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Best Sandwich at Bay Cities?

I have ordered the same sandwich at Bay Cities in Santa Monica for the last 10 years. (Godmother, works, no peppers). I love this sandwich. I need to mix it up. Turkey, Caprese.... Help me out. (Make sure and tell me how to order it. I don't want the guys behind the counter to call my number and not be prepared)

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  1. If you read through this thread you will get many good BC sandwich alternatives (not to mention all of the other sandwich places/types offered up).


    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      Thanks for the thread. Quite the lively debate about Bay Cities. Great Info!

    2. You should be ordering on-line! I love salami and cheddar with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, italian dressing, hot pepper salad, pepper, and dijon mustard. Lately, however, I've been getting capicola and provolone with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, italian dressing, sweet pepper salad, pepper, and dijon mustard.

      1 Reply
      1. re: a_and_w

        I don't do the online ordering because it gives me an excuse to shop the market for pantry items. I could save a lot of money if I didn't feel the need to buy San Marzano tomatoes everytime I go there.

      2. Mortadella, havarti, tomato, basil, onion, extra olive oil, extra balsamic, pepperoncinis.

        OR, Caprese, add Italian style prosciutto, extra olive oil and balsamic (they're pretty stingy unless you specify you want extra, for my taste)

        They have grilled sandwiches in the hot case, as well, which in my experience have been AWESOME.

        6 Replies
        1. re: daftpunkxl

          I've tried all of their turkeys and they're all uninteresting at best--most of the turkey flavour has been processed out and replaced with salt, sugar, smoke, or a combo.
          I like the poorboy--I get it with the works, no mayonnaise and no peppers--as much as the godmother.
          I also like the hot pastrami, even if it's not your Langer's / Jewish deli style of pastrami. It's good in its own right.
          Often when I don't want to wait, I'll order a slice of chicken parmesan and a roll and take it home to make a sandwich.

          1. re: Wolfgang

            I too like the Poorboy loaded with hot peppers for me..

            1. re: Foodandwine

              Third on those poorboys. Simple but tasty!

            2. re: Wolfgang

              Definitely will try the Poorboy on one of the visits

            3. re: daftpunkxl

              Caprese+prosciutto is my sandwich.

              1. re: daftpunkxl

                Nice, I like the idea of starting with the Caprese and adding meat. Can't go wrong there.

              2. Their Meatball sandwich is very good.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: malibumike

                    I was talking to a friend today, he said to have them mix meatballs and sausage together and melt some provolone over the top.

                  2. Well, now all of my favorite Bay Cities sandwiches have been mentioned. The Godmother is the classic, but admittedly the meats are full-flavored but not generously sliced into a thick meaty wide-mouthed behemoth. The poorboy is very much a contrast -- almost too much meat, enough to take some off for balance, but it is mostly bland bologna and not the good stuff. I love the meatball, and I agree that it reheats into a crusty hot leftover feast, but it doesn't travel well -- it needs to be consumed on the spot or rewarmed, not like a Godmother that is better an hour later or after a stint in the fridge. Prices on the cold sandwiches just went up a bit -- the hot combos and daily specials are now an even better value in comparison. C'mon folks, most Bay Cities meat is nothing special -- it is Boar's Head, mostly -- but the rolls are absolutely special and superlative, and they are also sold really cheap for the size. But there is something about them, like the tapes at the beginning of the old Mission Impossible TV episodes that self-destructs in five seconds -- no matter how i wrap or store them, those rolls go hard and dead and stale if you stare at them cross-eyed. Yes, I've purchased the meatballs (the price them much more expensively for less than six) and made my own meatball subs at home, but unless I'm feeding a crowd I'm tired of them by the time I get through even a portion. But when all is said and ordered, I love Bay Cities -- the crowds, the smells, the lines. The wait, the anticipation, the crusty substantial rolls with the crisp, sour, spicy tart pepper salad as a condiment along with the meat and veggies. A great example of the whole being so much more than the sum of the parts.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: nosh

                      You're not kidding about the shelf life of the rolls. I bought a couple last weekend for a pulled pork sandwich and they were half stale when i sampled them in the checkout line. About 10 minutes in a 250 degree oven brought them back to (almost) fresh out of the oven levels of goodness.
                      I also share your sentiments about the GM. I'm always disheartened a bit at the lack of meat, especially when I'm holding my gf's turkey sandwich and the GM and the turkey weighs noticably more. The GM needs and deserves more meat.
                      The meatballs are just good enough to make a good sandwich. I buy a meatball and a sausage, cut them into chunks and heat them in sauce at home, and then make a combo meatball/sausage sandwich with a nice helping of crushed red pepper flakes.

                      1. re: nosh

                        Great post. Agree that the Boars Head meats are nothing special. I buy my good ingredients at Guidi Marcello. I have never understood the excitement about Bay Cities.

                          1. re: kevin

                            Guidi Marcello is on 10th street, just north of Olympic in Santa Monica. They are not open on weekends.

                        1. re: nosh

                          A friend buys loaves of BC bread and freezes them on the same day they are baked. When he is ready to eat, he then takes them out of the freezer in the AM, and by Mid day they thaw to same day baked freshness. Seems odd to freeze bread the day you buy it, but it works. If you wait until the second day, you are screwed. Not sure if it works the same for the rolls.

                        2. I love Italian hard salami, imported swiss with "the works".

                          1. I've never been before but plan on stopping by tomorrow for lunch; I'm thinking of ordering a Godmother w/the works, and a Meatball.

                            My only question is, the site only lists the sizes as "Small" and "Large"; what dimensions do these mean (e.g. 6" and 12")?


                            3 Replies
                            1. re: a213b

                              The large is maybe another 50% bigger than the regular -- probably about 6" and 9". I'm a big eater, and a fully loaded large is enough for two meals for me, a regular is a very hefty lunch on its own. Note: They often enforce an extra charge for a large split and wrapped separately into two.

                              1. re: a213b

                                So I tried each of the two sandwiches I planned on getting -- the Godmother w/the works (spicy peppers) and a Meatball with Provolone.

                                I'll be honest, I really thought I was going to find this place overrated, but they were both really good. I see what people mean about the bread ... it REALLY makes the sandwich. I would happily get either of these two again.

                                That being said, I would do just what we did today, which is order online and go pick it up. In all honesty, despite being tasty, to me these sandwiches are not "wait in line for 45 minutes" good.

                                1. re: a213b

                                  Honestly, I love "waiting" in line at BC. Grab a number and go shop the market. I try to make it a rule to leave BC with something I have never tried in my basket each time I go. The olive oil section can kill 20 minutes by itself!

                              2. If Claro's ever opened a branch in the vicinity Bay Cities would be history regarding their sandwiches.
                                We've eaten more Godmothers from BC's than most out of limited options ,but they are mostly a let down. We order DOUBLE MEAT and it's still not great! What's the story with the bun you have to fight sometimes just to chew through?
                                Claro's Sandwich is so much better that I'll drive the extra 15 miles to get one.
                                The Large Claro's Italian Double Meat & Cheese Sandwich for 8-9 dollars is like 4 Godmothers put together. In fact it will feed 3-4 people. Higher quality ingredients also.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: russkar

                                  I've never had to fight through Bay Cities bread (not a bun) though it is occasionally soggy. What do you mean "limited options"? There are countless possible combinations out of the various meats, cheeses, and toppings. Regardless, thanks for the rec re Claro's -- I'll be very curious to compare.

                                  1. re: russkar

                                    I agree that the bread is too crusty for me. My jaw is aching by the last 20% of a sandwich.

                                  2. Tuna salad with the works on a roll - amazing!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: CD21

                                      Tuna on freshly-baked ciabatta at Belwood in Brentwood is even more amazing!

                                    2. I always get simple smoked turkey and provolone with the works. Always good

                                      1. Meatball and sausage mixed together with both provolone and mozzarella.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: foh

                                          Oh my...I had no idea sausage and meatball could be mixed! Is there any way to do this if ordering on-line?

                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                            yes, they allow you to customize your sandwhich on the right side.of your order online...ive done it....if they dont allow this anymore, call and ask for hector and he will see that you can split your meatball. with sausage..of course its just as easy and better if you go the the hot counter and do this...the roll holds up much better this way

                                            1. re: jrcheesesteak

                                              Thanks for the tip! I usually reheat my hot sandwiches in the oven anyway, so it's nice to know how to order the split sandwich on-line.

                                          1. i have been eating at BC EVERY DAY FOR 10 YEARS!! Of course, being from Philly for most of my life, I have made a lifelong study of cheesesteaks, delis, and sandwich shops in this town and others. JEFFAND NAT, AND NOSH, you are right on the money with all of your comments, both positive and negative. I would only add that although going online was a godsend to us linewaiters, try going lite on the o and v if you do order online, because the oil and vinegar or dressing seeps into the roll if it sits on the rack too long, and you end up with the dreaded SOGGY ROLL

                                            1. "I don't want the guys behind the counter to call my number and not be prepared."

                                              That summarizes Bay Cities for me. Go over to a much-less-tedious Junior's and pick up the same (good) Boar's Head corporation-produced meats after a very satisfying breakfast with Texas-cut cinnamon toast.

                                              1. I always thought Bay Cities was really good. Not amazing but certainly something enjoyable. That is until I tried their grilled paninis. BEST-SANDWICH-EVER. I think they do a few different kinds now but I always get the panini godmother...Something alchemical happens to the sandwich when they grill it up and it becomes truly sublime. They aren't made to order. The sandwiches are stacked in a pile next to the hot food case on the right of the deli...If you're in a hurry they're a great grab because they're pre-made and you can get one and be eating it before most people have even had their number called....You will thank me....Also, these sandwiches tend to have longer shelf life than the regular sub. I've heated it up the next day and it was delish. I dream of these sandwiches. They call me to Bay Cities like a Siren calls a sailor.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: willyrosner

                                                  Of course Siren's called sailors to a watery death...hmm, too many of those panini's will call one to an early CCU near death experience - so I guess there is a similarity after all... ;-D>

                                                2. I love their hot pastrami (works, mild). It's probably the forerunner to both a heart attack and a stroke with all that fat and salt, but it's SO GOOOOOOOOOD.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: aching

                                                    totally concur, tho i get every sandwhich with the works, hot....i already had a stroke so i figure what the f!!! (i never in a million years thought youd catch me eating pastrami with anything except mustard or slaw and russian dressing, but BCs is money....go figure

                                                  2. Godmother with the works mild (and the bread scooped out- my personal preference). Heaven!