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I need the great classic American sandwich

rworange May 22, 2011 01:15 PM

I may be home next week or the following week after a year in Gautemala.

I need a sandwich. I ... NEED... a sandwich.

San Francisco , East Bay or Wine Country preferred, but will travel for greatness.

Top of the list would be roast beef, meatloaf, roast turkey or chicken ... or ham ... real ham, preferably thick sliced. Some sort of roast hunk of animal.

NO salads ... egg, tuna, chicken, seafood ... no, no, no. No meatballs. No hamburger patties. No grilled cheese (queso derretido) ... though one of the above meats with a nice slice of cheddar would be nice ... no queso Kraft, the favorite imported cheese in Guatemala and featured on many menus.

Nothing too frou-frou. I need to bite into traditional America, not new American cuisine.

I want the bread sliced on a slicer.No sub rolls. Good tomatoes and lettuce are a plus.

I considered a hauf brau, but while the meat might meet my requirement, the bread is usually lousy and the tomatoes ... well, I might as well be in Guatemala. I'm sort of contemplating the deli across from Delancy St in Sf. I alwys loved their fresh roast turnkey sandwich with cranberry sauce.

It can be take out. It can be sit down. And ... Lord ... if the place has good coffee, so much the better. Or, or, or ... wine ... good wine. Real wine. I can do without beer for a while ... a good long while.

Help ... please

An aside. I was eating in one of the best tiny restaurants in Antigua today ... to die for shwarma, falafel and sweet pototo fries with peanut sauce to dip them in. A fellow diner asks where I'm from. "San Francisco!!!, they reply. "Great food. Especially that wonderful clam chowder they serve in a bread bowl"


"Yeah", I said with a smile. Adios, Antigua.

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  1. steve h. May 22, 2011 01:44 PM

    Boccalone, Chris Cosentino's place at the Ferry Building, makes a pretty good sandwich of the porky persuasion. I like his San Francisco take on the classic New Orleans muffuletta (sp?). Blue Bottle and Peet's are there for your coffee needs. Behind the Ferry Building is San Francisco Bay, just waiting to welcome you home. Kick back on a bench and take it all in.

    Grab a glass of your favorite red at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants before leaving. You could bring your sandwich there if you wanted to.

    12 Replies
    1. re: steve h.
      Ruth Lafler May 22, 2011 02:12 PM

      I'm pretty sure Boccalone is the exact opposite of what RW is looking for. Tough question. I"m trying to think of a place that makes "classic" sandwiches that also has really good traditional sandwich bread and not coming up with much.

      Boccalone Factory - Not Open to Public
      1924 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

      1. re: Ruth Lafler
        Sarah May 22, 2011 02:20 PM

        Ruth, a few years ago I heard about a wonderful turkey sandwich shop (that's all they sell) in Alameda... still there, any good?

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          steve h. May 22, 2011 02:23 PM

          Porky sandwich, good coffee, good wine, views, maybe a paper from Book Passage? My take is the Ferry Building is the only answer.

          I'd probably grab a coffee from Peet's and walk outside so I could watch the ferry boats/other on The Bay. Then I'd maybe pick up the FT (personal choice) from Book Passage and head over to Boccalone for a muffuletta. Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants is maybe twenty steps from Boccalone. I'd take my sandwich there, sit on the North side of the bar and order a seriously good Italian red wine.

          Edited to add: I've done this a few times. It never gets tired.

          1. re: steve h.
            Ruth Lafler May 22, 2011 02:32 PM

            She described the sandwich she wanted: "Top of the list would be roast beef, meatloaf, roast turkey or chicken ... or ham ... real ham, preferably thick sliced. Some sort of roast hunk of animal. NO salads ... egg, tuna, chicken, seafood ... no, no, no. No meatballs. No hamburger patties. No grilled cheese (queso derretido) ... though one of the above meats with a nice slice of cheddar would be nice ...Nothing too frou-frou. I need to bite into traditional America, not new American cuisine. I want the bread sliced on a slicer.No sub rolls."

            I'm not saying Boccalone doesn't make a great sandwich, but it's the exact opposite of what she specifically asked for: some sort of roasted hunk of animal on sliced bread (not a roll). Boccalone is (a) not roasted meat, (b) not thick sliced hunks, and (c) not on sliced bread.

            Boccalone Factory - Not Open to Public
            1924 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94606

            1. re: Ruth Lafler
              steve h. May 22, 2011 02:36 PM

              No arguments. I thought I detected a little wiggle room and jumped in there.

              1. re: steve h.
                rworange May 22, 2011 05:02 PM

                Ooops, just got back. Sorry not to answer sooner. Yes, very little wiggle room. All three are not necessary. The sandwich is enough, but while a muffuletta is certainly an American sandwich ... as would a pulled pork sandwich ... I need sliced bread and roast meat.

                My other option was just to buy a Honey baked ham (I know, sad), a loaf of bread, a jar of Best foods and sit on a beach somewhere making sandwiches and eating myself silly. Ham here, if lucky, is pressed formed ham ... if unlucky, something similar to bologna.

                The wiggle room is that, if it is not too over the top, I would go a bit artosan. However, I don't want bread slices so hand-hewn thick that it is hard to get your mouth around the sandwich.

                Certainly there must be good mealt loaf, roast beef, ham or pouttry sandwiches our there.

                1. re: rworange
                  abstractpoet May 22, 2011 05:10 PM

                  Uncle Dougie's makes a good meatloaf sandwich, if you like the East Coast style, with a sweet tomato sauce. The bread is a cut Italian roll (not sliced bread), but it's quite good - and SOFT, like what you'd get in New York, not those hard baguettes people out here like to use for sandwiches.

                  It's not a fancy, knock-your-socks-off kind of sandwich (unlike the Wise Sons reuben, which I recommended below), but for me it does satisfy a certain craving.

                  Uncle Dougie's
                  362 17th St, Oakland, CA 94612

                  1. re: rworange
                    Pandora May 22, 2011 09:25 PM

                    I have to say I love the sandwiches at the honey baked ham store in daly city. It's definitely more of a homey sandwich but it's cheap and good, especially the squaw bread.

                    1. re: Pandora
                      rworange May 22, 2011 09:36 PM

                      OK, I have been thinking on Honey Baked for one of the first meals we have at home. The mention of squaw bread .... gotta have it.

              2. re: steve h.
                sydthekyd May 22, 2011 06:20 PM


                1. re: sydthekyd
                  mariacarmen May 22, 2011 08:11 PM

                  Financial Times (i think.)

                  1. re: mariacarmen
                    steve h. May 23, 2011 09:36 AM


          2. n
            Nopa May 22, 2011 02:57 PM

            There's only one place that 90% fulfills your request, Litttle Luca's in South SF. You'll get arguements against this recommendation; don't believe them. This place has had a long line out the door for 30+ years...

            5 Replies
            1. re: Nopa
              rworange May 22, 2011 05:05 PM

              No. I don't want Italian. I want American. Thanks though.

              What is the name of the joint in the Castro that is supposed to have great sandwiches ... they are a bit on the creative side, but if the meat is good I can deal? They closed because of landlord problems then re-opened. Yelp doesn't seem to like them as much anymore in some email I read a while back.

              1. re: rworange
                abstractpoet May 22, 2011 05:32 PM

                Ike's Place? I haven't been, but opinion is divided on Chowhound, to say the least (and lately, mostly negative).

                1. re: rworange
                  Melanie Wong May 22, 2011 10:49 PM

                  No, ike's is not what you want.

                  1. re: rworange
                    bbulkow May 22, 2011 11:19 PM

                    I was going to recommend a Luca's too. For me, a sub with oil and vinegar on a roll is my classic growing up all American sandwich. That's what you get for growing up outside philly.

                    So -- Hazel's. Big ass sandwiches. SF classic kind of place next to farley's on Potrero Hill.. All American.

                    1. re: bbulkow
                      rworange May 22, 2011 11:21 PM

                      Will look into Hazel's.

                      Yeah, a grinder just won't do it right now.

                2. a
                  abstractpoet May 22, 2011 03:33 PM

                  I don't know if you'll find it too frou-frou, but the pastrami reuben at Wise Sons Deli is pretty spectacular. The restaurant is a pop-up for now (inside Jackie's Cafe, on Valencia), only open on Saturdays, and I believe the pastrami is only available b/w 11am and 2pm - and may sell out if you get there on the late side.

                  They bake their own rye bread (and it's amazing) and smoke their own pastrami (and it's amazing) and slice the meat, thickly, by hand. Anyway, it's an "artisan" sandwich, but the flavors are classic - just better than any classic version I've ever had. It's not a giant sandwich, but it isn't exactly dainty either ... but if you're worried it won't be enough food, you can also order one of their excellent bialys with smoked salmon and cream cheese (a kind of all-American "sandwich" in its own right). The coffee, a De La Paz drip, was decent enough.

                  Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
                  San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: abstractpoet
                    rworange May 22, 2011 05:23 PM

                    Thanks. I'll put that on my list to try. It sounds great.

                    I had one of the most amazingly bad pastrami sandwiches recently at a place that is one of my favorites in Antigua. I don't know what they did to it, but they catered to local tastes (or didn't know any better) and while it had the look of pastrami, it had the taste and texture of bologna.

                    Hmmm ... if I had a 'Wanna go" option would I put that there? Nope.

                  2. AntarcticWidow May 22, 2011 03:38 PM

                    Brennan's??? Not a great wine list, but will an Irish coffee do?

                    Brennan's Restaurant
                    700 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: AntarcticWidow
                      rworange May 22, 2011 05:10 PM

                      I guess in the Hauf Brau category they work The bread is kinda meh though. Ditto the tomatoes.

                      All three aren't important, only the sandisch. No ... I need good coffee, not average coffee masked by booze,

                      Have you been to Up and Under lately? Are they still open?

                      1. re: rworange
                        AntarcticWidow May 22, 2011 08:06 PM

                        No, I haven't been lately but yes, they are still open. From the looks of things they appear to be doing okay. They have a catering business as well, I see their van regularly, it tows a barbeque set up.

                    2. The Librarian May 22, 2011 04:09 PM

                      I don't have anything to add on the sandwich hunt, but welcome back! I've enjoyed reading your posts in the past, and am looking forward to reading the new ones.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: The Librarian
                        rworange May 22, 2011 05:11 PM

                        Thanks. I'm abandoning this post and re-posting to simplify.


                      2. m
                        margieco May 22, 2011 05:14 PM

                        Just for you might be the answer. They bake bread in house, slice it, and make a pretty good turkey sandwich (and turkey club). even better it's right by Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous so you can get an all american sundae when you're done.

                        Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
                        699 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                        1. JasmineG May 22, 2011 09:53 PM

                          Hmm, maybe Rincon Market (corner of Howard and Spear), I think they have real roast turkey sandwiches.

                          1. k
                            kc72 May 22, 2011 09:57 PM

                            Ever try the sandwiches at Angelo's Deli in your old area? Been around forever, but have never tried.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: kc72
                              rworange May 22, 2011 10:14 PM

                              It's mainly cold cuts but sometimes they have roast turkey.

                              Now this is probably going to screw with everyone's mind, but that reminds of of the Italian market on Solano Avenue in Albany. Totally not what I asked for, but they do a simple, classic sandwich that is inexpensive. They do have ham, so that might work. Yeah, I'll move them high on my list. And I can get a decent bottle of inexpensive wine to go with it.

                              1. re: rworange
                                betterbeheaven May 22, 2011 10:19 PM

                                Are you thinking of AG Ferrari on Solano? They closed in April, though there's one on College Ave., and I'm sure a few other locations.

                                1. re: betterbeheaven
                                  abstractpoet May 22, 2011 10:21 PM

                                  I think she means Zarri's.

                                  Zarri's Delicatessen
                                  1244 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

                                  1. re: abstractpoet
                                    rworange May 22, 2011 10:25 PM

                                    yeah, Zarri's. That's it.

                            2. s
                              Sharuf May 22, 2011 11:59 PM

                              Welcome back, girl!

                              If you get to San Rafael, Michael's Sourdough would fit your requirements.

                              They bake their own bread, roast their own meats and assemble things to your specifications. sandwiches are what they are all about.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sharuf
                                rworange May 23, 2011 06:46 AM

                                Thanks for refreshing my memory. Michael's has long been ib my to-try list.

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