The insatiable food truck trend means lots of sandwiches on wheels. Last week, I read about a new fancy Italian sandwich truck, Cibo Per Strada, arriving soon in the East Bay. But from LA to the Bay Area and across the country, I've already got five sandwich trucks I need to chase down.
- 3-Sum Eats (San Francisco) From former Top Chef contestant Ryan Scott, this brand-new truck offers three choices in three categories: sandwiches, salads/sides, and sweets. I'm eying the pork sandwich with apple cole slaw and cheddar jalapeno bread (above) and gnocchi tater tots.
- The Grilled Cheese Truck (Los Angeles) Considering I've seen people cooking up grilled cheese sandwiches in the parking lots of Dead concerts, a grilled cheese truck seems like a no-brainer. Choices include brie on cranberry walnut bread and a sammy stuffed with mac 'n' cheese.
- Roli Roti (San Francisco) The porchetta sandwich at this rolling rotisserie — pork loin rolled up with pork belly, served on Acme Bread — gets endless accolades, including landing on San Francisco magazine's sandwich list.
- Gaztro-Wagon (Chicago) Naanwiches served on Indian bread but stuffed with ingredients from a cornucopia of cuisines, including lemongrass pork cheeks, veal picatta, and butternut squash with mascarpone.
- Coolhaus (Los Angeles, Austin, and NYC) Specializing in "architecturally inspired ice cream sandwiches," this dessert version puts homemade ice cream between the cookies of your choice (pictured below).
I promise I'll get to Roli Roti one of these days. Meanwhile, got some more food trucks I need to try? Share them below.
I can't help but respect a sandwich joint that advertises itself as "wrap free since 2006." Admittedly, I eat the occasional wrap when I'm trying to be healthier, but they just don't satisfy like a sandwich made with bread. And Cambridge, MA's All Star Sandwich Bar certainly isn't a place to start trying to get healthy.
I've come across All Star before, and recently, its atomic meatloaf meltdown sandwich (pictured) landed on a list of 12 great sandwiches in Boston; featuring grilled meatloaf and jack cheese laden with hot sauce, this is a very serious sandwich indeed. Other standouts at All Star include some of America's greatest hits: Buffalo's very own beef on weck, a Reuben, a "Texas Reuben" (which looks like it's made with brisket), a very topnotch looking Cuban, and even a veggie Cuban.
My only problem would be deciding what to order. If anyone has eaten here, I'd love to hear your recommendations.
I recently spent a wonderful but torturous two days in Chicago — torturous because I can only eat so many meals in two days, yet I have many Chicago restaurants I want to sample. (I did eat some great food, just not a sandwich.) High on my list is Gaztro-Wagon, a food cart pioneer specializing in naan-wiches.
I consider naan a criminally underutilized bread. I've made my own tandoori chicken naan-wiches and wrapped Rosamunde sausages in naan. Gaztro-Wagon seems willing to fold just about any cuisine into the Indian flatbread: Italian sausage, lamb and tzatziki, chicken and brie, smoked salmon and creme fraiche, and wild boar belly and fennel.
For now, Gaztro-Wagon is operating out of a storefront until Chicago's food-truck ordinance passes (any day now), and the chef and creator, Matt Maroni, helped craft the legislation. Maybe when Gaztro-Wagon's wheel are legit, he can drive out to San Francisco.
Philadelphia gets all the glory with its cheesesteaks and hoagies, but Pittsburgh is no sandwich slouch. The city is home to the "almost famous" Primanti Bros., a unique peddler of what may be the ultimate working man's lunch.
The restaurant opened in the 1930s serving takeout sandwiches to truckers. After a few customers requested French fries on their sandwiches, the menu transformed into truckload-sized meals, with the sides — cole slaw and fries — served between thick slices of Italian bread. It's a cousin of the horseshoe sandwich, but you can eat this one with two hands. Read on for all the meaty details.
I've never had the pleasure of a pork tenderloin sandwich, be it homemade with nostalgia or purchased from a purveyor in Indiana, where the recipe originated. Someday, I hope to make it to the legendary Mug n Bun drive-in in Indianapolis.
Who wouldn't want to eat at a place called the Mug n Bun? Plus, you can wash down your Hoosier pork tenderloin with homemade root beer. For the uninitiated, Indiana's most famous sandwich involves a dinner plate-sized piece of pork, pounded, breaded, fried, and served on a bun that looks tiny by comparison. For more on its history, keep reading.
Unless you are well acquainted with a Buffalonian, as I am, you've probably never heard of beef on weck. A cousin of the French dip — possibly even a predecessor — this famous regional sandwich originated in Buffalo, NY, in the early 1800s, making it one of America's most historic sandwiches. And beef on weck purveyor Schwabl's has been around almost as long, since 1837.
The catchy name is short for beef on kummelweck or kimmelweck, and the weck in question is a Kaiser-type roll sprinkled with caraway seeds and salt crystals. It's piled with thinly sliced hot roasted beef and drenched in roasting juices, either on the roll, on the meat, or on the side, much like an Italian beef sandwich or French dip.
The rolls are thought to have been brought to Buffalo from the Black Forest by William Wahr, a German baker, and the fact that the credited French dip inventor, Philippe Mathieu, stopped off in Buffalo en route to California from France suggests the beef on weck might be the French dip's inspiration.
As with any beloved regional sandwich, locals seem to have strong opinions on how to make 'em right, like whether or not you should spread horseradish on the sammie. So Buffalonians, tell me: what's the best way to eat beef on kummelweck? And should I try Schwabl's or somewhere else?
Source: Flickr User Nickgraywfu
Famous for its 31 flavors — of grilled cheese — the Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ, is the ultimate soda fountain. Much like Peanut Butter and Co. in New York City, Pop Shop peddles nostalgia by taking a childhood favorite to the max.
The four-page menu includes basic grilled cheese as well as crazy creations like grilled Brie and asparagus on a baguette and a sandwich called the Linden: American cheese, chopped
Angus beef, caramelized onions, and mushrooms, served on a split soft pretzel. A sandwich made on a soft pretzel? I think I smell a sandwich idea! The menu also has tons more sandwiches and breakfast items, including a triple-decker Bananas Foster French toast sandwich. If I ever make it there, my only problem will be deciding what to order. What would you get?
Photo: Flicker User Burger Baroness and Pop Shop
Though I still must try a real Philly cheesesteak, even higher on my sand wish list is another famous Philadelphia sandwich, the roast pork. I am a bigger fan of pork than beef, yet in my opinion, roasted pork doesn't show up on sandwiches nearly enough. The special touch here is broccoli rabe to green and grit up the meat and usually provolone cheese.
I've heard that Tony Luke's does a great roast pork, and my cheesesteak expert pal also highly recommends the fare at Tommy DiNic's (pictured above). Have you ever had a Philadelphia roast pork sandwich? If so, share your recommendations below.
Photo: Flickr User Scaredykat
Chivitos have been on my sand wish list since I first heard of them, but flying down to Uruguay for a sandwich isn't very practical. Thankfully, my friend Nineveh has a friend named Nick who recently devoured a chivito in Uruguay and was thoughtful enough to take pictures! I don't know Nick, but I like him already. Above is a chivito Nick consumed in Montevideo at Marcos, a sandwich chain specializing on this regional sammie. According to Wikipedia, a chivito typically showcases thinly sliced churrasco beef, bacon, mayo, olives, cheese, and tomatoes on a bun. I'm not sure what exactly is on Nick's sandwich, but I'd still dig into it. Nick, who has Uruguayan roots, also recommends the chivitos from a place called La Passiva. Check out more photos of Nick and his sandwich.
Inspired by this wonderfully Freudian sign
comes Sand Wish List, where I'll chronicle the sandwich joints I haven't had the pleasure of visiting but desperately crave. First up: Cole's
in Los Angeles, which I had my eye on even before my friend Phil (below left) gave the beef and blue cheese French dip a glowing review.
Both Cole's and Philippe the Original
claim to have invented the French dip in the early 1900s. Until recently, Cole's was closed, so Philippe won by default. But now Cole's has reopened as both a sandwich mecca and a purveyor of classic cocktails, which is sort of what I think heaven must be like.
I am a big Philippe's fan, and really, it doesn't matter who made the French dip first. What matters is whose is better, which is why Cole's is on my Wish List. If you've been to both, let me know what you think is better.