I took my long-term relationship with 'Wichcraft to a new level last week. After years of eating its sandwiches, cooking from the cookbook, and treating my hangovers with its breakfasts, I got up close and personal with 'wichcraft and its sandwich makers in this episode of Get the Dish on POPSUGAR Food. As if that weren't exciting enough, today I received a personal email from 'wichcraft co-founder Jeffrey Zurofsky, thanking me for the video and calling it "a piece we can be proud of for a long time." It warmed my heart even more than an onion frittata breakfast sandwich. OK, I'm done bragging.
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When I moved into the POPSUGAR offices in New York, the first sandwich place everyone told me to try was Spreads. I needed very little convincing, especially when I saw a salmon sandwich on the menu.
This wasn't just any salmon sandwich. Served on soft, toasty ciabatta, this was applewood hot-smoked salmon with pickled tomato jalapeno salsa, served warm. The fish was so delicious and bacon-like, I didn't even get the brown sugar bacon on top. Honestly, this sandwich sort of blew my mind.
I've since had the pleasure of enjoying a catered lunch spread or two from Spreads, and every sandwich I've sampled has been excellent. My second favorite so far is the aged cheddar and grilled asparagus with black truffle spread. I'm officially declaring, for now, that this my favorite sandwich spot by work.
I actually had a dream about this sandwich this weekend. I also had a dream that one of the twins I dated in middle school is now a politician, but that's not really relevant to this story.
In Chicago last weekend for the Pitchfork Music Festival, my friend Faith and I found ourselves staying at a hotel just down the street from Xoco, chef Rick Bayless's casual, sandwich-centric extension of his Frontera restaurant.
I've wanted to try the tortas there for three years now, so I was thrilled. Before embarking on our festival diet of vodka and Popchips, we started our Saturday at Xoco with one torta each.
I got the baja chicken torta (pictured), which was served on a baguette-type thing, but it was hollowed out and very easy to eat, especially with cooperation from the cabbage. The garlic chicken would make other torta meats ashmed, and the spreads of black beans and chipotle mayo accented without overwhelming the subtle wisps of woodburning oven flavor.
Faith got a chicken torta from the "griddled" menu called the milanesa: crispy chicken, black beans, jack cheese, pickled jalapenos, cabbage, tomatillo-avocado salsa, and cilantro crema. Sadly, I did not try hers, because I thought I was getting a cold, and I would have felt really bad had I gotten Faith sick only because I insisted on taking a bit of her sandwich.
If it's any indication, she and I both ate only a half of our sandwich, and all day, we talked about how excited we were to go back to our hotel and eat the other half. Also, I don't know why pine nuts on guacamole aren't more prevalent. Nice work, Xoco.
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.