One thing I love about San Francisco: despite our tendency to name neighborhoods every few blocks (the Tendernob, Lower Pac Heights, Nopa), we've christened miles of the city with just one name — the Richmond — which gives me license to group together these three delicious Richmond district sandwiches.
First up: Lou's Sandwiches Cafe, a Yelp favorite with a line out the door. I ordered a veggie sandwich with avocado, roasted peppers, pepperoncini, cucumber, and swiss cheese, with the promising inclusion of "Lou's special sauce."
The special sauce lived up to its name on this excellently crafted sandwich. Served on my favorite type of wheat roll, which is criminally hard to find, the sammie held together heartily even with so many delicate ingredients.
The next time I found myself eating sandwiches in the Richmond, I discovered two more exceptional eats, at Blue Danube Coffee House. We went halfsies with two veggie options (what can I say? I'm on an avocado kick) that were both delicious.
The first bore resemblance to my Lou's order, but rather than special sauce, it offered a brilliant combination: hummus drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I don't know why I never thought to do that, but now I'm sold. Perfectly toasted bread and cheddar cheese also won me over.
The caprese sandwich, fixed up yummily with olive tapenade and basil, bested most mozzarella sandwiches I've eaten. That's mostly because the focaccia was outstanding: not too doughy or too oil-y, making for a very well-balanced stack of flavors. I might order this one again just for the bread, but the ratio of ingredients was also delish.
Sometimes, sandwiches taste better when they're totally unexpected — for instance, served at a grocery store in an old gas station in Florida. Equally unexpected: finding forgotten, six-month-old photos on my laptop that are making my mouth water all over again.
On my last trip to P'cola, we lunched at East Hill Market, which is located inside an old service station and still feels like one. Thankfully, instead of jerky, they sell sandwiches like this. My mom and I went halfsies on a turkey club panini with pesto and this incredibly delectable avocado and red pepper on wheat.
It's been so long I don't really recall all of the minute details of the sammies, but the photos pretty much speak for themselves, don't you think?
Just the word "porchetta" sounds delicious, and the unctuous, delectable roast Italian pork tastes as intriguing as its name. Porchetta's, a lunch diner in my hometown in Pensacola, took a bold gamble naming itself for this succulent pork dish, but its sandwiches do porchetta proud.
The piece de resistance is the 8-ounce porchetta sandwich, pictured above, which my dad ordered on our recent visit. It takes pages from po'boys and French dips but shuns any adornments, and in fact, none are necessary because the pork is so flavorful.
The best thing about Porchetta's is that the restaurant puts its star ingredients on any sandwich in need of pork. My stepmom sampled the banh mi, pictured above, dressed with cilantro and the surprising but yummy addition of kimchi. Despite being one of the messiest banh mi I've ever handled, it totally worked.
I couldn't resist the idea of porchetta on a Cuban, and as I suspected, it was a brilliant idea. This traditional Cuban packed a serious punch, despite its unassuming construction. Along with the rest of the menu, this Porchetta's creation makes a strong argument for global sandwich fusion, done entirely without pretension.
I love being a lady who lunches — over sandwiches. On a recent family vacay, me and the girls (plus Jonas) enjoyed a lovely lunch at Arts and Letters Cafe across from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. On the menu: white wine, champy, and museum-worthy sandwiches, which were both beautiful and tasty. The soothing courtyard setting really took it to the next level. Take a tour.
You may have noticed that I like sandwiches. The day my video came out declaring me a sandwich connoisseur, resident CEO and hoagie aficionado Brian Sugar offered to buy me lunch, on one condition. It had to be his favorite sandwich, what Brian calls a "big, sweaty sandwich" from Gambino's.
I love Gambino's New York-style subs, though I normally wouldn't order an Italian meat torpedo like this, stacked with ham, salami, and mortadella. But when the boss offers to buy everyone lunch, you get his favorite sandwich. And I must admit, it was delicious.
Here's what I love about a Gambino's sub: the shredded iceberg lettuce, the sturdy yet soft roll soaked with oil, and the generous dousing of red wine vinegar, which, as Brian points out, is underrated. The combination of the cool lettuce and vinegar with spicy, unctuous Italian meats just doesn't work as well with turkey.
Thanks, Brian. You have good taste.
Since my favorite Vietnamese sandwich costs $3, I was skeptical about Bun Mee, the bourgie but adorably hip banh mi spot in Pacific Heights. But after hearing some good things, I stopped by for some sammies with my mom before the Drive by Truckers concert.
We ordered two and went halvsies: five-spice chicken and smoky grilled eggplant. Though I wasn't disappointed, I also wasn't blown away. We loved the depth of flavor in the five spice chicken (below), though I couldn't distinguish the taste of the caramel aioli. The eggplant banh mi (above), dressed with cauliflower relish and red curry aioli, was underwhelming; I thought the eggplant was undercooked.
My biggest gripe, beyond the creative aiolis not standing out, was the bread. Though very fresh, it lacked the density and crustiness of the sandwiches in Little Saigon or even New Orleans po'boys. The sandwiches were good, but not great; I think I'll take Saigon Sandwiches for $3 instead.
On a rare day when I don't bring my lunch to work, I always tell myself I'll get a salad, but I end up falling for a sandwich instead. This happened on a recent excursion to Fleur de Sel to buy a tasty salad. But when I stepped up the counter, I was tempted by this bagel and lox-inspired sandwich.
On soft and yummy multigrain bread, this sandwich combined velvety smoked salmon, lemon-tinged cream cheese, pickled red onions, and capers. Though it was a little too wet (made earlier that day), it exceeded my premade sandwich expectations. The zesty, creamy, tangy, and bright flavors added up to a deliciously complex mouthful for just four ingredients.
Also: capers on a sandwich is a great idea. I'm going to try it on some other combos too.
For most of my life, I hated mushrooms, and when I turned the corner into mushroom conversion, I became somewhat obsessed. Lately, 'shrooms have been my go-to sandwich filling if I'm not feeling particularly meaty. The earthy, salty taste and the substantial presence feel so decadent, especially when melted with cheese.
First we have a mushroom panini from DeLessio Market, smushed into cheesy service with zucchini and onions. Like many mushroom panini, this suffered from a slight slippery-ness, but that didn't stop me from eating the whole thing.
Below, we have a rare specimen of pretty decent airport food: a toasted mushroom and red pepper sub from a Potbelly knockoff at Chicago O'Hare. It wasn't quite as exciting as my Schlotzsky's encounter, but after a long flight, it hit the spot.
I have already sung the praises of Peg Leg Pete's fried grouper sandwich, but one visit wasn't enough. So on my last trip to Pensacola, dad, Dee, and I took Andrew to taste the strange deliciousness of American cheese on fried fish.
Thankfully, Peg Leg's did not disappoint. We ordered two dozen oysters, an afternoon bushwacker, and a few fish sammies. I got the Cajun grilled grouper this time (below), and though the fish is just as succulent and buttery, the fried version still wins out.
I don't necessarily subscribe to the philosophy that everything is better fried, but Peg Leg's just knows how to treat a slab of battered grouper. The fish is so indulgently unctuous, like a buried treasure in a kaiser bun with cheese. Just trust me on this.
The first time I encountered tempeh, I was a high-schooler venturing trepidatiously into a vegetarian restaurant in Atlanta, and the soy patty sandwich blew me away.
Since then, I have never had tempeh that impressed me much, until this tempeh banh mi at Urban Picnic. The protein is savory, spiced, and layered with flavor, like a good marinated meat.
More details and photos after the jump.