Lately I've been revisiting spots where I once enjoyed a great sandwich and trying a new one. That includes going fishing again at Sausalito's Fish, where I devoured a grilled calamari sandwich a couple of years ago.
This time, I ordered the saigon salmon sandwich, a take on banh mi with grilled salmon cooked medium rare, topped with carrots, jalapeno, cilantro, and ginger-scallion sauce.
This sandwich was also outstanding: all the fixings of Little Saigon with seaside-fresh seafood and Fish's super fresh torpedo rolls. Andrew ordered the fried oyster po'boy (below), which was also tasty but not quite as good as this variation on the Vietnamese po'boy. Frankly, it's hard to go wrong with fresh fish on fresh bread, and Fish knows how to nail it.
Niman Ranch. Marin Sun Farms. "House cured." The vocabulary of high-end restaurant menus is finding its way between the bread. It's a sustainable sandwich revolution, in which sandwich boards sound bourgier and panini get pricier, but for a good cause.
The classic American sandwich fillings — plasticine cheese, mass-produced cold cuts, and corn syrup condiments like Marshmallow Fluff — are neither sustainable nor particularly healthy. But why force fast-food philosophy on something so simple to make? A new wave of sandwich shops are slowing down, making their own ingredients, and finding local suppliers to construct better-for-you and better tasting sammies.
Given, it's mostly a West Coast phenomenon so far, but the model works everywhere from East Coast delis to mini chain restaurants. Find out where to get your fix.
Way back when I started this whole sandwich adventure, I stumbled across a Flickr photo of the grilled calamari sandwich at Fish in Sausalito, and I've wanted one ever since. Finally, finally, I made it to the sustainable seafood house on the Sausalito harbor, and dare I say the sandwich exceeded my expectations. The only problem is there are too many things on the menu I'm dying to try; I'll have to go back. Meanwhile, come sail away to seafood land.
I only had one chance to order lunch at Jerry's Cajun Cafe, another must-stop when I visit Pensacola, and I sort of blew it. Namesake owner Jerry is from Louisiana, so even though Pensacola is three hours from New Orleans, you can get a great fried oyster po'boy here.
I usually get the combo: half oyster, half shrimp. This time, out of some misguided obligation, I felt like I should order something different. The Gulfuletta was too tempting: a version of one of my favorite sandwiches, the muffuletta, made with fried seafood instead of salami and ham. It sounded too good to be true. Alas, it was.
Sandwiches have "come a long way, baby," and the San Francisco Chronicle is on the case! While I was away, the local paper unveiled "The Building Blocks of a Great Sandwich," speaking with Bay Area chefs and sandwich makers about what makes a sandwich magical.
Rather predictable but with good recommendations, the article features Dennis Leary, chef at Canteen and the (I think overrated) Sentinel, who says bread is "the most important part of a good sandwich." Certainly, the Sentinel does bread very well. His other tips include not shying away from shortcuts like jarred roasted peppers and canned artichokes. Chef Maggie Pond at César in Berkeley advises that your toppings should be evenly distributed: "There should be no bites of just bread."
The Chron suggests several sandwich spots, including Bakesale Betty, Fish in Sausalito, Kitchenette in Dogpatch, and Il Cane Roso, all of which are on my Sand Wish List. It also mentions American Box, which is attached to Fish and Farm, a fine dining joint in the 'loin that I loved. I'll be sure to try them all and report back; let me know if you have any recs.