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Nov 13, 2006 06:15 PM

The Mother of all Sandwiches is not dead

I lived outside of Peru for nearly 25 years. And I spent all that time in an endless quest for the perfect sandwich. I tried Mexican tortas, and they are great. I've been at the source or Philly's steak sandwiches, I've had dozens of very creative burgers and (chicken) churrascos in Manhattan, I've been a regular at Katz, but never ever could I find the glorious, simple sandwiches I had left behind in the 80's. A year ago I went back to Lima, and continued my quest to no avail. Some of the old houses were not there anymore. Some had succumbed to cold economics. Some pretended to be the real thing, and most people believed them. Then a miracle happened. Driving by Barranco one night, I saw the light. Well, an extremely well lit hole in the wall named Monster Sandwiches. What caught my eye was the people outside. About a dozen girls an guys with that unmistakably air of happiness that great food can trigger. So I parked and went to the line. God, it was such a good smell. They had the classic menu: turkey; "jamón del país"(country ham), a boiled ham seasoned with cumin and achiote; "jamón serrano" which is not the Spanish version, but an andean ham made with pigs that live above 10 thousand feet and are probably the only ones in ghe globe who pasture with goats, sheep, cows an llamas; and chicken. I ordered one "jamon del país" sandwich with everything on top. That means mayo, julienned onions and peruvian chile sauce. In less than one minute, I had in my hands a perfect sandwich. Large bread, like right from the oven, the right amount of ham. Enough for a large appetite, but not asking for a doggy bag, The ham had a complex flavor: it was, as it should be, unsalted, and seasoned by an expert hand at the moment of fixing the sandwich, and cumin and achiote were barely perceptible. The meat was tender, cut by hand in slighty irregular shapes not killed by slicer. It was not greasy. It was again the mother of all sandwiches. Got to go back for the other choices, including some that are new to me, like veal ham. If you ever go to Lima, try this, by all means. It is the best 2 dollars investment ever.

Sandwichs Monstruos, Pierola, Cuadra 1, Barranco, almost on the corner with Grau

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  1. What about that old place on the plaza in Barranco--place with two sections, sandwhiches in the front, wines and pisco through the back where all the theater posters are?

    1. There are also an old one called "Super Rueda", on pardo 1224 avenue (miraflores), opens till late (i mean really late). Also "La Pava" also in Miraflores. Comandante Espinar 847 (half a block from "ovalo gutierrez"), thursday to saturdays closes at 5 am.

      1. Oh, that's Juanito. Love the place. A must-go whenever you are in Lima. A Best pig's feet in town and their olives sandwich is unbeatable. Sandwiches are good but in a different league. Monster Sandwiches is a take-out place. Their only value is their amazing sandwiches. At Juanito you can spend a lazy afternoon or a busy evening. The place has a soul, and good pisco.