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Entries in Sandwich (46)


3 Classic Disappointments and it makes me Sad

There have been some restaurants and delis that I have been grabbing take-out from for at least 20 years. A half-lifetime of memories for me. It hurts me deeply and personally to have 20 plus years of memories and nostalgia trampled down.

Pizza my Heart, Ding Ho, and Piemonte’s seemed to have lost their soul.

Pizza my Heart the Capitola Village institution was my first stop during each and every summer vacation. And once again, I made an appearance at 2am after two tall Campari and soda, something to settle the stomach. The pesto pizza I ordered just didn’t measure up . Barely any pesto. A cardboard crust. Boring. No soul. I did not sleep well that night.

Pizza My Heart on Urbanspoon

Ding Ho:

I was an umpire for Fig Garden Spartan League for 7 years and would drive by Marks and Bullard 7-days a week from March through June. Ding Ho would make a sublime Mongolian beef.  I drove by Ding Ho a couple weeks back and ordered exactly what I ordered 20 years ago, Mongolian beef and steamed rice. I expected to find spicy beef, green onions, on a bed of fried rice noodles. What I found, beef, bell peppers and jalapenos. Not what I remember after umpiring baseball 20 years ago. In the old days, it was with lots of green unions, a dark, rich sauce, and the right amount of heat from dried red chilis. Now it’s greyish, bland, and disappointing. And again, no soul.

Ding Ho Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Piemonte Deli

I realize that Fresno’s favorite deli sandwich might be served at Piemonte’s. My family had (past tense) been going to Piemonte’s for well over 30 years, probably since they were first opened. We would buy cold cuts and specialty Italian goods. Oh it’s a good sandwich, a traditional Italian-American deli sandwich, served with oil and vinegar rather than mayo and mustard, but what happened to the soul of the deli? Where are all the specialty cold-cuts, the imports, the high-quality Italian imports? Or even the American equivalents of high-quality salumi? They’re nowhere to be found. Whole Foods carries more high-quality product. I remember when Piemonte’s had Italian American soul. Now, they’re merely a sandwich shop with the old sign of nostalgia…and it makes me sad.

Piemonte's Italian Deli on Urbanspoon

The Stove, Mammoth Lakes

Out of the back country and into town to eat lunch at The Stove in Mammoth for the Chicago Club.

When I saw the sandwich come out, I immediately remembered Fat Paulie’s in Fresno. A sandwich so large, my big fat pie hole couldn’t wrap around both pieces of bread. The layers oozed mayo. The rye bread was buttered and crispy. The tomato and lettuce were cold and crisp. Several layers of deli ham and turkey and of course strips of bacon. And what makes it a "Chicago"? The rye bread and cold slaw. Gourmet all the way. 


While the sandwich was incredibly good, I wish the servers would vacuum under the tables a little more often. I think I counted five used packets of sweetener and lots of table scraps under several booths.

The Stove Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Luigi's Deli, Bakersfield

Luigi’s Deli, in Bakersfield is "the spot" to head to and it's only open for lunch. I've been in several times over a six month period and eaten a wide variety of foods. Here's the rundown:

On my first visit, I went with a couple of my cousins and ordered nothing but sandwiches. The pastrami sandwich was off the hook and massive, by West Coast standards. The meatball sandwich, also massive. My prosciutto sandwich, of which I’m a lover, seemed cute in comparison to the other Italian American deli sandwiches.

Yes, it’s true. I just called prosciutto “cute” in comparison to the Italian American meatball sandwich and the Massive pastrami sandwich. Normally, it’s not my style to criticize prosciutto sandwiches, but in this case, I’ll make an exception.

The real evaluation to the pastrami sandwich is, how does it compare to other deli style sandwiches I’ve eaten? As I’m a bigger fan of Reuben sandwiches, rather than straight pastrami, Luigi’s sandwich wouldn’t get ranked with Reuben’s, rather simply as a deli pastrami sandwich. I’d say plenty of meat, good roll, a hint of mustard all add up to a solid sandwich. As you can see from the pics, lots of lettuce. I did happen to like the meatball sandwich better than the pastrami. The meatball sandwich tastes something like I'd eat at home, which obviously makes the meatball rank higher than pastrami. No offense Pastrami.

I did a follow up visit about a week later with another cousin. As many know, I’m always hesitant to order pasta. However, the purses of pasta with ricotta and truffles were wonderfully prepared. The pasta was cooked properly, seasoning inside was lovely, and yes, there was a lot of butter used to sauce the dish. Lots of butter. I know they don’t make the pasta on-site, they have it brought in. I also had a follow-up pastrami sandwich ordered that same day, it tasted and looked consistent with my first visit. Another dish I sampled of Green lip mussels were also fresh and flavorful.

My last trip to Bako included a quick stop into Luigi’s for their signature sandwich, seen just above. Fresno diners would have to think back to Piemonte’s 20 years ago, as the Signature sandwich is a mix of different Italian coldcuts put in a roll and slathered with a little tomato sauce. Once again, lettuce is flying everywhere (I will probably ask for no lettuce next time). But it's the roll that really makes this sandwich tick. I have an expectation that the cold cuts are going to be good, but if the roll was mooshy (like Subway), I wouldn't give the sandwich a high score. The Luigi's roll has texture, flavor, and a "tear" factor that other rolls don't. 

Luigi's is holding to the classic Italian American principals of a deli on the West Coast. The only close equivalent in Fresno is Sam's Deli. There aren't many of these classic places left in the San Joaquin Valley, UNLESS, they're controlled by a direct decendant of the founders, which both Sam's and Luigi's are. Thank heaven for Italian families holding to tradition.

Oh, and they still make and marinate beef tongue in-house!

Luigi's Restaurant & Deli on Urbanspoon


Jimmy John's, Clovis

It’s a good sandwich, packed with meat and really spongy bread. I’d call it an “Advanced Subway”, with better potato chips.

This isn’t mind-blowing sandwich creationism, this is plain and simple execution.

Sort of like a logical syllogism, if the premises (ingredients) are true, than the conclusion (sandwich) must be true. Very rarely is this the case in cooking, but with sandwiches, the elements are all brought in fully prepared so it becomes an act of assembly rather than cooking.

I don't remember which sandwich this was. It had cold meat, ham and turkey. Lettuce and tomato. Cheddar cheese. Standard bread. Filled stomach for lunch and no food sickness after. Successful take-out.

Jimmy John's on Urbanspoon


Jimtown Store, Healdsburg

A hearty breakfast in the heart of Alexander Valley. Part panini, part frittata, perfect for breakfast or lunch, the Egg Sandwich could be one of the better non-runny egg sandwiches I’ve tasted. I like runny eggs on things. I know adding an over-easy egg to just about everything these days is ultra-hip, but I’ve liked runny eggs since I was 5 I think, so this trend isn’t new.

However, the eggs at Jimtown are prepared more like a frittata. These squared-off fried eggs are cut out of a sheet pan for ease of use and reheating. Multiple layers of ham and some type of white cheese (I didn’t ask) made up the bulk of the sandwich. A herbed foccacia, with a heavy hand of rosemary, is used for bread.

However, what makes this breakfast sandwich a cut above the others I’ve had, is the use of the in-house tapenade. Their home-made olive spread gives this sandwich some punch. Notice the thin layer of spread on each side of the toasted bread. This carries the flavor of the sandwich, rather than the cheese or the egg. Drier, frittata style eggs, don't carry flavor the same way runny-yolk does, so the addition of fat from the olive spread, really helps deliver this sandwich.

Jimtown Store on Urbanspoon