Sub Sandwiches in So Cal????
- Just Bill
I recently visited several cities in the Eastern
U.S. on business, and one of the things I found
was that their submarine sandwiches (yes, we
ate a lot of them during 'quick' lunches) were
far superior to those I have found here in the
L.A/O.C. area. Now, I know many who give out the
'Everything food is better in NY/Chicago/Philly/etc.',
but with these subs, that was true!!
In general, the ingredients seemed to be the
same type as available here, but the quality
and the diversity of what was used was far
different! One deli in NY (its name escapes me)
handed me a list of about 50 different meats & cheeses
that could be included in their sub!
Now, these places were a lot of mom & pop delis,
no Subways or Togos were used at all...
So, where do you go for a good sub (or a great
sub) in LA/OC???
With all due respect to those that have replied before me re: Bay Cities, pleeease. Bay Cities may be as good as LA has to offer (though I seriously hope not); but it ought not even be in the same sentence as an east coast deli. As an initial matter, the bread is all wrong, their hard, crusty roll, while nice in its own right, is entirely different in taste and texture to the east coast sub, hoagie, wedge, or hero roll (hereinafter collectively referred to as the "sub"); secondly, the meats, while apparently Boars Head, like many delis in NY, just seem to have a different flavor and composition, it's as if there is less susbtance to them; thirdly, speaking of less substance, Bay Cities combo subs, like the godmother, are as thin as crepes on the inside--paltry and pathetic. A true east coast sub is thick and meaty and a struggle to get your mouth around; fourthly, Bay Cities doesn;t even carry Russian Dressing as a condiment, which is shocking; finally, like every other place in LA, they don't carry Kaiser Rolls (which is its own discussion entirely), what is this all about?
Thank God I'll be visisting Philly in a week.
Your complaints about Bay Cities are misplaced. First, while I agree that Bay Cities' standard rolls are inconsistent (sometimes excellent, sometimes too crusty and not soft enuff inside), most of the time there is an alternate selection of relatively-fresh rolls on the shelves you can ask them to use instead (BTW, you may want to see someone about that Kaiser roll obsession). Second, why are you surprised that there's no Russian dressing in an Italian deli? (Try asking for balsamic vinegar, fresh mozzarella or basil at the Carnegie Deli.) Third, Dagwood, why is it necessarily a good thing that you have to struggle to fit a sandwich in your mouth - I find the flavor can be lost in a six-inch high pile of cold cuts. Fourth, and finally, your complaint that the meats, while apparently the same as in New York, supposedly "have a different flavor and composition" reveals that your problems with Bay Cities are truly masked complaints about Los Angeles itself; undoubtedly, you are a recent import, likely "in the industry," and simply want everything to be like it was in your beloved "Philly." You should enjoy Bay Cities for what it is - an excellent Italian deli that would be a favorite in New York or Philly were it located there; thankfully, it's all ours.
My dear friend,
First of all, your assumptions are incorrect, so it's not surprising that your conclusions are as well. I am not "in the industry," nor am I that recent a transplant anymore. Finally, Philly aint my "hometown," as you put it. Your provincial culinary perspective, however, is all too common in this town. That being said, let me assure you as a former New Yorker, schooled in Philadelphia, that Bay Cities wouldn't last a day back East.
Now, to address your specific points: First, no one would wait on line for a sandwich that contains as little meat as on one of their sandwiches. It's a waste of time and money.
Second, if I am getting a sub made for me at a deli, they better have the bread behind the counter, I'm not going shopping for it.
Third, russian dressing is a standard condiment at any deli back East and a necessary option to be able to consider with certain roast beef and/or turkey combinations, which they offer.
Fourth, it's not a kaiser roll obsession-btw-its simply an entree into an entirely separate discussion about the dearth of decent bread in this town.
I thought I'd try Bay Cities as I get to Santa Monica occaisionaly. The sandwich was only ok, the bread being the biggest problem. Nice bread, just not for a sub - too crunchy for a good sub sandwich. Meats were fine, nothing special. There have to be better sub sandwiches in LA/Orange county. The best sub sandwich I've ever had (actually the best 3 in 2 days) was in Boston...
Yeah, I like Bay Cities. I used to go there all the time when I went to Santa Monica High School, a couple blocks away. Particularly good sandwiches are the sausage, the meatball, and the Godmother. They also carry a lot of good packaged foods, including taramosalata. We talked about it a couple months ago here. I used to like Sorrento, in Culver City, too. I haven't been there for a few years, because I haven't been in Culver City much recently, though. It was more hamische than the rather cold Bay Cities, and it had a nice Old World clutteredness and dustiness that appealed to me. I wouldn't trust the packaged foods there, though, because they're mostly expired. They used to carry an outstanding Spanish olive oil called Lerida, but after we bought their entire stock, they refused to reorder, because that's the type of crappy service they had.
Bay Cities is a fantastic place. Be prepared to wait awhile for your sandwich though, because it gets real crowded at lunchtime. You can also fax your order in before hand.
My personal fav: Godmother, with the works, with hot peppers. :)
Also, be sure to pick up a can of Brazilian soda called Guaraná, similar to ginger ale, but better.
Also make sure to get lots of napkins. :)
The original Matt & Tony's in Van Nuys was the best, but these are almost identical to the original. Crispy, fresh Italian rolls, plenty of meat and cheese, pickles, onions, tomatoes, and italian dressing & seasoning.
Matt & Tony's Submarine Sandwiches
21032 Devnoshire St. #101
also at 10710 Sepulveda Blvd., Mission Hills
Yes, this native east coaster agrees, Bay Cities is the best in LA! The "Godmother" is their version of an italian sub....mmmmmmmm
My personal favorite is Cricca's, in Woodland Hills. It's on Topanga Canyon Blvd., in a tiny strip mall on the east side of the street, about a mile south of Ventura.
My personal favorite was always their meatball sub; even though I've stopped eating red meat, just the smell of it is enough to make me waver in my resolve. Ron, the owner, has an assortment of about 25 different sandwiches, including the Fatso and Bellybuster. For those not interested in a whole year's serving of meat on one sandwich, he also has a nice selection of prepared salads, as well as frozen Italian entrees to go.
Make sure you say hi to Ron's dad, who's often there working - he's probably pushing 90. One last note: Cricca's closes around three in the afternoon, so get your sandwiches early. Also, it gets very busy at the lunch hour, as every construction worker and high school student in the area converges for sandwiches.
Here are a couple of sub places that I enjoy.
Whenever I am around Beverly Center I go to Hoagie Hut near the south east corner of 3rd and La Cienega. All sorts of subs, but my favorite is their Godfather. My kids enjoy the Beef Dip. I appreciate how their subs are put together, nice and neat, as if you were making it for yourself. Be prepared for a ration of good natured abuse from Al. This place has been here for probably over 20 years, well worn booths, TV usually tuned to some sports endeavor, and pictures of Rocky Marciano and Sinatra on the walls.
Heres an obscure one, a liquor store at the SW corner of Pacific and Broadway in Glendale. They have a small deli and also sell imported foods. I stumbled upon this place while hobbling around with a broken foot visiting the medical centers in the area. I tried an Italian sub and a combo sub and there were both delicious.
Giamela's, on Las Feliz, is OK, with big sandwiches for the price. Regular stop for the LAFD and LAPD crowd. Another LAPD hangout is the East Side Deli on the western outskirts of Chinatown. I have only been there once, and my sub was a disaster, but my friends swear by it, so I may have to try again.