Best Sandwiches

This Looks Like a Decent Effort. I'd Have to Try the Roll.

I have about 12 readers.  So, when one of them makes a request, I better respond.  I don’t want to use the word obligation, but it’s pretty close.  Plus, I’m not quite ready to write about T. Bjorn and Mike Angel Jimenez.  Hopefully the wind kicks up to about 40 mph tomorrow afternoon and we can wipe this top of the leaderboard clean.  I do like that the Brits still run everyone off the 1st tee.  It’s how everything should be, and yet we play 5 hour rounds at the U.S. Open, and I don’t even want to get into it.  Sandwiches!  Here comes a list.  I’ll get the details out the way early.  This is my list.  I don’t really go for things like tomatoes on sandwiches.  So, you’re not going to see a BLT.  You’re not going to see some Eye-Talian Hoagie.  If you like those and want to get angry about them–make your own list and let us take a look.  Here we go.  Oh, also, I’m not considering a burger a sandwich, because that’s really a separate category.

1.  Cheesesteak.  This is not a regional obligation.  I think when done well the cheesesteak is the best sandwich.  Any sandwich that screams to be doused in ketchup is amazing.  Who loves ketchup? (waving hands wildly)  I think everyone knows the details here.  The steak needs to be chopped.  The roll is key.  It has to have the good kind of chewiness, not the bad kind of chewiness.  If you don’t know the difference, I weep for you.  A lot of people will argue about places in the city, but give me Chris manning the grill at John’s in Frazer.

2. Hot Pork.   There’s going to be at least two (doing this on the fly here) pork sandwiches on here, but my favorite kind is a just a straight up pork sandwich with some provolone, served au jus.  The roll here isn’t quite as important, but you need a little more sturdy option than in the cheesesteak.  My favorite pork sandwich right now is at Quotations in Media.

3. Grilled Cheese.  Let’s keep it real.  I love cheese.  I love grilled bread.  I don’t burn through grilled cheeses like I once did, and I don’t feel great about typing that.  I used to (maybe still) have a “grilled cheese pan.”  A mini-griddle that was the perfect fit for one sandwich.  It was also helpful in containing me to one serving at a time.  I’m partial to that white Italian bread.  I think it’s probably the most gordo bread you can get, so it therefore makes the best sandwiches.  Best grilled cheese?   The one I make myself.

4. Deli Roast Beef.   This one has really grown on me over the years.  At one time I was a ham sandwich man, and I still like a ham sandwich, but I now like to pile the roast beef nice and high.  I was probably scared off at one time by the rareness you see in some deli roast beef, but I’m over that now.  I like mixing up the rolls/cheese/topping options, but the roast beef stays the same.  Do I have a roast beef recommendation?  Not particularly.  You have to go to the counter and eye-ball that on a roast by roast basis.

5.  Grilled Chicken.  I love grilled chicken.  Here’s the problem with grilled chicken sandwiches you get in restaurants.  They always want to give you burger toppings.  Bacon and Cheddar.  Mushroom and Swiss.  Etc.  There is nothing wrong with a bacon/cheddar chicken sandwich, but the proper toppings for a grilled chicken sandwich is bacon, jack cheese and honey mustard.  Oh, yes.  And, get that Kaiser roll away from me.  In fact, let’s just ban the Kaiser roll.  It’s a nightmare. Brioche that noise.

6.  Hot Roast Beef.  I went through a pretty strong hot roast beef phase.  Back in my Wayne Beef and Ale days, this is probably sitting in the 2-hole, but the Wayne Beef and Ale is no longer and I don’t know that I’ve found a replacement.  T.J.’s in Paoli serves up a nice hot roast beef with a horseradish mayo, and it is a fine sandwich.  But it is not a top-5 sandwich.  If you’ve eaten a  hot roast beef sandwich and haven’t made a mess of yourself, it probably wasn’t a good one.

7. BBQ Pulled Pork.  I don’t think it’s a big secret that I dig on the swine.  Here’s my issue with BBQ pulled pork.  It’s often served on a below average roll, and people insist on putting coleslaw on or about the sandwich.  VIOLATION!  Seriously, though, the BBQ pulled pork just doesn’t have that go-to roll.  I think most people think it gets by on its own merit, and it does for the most part, but there is improvements to be made out there.  Someone get on it.

8. Chicken Parm.  I really debated this one, because believe it or not there is a huge discrepancy in the quality of chicken parm you get.  It seems simple, but some people apparently can’t make a cutlet, or they get the proportions wrong.  A chicken parm will always look good, but when you bite in it can sometimes be disappointing.  You have to have enough cheese on there, and some places just drown the thing in sauce.  Not OK.  And, if your cutlet is dried out–for shame.  There’s a place in Limerick called Vince and Tony’s that parms a pretty good sandwich.  Check it out.

I think I am going to stop at eight.  I could certainly extend the list, but I think what we have here is, for me, the absolute upper echelon.  Any other sandwiches I list would be AAA.  Unless of course, someone mentions one that I have blatantly forgotten and then I change my mind.  Enjoy your lunch.


19 thoughts on “Best Sandwiches

  1. Reuben. If there is a better option after a night of drinking, I am not aware. Corned beef Reuben or turkey Reuben, both are muy fantastico

  2. Loving your use of spanish today, I assume that is in honor of the women’s el cupo worldo.

    I don’t do kraut, but I respect the pick.

  3. What about the illustrious “French Dip”? Basically a higher end hot roast beef sandwich.

    Fresh turkey sandwich, you had me at gravy. Also, where does an open faced sandwich lie in this, or is that a separate category?

    Had a great pulled pork in SC, the roll was a brioche i believe, which handled it’s bid-ness well i thought.

  4. When I was going through it in my mind, I decided not to make a distinction between the French Dip and the hot roast beef. They are different sandwiches I guess, but if I was separating them, the French dip probably just misses. It’s solid, though.

    I’m not a huge fan of the open-faced. I know for some the open-faced turkey slathered in gravy is just heaven.

    Brioche could be the way to go with pork. It’s almost never the wrong choice.

  5. i’ll throw out a couple of my favorites you didn’t mention…

    the cuban. love it. pork, ham, swiss cheese, mustard, couple pickles, cuban bread. i rarely put pickles on anything, but they’re a great addition here.

    the sailor. pastrami, knockwurst, sauerkraut, deli mustard, swiss cheese, on toasted rye. not something i want to eat all the time, but other times it is exactly what i want.

    chicken salad. i am pretty picky about my chicken salad. the most frequent criticism i have is that it is just too wet/runny. you really shouldn’t overdo it with the mayo or whatever you are using. my other criticism is usually about the consistency of the chicken. sometimes it is cut/.shredded just a little too fine. but that isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker. but while i am selective with my chicken salad, i do like a wide variety. my current favorite would probably include some sour cream and tarragon. i also enjoy a curried chicken salad if done well. yeah, i’ll eat the apple/grape kind too. or just serve me up some basic styles. whatever, as long as it’s done well.

    sloppy joe.

    also i just made a turkey sandwich with onion/chive cream cheese instead of mayo. it was fantastic. one thing i’ve been doing lately that i recommend is using grated cheese instead of slices. lots of flavorful surface area there.

  6. That’s some dissertation on chicken salad.

    I’ve just never gotten into eating chicken cold. In theory I should like chicken salad, but what can I say?

    pastrami and knockwurst? that’s gordo.

  7. Biggest warning for cheesesteaks:

    If it says on the menu “Philly Style Cheesesteak” you should probably stay away. I don’t know what that means because some places think it should include onions, mushorooms, peppers, and who knows what else. It’s meat and cheese. That’s it. If you want onions you have to ask.

    If the restaurant calls it a “Steak and Cheese” another red flaf should go off. I understand the steak is a major ingredient, but that’s not what you call the sandwich. Do you call it a burger and cheese or a cheeseburger?

    Those are not full proof, but it should make you think twice about ordering.

    I give a vote for a chicken cheesesteak. It’s versatile and can be had with just ketchup or you can add some hot wing sauce, blue cheese and lettuce. Very underrated.

    I’m still backing Rort, but will be glad to hop on Sergio’s bandwagon. This Lewis kid has huge stones.

    • In glorious Lancaster, where I attended finishing school, the standard cheesesteak comes with sauce. Like, you have to say, “NO SAUCE.” The first time I got one I almost burnt our dorm down to the ground. in-appropriate.

      Chicken cheese has always been a tad bland for me to crack a top-8 list. It needs too much condiment dressing up for my taste.

  8. chicken pesto w/ mozz and fresh tomatoes. UM YUM MU

    and is grilled chicken in a bun like the one displayed above, w/ muenster cheese…considered a steak or sandwich?


  9. Incidentally I will say again that there is a very big market opportunity in Vermont for actually good sandwiches. If someone is feeling like opening a sandwich shop in Barre, Vermont, let me just tell you that cheesesteaks and hoagies would be a gosh dang revelation up here. It’s a gold mine. Similarly, quesadillas and/or burritos. For some reason you cross over into New England and no one has a clue how to make a sandwich.

    And since it was specifically dissed in the post, let me take this opportunity to defend the Italian hoagie as made by John’s (Frazer) and as (I think now formerly) made by John’s (Wayne).

    • oh, you’re so right. there is this sandwich at Darwin’s in Harvard Square that is also popular at some random deli in Burlington…Darwins (amazing sandwich for anyone’s taste buds except maybe 3-Putt’s refined palette):

      “The Hubbard Street.” Hummus, Carrots, Honey Mustard, Tomato, Cheddar. Add some sour dough, and I could probably eat 4 at one sitting.


    • I imagine it is hard to get any kind of consistent roll delivered fresh to Vermont.

      But, that might not stop me from coming up and starting my place called “The Chubby Chicken” (patent pending)

    • i’m really hungry now. the thanksgiving sandwich!! turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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