I am please to have Jack Swiker of Danger Sandwich, a fellow sandwich lover and sandwich blogger from LA, guest blog for me his top 10 sandwiches in LA. If you are ever in Los Angeles and are hungry for a sandwich make sure to check out Danger Sandwich before you go out to eat.
I just love that word.
As writer of my own sandwich blog, the Danger Sandwich, you would expect me to love every aspect of that food, and I do, but to put it into words is where it gets tough.
Usually, it’s a feeling.
I remember some of my first sandwiches. It’s a school day, I open my lunch bag, and each day I’m greeted with a different option before me. Thus began the lifelong obsession with our most easily accessible food.
When Biggie asked me to write a guest blog for Deli Fresh Threads, I actually had to sit down and consider what I thought made a good sandwich. While I’ve been searching for the best sandwiches for quite some time now, the idea of what is the best sandwich, a SINGULAR sandwich, is something that’s eluded me and maybe that’s because there isn’t one best.
I enjoy the idea of the sandwich so much that I’m pretty easy to please with one. I’ve gone through phases where I’ve only eaten peanut butter sandwiches on white bread. Plain? Sure. Delicious? Totally.
But moving to Los Angeles seven years ago has opened up my mind to a number of other sandwiches that I never could have imagined before. What’s so great about Los Angeles is its diversity, not only between people of different background, but of the number and variety of neighborhoods. Little Tokyo, Little Armenia, Little Ethiopia, Thai Town, Chinatown, etc. etc. I could go on for quite some time. What it highlights is the variety of food styles that come with this diversity.
What it really means is that there are great sandwiches.
Now while I’ve traveled quite extensively, Los Angeles is my home and it serves as the central point for sandwich acquisition. So when I decided to come up with a list for this guest blog, I though I should go and create my top ten sandwiches of LA.
Some of them are nationally known because they are landmarks in the culinary world. Some of them are off the map.
In a city this large, with such variety there will obviously be differences of opinion and the usual “Hey but what about such-and-such sandwiches?” And I agree, many will miss out on this list, but that does not mean they are any less delicious. The following ten sandwiches have been taken from places I’ve reviewed in the past and they are some of my highest rated reviews.
10.) The Bleu Bird, Cahuenga General Store – Hidden on a street in North Hollywood, the Cahuenga General Store looks like it’s straight out of the wild west of the 1880s. It’s a great atmosphere to sit in and enjoy the Bleu Bird: a French roll sandwich filled with grilled chicken, bacon, bleu cheese, fresh apple slices and glazed onions. Savory and Sweet together in a warm sandwich is a winning combo and a great start to the list.
9.) Croque-Monsieur, Ladyface Ale Company – Ladyface Ale Companie is one of my favorite breweries in the Los Angeles area. French and Belgian inspired beers and food, this is a great place to enjoy delicious offerings with a great view of the mountains. I’ve tried nearly every sandwich on their menu but the Croque Monsieur is the best one. Niman Ranch ham with melted Gruyere cheese and a dose of béchamel sauce between two slices of grilled sourdough, it’s the perfect dose of savory flavors to combine with their lighter flavored beer options.
8.) Sliced Beef Brisket Sandwich, Kansas City BBQ Co. – Tucked into a strip mall in North Hollywood, this is some of the best barbecue I’ve eaten in Los Angeles. The brisket sandwich is a knockout. The white bread it’s on is basically a placeholder, it doesn’t add much but that’s fine. The meat is smoky, a little sweet, and falls apart in your mouth. BBQ at its finest.
7.) Mediterranean Madness, Hy-Mart – This place is amazing. A friend of mine told me about it a while ago, and then I just so happened to move in across the street from them. Not a bad thing though. Well, maybe for my wallet. A small mom-and-pop owned place where the people know who I am when I walk in. Their Mediterranean influenced wraps are incredible, especially this one which has two domathes inside of the wrap with their fresh vegetables make this a light, flavorful and enjoyable sandwich. I’ve since moved on from this sandwich for their spiced and shredded Chicken-i-liki sandwich which is on par with this one.
6.) Lavender Duck Sandwich, Sweetsalt – I’ve always enjoyed duck, but before Sweetsalt I never had it in a sandwich before. Piled between two halves of challah bread, this is a surprisingly delicious sandwich. Duck always has a chance to be too greasy or gamey, but the times I’ve had it this hasn’t been the case. It can still be a bit more than most people expect or enjoy, especially when compared to other foul, but for those willing to take the chance, duck is totally worth it.
5.) Pastrami w/ Swiss and Russian Dressing, Langer’s – A place that I happened to miss out on for so long finally made it onto my blog this year. Canter’s is a famous delicatessen in LA. The interior still boasts a design pattern of the late 70’s/early 80’s but that actually adds to the charm. And anyway, what does the interior design matter when the sandwich is so good. Thick cut pastrami, Swiss, Russian dressing on Rye? Simple. Delicious.
4.) Soujouk Sandwich, Tag Deli – A great example of ethnic diversity of food in LA, The Tag Deli offers a great selection of Armenian food. Soujouk is the most talked about and highest rated sandwich here. Spicy Turkish sausage with mayo, melted string cheese, tomatoes and full peperoncinis is a party for your taste buds. Spicy, savory, tangy, bitter all combine for an amazing experience.
3.) Lamb French Dip, Cole’s and Phillipe’s – One of the biggest debates in Los Angeles for foodies is which is better: Cole’s or Phillipe’s. Each claim to be the originator of the French Dip sandwich, and each shop has their own set of believers. Both sandwiches are delicious, but I lean more towards Cole’s. It’s a personal preference, but the bigger flavor, better rolls and juicy slices of meat win it out for me. Plus, the atomic pickles at Cole’s are a great partner with your sandwich.
2.) Pork Banh Mi, Banh Mi My Tho – The first time I visited this strip mall shop a few years ago, it took me 5 different freeways to get there, which in LA isn’t as weird as it sounds. The outside of the shop is unremarkable, and is something you would easily drive by if you weren’t looking for it. Banh Mi has become one of my favorite sandwiches with its sweet barbecued meats, spicy jalapenos and tangy pickled vegetables, it’s a fantastic combination of flavors in a simple package.
1.) Cubano, Porto’s Bakery – Porto’s is a Cuban bakery in Burbank that I happened to pass by a number of times on trips into that part of town without even paying attention to it for years. Then, one day, I hear they have one of the best Cubanos ever. At the time I wasn’t aware of what that sandwich was, but was incredibly intrigued. French bread filled with ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard served for less than $5 (a real treat in LA), and it’s a complete knockout. The flavor is incredible, and the enjoyment you’ll receive when you pair it with a chorizo pie or their famous potato balls will keep you coming back for more. Make it a must visit when you come to LA.
So that’s it. I know a lot of people may disagree with me on the top sandwich of LA, or the fact that I left a number of places off my list, but that’s okay. The diversity of LA allows for everyone to have their own top ten that may not share any sandwiches with another person’s top ten.
Hopefully you’re able to make your own Top Ten to share with the world and promote the love of humanity’s best form of foodery.