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Bay Cities (Santa Monica): Good, but NOT TRANSCENDENT

Hi Hounds,

So I finally made it over to Bay CIties to try their ever-famous meatball sub.

It was fine, but the way people have gone on and on about it... well, I was expecting to have some major food-gasm or something. And I didn't.

Oh well. Just goes to show you how subjective everything is.

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  1. Bay Cities has great sandwiches, but IMHO, their cold sandwiches do it for me. I really like their poor boys but the sandwich that I most crave is the Godmother. A couple of work associates who hale from New York and New Jersey tell me that this one comes close to home...

    3 Replies
    1. re: bulavinaka

      Had a very good Godmother from Bay Cities this week. They're always very good.

      What does IMHO mean?

      1. re: Barbara Ladden

        Im a Mad Hot Orangutan... ;) In My Humble Opinion... everyone has one - just trying to be humble about it...

        1. re: Barbara Ladden

          Yes, I was underwhelmed by the Meatball... MUCH perfer the Godmother.. with the WORKS and about 1 hour resting time so the flavors meld and the bread soaks up the dressing....

          --Dommy!

      2. Bay Cities did nothing for me either -- hot or cold. The closest I found in L.A. to the model of sandwiches shops (White House Subs in Atlantic City) is Original Rinaldi's Italian Deli (Tanks sel). Still not the White House in size but the amount of meat is respectiable. For cold subs they offer Boars Head and the hot sand are very good also. Our group of five travel 25 miles each way twice a month to eat here and each visit we order one meatball sand. The small sand are made on a large round roll. IMO it would look better on a regular french style but the bread is the same. The result of ordering a small is you get a great meatball sand that is bigger than a burger but cost less than any burger meat of that quality. But maybe you will want the large. The sause is not overpowering -- just right. The cold sand are also good and the meat is sliced thicker than most places. If all the tables are taken just hang around because the crowd moves fast.

        Original Rinaldi's Italian Deli
        323 Main St.
        El Segundo, CA 90245
        (310) 647-2860

        6 Replies
        1. re: JeetJet

          I've found Rinaldi's to be OK, maybe because I grew up eating Bay Cities. I used to go to Rinaldi's when I worked in El Segundo. As you like the meat sliced a little thicker, I am the opposite - feel the flavor is better revealed by a thinner slice given a similar amount of ingredients - cheese included. Just a personal preference, like most things...

          1. re: bulavinaka

            It's Bay Cities for me. Well worth braving the inconvenience of the crowds and the parking.

            It's the BREAD! I can't find anything else like it in an Italian deli in LA. I usually get the Godmother too.

            I tried Rinaldi's and Sorrento and was underwhelmed by both.

            1. re: lad1818

              I think like alot of other places that we all throw back and forth at each other, as long as the place obviously makes a serious go at putting out a quality product, the rest is personal preference. I grew up eating at Bay Cities evere since I first started going to Santa Monica Beach on my bike back in the 70s. There's no denying that this place and Rinaldi's have earned great reps. As for Sorrento, they're ok in my book.

              1. re: lad1818

                "It's the BREAD!" OK, we agree that a sandwich must start with great bread or....
                IMO, the best bread is at Eagle Rock Bakery -- outside perfect crunch and inside perfect taste and softness.. Go on Sat. and get the pizza Bread along with those perfecrt sanwich rolls. A MUST try. Put is all together yourself (they do make sandwiches but do your own).
                Eagle Rock Bakery (fresh baked Italiao sandwich bread and top quality Italian meats and cheese)
                1726 Colorado Blvd.
                Los Angeles, CA 90041
                (323) 255-8224

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    I was going to reply here about the bread, which led me into a fit of wishful daydream yearnings for meatball subs of my youth that manifested itself in this thread:

                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/391837

                    By the way, I've had the meatball sub at bay cities-- mushy meatballs. Bleh. Godmother is a pretty great sandwich though.

                    Mr Taster

          2. If you try Bay Cities, it's definitely the "Godmother". Plus as others have posted, it's the bread. I buy their bread whenever my GF and I make spaghetti at home. Also GF is not a sandwich eater, but she loves the Godmother. Do you have a favorite deli?

            1. I'm a big Bay Cities Deli fan. Not a "transcendent" experience, but I'm always happy going there. Friendly, helpful, good-humored staff, from the guys making the sandwiches to the ladies at the hot foods counter and the checkout. On the cold sandwiches, it is the pepper spread or the olive relish on top that really makes it superior, besides the perfect sandwich rolls. The meatball subs don't travel well, but I get a few meatballs, rolls, and provolone slices to bring home or picnic. They carry a lot of unusual soft drinks, and don't rip you off on the bottled Pepsi products as some delis do. Yes, there is a long wait for the cold sandwiches during lunch rush, but never at the hot counter and you can FAX orders in. My only complaint -- I'm often in Santa Monica and hungry on a Monday, when they are closed. My compliments to a business that really gets so much of it RIGHT.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nosh

                You can also email your order in which I love!

              2. i used to be addicted to the meatball sandwiches.....until i discovered the caprese.
                try it. delish!

                and then buy a loaf of bread, some fresh ricotta and some caponata from the deli counter. heaven.

                2 Replies
                1. re: luvgrub

                  The caprese is favored by my wife who is now a vegetarian for the most part. I had a bite and it was delisioso. A sandwich of a few simple ingredients requires that they be of great quality and very fresh as well; otherwise, it will be mediocre at best.

                  Your idea of bread, fresh ricotta and caponata makes me yearn for a picnic basket with a nice bottle of chianti. I'm sitting under an oak tree on a grassy hill on a sunny spring day in Los Olivos... thanks!

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    It may seem a waste to let that great bread get a bit soggy, but I think the caprese sandwiches are better the second day. The vinegar and oregano will have had a chance to soak in and season everything...but it is a tradeoff because the bread isn't as wonderful.

                2. two words -- Sandwich Saloon in San Pedro. Good stuff - if you find yourselves in San Pedro, definitely check out the place. Huge USC fans too!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tiamarty

                    I live in the marina so I'm fortunate enough to be located to easily check out both Bay Cities and Rinaldi's. I'm completely intrigued by this Godmother sandwich. What praytell is on it??

                    1. re: purediva

                      If you're not in a rush, just go there, grab a number, line up and order. If you are in a rush, you can fax them. I would suggest going there on your first try. It's a nice market with lots of great items. You could easily spend an hour in there just cruising the aisles and loading up your basket.

                      http://www.baycitiesitaliandeli.com/

                      They are closed Mondays... everyone needs a break...

                  2. I guess Bay Cities is proving the theory of the late Kurt Vonnegut that time is circular!