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The Sandwich at Roma Deli

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So I finally got one! The first of many, I hope. The description I left on the Mortadella thread was a bit inaccurate; the content of The Sandwich does in fact vary, depending I'm pretty sure on what Rosario has smallish chunks of. The bread, the olive oil, the (stunning) mortadella and the provolone are constants, the capicolla I mentioned is not. Today he had a scrag-end of some prosciutto and a small piece of salami with which he finished mine off. He splits a roughly 10" loaf lengthwise, dribbles a good lashing of olive oil on each half, then starts laying on the mortadella (and if you're lucky as I was he'll hand you a slice just for the hell of it). Two or three slices of cheese go over that, then the other meats, and that's it. The roll is the best I've had around here, with a very crisp crust, not at all tough. I had originally meant to dress the whole thing up a bit more when I got it home, and I'm glad I thought better of that; it was totally satisfying just the way it was, and probably more than any fat old man needs to eat for lunch. Highly recommended!

While I was at it, I got four links of his sausage to put in with tonight's beans. Like The Sandwich, Rosario (call him Ross) makes just one sausage; unlike The Sandwich, The Sausage is always the same: porky, beautifully seasoned, no fennel. It's $3.89/lb, each link being usually a bit over 1/4 lb. The Sandwich is $5.50.

Roma Italian Market & Deli
18 N Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA 91104
(626) 797-7748

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  1. Hi Will, thanks for that. I'm thinking lunch... ;-) On the sausage, is it spicy? Thanks again! L

    4 Replies
    1. re: WildSwede

      No, not really. Just good basic Italian herbs and stuff. We like them better than Claro's, and they're a good bit cheaper. I got a dozen, browned them well on the gas grill, then braised them with peppers and onions for an Alfa club party summer before last. I put the pot on the table, went to get some wine, and returned in time to get the next-to-last one out of the pot. Next time I'll get TWO dozen.

      1. re: Will Owen

        ;-) Thanks. We are headed there right now for The Sandwich!

        1. re: WildSwede

          Okay, so I am sitting here at my desk in utter bliss. The sandwich is fan-ta-stic! In fact, I gave my friend a <small> slice (that is all I was willing to give up!) and she just came and mouthed "OH MY GOD!!". Definite fans!!
          When I got into line, there were 2 people ahead of me. A guy who got a sandwich and a 1/2 lb of Prosciutto and a lady who seemed to buy one of everything else. She got white anchovies, prosciutto, salami, asked for a cheese and he recommended a 10 year aged Provolone which he also gave me a taste of (fabulous!). His sweet helper went and pulled out some Burrata Alla Panna which he said he just got in this morning and she took two, I took one. Hell, I wasn't gonna pass that up. I also followed suit and got 1/4 lb prosciutto for $4.80. Cannot wait to feast on it!! I was eyeing all the fresh pastas in the fridge and determined that I will be coming back one day after work where I can spend as much time (or at least until they close at 8) browsing the aisles for all kinds of goodies.
          I ran two doors over to the Fishery and got some of their pasta salad. It is the perfect meal - I want another one! I will be taking these sandwiches to my friend's house on Saturday for an early dinner before we go out! ;-)
          Thanks again Will! You da best!

          1. re: WildSwede

            Jeez guys, this is completely unfair. I'm stuck with the mid-range to foul offerings on Miracle Mile.

            Just called-- they close at 8:30, and my wife has the car....... might be time to warm up that horribly implemented TAP card.

            Mr Taster

    2. Thanks for adding the report about The Sausage -- I'll have to try it. So far I've been very happy with the Italian sausage at Bristol Farms -- both the sweet and the hot. I was less happy with the sausage from Claro's.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Peripatetic

        I like the hot Italian sausage from Henry's - the first time I got the pork ones and now I have the turkey ones in the freezer. Very good.

        1. re: WildSwede

          I see Henry's and Sprouts are re-combining; I've not tried Henry's sausages, but Sprouts' bratwurst and Polish were both much too lean for any sausage to be, like they were trying to make it into diet food, and I never got any more. I do generally like what they make at Bristol Farms. Rosario's sausage needs to be either cooked fairly soon or frozen well-wrapped - he makes it fresh every morning and by the end of the day it's getting dried out.

          1. re: Will Owen

            And speaking of sausage, I was looking at the weekly grocery-store flyers, and I see that Ralphs has Italian sausage ON SALE for $3.99/lb. Golly, what a deal: get some factory-made mass-market sausage for a mere 10¢/lb MORE than Rosario's lovingly hand-crafted stuff. Of course, there are those who prefer their sausages not to be made by hand in the back room of a somewhat untidy deli. I will sincerely and earnestly ask those people to leave the Roma Deli sausage to the likes of me.

      2. Will et al, I finally tried the sandwich over the weekend.

        First of all, what a funny character this Rosario is. The only sentence he spoke that I understood entirely was "Fifty two years I've been in this spot. I work seven days a week. And I see new customers every week!"

        I went during a quiet Friday evening, and the only person I saw upon entering was a zaftig latina register clerk reading a newspaper in the center of the store. I walked around the perimeter, past the way-too-wrinkled red peppers and a small mountain of great looking dried pasta, before I even realized where to find the deli counter.

        I didn't even see Rosario at first, as the piles of cured meats behind glass all but obscured his tiny frame.

        "I hear you make a great sandwich," I said.

        something, something, "hand slice everything", something, something, "the best meat", something something. It was difficult to make out exactly what he was saying as both his accent and his age obscured his words.

        He sliced an ordinary looking sesame seeded mini loaf in half. This is not the Artisinal Bread of Legend. This is solid Italian-American deli bread. A little crusty, and a lot of squishy, and some sesame seeds for contrast. As it should be.

        Out comes the olive oil. A gorgeous deep green, drizzled on the bread.

        Then comes the hand slicing. Provelone. Mortadella. A couple of kinds of salami. Wrapped in paper, handed to me. This was not a massive sandwich, with meat piled high. There were about 4-5 slices of each type of deli, more or less single-layered on a loaf about 8-10". I was expecting a great sandwich, and it was. It really was wonderful-- exactly what you would expect and nothing you wouldn't. The meats were rich, buttery, flavorful. The bread was just crusty enough. The olive oil just brought it together.

        This is not Bay Cities Godmother. This is a much more humble sandwich, made with care and love, by a man who has been doing this for 52 years.

        Just go.

        Mr Taster

        P.S. Warning-- the house made stuffed shells and ravioli in the freezer case are sold by weight, and are EXPENSIVE! (Think $15 for a relatively small bag of ravioli). They're still in my freezer and I'll report back once I've tasted them.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Mr Taster

          After he kinda gets to know you, especially if you've made him laugh, he gets a lot easier to understand. He really is shy with strangers. I've made very few large purchases there, but I ask him for advice as to which brand of tuna, or oil, or canned tomatoes I should get (and often as not it isn't the most expensive one he recommends). And when I'd bought a dozen sausages for the Alfa Romeo club picnic, and told him how quickly they'd disappeared, he was clearly charmed; we've been on ALMOST conversational terms since then.

          1. re: Will Owen

            Thanks for this. Just to see the old man light up a bit, next time I'll ask for his advice as to what canned tomatos to buy. It'll be fun to bring my wife and see how he reacts around an adorable Chinese woman :)

            Incidentally, I've steered away from buying the expensive imported official San Marzanos because, quite frankly, the American tomatoes packed in juice taste fresher and brighter than the imported ones packed in puree (although the mushy, processed texture of the San Marzanos make them break down into sauce much easier).

            It's actually quite shocking to taste the difference. Open a $2 can of Hunts whole tomatoes in juice and taste it side by side with a $6 can of San Marzanos in puree. Guaranteed the import will fall apart and taste like mud, compared with a firm texture and clean, crisp, bright tomato flavor from the American one.

            And to be clear, I don't for a second believe that this reflects the experience of actually eating San Marzanos in Italy. There's some sort of import restriction on imported tomatoes having to be packed in muddy puree that makes them instantly inferior to ones packed in juice.

            Mr Taster

          2. re: Mr Taster

            Mr Taster, this is a vividly accurate description of the Roma experience!

            1. re: Mr Taster

              OK, I made the ravioli.

              They were spectacular! Even though they were frozen, the skins boiled up into a beautiful, pleasingly firm (though not really al dente) texture, and the ricotta used inside was of an extremely high grade-- not even the slightest texture of graininess that you get from supermarket ricotta. This was just silky, satiny smooth on my tongue, well seasoned with herbs and garlic, and absolutely perfect with a freshly made marinara sauce and a glass of red table wine.

              They're expensive, but definitely give them a shot.

              Mr Taster

              1. re: Mr Taster

                I had the stuffed shells last night with some homemade marinara sauce. They were indeed spectacular with very silky and creamy ricotta. Agreed that they were expensive at ~$15/bag (if memory serves) but given the quality and the quantity it's still a good value at a $/meal basis.

                I've bought the meatballs once too and while they were good, there was less of a wow factor. I don't think I'd buy those again.

              2. re: Mr Taster

                I went on Saturday and I followed your advice. My exact words to him:

                "I hear you make a sandwich"

                great minimalist sandwich. not gonna lie, i was left wanting more. BUT it left this wonderful aftertaste on my palate and I can't wait to go back.

                1. re: ns1

                  >> not gonna lie, i was left wanting more.

                  Buy another. They only cost about five bucks.

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: ns1

                    it's that aftertaste that lingers which makes me always want to go back. when i first had the sandwich, i thought it was just ok. it wasn't until after i finished the sandwich that i realized how good it really is.

                    1. re: cdub

                      yup, first bite was "is this it?". Last bite was "damn that was good"

                      @Mr.Taster don't worry, it's on the list along with some sausages. Roma Deli is on a great street with lots of stuff.

                2. Address correction of RomaItalian Market's location in Will Owen's original post:

                  Roma Italian Market is located at 918 N. Lake Ave, and NOT at 18 N.Lake Ave:

                  Roma Italian Market
                  918 N Lake Ave,,
                  Between E Orange Grove Blvd and E. Washington Blvd
                  Pasadena
                  (626) 797-7748

                  1. This post has me drooling. I have to go to Pasadena in a couple of weeks, and this will be one of my stops. All I can say is there better not be a giant line ! :)

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: LisaN

                      When I went at about 7:30 on Friday evening, I was the only customer in the store.

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        do they have anything like a breasalo or turkey or lamb sandwich besides the pork sandwich??? thankis.

                        1. re: kevin

                          As others have stated here, you order "the sandwich" and you take what he gives you. Don't ask questions. Don't make suggestions. Just pay your $5.50 and float away on a porcine cloud made of dried, cured meats.

                          Is this a life-changing experience? Will it change the world? No. But it's a great sandwich.

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: kevin

                            The Taster speaks truth. There is no menu board. There is also no turkey nor lamb to be found on the premises. However, there is an impressive though far from encyclopedic array of meats and cheeses, along with that bread (rolls and large loaves too) and quite a few different brands of canned and bottled Italian foods and maybe six or seven brands of pasta and other grain products, so you're perfectly free to get some ingredients and go make your own sandwich. The produce, alas, was probably past its prime when it came in the door; I'd bought everything I needed for dinner one evening and lacked only one tomato, and in that whole box of them I could find none that I could willingly take home.

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              As a semi-frequent comsumer of "The Sandwich", I was shocked to witness Rosario making the guy in line ahead of me a turkey sandwich last week. Maybe he was in a particularly obliging mood. When my turn came and I told him what I just witnessed contradicted his famous one-sandwich reputation and that I didn't even know he had turkey, he told me to "not get any big ideas"

                              1. re: BlobbyBlob

                                just after i got my sandwich today, i noticed a guy behind me order 2 turkey and swiss sandwiches. left a little shocked.

                                it was my first sandwich from roma deli and i was very impressed. very high quality meats. a few slices of cheese, some olive oil, and bread. it all works well.

                              2. re: Will Owen

                                Yeah, their produce is definitely past its prime. He does have great olives and that olive oil bread is fantastic!

                                1. re: WildSwede

                                  Some of the bottled and canned goods are well past their sell-by dates, too.

                                  1. re: WildSwede

                                    Do you happen to know what olive oil he uses for the sandwich? I'd like to pick some up but it's difficult to get to Pasadena these days.

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      Ask him and he'll sell you some. Nothing he likes better than to sell his favorite groceries, so do not be shy. You might even get a free taste of whatever he's slicing out of it.

                                      (Oops, I didn't read the part about getting to Pasadena. Guess that means I gotta get another sandwich and keep my eyes open. Honestly, the things I DO for you people!)

                                      Peripatetic: sell-by dates for bottled and canned goods are considerably less meaningful than most. As long as the seal is unbroken and vacuum maintained, that stuff will be safe to eat even after it's dissolved into its packing liquid. There are canned items in my late pa-in-law's pantry that are old enough to have no bar codes, but there is no "give" when I press down on the lid, meaning it's still sealed tight and no rot has occurred. Too bad about the dried cod roe, though …

                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        Being the supporting spouse of a pharmacy school student does take its toll. I appreciate the Chowhoundly support, Mr. Owen.

                                        Mr Taster

                                  2. re: Will Owen

                                    With regard to the sad produce selection, I did get some spectacular (and inexpensive) melons from him over the summer. Tender, sweet, gorgeous. Neither mealy nor sour.

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      They also have some amazingly good basil, but they keep it out back, and you have to ask for it.

                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                        I got fantastic oranges, avocados 2 weeks ago, and I've also gotten fantastic pineapples. I also got a bag of pistachios that are really tasty.

                                      2. re: Will Owen

                                        I'm with others. I agree that the produce is very hit or miss, but i've had excellent melons there, and green pluots that were the best i had all year (and i usually buy from the farmer's markets). i don't typically make produce shopping my reason for going to Roma, but anything good is a bonus, though i did specifically make a trip this year just to pick up more pluots (and a side of sopressata)

                                        1. re: Bert

                                          how are the quality/price of the various charcuterie at Roma Deli, compared to say, Frumento's?

                                          1. re: TonyC

                                            I have no idea whatsoever. I don't frequent a lot of other delis, and I have no idea where Frumento's might be, nor do I care. The meats and cheeses here are priced at the upper level of what I can easily afford, and that's all I need to know. As for the quality, if it passes Rosario's standards, it's good enough for me. His mortadella is as good as mortadella gets, and his salamis likewise. Is it the best on the planet? How the hell would I know? It's the best he knows about, and he's the best judge of it I know. More than that I have no qualifications to say.

                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                              prices are quite reasonable. great prosciutto san daniele (best i've had in LA from a deli counter) for $19.99 a pound. Sopressata and various salumi are around $10/lb. fantastic mortadella is $6.99 or $7.99 a pound. just about everything is imported. great (though limited) selection of italian cheeses, too, like piave, fontinella, and aged provolone (as well as about 10 different varieties of pecorino).

                                  3. re: LisaN

                                    The only time I have noticed lines is during lunchtime on weekdays and mid-day on Saturday. Other times you should be fine.
                                    I always ask his opinion and take it and have never had a problem understanding him. He is a sweet man.

                                  4. uh oh, written up by J.Gold

                                    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/daily...

                                    30 Replies
                                    1. re: ns1

                                      Damn, Damn, Damn!!

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        Unfortunately, the LATimes wants me to subscribe in order to read J. Gold.

                                        1. re: toitoi

                                          Here's the text
                                          You are in line at Roma Deli, because that is where you go in Pasadena when you are in need of prosciutto, fresh mozzarella or pecorino di Sardo, and the woman in front of you has just ordered a sandwich. Maybe you have been to Roma a hundred times in your life, because the need for pecorino knows no season, and maybe, for some reason, you've never known about the sandwich. Whenever you stop by the deli counter, Rosario Mazzeo, who has been at Roma since the early 1950s (and whom everyone calls Ross), is too busy telling you about the smoked fresh mozzarella he just started bringing in, or trying to persuade you that the prosciutto from San Daniele is better than the prosciutto from Parma, or reaching under the counter to pull up a bottle of the olive oil his brother just sent him from Sicily.

                                          "Only for salads; not for cooking," he says. "Do you hear me? Do you hear me?"

                                          The meaning of the look in his eyes is unmistakable. His brother grew this oil. It is from trees Mazzeo loves. It is to be respected.

                                          So we watch him make the sandwich with great interest. He cuts open an Italian roll, and he dribbles a few drops of olive oil on each surface. An assistant hands him in quick order hunks of provolone, mortadella, spiced coppa and salami. Mazzeo runs each through the slicer and smooths the meats onto the roll. He wraps it in butcher paper. The routine has taken about 30 seconds. "You're making carbonara tonight,'' Mazzeo says. "Get the guanciale. Better."

                                          You mention that you have never noticed the sandwiches.

                                          "Sandwich," says Mazzeo. "Only one kind. I make 120 of them a day -- sometimes 200. Do you want one? Best sandwich you ever had."

                                          Mazzeo performs his ballet again, this time just for you. The roll is cottony soft, you notice, and the oil is one he once suggested when you told him you were frying artichokes. He applies neither vegetables, nor dressing, nor giardiniera; not even salt and pepper -- this is not a White House Special from the White House in Atlantic City or even a Godmother from Bay Cities in Santa Monica. You toss the wrapped sandwich into your basket and try to get the woman at the cash register to slip you a little extra basil from the impossibly fragrant stash she keeps behind the counter.

                                          A while later, you remember the sandwich you have sitting on your kitchen counter, and you carve off a few inches for a snack. The undistinguished cold cuts have mingled into something pretty grand in the last few hours, a shimmering minor chord in the key of pork; the bitterness of the oil turns out to be all the sauce you need. The bread has maintained its thin, crisp crust, and the bland softness supports the richness of the meats in a way that an exquisitely crafted sourdough probably would not. It is, in its way, a perfect sandwich. It is the only one Mazzeo needs.

                                          918 N. Lake Avenue, Pasadena (626) 797-7748.

                                          1. re: LisaN

                                            Appreciate you posting - thanks!

                                            1. re: LisaN

                                              Not only did JG get the sandwich right, he got Rosario's speech exactly right. Great ear. Pretty good writer, too … As for "line out the door", any more than five or six will have to come on foot or else park at CVS - the lot has maybe 20 spaces, and the laundromat eats at least half of them most of the time. No biggie for me; I live four blocks away!

                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                I know stupid question.

                                                But is it possible to get say a turkey sandwich here?

                                                My apologies for the question again. As the old saying goes there are no stupid questions. Only stupid people which makes me...

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  I'm imagining the look of impatience and disgust that would probably cross Rosario's face if you asked! :)

                                                  1. re: Peripatetic

                                                    Kinda like asking for a California roll with spicy cream cheese and drizzled with eel sauce at sushi zo.

                                                  2. re: kevin

                                                    I'm not sure that he even has turkey in the deli case, you could look in the case and see

                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                      Yes you can, but he may look at you funny! a jewish friend who doesn't eat pork (but enjoys cheese) went with me once and asked about his options, to which Ross replied "I make you something nice, ok?" and wound up giving him a roast beef, turkey and swiss sandwich.

                                                      1. re: Bert

                                                        That would probably be a good trick. If you couch your preference in the guise of a dietary restriction, your request might be met with less resistance.

                                                        1. re: Peripatetic

                                                          Bingo. Thanks guys.

                                                    2. re: Will Owen

                                                      Uncertain if you're aware, but Gold, a few years ago, won the Pulitzer Prize for his writing. It was the first time that a food writer received the honor.

                                                      1. re: toitoi

                                                        Will knows:

                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/835467

                                                    3. re: LisaN

                                                      This sounds delicious, and I've never been, but I have to ask - wouldn't this sandwich taste even better with some veggies on it? It sounds from the articles that that isn't even an option, unless you take it home and doctor it...

                                                      1. re: sasha1

                                                        I'll probably be shot down, but I took one out to my car and chowed down on it. I found it lacking something. Maybe, it should have rested so that all the different flavors melded together; it was too dry for my taste at that time.

                                                        1. re: toitoi

                                                          I could see how you would think that since it's really only meat, cheese, olive oil, and bread. It's never going to be a godmother or anything juicy. I did the exact same thing and thought the sandwich was brilliant. I remember when I got mine, he asked if I wanted another. I said no but after finishing mine, I wished I had a second.

                                                          1. re: toitoi

                                                            Afraid I had a very similar experience. Love the place, love the man, love the charm -- and I was a pretty big fan of the bread too -- but the sandwich in total...eh.

                                                          2. re: sasha1

                                                            It's just a different beast than something like the Godmother. (Which I eat regularly -- I work in SaMo). I tried the Sandwich for the first time this weekend and it was pretty wonderful, but the focus was on salumi and the flavors of the salumi. If you like a sandwich that's more veggie heavy (but with inferior quality meats) that's closer to Pasadena than Bay Cities I'd recommend Eagle Rock Italian Bakery or Mario's in Glendale.

                                                            1. re: Savour

                                                              That sounds appetizing - love me some inferior quality meats : )

                                                              1. re: sasha1

                                                                They're not Bad -- I think both Bay Cities and Eagle Rock use Boar's Head, which is good quality for deli meats. It's just not the same as imported Mortadella and Prosciutto di Parma. But why cover up the flavor of those with hot cherry peppers and giardinera?

                                                                1. re: Savour

                                                                  Depends on your perspective. For you maybe it covers up. For me it enhances. In the same way that we've learned southeastern asian flavors try to combine sour, sweet, salty, spicy for the maximum taste bite, so I personally think that bread, meat, and veggies goes better than bread and meat alone. To each their own, yea? Boar's head works for me. Although I was in Bay Cities a week ago and they were using Dietz and Watson.

                                                                  1. re: Savour

                                                                    Boar's Head is such a mediocre monopoly.

                                                                    1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                      This is not saying much but it sure beats Homel, which even a few reputable joints do serve willingly.

                                                                      And when it comes to pastrami, I do like to see that flickering Vienna Beef sign.

                                                                      Are the cold cuts or salumi at Roma Deli of a very high quality?

                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                        For basturma you'll want to go to Good Foods Market on Washington, just east of Allen. Excellent mostly-Armenian grocery/deli. There's another good one up Allen at New York. What used to be Lake Avenue Produce, just past Slaw Dogs north of Orange Grove, was a pretty good middle-eastern store, and they kept trying to sell me their basturma, but they just sold out and I haven't stopped by to read any of the signs on the windows.

                                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                                          A large selection of basturma is available at Super King's on San Fernando Road just past the 2 going toward downtown.

                                                                          The parking lot, as well as the market is huge, however, it's best to go early morning or mid-afternoon, never at lunch hour or near dinner time 'cause it's a mess.

                                                              2. re: sasha1

                                                                I bought one for my wife. After she unwrapped it she commented on the lack of veggies. I made her taste it as Ross had made it. Big smile. Then she proceeded to put lettuce, tomato, pepperoncinis, onions, and pickles on it. She took a bite and pulled everything but the lettuce off. Veggies were a distraction.

                                                            2. re: toitoi

                                                              In this week's on-line LAWeekly (don't know if it's in the print edition) it tells you how to circumvent paying for the paper once you reach their magic number of 15.

                                                              In short, merely get rid of your "cookies" (not the Tate's kind - lol) and you're good to go. I tried it and it worked.

                                                              1. re: toitoi

                                                                do you have a liiink to that article in the weekly???

                                                                thanks.

                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                  With pleasure, here you are:

                                                                  http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/20...

                                                          3. Regarding Roma's sausage: Rosario now makes a hot and a sweet sausage. They're the best sausages I've found in LA County.

                                                            His 10-year old Parma is to die for - don't refrigerate it, put it in wax paper, and then, a zip-lock bag. It sweats, but, as Rosario told me, merely whip the sweat off with a paper towel.

                                                            The Sicilian Pepato (Percorino) is superb; no refrigeration again.

                                                            As a rule of thumb, never refrigerate Parmigiano or Percorino Romano. Keep them at room temperature even if you buy it from a market's refrigerator case.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: toitoi

                                                              I love everything I buy there. I only hope there isnt' a giant line out the door every day now

                                                            2. JGold told me the bread is from Eagle Rock Italian Bakery on Colorado.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Savour

                                                                Would not surprise me. They make some of the best Italian bread around. They also supply the bread to Scarantino's and it's much-missed (by me) brother restaurant, Dino's.

                                                                1. re: Savour

                                                                  the eagle rock joint makes sandwiches to right?

                                                                  1. re: blackbookali

                                                                    eagle rock ital bkayr does make sandwiches.

                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                      They're totally different, though. I mean, they're fine - I think they use Boar's Head Cold Cuts - but not really inspired.

                                                                2. Just for grins, I'll tell you that on an informal (VERY informal, with cussing and stuff) neighborhood FB page we have, yesterday's big topic was the Roma deli and especially The Sandwich. Got so lively I kept forgetting which thread was on which site and expecting WildSwede to chime in!

                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                    LOL! ;-)

                                                                    1. re: WildSwede

                                                                      Tony Millionaire, the cartoonist, is the chief instigator; his topic-defining post headline was something like, "If you don't like this place you should just move to Santa Monica!" One guy says Rosario hollered at him because he wandered around the store for half an hour and bought a box of cookies. I said it was like being at some incredible buffet and walking away with Jack cheese and Triscuits, but not being Sicilian I wouldn't have hollered; Tony said he'd have hollered.

                                                                      As you might suspect, Rosario and his store are treasured residents.

                                                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                                                        i better check out this joint already, if only to soak up the very irreverent atmosphere.

                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                          Sometimes it is VERY reverent, as when Rosario hands over a gossamer shred of that astonishing mortadella. Okay, it won't really dissolve on your tongue (though you'd think it ought to), but you won't need to chew much either. Hear it whisper, "Be still and know that I am Pig …"

                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                            Maybe the mortadella won't melt on your tongue, but that sliver of the 10-year old Parma he hands you, which sits right next to him, sure will.

                                                                            1. re: toitoi

                                                                              Does he even sell Parma? He is so gung ho about the other stuff that I would be surprised to know that he sells both.

                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                My apologies, Mr Taster, I meant cheese, not ham, and should have written Parmigiano Reggiano.

                                                                                1. re: toitoi

                                                                                  10-year? He sometimes has some decent pecorinos, but the parmigiano reggiano tends to be middling. Unless there's a secret stash I don't know about.

                                                                                  1. re: condiment

                                                                                    As you face him, it sits on the counter just to his left, your right. It's covered in plastic wrap. He told me it was a 10-year old and it had that quality of an aged parmigiano - con gocciola.

                                                                  2. I am currently having a love affair with some very delicious cookies he has been selling. They come from somewhere on the east coast and cost $3.99/bag. Of course, I cannot remember the name, but they come in choc chip with walnuts, white choc chip, etc and are crisp and delicious. While you are standing in line to order your sandwich, with the register area to your right and the large square display between you and the frozen goodies, look down on the middle shelf to your left. They are there and they are delicious!!
                                                                    Whenever Rosario sees me debating something he tells me "that' a good one" and I buy it. So far, he has not steered me wrong!

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: WildSwede

                                                                      The cookies are called Nate's or Tate's. Green packaging. Delicious!

                                                                      1. re: WildSwede

                                                                        Ok. I'm so going there if only for the cookies and a hunk of parmigiana.

                                                                        And if I can get a turkey sandwich too that will be the icing on the cake.

                                                                        Thanks guys.

                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                          Kevin, why so adamant about the turkey sandwich? Just curious... I'm going Monday @ lunch time, please report back on the sandwich and other goodies!

                                                                        2. re: WildSwede

                                                                          The Cookies?

                                                                          http://www.tatesbakeshop.com/c/produc...

                                                                          1. re: wutzizname

                                                                            Yes! Except they come in bags here. I went yesterday and bought some other kinds of cookies (still have a bag of Tate's at home) and 4 sandwiches (only 1 of which was for me!). YUM! ;-)

                                                                            1. re: WildSwede

                                                                              I went on Thursday and in addition to the sammies, bought a package of Bruschetta (amongst other things). These were the black and green olive flavored ones. I almost ate the whole bag - plain! So delicious! I believe they have to be somewhere near the Tate's cookies, since I did not venture too far from the deli counter and the register. $2.99 a bag. Now I need to try the other flavors!!

                                                                      2. You guys convinced. Just finishing my first one. He now makes several types of sausages, btw, and is one of the few places in town where you can get salt-packed anchovies. Quite a sandwich.

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ebethsdad

                                                                          He also always has salt cod, but he won't cut it up for you - you have to buy the whole side. About $12/lb, pretty much standard price. In season, he has lovely fresh basil. You have to ask for both of these things, as they're kept in the back.

                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                            While I love salt cod it was salt-packed anchovies I was excited about. The only other places I have found them are Surfas and the Pasadena Whole Foods. I wish I had gotten two sandwiches though...and I am not a big eater. Thanks for all your help. This place is truly a find.

                                                                            1. re: ebethsdad

                                                                              You can also tell him how many sandwiches you want meat for, and then buy the rolls and have sandwiches at home for a few days.

                                                                            2. re: Will Owen

                                                                              What else does he keep in the back that's worth knowing about?

                                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                He has the basil out of season too - and it's always weirdly good. Always kept by the cash register.

                                                                            3. I'll throw in with the "fan base" here on this one as well. Just went by to pick up a few "Sandwiches" for co-workers and was not disappointed. A real Italian cold-cut-sandwich purist's delight. Perhaps I envisioned a "humble sandwich" but this one really filled me up. I could not see knocking a second one back - or even another 1/2 a sandwich. Price is really unbeatable for the quality.

                                                                              Rosario was at his perch, friendly and amicable. "57 years I've been here..." I felt like I just received a "hiyooo" from Ed McMahon himself. The smells alone (as you walk in) were a real delight. Next time, I'll stock up on cheeses.

                                                                              1. I'm a fan of the sandwich too and had one yesterday. It really is a deal. I also bought some salami to take home and am still smiling at the price - $4.95 for a half pound. I went to Napa easter week and was paying nearly 5X that for salami to picnic with which wasn't any better.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: bg90027

                                                                                  That is what I love about places like this. Great quality food with neither the pretense nor the price.

                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                    re: pretense and price:

                                                                                    Agree with you on that. Roma reminds me of what Bay Cities (in Santa Monica) used to be like in the late 80s.... before the deluge.

                                                                                    1. re: cagey

                                                                                      I understand. It's why people here on Chowhound got worried when Jonathan Gold wrote about the place.

                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                2. Blood Orange San Pelligrino = better than the other flavors such as orange and lemon. Like the best fruit punch you've ever tasted.

                                                                                  Prosciutto = OMFG best prosciutto ever.
                                                                                  Imported Italian Salami = OMFG best salami ever
                                                                                  Mortadella = good on sandwiches but I cant' eat this by itself anymore

                                                                                  I actually don't like buying cheese here. He cuts it suuuuuuuuuper thin but they all blend together in the paper after a day and then it's game over.

                                                                                  Anything else notable for me to try? Gonna try the sausages next.

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                    I'm stoked that he's making spicy sausage now! The regular ones are really good too.

                                                                                    He will cut anything as thin or thick as you ask, by the way. If you want paper-thin pancetta, he won't approve but he'll do it. He looked askance when I asked for some prosciutto sliced thick until I explained it was for a recipe, and that it would be chopped and sautéed.

                                                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                                                      sandwich cheese is just ok, but he has piave (a semi-hard cheese which is hard to find, like a sharper manchego) and some 10 year aged fontinella that's really great. last week, he also had, for the first time i've ever seen, some burrata imported from italy (as well as the domestic gioia burrata, which is plenty good as well).
                                                                                      for those who like authentic DOP san marzanos, he has large cans of Strianese for $3.99, which is a buck fifty cheaper than what they sell for at most other places.

                                                                                      1. re: Bert

                                                                                        Sweet. beyond fucking sweet.

                                                                                        i'm going to head down there soon, at least for some of the groceries.

                                                                                        and maybe the turkey sandwich if he'll deign to serve it again.

                                                                                        1. re: Bert

                                                                                          Hi Bert, I have had his burrata from Italy and it was fantastic!

                                                                                          1. re: WildSwede

                                                                                            I have to say when I saw the owner making my sandwich and drizzling olive oil on it with sheer artisanal abandon, I was immediately transported to the Midwood section of Brooklyn on Ave J with Dominic drizzling olive oil on the pies after taking them out of the oven.

                                                                                            Great stuff in that sense.

                                                                                            A sheer beauty to witness.

                                                                                      2. Eater LA writes about Roma's and Rosario and Lambrusco

                                                                                        http://la.eater.com/archives/2012/05/...

                                                                                        1. Based on glowing reports here and on yelp, I made a visit to the deli and market yesterday, browsing and taking home a sandwich, which I ate for breakfast and lunch.

                                                                                          I'm not one of the converted. The store was cute, but limited. Much of it, probably 1/2, is dedicated to produce, which failed to impress because I had just come from the Pasadena farmers market.

                                                                                          Rosario is cute - short and round and with a lovely Italian accent. It is great to see someone who really found their calling early on and stuck with it for many many years (57 he told me 3 times). But in truth, I was slightly turned off by the dirt under his ungloved fingernails as he put my sandwich together. I didn't see him wash his hands before making it either. Maybe it's just me, but that would have put me more at ease, having just gotten over a month long illness and in no hurry to catch a new one.

                                                                                          The sandwich itself has lovely ingredients. The mortadella in particular is fantastic. But I agree with those that said the proportion of bread to meat is too high. And this is no crunchy loaf. It is soft through to the crust so there is no textural contrast. I personally would have put some veggies on it. I think it would add.

                                                                                          So, a pleasant excursion, but I didn't hear the angels sing. The market pales in comparison to what Bay Cities in SM has to offer. I'd give this a 3.5/5.

                                                                                          I do appreciate this board though for doing what it does so well - turning me on to the little hidden treasures all over town that I would have never found on my own.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: sasha1

                                                                                            The bread is, unfortunately, a variable. The seeded rolls always have a soft, tough crust, exactly what I don't want in a sandwich roll (and that goes for those overrated Amoroso rolls, double!), and sometimes the plain ones do too. I've had both soft ones and crisp ones, in about equal amounts.

                                                                                            As for the sandwich itself, as I've said before, if you want a different kind of sandwich I'm sure you know where to get it. Since I live within walking distance I always take mine home to eat it, and I have slipped some lettuce in there once or twice. But only when I had no side salad prepared. I've also gotten a sandwich or two from Claro's, a good deal less meat and more veges, plus Italian dressing instead of plain oil, and both bigger and cheaper than Rosario's. But although they are pretty good, they lack that concentrated seriousness.

                                                                                          2. I grabbed a turkey sandwich there. It was good, a little too simple, just turkey and olive oil on the soft crusty roll.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                                              But, of course, that wasn't "the sandwich". That was something you asked for that they don't promote. That's not what Roma's is about.

                                                                                              That's not to say I like "the sandwich" as much as many others on this thread (I was probably spoiled by that delicacy they call a "spuckie with everything" during my younger years in Boston), but "the sandwich" is a work of minimalist art. Porta Via's Italian sub is closer to a spuckie, but still doesn't quite recreate the magic. The Godmother definitely comes closest to a true spuckie.

                                                                                              1. re: Peripatetic

                                                                                                I have to say it I still really liked the turkey just drizzled with olive oil on that roll.

                                                                                                Especially in the way he made it.

                                                                                                Very artisanal.

                                                                                                1. re: Peripatetic

                                                                                                  > The Godmother definitely comes closest to a true spuckie.

                                                                                                  I should correct myself here. There's actually a Santoro's* in Burbank that makes an authentic spuckie, but the ingredients are mediocre, so no joy. The Godmother has different but better ingredients, and comes the closest to a satisfying spuckie experience.

                                                                                                  * Santoro's was a legendary sub shop in South Boston. A member of the Santoro family moved out to LA in the 50's and opened a branch here, but today it's nothing like the (long gone) original.

                                                                                              2. Better late than never, but I finally tried this place - It was one of the most exquisite sandwiches I've had in a long time and ties Langer's for my favorite sandwich in the city. Purity of ingredients at its finest. The bread's crust was perfectly crunchy. (I could see how a soft role would bring it down quite a few notches.). The olive oil drizzle brings the meat and cheeses to the center, which is exactly where they belong. That doesn't even mention how charming the "I'll take care of you" vibe Rosario puts out is. A gem.

                                                                                                1. Hi Will! I was wondering if you have ever tried the sandwiches at the place next door to Roma's. I am blanking on the name. They slice their roll into threes with one slice in the middle. I always get the italian meats one and ask them to toast the bread. Pretty good. However, when I get the sandwich at Roma, I go into this place and order a big ass iced tea. Then I ask if I can buy some of their yellow chiles (the kind they give you at Tommy's, but these are delicious for some odd reason). The guy always lets me take some (I also take some of the "juice). When I eat the Roma's sandwich, I open the bread and pour the chile juice onto the bread (or if I am lazy, I just dip the sammy into the juice). THAT is magical!! ;-)

                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: WildSwede

                                                                                                    Pietro's? http://www.eatpietros.com/

                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                      Si! Thanks!

                                                                                                      1. re: WildSwede

                                                                                                        Pietro's sandwiches are okay, but that slicing-in-three thing makes me crazy. Their bread is of the soft-crumb/tough-crust variety, and I canNOT bite down on one of these without the innards squooshing out the sides. Toasting would probably help a lot … I remember when that Philly Cheesesteak place was running where Slaw Dogs is now, the guy was so proud of those Amoroso rolls. Yeah, they were great with a hot sandwich, but like shoe-leather with a cold one.

                                                                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                          I always have had Pietro's toast my sandwich - they don't have an issue with it.
                                                                                                          Also, seems that Ross has been getting so busy that he is pre-making the sandwiches so he has several just sitting on the counter. I was not so crazy about that - didn't seem to taste as good as when he would make it just for me. Not sure if this is the reason that I have not been in a while now.

                                                                                                          1. re: WildSwede

                                                                                                            I may be getting ze beeg head here, but that could be my fault. He said it was one thing when he was making maybe five or ten sandwiches a day, but now the demand is so heavy it was wearing him out to make them all to order, so he uses his morning downtime to get ready for the rush. Maybe if he raised the price … If you just saw several on the counter, you were getting there kind of late; first time I got a pre-made one (which was when he told me the above) he had a huge stack of them, and got me one right off the top. I know you're in a corporate situation, but if you could contrive to get over there around 11:00 you might get one only half an hour or so old.

                                                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                              Bay Cities have premade Godfathers and Godmothers waiting to be picked up. When I've been there, they disappear almost the moment they''re put on the counter top. Beats waiting in those long lines.

                                                                                                              1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                I'll dissent here - since they are placed vertically all the sauce runs down. I will never get a premade godmother again.

                                                                                                                When I've been there, there has always been many premades available.

                                                                                                            2. re: WildSwede

                                                                                                              Came in ~3p and there were 10+ sandwiches laying around. He was still making them though so you could get one that he "just made" or one that sat on the counter. Honestly, I imagine I wouldn't notice a difference at all since I (and many hounds in this thread) let the sandwich sit and meld anyway.

                                                                                                              Will Owen, it's most certainly your fault. ;)

                                                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                There's something to be said for the "aged" sandwich. The New Orleans muffeletta is an Italian American sandwich known for getting better as it sits around, but that's due in part to the olive salad melding with the cold cuts. The problem with Rosario's aged sandwich is that the bread isn't designed for it. It softens up, gets chewy as it sits in the paper. It's not bad by any stretch, mind you. And there is the benefit of having the olive oil, cold cuts and bread sort of meld together into one holy trinity. But it's not quite the same as getting it fresh.

                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                  I've gotten it fresh numerous times and I prefer to let it sit, for the exact reason you mention!

                                                                                                                  That said, I did discover that 24 hours is too damn long to let a sandwich sit.

                                                                                                    2. What does this mean? (see attached pic)

                                                                                                      Also, got french bread again after a long hiatus. Does he still get the sesame bread? His limp seems to be getting worse.

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                                                                        I asked Ross about the the sign last time I was in. It is my understanding that he is transferring co-owner ship from his recently deceased cousin over to his nephew. He assured that nothing will be changing.

                                                                                                        1. re: BlobbyBlob

                                                                                                          If you're speaking about Roma's, he Rosario, not Ross.

                                                                                                          1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                            He seems to be "Ross" to a lot of his old customers; as recently as twenty years ago a lot of "foreign" names were routinely anglicized for business use, like "George" for Jorge or Giorgio. I'd always heard his name as Ross, until one day a very elegant and precise Asian woman (who was damn near buying out the store!) addressed him as Rosario, so that's what I've called him since. But he responds to either.

                                                                                                      2. Went yesterday again for the sandwich. They were sitting there pre-made but I didn't notice any difference in quality. Mainly came to say that I tried some of the peppers stuffed with proscuitto and parmesan from his deli case and that they were outstanding. I don't think that I'd mentioned either that I've tried the stuffed shells and they are delicious. His ricotta cheese is super creamy. The meatballs are pretty good too but I don't think I'd necessarily buy those again as it's pretty easy to make those cheaply. I did buy one of the important frozen pizzas with truffles. I'll report back when I have a chance to try it.

                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: bg90027

                                                                                                          I would not buy the meatballs again.

                                                                                                          I did however manage to finally try the sausage, and that spicy sausage @ 3.99/lb is amazing.

                                                                                                          1. re: bg90027

                                                                                                            He sells Calabro ricotta which is one of the very few brands that does not use gums and stabilizers, which gives processed ricotta a gritty texture. I'm assuming he uses this in his ravioli and shells too. The downside of Calabro is that it turns sour pretty quickly after you break the seal, but it is heavenly, luxurious stuff.

                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                            1. re: bg90027

                                                                                                              While we're on the subject of his other offerings, let me say that the marinated artichokes are the best I've tasted anywhere outside of Italy. He will load up the paper carton to bursting - he charges by the pound, you see! - but they're so damn good you'll forgive him readily. I'd love to have a dinner of only stuff from Roma: artichokes, crusty rolls, sausage cooked with onion, tomatoes and peppers and some fettucine. Let's see … Veggie Woman is going to be out of town in a couple of weekends from now …

                                                                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                Is that an invitation? :)

                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                              2. re: bg90027

                                                                                                                am i the only one that's bothered by this?

                                                                                                                first i'll say that the quality was the same. i also tend to like the sandwich when it has sat for a little bit too.

                                                                                                                but, seeing 30 sandwiches with the oil soaked through the paper and no one else in the store tends to bother me.

                                                                                                                1. re: cdub

                                                                                                                  Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. That is never a good sign if I ever did see saw one.

                                                                                                                  Rosario is beyond fucking dope. But ore-packaged sandwiches deprives one of the exceptions show that is beyond compare.

                                                                                                                  1. re: cdub

                                                                                                                    They sell,out quickly and he makes them throughout the day, so they don't sit there very long. If it comes down to no sandwiches or one that was made a little while ago, I'll take a sandwich. I think he said he makes them every hour. If it bothers you that much, ask for cold cuts for x amount of sandwiches, buy the rolls and a bottle of olive oil and make them at home. Because the place is far from me I always get one sandwich already made and buy the other stuff to make them at home

                                                                                                                    1. re: cdub

                                                                                                                      From my experience, I always let the sandwiches sit around for a while and then eat so quality is not really an issue. The oil scenario is a bit odd but still would not frighten me away unless it compromises the texture of the bread.

                                                                                                                      1. re: A5 KOBE

                                                                                                                        I'll just say visually, it bothered me considering there was no oke in the store and at least 20 sandwiches sitting on the counter. The oil seeping through the paper typically indicates it's sitting a while too. I had no complaints about the quality. Just nervous that ross may start cutting corners and holding sandwiches longer than necessary.

                                                                                                                  2. i hate to admit that i've lived in the pasadena area since the late 80's and i finally got THE SANDWICH today (two, as a matter of fact. i'm letting the second continue to ferment/breathe/age/build up more glutamates)

                                                                                                                    i've never applied the concept of finish to a sandwich before, but i will now. it's a humble looking sandwich, but this sandwich deserves your complete attention. do not eat this while watching sports or at your desk. don' t wash it down with some heavily sweetened carbonated beverage.

                                                                                                                    at first glance, one might think "no veggies" but something as plebian as shredded iceberg lettuce and genetically engineered but otherwise relatively flavorless sliced tomato would not complement as much as detract from the quality of the ingredients in the sandwich filling, especially when the bread is sufficiently crusty as to provide a nice texture contrast. this post took about 45 minutes because i had to stop and enjoy my second sandwich. now lamenting that i forgot to take pics.

                                                                                                                    25 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                      Sure, Barry...wolf the (both!!!) damn thing(s) down and don't even bother to further torture me with photos! Dammit, where are the photos, man! (g)

                                                                                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                        what can i say?

                                                                                                                        1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                          That we have all the same proclivities when it comes to food?

                                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                            i wolf food down fairly often, but i made a point of taking my time and enjoying the second sandwich.

                                                                                                                            1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                              This is the exact approach I take when getting crazy chicken at Dino's. First plate inhaled. Second plate savored to a much more significant degree. In any case thanks for sharing your experience. It made for "salivatory" reading...

                                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                Do you get fries and/or pilaf with both of your Dino's plates, Servorg?

                                                                                                                                I could see doing two Dino's birds (easy), and maybe one order of fries, but not the two birds and the duo carb-pedestals!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                  You should get a third plate of those fries doused liberally with that fucking crack sauce.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                    i paid for the experience. the reason it took four hours for me to respond is because i went into food coma. 20 years ago i could have ripped through two dino's specials in a row. not any more.

                                                                                                                                    having said that, i still occasionally do two banh mi's from banh mi my tho - for less than the price of one sandwich from roma - unless they raise their prices after their massive refit, we'll see since they're due to re-open on 11/7.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                              i was at the pasadena library this morning so i got one of the 1st 3 sandwiches made today. apparently they need to "rest" a bit more than i allowed mine to. made me wish i'd gotten two banh mi's from banh mi my tho for the same price.

                                                                                                                              but i took a pic. and chewed slowly (only one this time, i need to lose weight)

                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                Eating slowly? No problem. I eat like a bird (see image of my feathered persona here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Edw... ).

                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                  aren't birds *supposed* to eat some multiple of their full body weight a day?

                                                                                                                                  maybe it was the humidity after the rain that changed the dynamics for today's sandiwch.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                    "aren't birds *supposed* to eat some multiple of their full body weight a day?"

                                                                                                                                    An impossible goal given the fact that my body weight is a "moving target" that only goes in one direction (I'll leave it up to you to guess which direction that might be)...

                                                                                                                                2. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                  One of the first of the day? In that case, you got yours on one of the soft-crusted seeded rolls. The ones I like, the crisp-crusted plain rolls, are delivered at around 10:30, and Rosario knows me well enough to tell me if the pre-wrapped ones are plain or seeded. I don't like those because the soft crust is tougher and harder to bite through. Yes, the plain rolls tend to scatter crumbs around, but that's just too damn bad.

                                                                                                                                  So: if your sandwich roll was soft and tough, and you don't like that, just come in later!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                    now i know. but i wanted to get home before it started raining again. now it's sunny out. but i got all my errands for the day done early

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                      Interesting, Will! I assumed that the rolls were soft because they had been sitting in the wrapper for too long. I didn't realize he made them with two different types of rolls. I'm riding the crispy camp bus.

                                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                        I dislike soft rolls, and I've never seen crispy ones there, but I haven't been in a few months, and things do change rapidly.

                                                                                                                                        Crispy is why I like Bay Cities so much.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                                          As I said, they get delivered late morning. I'll eat one on a seeded roll if I can't be there midday, but I try to avoid it. I think most of his bread gets sold in the afternoon - amazing how many people still buy their bread on a daily basis, and much of that bread is larger loaves. The upside is that the bread arrives when it does because it's only recently come out of the oven.

                                                                                                                                3. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                  since barry has now tormented us for today, he must take orders and provide delivery service for tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                    Someone once described it as "the most confident sandwich" due to the lack of veggies and condiments and I couldn't agree more. Experiment with leftovers: microwave it for ~20 seconds (slightly warm, melting meat and cheese) or leave it in the toaster oven for a while (crispy bread and gooey cheese)and you'll have yet another couple variations of this amazing creation.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Xan7hos

                                                                                                                                      i can only imagine how good they used to be before they started getting pseudo mass produced for the lunch crowd. kinda like the beef roll at 101 noodle express.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                        Your two sandwiches were mass produced and still really fucking goood ???????

                                                                                                                                        That's high praise indeed if so.

                                                                                                                                        Thanks man.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                          yeah, i'd like to hear a report from someone who had the sandwiches before and since.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                            Okay, I am by no means any expert on this place but before he started "mass producing" it took fucking forever to get a sandwich. The sandwich was the highest of quality. Then he started making about six in advance. Not that big of a deal but you never knew how long they were sitting there. Then, all of a sudden he has a small mountain of sandwiches sitting there premade. It was a tiny bit off putting but I knew the sandwiches must be selling like crazy for this to occur.

                                                                                                                                            As for the quality, I have not really noticed any difference. They taste the same to me. Texture wise, the bread is a tad bit softer inside from the olive oil but nothing glaringly noticeable.

                                                                                                                                            Nowadays, my sandwiches sit in the car anyways since I live so far from Pasadena it really makes no difference to me. But if you were to eat it lets say in the parking lot, I guess one could find a textural difference in the bread from the olive oil. But that is knitpicking.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                            The time's I've gone he's usually had about 3-5 cue'd up, wrapped in pink butcher paper ready to go while constantly replenishing as they're picked off. I've known times where people will place huge orders for their offices/parties/etc. so that might explain the mountain. But from my experiences they're usually made within less than an hour....and I've yet to have anything dry up. The only times the meat,cheese or bread slightly dried up was when I had it sitting in my own fridge, and as stated earlier refreshing the sandwich in the toaster oven or microwave proved highly effective.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Xan7hos

                                                                                                                                              Possible to
                                                                                                                                              Get a sandwich with that bread sliced with olive oil, mozzarella, and tomatoes for a great fucking caprese ?

                                                                                                                                      2. Am I the only one that's "over it"?

                                                                                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                          I don't have it often, but I mix things up with fresh made sandwiches from Claro's ...more of a "traditional" American Italian sub. Sometimes I just need mayo, mustard, red vinegar, shredded lettuce, tomato, and peppercinis in my sandwich.

                                                                                                                                          What are you alternatives? Or just over it?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Xan7hos

                                                                                                                                            Pretty much exactly what you describe...an italian sub from anywhere lol (but no mayo. WTF mayo?). "the sandwich" just doesn't excite me anymore. If I'm in Pasadena I'd rather have the egg salad sandwich @ Europane or eat at el pollo unico. There's just so many good sandwiches around town that "the sandwich" doesn't do anything for me anymore.

                                                                                                                                            Maybe I just played it out for myself when this thread first started. dunno...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Xan7hos

                                                                                                                                              Giuliano's torpedo

                                                                                                                                            2. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                              No, but I've had only one, and it was not one of the mass produced; made for me when I asked.

                                                                                                                                              I took it to the car, and while I ate it I thought of all the delicious sandwiches I've eaten at Bay City Deli in Santa Monica.

                                                                                                                                              Unfortunately, Roma's can't compare.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                                                haha, I'm over Bay City too.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                  I, on the other hand, am over AT Bay Cities (as often as time and tide permit).

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                    might be different if I was a Santa Monica local. As it stands I have to drive 20 miles/50 minutes to get there. So I just pass it on my way to TPC instead lol

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                      TPC is way better.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                        It's way different. Apples and oranges. No way to compare them.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                                          The Godfather at All About the Bread is superior to Bay Cities. Their bread just sends the sandwich over the top.

                                                                                                                                                          Speaking of which, AATB's meatball sandwich also blows away Bay Cities, whose meatballs are of the mealy variety.

                                                                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                            Who wants a meatball sandwich, it's all about the pork fat.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: toitoi

                                                                                                                                                              There's plenty of pork fat in a properly made meatball.

                                                                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                              2. re: ns1

                                                                                                                                                i'm not over it, but i've only had the sandwich a few times.
                                                                                                                                                and i'm rarely if ever in that area.
                                                                                                                                                however, if i am, it seems a great drive in, grab a sandwich and drive home option.

                                                                                                                                                and that sandwich is miles better than anything i can get anywhere near me.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                  given that i'm roughly equidistant to roma & and banh mi my tho, and that i can get two banh mi's for the price of the roma deli sandwich, i probably won't start visiting roma more than once a month if i'm jonesing for a tasty sandwich..

                                                                                                                                              3. So I just had to come here and see what's been posted since last time, and it suddenly occurred to me that it's after 1:00, I've not had lunch yet, and there's $5.50 in my pocket right now.

                                                                                                                                                That'll learn me …

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                                                  :)

                                                                                                                                                2. There were three people manning the counter at Roma on Friday. Rosario, seated, and two other elderly gentleman, one of whom surmised from my NorCal uniform and "tourist" demeanor that I must be looking for The Sandwich. And so he handed me one from the rather large pile of pre-made torpedoes.

                                                                                                                                                  Eagerly ripping it open in the car, passers-by be damned, revealed not the sesame seed loaf, but french bread. And then I took a bite. Mouthful of slightly dry, bland bread. Chew chew chew. Another bite. More boring bread. Chew chew chew. Slight hint of filling - oh! Stunningly rich and buttery cold cuts, as Mr Taster described! But...chew chew chew. This was not going as planned.

                                                                                                                                                  Thankfully, inspiration hit at this point: I binned the top half of the loaf, folded the bottom with the cold cuts and cheese lengthwise, and devoured the remaining sandwich like an NYC slice in about a minute flat.

                                                                                                                                                  I can still taste those cold cuts. They're truly beautiful. I'd certainly buy it by the pound if I lived nearby. But The Sandwich? Should have gone to Euro Pane...

                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: stravaigint

                                                                                                                                                    unlike that ill-advised late night burrito, a gentle belch provides a pleasant reminder of what you just ate.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: barryc

                                                                                                                                                      There was indeed gentle belching, but it was dairy-related. I had four scoops of ice-cream to wash down the sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: stravaigint

                                                                                                                                                        From where ????

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: stravaigint

                                                                                                                                                      yeah. You should have just purchased a couple pounds of that shit.

                                                                                                                                                      And paired it with Some queso for a real nice charcuterie plate.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                                        And a bottle of Chianti from the wine section!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: stravaigint

                                                                                                                                                          Did you get a jug of Chianti and guzzle it down leaned against the side of your car ????????