is it Defonte's? Is it Roll-N-Roaster? Brennan and Carr's? This Little Piggy? No. It's its own beast — and covered in BBQ sauce. That said, both with sauce and without, it's pretty damned good — minus the generic bun that is (though you have to love the 'BB' branding on top).
If Californians make snide remarks about New York City's Mexican food, you can only imagine what New Yorkers have to say about Boston's version. After all, when it comes to Mexican food, New Yorkers would probably like to forget where Boston even is. But they'd listen up when considering that renowned Boston chef Ken Oringer has a taqueria there, especially when one of its sandwiches, the chile relleno torta, has been ranked by The Boston Globe as one of the city's "earls of sandwich." Too bad it doesn't deliver. In fact, you can easily find two better sandwiches in the city, one fast-food, the other, a special.
Pane Bianco, Chris Bianco's sandwich shop on North Central Avenue along the Valley Metro light rail line, is now open for dinner. They do some mean sandwiches and, honestly, even better entrées. I've had the antipasti and the handmade mozzarella with local tomato and basil with olive oil at Pizzeria Bianco, and both were great. Of the three sandwich options at Pane Bianco, those two dishes are combined with great Bianco bread to presumably similarly extraordinary effect. Having already tasted those two things the only logical sandwich choice was the tuna sandwich.
Pa amb tomàquet (pronouced approximately "pom toe-MAH-ket), literally bread with tomato, is a definitive Catalan preparation consisting of nothing more than bread (often grilled or toasted) rubbed with the cut side of a halved tomato, then drizzled with olive oil and dusted with salt. Thus prepared, it becomes the backdrop for thin-sliced ham, salami-like sausages, oil-packed anchovies, smoked herring, and the like.
You'd be forgiven for driving past Dixson Bar-B-Que even though it's in downtown Knoxville, Tenn. One reason is that it's not in a part of downtown that you might be in a rush to visit. Another is that it's set back from the street. The third, is that it, and everything around it (including a nightclub) always seem to be closed. Even when it's supposed to be open, it doesn't seem to be open. But if you do catch them open you'll be rewarded with a great sandwich called the "pig burger."
Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop in Miami is a corner truck stop with a takeout window and a miniscule parking lot. Zagat gives the non-descript Cuban coffee shop inside a 22 for food and a too generous 9 for décor. It has received honorable mentions in Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine for good reason.
The made-to-order Cubanos use classic ingredients: sweet ham, léchon, Swiss, pickles, mustard, and mayo. They’re placed on Cuban bread that is made with lard in the flour to complete what I call, “the holy jamon trinity,” ham, pork, and lard in a single sandwich.
The menu at Merchants, a lively two-part restaurant — a cool contemporary dining room upstairs, a casual place at street level — on an intensely touristy stretch of Broadway in Nashville, Tenn., says "Est. 1892." However, an optimistic entrepreneur reopened it as a restaurant in 1988.
Their fried green tomato sandwich, which can also be called a BAT, consists of leafy arugula, smoky country bacon (nice and crisp), and the green tomatoes, plump, acidic, and crisp-fried, on multi-grain bread.
Open since 1952, Hocca Bar appears to have two claims to fame: the pasteis de bacalhau (a fried pastry filled with salt cod) and the Belíssima sandwich. Order both, and make sure you have someone to share them with.
The description of the sandwich sounds simple enough — sliced mortadella, melted cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and oregano — but it's a behemoth. The reality: a fat stack of salty meat, a thin layer of gooey cheese, and a couple of sweet tomatoes, all contained between two pieces of thick, crusty bread. There's so much mortadella, too much probably, but the excess seems almost appropriate given the surroundings. It's tasty to be sure, but you only need half.
Old Doc's Soda Shop (said to be named for an early Dr Pepper advertising icon) is a cozy store open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's filled with several small tables surrounded by Dr Pepper paraphernalia and soda bottles. With its bottlecap-chokers, bags of Dr Pepper cake mix, Dr Pepper marinated beef jerky, and various Dr Pepper T-shirts, Old Doc's is as much marketing vehicle as soda shop.
Soda isn't the only thing on the offer. There are sandwiches. Not fancy ones mind you, but ones made on white, wheat, and jalapeño cheese rolls with good old-fashioned American ingredients — deli meats and cheeses that your grandmother might have assembled for you as an after-school snack when you were a kid — roast beef, smoky turkey, and honey ham.
Any sandwich whose name begins with an ‘X,’ especially a sandwich that is Brazilian, deserves attention. That goes double when that X is followed by ‘tudo,’ which means ‘everything’ in Portuguese. Many of Brazil’s snack bars serve a version of the X-Tudo, which is a cheeseburger with many toppings. While every American city has its own tower burger, finding one with South American flare is more difficult. One place where you can find the X-Tudo is New York Pão de Queijo in Astoria in Queens, N.Y.
Normally, when a chef or a menu notes "love" as an ingredient, the most appropriate response is either an eyeroll, or to walk out. If the person making your food claims there's "love" in your food they're either being phony, or they've done something with the food that they should get sued for. Given the chef's last name, you have to allow Love Shack an exception to this rule. And they take full advantage. The menu is full of jokes and puns: the Dirty Love burger, the "Amore Caliente" (hot love) burger, the section called, "Love on the Side." But there's serious flavor too.
Just last weekend, I had an excellent pork fennel sandwich at Cutty’s in Brookline Village, just outside Boston proper. It consisted of slow-roasted pork (a Saturday special), pickled fennel, and roasted garlic piled onto a soft, but yeasty sesame seed roll. The fennel added an interesting dimension to the pork without overpowering the meat. My cashier informed me that their baker used to work at Clear Flour Bakery in Brookline, which explains why the roll was more than just a hot dog bun.
When it comes to simple, delicious, food, Take 5 Urban Market is the perfect place to go. Their Reuben sandwich was excellent. The bread was toasted on the outside, giving it a wonderful crunch, and the corned beef was wonderfully tender and juicy with just the right amount of saltiness. The meat was sliced a little thick; however, it was tender enough that I didn’t have to worry about pulling all of the meat out of the sandwich in one bite. But unlike a traditional Reuben, this version didn’t have sauerkraut and Russian dressing. Rather, it was topped with coleslaw and a spicy mayo. Both ingredients worked incredibly well, offering another textural dimension, with a bit of freshness and acidity.
It's the kind of desperate situation that can force a person to cave and pop into McDonald's or some fast-food equivalent for a hunger-silencing, albeit unsatisfying, quick bite. That is, unless your travel plans happen to land you in the vicinity of Chicago O'Hare's Terminal 1, in which case you have a much, much better option at your disposal: Tortas Frontera.
There are a variety of tortas to try here, including breakfast sandwiches, molletes, soups, and chips-and-dips combos (not to mention margaritas and cervezas, too), but if the clock is ticking down until your board time and you're having trouble deciding between the abundance of good-sounding options, the Cochinita Pibil Torta is a smart way to go.
Peter Shelsky opened the store because he was tired of schlepping into Manhattan for whitefish, and he is restoring some heritage to the borough in the process. For a brilliant combination of all of the best that Shelsky’s has to offer, the "Brooklyn Native" is the perfect sandwich — Gaspe Nova, smoked Whitefish Salad, pickled herring, and sour pickles are served on a bagel or bialy. I am partial to the bialy, which is every so slightly toasted so as not to sacrifice the fluffy middle. The sandwich begins with a layer of creamy whitefish salad, which, made with chopped cucumber and celery, has just the right amount of crunch. Next comes two layers of Gaspe Nova so fresh it practically melts in your mouth. Not overly smoky, this Nova goes really well with the next layer, a slightly sweet piece of pickled herring that is much meatier than the salmon, offering a unique consistency in addition to the new flavor. Finally, a few sour pickles top off the salty stack, all enveloped, of course, by the bagel or bialy.
Fast Gourmet was founded by two Uruguayan brothers, Juan and Manuel Olivera, the former of whom trained as a chef in Italy and France, including at the prestigious Institut Paul Bocuse. The menu includes wraps, salads, and empanadas, but consists mostly of sandwiches. The first part of the sandwich menu, titled "Urban Taste," features traditional-seeming fare such as roast beef, pork, and tuna. But the real standouts are the sandwiches on the so-called "Flair" menu, including the breaded-tenderloin Milanesa and the succulent Chivito. The Chivito is a traditional Uruguayan sandwich, and upon reading the ingredient list, you might be skeptical. How can a single sandwich meld beef tenderloin, bacon, Black Forest ham, mozzarella, green olives, hard-boiled eggs, lettuce, and tomato without losing its head along the way?
"Be good to yourself" is the Nuts 'n Berries motto, and there's one particular sandwich that fulfills it perfectly — it's wholesome, light, and satisfying. But it's the curious construction of the Turkey Crunch that creates its appeal: sliced turkey and Provolone with a layer of whole raw cashews, a smattering of dried cranberries, julienned carrots, and a double smear of light, zesty basil pesto.
Amato's "Real Italian" looks like the results of a produce truck and a deli counter crashing into an overgrown lobster-roll bun. In fact, it's a combination of cooked ham and traditional, no-apologies American cheese, enhanced with big slices of green pepper, tomato, and onion, with chopped Greek olives and pickles and an olive oil-based dressing, stuffed into a soft roll cut open from the top. It's a big mouthful (the photo shows the "small" size; you can imagine what the large looks like), crunchy and salty and bright. Locals have adopted it as the "Maine Italian."
The locavore movement has inspired Ohio restaurateurs and food manufacturers to hit the ground running (you may have heard of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams). Northstar Café has hopped on the bandwagon with stunning success. At their three locations around Columbus they serve up local ingredients in the form of salads, burritos, and sandwiches. They also prepare fresh smoothies to order, and you’d be crazy not to try the house-made ginger ale.
Northstar’s signature is the Northstar Burger. This vegetarian patty is made fresh daily with black beans, rice, and beets, seasoned with onions, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and oat flour to bind it all together.
Walking into Central Grocery I immediately got that old DiBella Brothers Italian grocery/museum vibe, as some of the canned Italian delicacies on the shelves looked as if they were stocked when the store opened in 1906. Waiting my turn in the perpetual line, I ordered a whole (also available in halves or quarters for those of lesser appetites than yours truly) muffuletta. Pay attention to the spelling folks. That's double "F" and double "T" with two "U"s. Pronunciation is a whole 'nother matter. Once you master "N'awlins" and "Prawlines" and "P'caans", it's pronounced "MuffuLOTTA".
In lieu of New York Italian submarine/torpedo-shaped hero bread, the Muff has a UFO saucer-like shape to achieve the perfect bread to meat ratio with the round sliced genoa salami, mortadella, ham, and provolone layers that are lovingly stacked on the olive oil-stroked bottom half of the circular bread. The top half then receives several dollops of the proprietary Central Grocery "olive salad."
Made Fresh Daily stays true to it's name — all of the baked goods, sandwiches, salads, and breakfast dishes are made in-house, using ingredients sourced locally and delivered every day.
The deviled egg salad sandwich takes the best of two iconic dishes, egg salad and deviled eggs, and prepares them together in a modern and refreshing sandwich. The salad is made with a combination of olive oil, Dijon mustard, and a touch of mayonnaise for extra creaminess. Then, it's piled onto toasted rye bread (spread with arugula mayo) and topped with roasted grape tomatoes and fresh arugula. The only way to make this sandwich better is to have it on their focaccia, which they'll do if you ask for it. The dish comes with creamy jalapeño slaw and homemade ginger-chile pickles.
Neither the sandwich nor the stall from which it is sold in the city’s Mercato Centrale are a secret — the local favorite has been given its due many times over in reference books, articles, and web sites targeting the food-minded traveler. Translation: There will almost certainly be a line when you show up for lunch (the only time it’s open). Please, do not be deterred. It’s well worth whatever wait you find, and speaking from recent experience, the crowd generally gets turned around quite quickly.
The Bollito Bagnato is arguably the best boiled beef has ever looked, and more importantly, tasted. Sliced thick, the juicy-fatty-tender beef is piled on top of a chewy roll. Your request that the sandwich be "bagnato" means that the top roll gets to take a quick dip in the savory beef boiling liquid, and the "con tutte le salse" bit will ensure your meat is topped with a spoonful of both the green (herb-garlicky) and red (spicy) sauces.
The Body Builder at Market Bar Chicago is a smoked turkey breast sandwich layered with fresh mozzarella cheese, a broiled egg, sun-dried tomatoes, and baby spinach. It is then dressed with homemade basil mayo and wrapped-up in whole wheat flatbread.
This sandwich is a hearty, protein-rich dish that will satisfy your hunger pains and your taste buds. The smoked turkey and mozzarella cheese is highlighted by the robust flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes, while the broiled egg adds variant texture. The basil mayo complements the fillings with a cool freshness, and the whole wheat flatbread is subtle (not overpowering or grainy, like many whole wheat breads tend to be), which balances the whole sandwich.
Remember Humphrey Bogart’s great old line? No, not, "We’ll always have Paris." We mean the unscripted one, the one about the frankfurter: "A hot dog at the ballpark is better than steak at the Ritz," he once said. And while it’s true that Americans consumed almost 23 million hot dogs in baseball stadiums last year, not a single one of those could have been as quirkily delicious as this pulled pork, slaw, and barbecue sauce-drenched number from Atlanta’s HD1.
Since it opened in 2005, SandwHich has been doing what some considered unthinkable: Convincing even the most sophisticated Southern diners to put down their lunchtime staples of barbecue or Chick-fil-A or pimiento cheese sandwiches and plunk down a few more dollars for homemade gourmet sandwiches made with ingredients like local heirloom tomatoes, Amish free-range chicken, line-caught tuna fish, and Elbetri's personal favorite, good imported oil-packed sardines. (SandwHich’s staff t-shirts even read: "Sardines are not for sissies.")
The sandwich itself is simple: A crusty baguette is stuffed with arugula, ripe tomato slices, red onion slivers, and a full eight ounces of sardines. This is drizzled with homemade vinaigrette made with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. The result is simultaneously chewy-toothsome, salty, and refreshing, like you might imagine lunch would be at your favorite café in, say… Sardinia.
Bunk Sandwiches in Portland, Ore., taps into a nostalgia we all yearn for: the corner sandwich shop. The '50s lunch counter with a man named Frank that asks you "the usual?" and when you say yes, you don’t even smile to yourself smugly because it doesn’t feel cool — it’s just your life.
With a menu packed chock-full of solid go-to options, plus a whole array of rotating items that keep the menu fresh, it was tough to choose just which sandwich to spotlight. While the Pork Belly Cubano and Oregon Albacore Tuna Melt were close runner-ups, just one bite of this week’s sandwich and the choice was clear: it has to be the Pulled Pork.
Swiss Chef Ralf Kuettel of Trestle on Tenth opened a little brick wall-enclosed one hit wonder sandwich shop around the corner from Trestle, on 24th street in Manhattan called, inexplicably, Rocket Pig.
The space consists of a couple of counters, no seats, and a glass box warming gorgeous hunks of fatty, luxuriant pork shoulder (that enjoys a brine bath before its smoky spa treatment.) The black crusted pork is thickly hand sliced to order, placed gingerly on a fresh ciabatta roll (I'm guessing from Sullivan St. Bakery down the block), and slathered with a deep, rich sweet red onion jam, mustard sauce, and Rocket Pig hot sauce for some added heat – the sandwich comes with a homemade pickle on the side.
Hosteria il Castelletto is a modest but first-rate restaurant with an artisanal bent and a menu specializing in the cuisine of the Emilian portion of Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, and in particular in the dishes of Modena. What makes it unusual is that it isn't in Emilia-Romagna at all, but in a suburb of Milan, Peschiera Borromeo, best known as the home of Milan's smaller airport, Linate.
Il Castelletto's specialties include excellent beef (including filet glazed in balsamic vinegar, Modena's most famous export), a handful of homemade pastas, and two unusual traditional items often hard to find even in Emilia itself: gnocchi fritti, which are fried hollow pillows of dough traditionally eaten with the varied and superb salumi for which Emilia-Romagna is famous, and crescentine.
One of the few New York City restaurants that makes it is SD26 on the north side of Madison Square Park. SD26, run by venerable Italian restaurateur Tony May and his daughter Marisa, is an upscale place with food that is sometimes pretty sophisticated, and it is not the kind of place you'd expect to find this rustic specialty. Nonetheless, porchetta is produced here daily, to be served in the casual front-of-the-restaurant café (though you can probably talk them into bringing it to you in the dining room if you ask nicely). Here, the boneless pork roast is seasoned with fennel seeds, garlic, rosemary, kosher salt, and black peppercorns and roasted over high heat in a convection oven, then rested and sliced.
Here’s the tricky part: You’re going to have to quest. You’re going to have to make your way through rural Alabama on Highway 331 to a spot about 50 miles south of Birmingham, almost to the so-called "Flor-Ala" border. There you will find The Chicken Shack, a cheerfully agreeable dive with an enormous billboard, a very popular takeout window, and the best fried chicken sandwich this side of the gay marriage debate.
Their fried chicken sandwich is a freshly fried breast, moist and tender and seasoned properly with salt and pepper, on a cottony white bun with dressed with lettuce, tomato, and pickle. It’s almost exactly like some fast-food versions we know, except that it’s homemade, it’s slightly larger, and it’s much more fun to consume since it’s at a real live thriving truck stop instead of a depressing food court in a mall in Anytown, USA.
Located within Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, Friedman’s Lunch is a rare location where both quality and economy work in tandem. Amid the buzz of shoppers in the market, Friedman’s Lunch offers a brief respite from the chaos, creating a relaxed home feel through its rustic, wood-paneling features and chalkboard menu. Named for its lunch, it’s surprising to find that one its most mouthwatering items comes from the brunch menu: the B.E.L.T.
After winning season 2 of Bravo's Top Chef (then but a shadow of its current juggernaut self), Ilan Hall left his station at Casa Mono, did some traveling and wound up across the country in sunny California with plans of opening his first restaurant. That establishment, The Gorbals, is located in trendy downtown Los Angeles, and it's the home of this week’s Sandwich of the Week, the GLT.
Chef Hall has channeled his roots and challenged pork fiends with his GLT — gribenes, lettuce, and tomato. The inspired filling is nothing more than chicken skin, simply fried to savory, crisp perfection. As the saying goes, "bacon makes everything better", but gribenes might just be the exception to the rule.
Being a lover of brunch, you’ve no doubt heard of the Monte Cristo, a riff on the croque monsieur, its ham and cheese fried golden. Meander's Kitchen's Full Monte is the doped-up bicycling cousin of that tamer beast. “Chief Hash Slinger” Miranda Krone has taken the Monte Cristo and bulked it up, layering generous slices of ham, turkey, Swiss and cheddar between sliced bread and then dunking the hedonistic creation in vanilla bourbon French toast batter, lending the whole affair a richly sweet overtone
The Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen, or Schwartz’s as it’s popularly known, is a landmark restaurant in Montreal, known far and wide for its proprietary smoked meat, a formula which has now come to be known as "Montreal-style." The restaurant was founded in 1928 by Reuben Schwartz, and stepping into Schwartz’s today is like stepping 80 years in the past. From the time-worn location (which has never changed and never been franchised) to classic recipes (still using Reuben Schwartz’s blend of herbs and spices, cured for 10 days), diners are sure to get an authentic experience.
It sometimes seems as if we’ve lost our way when it comes to burgers, which were once an exercise in simplicity and balance.
Which is why it was such a relief to stumble upon A&A Coffee Shop, a hole-in-the wall lunch counter nestled into a tiny storefront midblock on 20th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in New York City.
Taking a seat on a stool, we decided to order a bacon cheeseburger, the litmus test of a great burger. A fresh patty was placed onto the flattop, flipped after getting a nice sear, and topped with a slice of American cheese and a few strips of bacon. A soft, squishy sesame seed-topped bun soon joined it on the flattop, and was removed right as it started to brown. When assembled with some lettuce and fresh-sliced tomato and placed in front of us on a Styrofoam plate, it reminded us of what a burger used to be. A moderately-sized, perfectly balanced sandwich.
David Talde’s newest endeavor (along with partners John Bush and David Massoni) is Pork Slope, a roadhouse-style bar and restaurant nestled on a tree-lined avenue in Brooklyn’s tony Park Slope neighborhood. Cheap beer, mounted boar’s heads, a dart board, and a pool table help to keep the place crowded from open till close, but Chef Dale’s food is a major draw.
However, there is one standout: the brisket sandwich. The meat is slow-smoked until it’s nearly falling apart, doused in homemade sweet-tangy barbecue sauce, and piled onto buttered Texas-style toast. A few pickles are placed on top for good measure, and the sandwich arrives in a paper-lined basket with a couple wet-naps and plenty of extra sauce on the side.
"It's the simplicity that makes it," confided co-owner of Carousel Bakery & Sandwich Bar Robert Biancolin about Toronto's signature peameal bacon sandwich, noting how many visiting chefs make a point of seeking it out. "You don't need to pile up a sandwich to make it great."
The man has a good point. At first glance, there's not much to the peameal bacon sandwich. Whether brought to St. Lawrence's historic South Market to the colorful Carousel Bakery with its circus-like sign by a friend, or sent there by someone you'd trust for their culinary wisdom, it's difficult to view it with anything but suspicion. Sure, you know there's bacon on this sandwich, but it's not that everday diner bacon you know. The relatively flat sandwich wrapped in foil isn't visually striking and doesn't promise much in the way of toppings. Between the two halves of the sliced roll are thin yellowish-green and orange slices of what look like mini pork cutlets.
In 2010, chef Dennis Leary opened his third eatery in San Francisco. But unlike his other restaurants, Canteen and The Sentinel, The Golden West is just a small take-away window, and it’s only open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday to Friday. Monday to Friday. The menu is small, focusing on just a couple of daily specials, salads, and sandwiches. But one of those sandwiches, the $9 short rib with caramelized onions, has already entered San Francisco lore as one of the city’s best.
What exactly does it take to be considered a perfect breakfast sandwich? It’s a question that has no correct answer, but The Maple, from Portland, Ore.’s Meat Cheese Bread, is certainly a good place to start.
Our Sandwich of the Week starts with a homemade sausage patty, crisped to a golden brown on the flat-top. This gets topped with oozy, melting spicy cheddar cheese, which gets browned in the broiler, then the whole thing is placed atop some crunchy shaved fennel, which helps cut through the heaviness.
The best thing about Big Bad Breakfast (besides the name, obviously) is the extremely diverse menu that suits every type of brunch eater out there. They have a variety of the classic breakfast staples such as pancakes, waffles, omelets, and egg plates, along with an incredibly delicious breakfast and lunch sandwich selection.
For those not in the mood for a breakfast sandwich, though, there are still plenty of options: a burger with bacon on sourdough bun, chicken salad on a focaccia, and the exquisite Southern Belly sandwich, loaded with gooey pimento cheese, our Sandwich of the Week.
The "Thanksgiving Sandwich" can be hit or miss. Because it’s based on an entire plate-full of food, oftentimes the individual components can become a muddled mess, getting lost in a sea of gloopy gravy or weighed down by the otherwise unwise addition of stuffing to a sandwich.
When well-proportioned, though, a Thanksgiving sandwich can be a true masterpiece. And that’s the case at the recently opened Harding’s, in New York’s Flatiron neighborhood. Chef Ariel Fox joined the team from ACME, where she was formerly chef de cuisine, and her menu reflects only what’s local, fresh, and in-season. In fact, it's one of the few restaurants that's "100 percent domestic" in its sourcing of ingredients.
Since its opening, 25 degrees has also expanded to Huntington Beach and Chicago, but the Tinseltown location is still the only location thats open 24/7. The menu consists of a selection of other sandwiches, hotdogs, a fried egg sandwich, a salad selection, and five different milkshakes. But lets be real, the instant you set your eyes on the menus first item, the Number One burger, youre going to automatically be sold. And heres why.
This burger has everything you need packed between the two puffy, toasted brioche bun rounds. A big, juicy slab of beef (recommended medium-rare for full juice effect) is the centerpiece with an ounce of both buttery Crescenza cheese and crumbled Gorgonzola heaped on top, then caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, and Thousand Island dressing for the final touch.
The menu board at an inviting new takeout place called Spreads, on the corner of Park Avenue South and 30th Street in Manhattan, goes in two directions: The sandwiches and salads seem indulgent, while the sides and juices suggest healthy living.Think kale, quinoa, and almond nut milk on the virtuous end, and plenty of cheese and meat (bacon included) on the other side. One of the most delicious sandwiches is the house-roasted beef and aged Cheddar with pickled apples, BBQ potato chips (yes, right in the sandwich), fresh basil and caramelized onions, and roasted garlic aoli on a toasted pretzel roll.
Joshua Sharkey definitely knows a thing or two about meat. About three years ago, he opened his own hot dog shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Bark Hot Dogs.
Sharkey takes pride in Bark's fresh meats and extensive selection of griddled sausages. There are seven different kinds of hot dogs on the menu, and a beef dog can be prepared upon request. But dont let the name fool you; Bark Hot Dogs has much more to offer than roasted franks on a bun. Their menu also consists of organic chicken wings, a buttermilk chicken sandwich, gravy fries, and a deep-fried surprise: the crispy pork sandwich a breaded and deep-fried pork shoulder and belly patty, bread and butter pickles, lime, mayo, and habanero slaw are all squished between two toasted potato roll rounds.
The best kinds of sandwiches are the ones that are so tasty that you dont even realize how healthy they are. Chicago sandwich shop Hannahs Bretzel has made it their mission to provide their customers with just that.
That brings us to the sandwich of the week: their wild smoked Alaskan salmon sandwich. Served on a "bretzel" baguette (the German word for, you guessed, it pretzel, this sandwich is simple, smoky, and fresh with wild Alaskan smoked salmon, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, sliced cucumbers, and dill crme frache. To top it all off, this delicious lunch combination contains only 450 calories.
If you live in Burlington, Vt., you’ve heard of Al’s French Frys.
Their most popular offering, the $3.25 double cheese, is our Sandwich of the Week. The patties are small, and sit between halves of a soft white bun. If you don’t order any toppings, which cost extra, all you get is meat on a bun, which certainly implies that they stand behind its quality. The never-frozen patties are indeed high-grade beef, but some lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, cheese, and ketchup never hurt. This is a seriously good old-school burger, one of the country’s greatest. It hits all the right spots, and is a completely different creature from those gargantuan 12-ounce patties that are now ubiquitous.
Out of all the Philly cheesesteak shops, John’s Roast Pork seems to be the favorite. The small sandwich shop was awarded the James Beard Foundation Award for Culinary Excellence in 2006 and was featured in the championship finale of the Travel Channel’s Best Sandwich in America for their sharp provolone cheesesteak. Obviously they make a mean cheesesteak, but what’s best is right in the shop’s title: the roast pork sandwich.
According to Andrew Zimmern, this sandwich “really steals the show.” It’s made with fresh, “top-choice” pork shoulder that is deboned “right on premises,” according to the restaurant’s website. It is then seasoned with a special spice mixture from the secret Bucci family recipe, roasted, and left to sit over night until the next day, when it’s it is sliced, reheated in its own gravy, and served up.
The folks at Con Pane Rustic Breads & Café in San Diego really know their way around a sandwich. The shop itself may look unassuming, but inside they’re baking fresh bread every day and topping it with some delicious ingredient combinations.
Their "Almost Grilled Cheese" has entered San Diego lore, and their Cobb sandwiches, with both turkey and vegetables, are true classics. The Italian Salami Sandwich, though, preferably on their olive oil bread, is near perfection. It’s a true work of art. No one ingredient overpowers any other, and it’s not so filled with oil and salami that it weighs you down. The roasted tomatoes impart a ton of flavor, and on the whole it’s a sandwich that’s hard to find fault with.
Phils is a barbecue joint in San Diego, but its a lot more than just that. It was rated one of the top ten restaurants in the city by Trip Advisor, and San Diego Magazine deemed its barbecue the citys best. Its ribs, chicken, and pulled pork are all worth writing home about, but their El Toro Tri-Tip Sandwich is whats put it on the map.
Tri-tip is a cut of beef that doesnt get the respect it deserves, but here owner Phil Pace treats it like a king. He soaks it in a secret marinade, cooks it to medium-rare on a mesquite grill, and then lets it cool. When ordered, the meat gets sliced super-thin, then is placed back into the grill, where the magic happens. A large ladle of Phils secret barbecue sauce (there are a lot of secrets here) is poured over the mound of sliced meat and allowed to caramelize.
Bar Gernika Basque Pub is a no-frills bar and restaurant with just about nothing in the way of dcor, but their Lamb Dip, and its cousin the Lamb Grinder, speak for themselves. A locally baked French roll with a soft interior and crispy crust is piled with sliced leg of lamb and served simply with a cup of lamb jus on the side for the dip, but ordering the Grinder really puts it over the top. It gets a topping of grilled onions, peppers, and mushrooms, which is all covered in a layer of Swiss cheese.
Made with chicken from Torontos Cumbraes farm, this sandwich is fresh and perfectly portioned for any diner to enjoy. Instead of frying the chicken and throwing it on a bun with lettuce, honey mustard and mayo, The County Generals fried chicken sandwich is made with a zesty twist. The chicken thigh is fried, soaked in buttermilk, then topped with avocado chutney, cilantro, and pickled onions between two milk bun rounds. The chicken is warm, juicy, and fried to perfection, yet it is not a greasy overload. Put it all together and the chutney and cilantro add a burst of freshness to the buttery chicken while the pickled onions add a final element of zest.
Chef Dani García opened Manzanilla on Manhattan’s East 26th Street earlier this year, and it’s already received a star from The New York Times, who hailed it as "a grand entrance" for the chef, who’s renowned in his home country of Spain. He’s brought much of his Spanish charm to the menu at his first American restaurant, and at lunchtime, this charm is best experienced through its three sandwiches: Ibérico Pork "Secreto," a Bocadillo de Calamares, and an Oxtail Burger.
The Bocadillo de Calamares (pictured) starts with a long, soft white roll from Pain D’Avignon. This gets topped with a heap of perfectly fried calamari, tomato jam, and fresh grated tomato, and in a nod to the fried seafood sandwich that it is, romaine lettuce and tartar sauce. It’s a well-composed beauty, and is a perfect summertime lunch.
From Portlands food cart sensation Big-Ass Sandwiches comes the Pork Hammer, featuring a triple-whammy of sizzling bacon, steaming ham, and sausage, stuffed into a soft sandwich roll along with homemade coleslaw and hand-cut fries. It packs a punch (or should we say, hammer) powerful enough to knock you into a food coma for hours.
The customer-favorite at Toluca Lake, Calif.'s Olives and Thyme is the braised short rib sandwich. The meat gets the utmost attention — Melina sears and braises it for eight hours so that it’s tender and juicy. The short rib is then covered in horseradish crème fraiche and caramelized onions. The horseradish is freshly ground for your best possible sandwich experience. The goods are placed between two toasted slices of country sourdough bread from La Brea Bakery, and the sandwich is served with no frills.
Gorditas literally "little fat ones" are like thick corn tortillas, usually plump enough that they can be cut open and stuffed. They're not technically sandwiches, then. But La Superior makes them sandwiches by enclosing the filling between two separated rounds. The carne asada version (spelled carne azada on the signboard menu) is but one of the many great variations. The corn cakes, if you will, are full of flavor; the meat, marinated with lime juice and salt, is charred on a grill, and then cut into tiny ribbons; it goes between the rounds with chopped onions and cilantro and a generous showering of crumbled queso fresco.