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Jun 18, 2009 10:30 AM

Ten Most Favorite Sandwiches

I like the idea of defining the ten best sandwiches I've ever had. It seems like a fairly good way of summarizing my whole life. Here goes in no particular order. I live in GA so much of this is skewed south, but the fun will be in everyone adding their favorites from their various regions:

1. Ham and Angel Biscuits--these are pretty much at every wedding I've ever been to (ncluding my own), but the ones I recall the most were at my aunt's wedding-- tiny buttery biscuits with a slice of country ham. Perfect. Also good when filled with tomato and cheddar, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Or just eat the cheese with the tomato on top. Or just eat the tomato. Or the cheese? At that point it isn't really a sandwich anymore but still, it brings tears to my eyes.

2. Central Grocery's muffaletta. Eaten while honeymooning. I finally grew up and learned to love olives while eating this sandwich.

3. Slim No. 5 from Jimmy John's: just ham, capicola, and provolone. These got me through college! Sure, it's from a chain, but it allows me to relive memories of getting off work at midnight, starving, finding less than three dollars in the wallet, and then stopping by Jimmy John's on my way to some unadivsable and terrible all-night bender. When I was particularly poor I would stop by the chain to get their day-old bread, which they sold for a quarter. We ate the day old loaves while roadtripping to the graduate school I eventually chose.

4.. Fried green tomato, bacon, and cheddar sandwich (with homemade ranch), from some random restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. Come on, that's just a brilliant setup right there. I would take the time to look up the restaurant but the reality is that this simple sandwich could be made just as easily at home-- there's really nothing much to frying something, frying another thing in the grease left by the first something, and then covering it with various forms of fat.

5. Mike Piazza from Stage Deli in NYC. Taught me that bologna had a place in my adult life. Had an egg cream on the side. I was aghast at the flavorful mixture of ham, bologna, and russian dressing. So simple, yet flavorful. What was with the weird pickles? As a country girl, my pickle tastes skewed bread-and-butter.

6. Random cafe outside of Versailles. Tomato and cheese on baguette with mustard and vinegar, salt and pepper. I was on a tour of Europe in high school, and my school had made scant arrangements to communicate my vegetarianism to our tour coordinators. As a result, the waitresses all hated me. Versailles was closed due to the-- get this-- muesum curators strike (how very euro!)-- so we walked (all 60 of us) in the rain to a cafe and the teachers begged them to feed us all. I don't know what I was supposed to have gotten, but I do remember a slightly annoyed waitress throwing a tomato and cheese sandwich in front of me. I have no idea what kind of cheese it was-- I was 15-- but I just remember that I liked the sensation of fighting with bread, and of bread crust literally bruising the inside of my mouth, it was so chewy. Needless to say that waitress has no idea that such an insipid sandwich was so delightful to me, but then again an inspid baguette sandwich in Paris is better than any one stateside. I've tried to replicate, but never could.

7. Achim's K-Bob in Athens, GA. Bastardized kebap sandwich that basically became my hangover cure while in college. Had a sign that said "100 million Germans can't be wrong." See-- local joints just don't have the money to spend on fancy PR consultants who could tell them just how awful that statement is. Precursor to many beer festivals.

8. Mamoun's Falafel in NYC. Living off a pathetic stipend in NYC these 2.00 falafels were amazing to me. Even better when you, a country girl raised in the smokies, is introduced to such delights by a NYC native bent on showing you all the sights the city has to offer. Best after you purchase one beer from a neighboring mini mart. NYC is the only place I've ever seen beers individually priced. Love it.

9. Po-Boy's from Johnny's in New Orleans. As newlyweds, unwilling to move too far from the hotel, we ate here every lunch during our honeymoon. On the one day I insisted that we go to Central Grocery, my husband got Johnny's to go. Shrimps as big as cat heads. The roast beef is insane.

10. Trying to dig out my favorite BBQ sandwich and drawing a blank currently, there are so many good but tiny places out there...most memorable was certainly Maurice's in Columbia, SC. He's an Abraham Lincoln hating neo-confederate, but his sandwich is good enough to attract the business of real, live African Americans (I saw them with my own two eyes!) so I suppose he must be doing something right. I prefer vinegar sauces, but as far as yellow sauce is concerned, I enjoyed this very much.

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  1. I hope burgers count!
    (In no particular order)

    1. Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich - Clinton St. Baking Co., NYC
    2. Croque Monsieur - Le Parisien Brasserie, Paris
    3. Cheeseburger - Peter Luger, Brooklyn
    4. Grilled cheese - Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, NYC
    5. Pastrami reuben - Katz's Deli, NYC
    6. Joe's Combo - Lenny's, NYC
    7. Patty melt - Jumbo Joe's, Lubbock (TX)
    8. Cheeseburger - Marseille, NYC
    9. Grilled cheese - EPCC, El Paso (TX)
    10. BBQ brisket - Sonny Bryan's, Dallas

    3 Replies
    1. re: LeahBaila

      I hope you had the good fortune to enjoy that BBQ brisket at the original Sonny Bryan location on Inwood Rd - little shack/hovel with old-time school desks instead of tables - as opposed to one of the franchise restaurants. If you were at one of the franchises and liked it - it's imperative that you hit up the original on your next visit. Some would argue Sonny's greatness, but be sure, It will make you swoon by comparison!

      1. re: CocoaNut

        Yep...I sat in one of those school desks many times during my 2 years in Dallas. :) Oh, how I miss Texas BBQ...We've got nothin' like that here in NY.

      2. re: LeahBaila

        18 months, and no mention of a grilled grouper sandwich? LTO, tartar, Cholula, grouper fillet larger than the soft fave.
        #2 is pastrami and chopped liver on seeded rye at any reputable jewish deli
        #3 at home: proscuitto, herbed goat cheese, and Mancini roasted sweet peppers on a baguette

      3. in no order

        1) Hot Pastrami with Mustard on Rye -- Katz's Deli New York, NY (and actually, this one is definitely my #1 but the rest aren't in order)
        2) Banh Mi -- Vietnamese Place in the Eden Center Arlington, VA
        3) Chopped Beef Sandwich -- Holy Smokes BBQ Dallas, TX
        4) Double Shack Burger -- Shake Shack New York, NY
        5) Cheesesteak with onions and wiz -- Genos Philadelphia, NY
        6) Pulled Pork Sandwich -- Some BBQ Place in VA
        7) Pork and Egg Kati Roll -- Kati Roll Company New York, NY
        8) Tamea (Falafel) -- Cairo, Egypt
        9) Roast Beef, Mozzarella and Fried Eggplant -- Defontes Brooklyn, NY
        10) Bagel with Lox and Cream Cheese -- Russ & Daughters New York, NY

        1. In no particular order:
          1. Fried oyster po-boy, Acme Oyster House, NOLA
          2. Roast beef po-boy, Parkway Tavern, NOLA
          3. Cochon de lait sandwich at Jazz Fest, NOLA
          4. Bahn Mi from Bahn Mi Sao Mai, NOLA
          5. Falafel sandwich w/extra tahini sauce, Mona's, NOLA
          6. Fried clam roll, Clam Box, Ipswich, MA
          7. Pulled pork at Po-Pigs, Edisto Island, SC (the same at Lexington #1 BBQ, Lexington, NC, is darned good)
          8. Venetian Tremazzini, where the essential element is, I think, being in Venice
          9. Juicy, ripe tomatoes, mayo (Duke's, Hellman's--or Best--anywhere else), arugula, on sliced sourdough at home
          10. BLT--although I now make them with whole grain bread, thick-sliced peppered bacon and arugula, I grew up eating them for almost every summer lunch--always three slices of the cheapest thin-sliced supermarket bacon on the type of whitebread slices that could be reduced to the size of a pea when squeezed, with iceberg (but always good tomatoes and good mayo), and I loved them. And no matter where I am, if I can't find anything I want on a menu, I can always enjoy a BLT. Even if it's bad.

          3 Replies
          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            damn, oyster po boy, how'd i forget about that one!

            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              banh mi from banh mi sao mai is the best stuff in the world. i wish i was able to go to new orleans this weekend w/ the rest of the family just to get some.

            2. I will add only 2:

              1. Hot hand-cut pastrami on double-baked rye from Langer's deli in Los Angeles (no dressing or slaw or cheese).
              2. A sandwich called The Sportsman from a restaurant named Julie's, which used to be across from USC in LA. The place has been closed for years. It was Dungeness crab salad on toasted white bread with avocado, tomato, lettuce and bacon...essentially a BLT with avocado and crab salad. Devine.

              5 Replies
              1. re: TomSwift

                I will add one which is my favorite. The Newark style Italian Hot Dog; only served in New Jersey.

                1. re: hotdoglover

                  I'll bite (no pun intended). What is a Newark style Italian dog?

                  1. re: TomSwift

                    It's a fried or sauteed all beef hot dog; 2 of them for the more common double, stuffed inside a pita shaped half moon of Italian bread (called pizza bread) topped with sautedd potatoes, peppers, and onions. Delicious.

                    1. re: hotdoglover

                      I think they showed this on the Travel Channel's Top 100 places to chown down a couple weeks ago. Looked amazing!

                      1. re: boogiebaby

                        Yes, they did. The segment was taken from another program on the Travel Channel called Hot Dog Paradise. I'm the guy in the Jimmy Buff's tee shirt talking about New Jersey hot dogs.


              2. burger with the works at Clover Grill, Bourbon St, New Orleans.
                from childhood - egg salad with chopped green olives
                pulled pork - my husband's home smoked! :) lucky me

                that's all I can think of. :)