The sandwich is the working class hero of American cuisine.
Ham and cheese. Tuna salad. Po’ Boys. They’re the stuff of the man on a well-deserved one-hour break.
Which is the spirit behind The L.A. Book of Sandwich, Vol. I, a compilation of all the finest sandwiches one L.A. neighborhood has to offer.
Today, we go to the Eastside for spicy bánh mì, a sopressata sub as thick as a phone book and the best muffuletta in county lines.
They’re all worthy of the forty-something minutes you may spend on the back-and-forth, trust.
Anything that tastes as good as the falafel sandwich at Dune would normally register as junk food. And while the bright green falafel is technically fried, the smooth, rich hummus, microgreens and pickled root veggies that rest on top are all very healthy. And that warm sourdough pita from Bub And Grandma’s bakery is heavenly. You’ll feel good eating this.
The Po’ Boy is the official sandwich of New Orleans. But the muffuletta? That’s the deep cut. This cold-cut sandwich was popularized at Central Grocery on Decatur, and Lil Dom’s Deli in Los Feliz does a solid version. Focaccia, Italian meats and a pickled olive spread with provolone make the perfect sandwich for a picnic in Griffith Park or a show at The Greek.
You can’t go wrong with any of the sandwiches on Sopressata’s menu. The Silver Lake concern’s namesake comes with sopressata, artichoke hearts, arugula, mayo and balsamic. The turkey and fontina is equally as good. It’s the baguettes they use — perfectly flaky on the outside, soft on the inside — that make it worth repeat business.
The Trencher is close enough to Dodger Stadium to make it a necessary stop before or after a game. The chicken in their bánh mì is lightly fried for some added crispiness, and the whole affair is delicately glazed in a sweet chili sauce. Great flavor. The short rib is also quite good.
Wax Paper is the epitome of a hole in the wall. No bigger than a bedroom and attached to a multi-use building in a slice of Frogtown that’s very blue collar. Sandwiches are named after NPR reporters. Get the Kai Ryssdal: pole-caught tuna on a soft sesame roll with thinly sliced celery and just the right amount of vinaigrette and black olive aioli.
You can’t mention blue collar and not give a shout to Eastside Deli. This Italian market has been making sandwiches with pastrami, meatballs and sausage since the city was knee high to a grasshopper. Obviate indigestion with a Zantac prior to arriving: the meatball, Italian peppers and sausage sandwich will blow up your tastebuds and your stomach lining.