Just the other day, someone asked about my best sandwich ever. I have given it some thought, and here are my answers. I had to categorize my answers, as the sandwich spectrum is just too broad.
Best Banh Mi Without a doubt, it was in Hanoi, about a block from my Old Town hotel. I have been there on two different trips, and the taste and quality are outstanding. Cars drive by, run in and pick up a “to go” bag, so it must be well accepted by the locals. The pork banh mi has moist meat, flavorful condiments, and the best pickled radish. One sandwich is not enough, but two is way too much.
Best Burger Hands down, the best burger we ever had was at the El Tovar Dining Room at the Grand Canyon. What made it so good? Maybe it was the snow on the ground, and having arrived by railway to the Grand Canyon. Maybe it was the medium rare beef, or the melted brie. It was memorable! I highly suggest it when you go to the Grand Canyon.
Best Cheesesteak When in Philly, you must try the cheesesteak at several joints. I was in the employee cafeteria of an insurance company where I was doing a consulting gig. The guy who hired me insisted on buying my lunch in the employee cafeteria, hardly a great venue for an esteemed guest. But for the week I was there, having tried numerous cheesesteaks, theirs was the best! Name of the place? Fidelity Union, I think.
Best Pastrami Sandwich Where else but Vegas, baby? The Carnegie Deli at the Mirage has a pastrami that is both huge and over the top! Make sure you share or plan on taking it home after! It stands about 6 inches tall, and might be the biggest sandwich I have ever seen. And I ordered the small one!
Best Grilled Cheese You would never guess where we had the best. It was at a small airport cafe’ in Lima, Peru. We needed a snack, so we had a bowl of tomato soup (also excellent), and a simple grilled cheese. It was heavenly, both simple, and substantial.
Best Beef You guessed it, a Chicago beef at Portillo’s, Chicago. They have a new location in Scottsdale, also quite good. The beef is sliced ultra-thin, quite moist, flavorful, and heavenly. Add some fries, and a beer = perfection!
Best Hot Dog I still harken back to my days, when I volunteered every Monday night at the Berkeley Free Clinic. I got off work at 6pm, and had just enough time to grab a hot dog at the Top Dog in Berkeley. Order any dog on the menu, they are all great!!!
Best Lobster Roll Having been to Maine, my favorite is still right here in California at Old Port Lobster Shop in Redwood City. They fly the lobster in daily. And they know how to make their sides. The slaw has a definite flavor of maple syrup!!! If you have time to kill before catching a plane, stop by.
Best Shish Kebab Sandwich Now defunct, I am sure, but old Omar Khayyam’s in downtown San Francisco had the best. I was probably just 14 or 15, when I first went. My Mom made great shish at home, but this sandwich was beyond words. Closer to home, I like the kababs at Kabab City in Fowler, and the old 500 Club in downtown Clovis.
Best Po’ Boy There is only one Johnny’s, and it is located in Nawlins, not far-off Bourdon Street. Order the works, which includes fried oysters. The line is always out the door, but it goes fast. Breakfast is also very good there.
Best fried fish sandwich I might be partial, but the fish and chips at Wimbledon (England) were positively delightful, with a beer, on a warm afternoon. It might be the only dish the English know how to prepare well!!
Best Italian Sandwich You will never find it (nor will I), but Fratelli’s in Denver might be the best sandwich I have ever had. Piled high with meat, just enough spices and sauce to make it delightful, this is the king of sandwiches!!!
Best Sausage Sandwich Many of you saw this one coming. Of course, I make Italian sausage each year with my brother. This sausage makes the BEST sandwich. We cook it with onions, peppers, and homemade tomato sauce. We smother an Italian roll with this combo, and attack it with a beer and a fork!
Best Deli Sandwich The Sweet Affair in Walnut Creek makes the best turkey sandwich, complete with cranberry sauce and cream cheese, sprouts and lettuce. By far, numero uno delicioso.
Best Veggie Sandwich Who among you remembers the Whole Earth chain of “healthy” food joints? The one in Berkeley got my attention in the 70s. Their tomato and avocado sandwich, with sprouts on whole grain remains the best I have EVER had.
Best Tri Tip Sandwich You would never guess the location, but it was Lodi, while on a cycling ride through the wine country. The Michael David Winery on Highway 12 has a great little cafe. The trip tip sandwich with grilled asparagus was outstanding, especially with a glass of their Inkblot Cab franc!
So, I am sure each of you has a sandwich that stands out above all others. The sandwich is a great lunch, sometime a good breakfast, but rarely a good dinner.