Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Best of: Sandwiches

Earlier this summer I introduced the idea of a "Best of" series where I'd list my favorite LA foods by category. Each category will likely have between three and five items but there's really no rulebook on my end. So let's get started!

Sandwiches are the best, aren't they? They can be hot or cold, savory or sweet, light and healthy or monstrous gut busters. There are many reasons why sandwiches are Joey Tribbiani's favorite food and why I love them dearly as well. So if you're looking for the top sandwiches in Los Angeles, consider my 'Best of' list below.

#1 - The Godmother at Bay Cities Italian Deli, Santa Monica

The Godmother is a monster sandwich with Genoa Salami, Mortadella, capicola, ham, prosciutto and provolone tucked inside an Italian roll, baked daily at Bay Cities. Order "the works" and all of this comes with mayo, mustard, onions, pickles, tomatoes, Italian dressing and hot pepper salad. The combination of fresh bread, fresh sliced meats and cheese, and the tangy vinegar from the dressing and pepper salad make it instantly addicting. The deli counter is always packed, but it's worth the wait. If you're anywhere near Santa Monica, I suggest you stop by Bay Cities and grab a sammy to take to the beach. You'll want to leave yourself some time to browse the aisles too, because Bay Cities is also a specialty food store. Don't forget to grab an extra loaf of amazing bread on your way out. You'll make use of it at home if you can resist eating it on the car ride back.

Please note that in the photo above I opted for smoked turkey with "the works". While I love the Godmother and it was the first sandwich I had at Bay Cities, I have since switched to a leaner turkey sandwich that is just as tasty and addicting.

#2 - Joan's Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich at Joan's on Third, Los Angeles

Joan's on Third is a magical place. Yes it's always packed and a little chaotic, but that's to be expected of the foodie equivalent to Disneyland. Cases upon cases of meats, cheeses and prepared foods surround you, along with a marketplace full of snacks or ingredients to take home. And let's not forget the bakery counter! I'd go just for a latte and pastry or cupcake. But meals at Joan's on Third are a special treat because they have such a great selection of salads and sandwiches, including Joan's Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich. Imagine the lightest meatloaf, not dense or dry in the least, sandwiched between fluffy bread with vinegary dressed greens and chili aioli. Warm and full of flavor but not heavy in the least, I could gobble down this entire sandwich and still entertain a hike after.

#3 - Short Rib Sandwich at Joan's on Third, Los Angeles

Joan's on Third takes another win in the sandwich category; And deciding between which is better is like choosing your favorite child or dog. (Just kidding, Chula wins every time!) While the turkey meatloaf is light and somewhat healthy, the Short Rib is buttery-meaty-cheesy decadence. I've not yet been able to eat more than one half of this sandwich, but that half is always pure ecstasy. The crunchy bread protects the moist short rib hiding inside while melted jack cheese, arugula and red onions bring the savoriness up to another level. This is the type of sandwich that leaves grease on your hands and a smile on your face.

#4 - Rosemary Chicken Panini at Artisan Cheese Gallery, Studio City

The panini is perhaps one of the world's simplest and best culinary creations. What could be bad about toasty bread and melty cheese? The Rosemary Chicken panini at Artisan Cheese Gallery is filled to the brim with grilled rosemary chicken, provolone cheese, pancetta, smoked paprika aioli and arugula. The peppery arugula with perhaps a hint of lemon juice cuts the salty pancetta and combines perfectly with the smoke from the chicken and aioli. Served with sweet and spicy pickles, this sandwich is toasty perfection.

#5 - Breakfast Panini at Aroma Coffee & Tea, Studio City


Here I will mourn the death of a truly spectacular sandwich at Aroma Coffee & Tea. I love this cozy outdoor cafe in Studio City and their selection of spectacular coffee drinks and baked goods. The quaint setting and the delicious food have had me coming back consistently over the six years that I've lived in LA. My go-to breakfast item was the breakfast panini with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, bacon, tomato and avocado on rosemary focaccia bread. On my last visit I noticed that this item is no longer on the menu and seems to have been replaced by a similar version without avocado. The new Aroma Breakfast Sandwich may not even be served on delicious grilled focaccia. I haven't had the heart to try it's replacement yet. Please, just allow a moment of silence.