Trazzler

Sandwiches across America

From kosher cuts in NYC to French dips in L.A., the best places to sate your craving for our nation's favorite food

  • Eating a Take-Out Muffuletta on the Levee in New Orleans, Louisiana

    The po’ boys alone would put New Orleans on the map as one of the best sandwich cities in the world, but the mammoth muffuletta surely seals the deal. Central Grocery claims to have invented the sandwich in the early 20th century from a big round Sicilian roll, cheese, and the holy trinity of Italian-American cured meat: salami, capicola, and mortadella. But the x-factor here is the olive salad — olives, garlic, and finely chopped pickled vegetables swimming in olive oil. The collision of so many types of delicious fat in one handful of food makes the sum greater than the parts. Sandwich gestalt. Go early to avoid lines. Closed Sunday and Monday.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Devouring Classic New England Lobster Rolls in Wiscasset, Maine

    For a seaside shack that doesn’t even have its own website, Red’s Eats does all right for itself. Be prepared for a 20-30 minute line that stretches all the way down to the picturesque Sheepscot River, but it’s worth it for those delectable lobster rolls (~$15). Light, succulent meat from a one-pound crustacean spills out from fluffy split-top rolls; butter and mayo are available for dipping. Golden onion rings, fried clams, and homemade whoopee pies are other menu highlights. Your sandwich is best enjoyed at a white plastic table on the breezy patio overlooking the water, the perfect spot to experience a New England summer. Open mid-April through mid-October.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Tasting Greasy Ecstasy in Atlantic City, New Jersey

    Not much has changed at the White House since Anthony Basile started serving the best damn cheese steaks and hoagies on the planet over 50 years ago. Thinly sliced top round and tangy Italian provolone topped with mushrooms and diced hot cherry peppers served on crusty Italian bread yield a greasy ecstasy that seduces truckers and celebs alike.

    The photos lining the walls are like a Who’s Who of Jersey: The Boss, Sinatra, James Gandolfini, plus an assortment of Miss Americas and ousted governors. The bread is always fresh because it’s delivered several times a day — from Formica’s bakery across the street. In keeping with the 1950s diner ambiance, there’s no website — and no credit or debit cards are accepted.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Devouring an Urban Legend in Atlanta, Georgia

    According to local Atlanta lore, Ms. Ann’s persona rivals that of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. Tales abound of patrons being swiftly ejected for breaking one of her posted rules. But it’s the other legend — her “world famous ghetto burger” — that’s the reason for the occasional up-to-2-hour wait at this ‘hood equivalent of a street food vendor. The ghetto burger — a monstrous, structurally unsound assembly of two burger patties topped with sautéed onions, chili, bacon, cheese, lettuce, and tomato — earned acclaim in 2007 as the Wall Street Journal’s pick for the nation’s best burger. Ms. Ann hand cooks each burger to order, shaping and serving them up with all the finesse of a Swedish masseuse. Rumor has it that Ms. Ann will retire soon. So, if you want to taste the legend for yourself, hurry. Just be sure to mind your manners.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Drenching Your Turkey, Toast, and Bacon in Louisville, Kentucky

    Sip a mint julep or two under the twin spires of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, or swill some bourbon at the Maker’s Mark or Jim Beam distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, but save your stomach for the Hot Brown, God’s gift to sandwiches, at its birthplace, the historic, grand Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville. Turkey, bacon strips, and tomatoes are piled atop thick white toast, drenched in a white sauce made from Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses, and then broiled until the bread toasts and the sauce bubbles. It’s a beaut, all right, a foodie’s delight and your diet’s worst nightmare. Your stomach will love you for it.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Mangia-ing on an Italian-American Classic in Elmwood Park, Illinois

    Italian beef is one of the true culinary treasures unique to Chicago — thinly sliced and seasoned roast beef marinated in its own juices and stuffed into an Italian-style roll. Johnnie’s Beef, located in the working-class Italian neighborhood of Elmwood Park, offers the city’s best. During lunchtime the restaurant has a line out the door and down the block. Inside you’ll find a narrow walkway and a man at the register yelling out every order at rapid abbreviated speed “two beef juicy hot, small fry, two small Coke…” as a half-dozen countermen pump them out with mechanical precision. You’ll want your sandwich “dipped.” Meaning, after it’s made, they dip it in the beef juices. All toppings are homemade, so both the tangy spicy giardiniera and the sweet delectable cooked peppers make perfect complements. Get yours with a homemade Italian ice, complete with chunks of lemon inside.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Grabbing a $3 Vietnamese Sandwich in the Ghetto of San Francisco

    The blocks of Little Saigon in San Francisco’s Tenderloin are colorful and diverse, gritty and grimy, and lively and occasionally dangerous. Pho restaurants are plentiful, as are cheap sandwich stops, but one of the best—Saigon Sandwiches—is a true hole in the wall. You will see just a few items on the wall to order, including the chicken or meatball pork sandwich (which is divine, with marinated carrots and onions; spicy, tasty, mashed-up meat; and seemingly secret ingredients inside a crunchy roll). Order your sandwich, move to the side as others pile into the cramped space, hand over $3.25 for your prize, and you’re off. (Only a small nook at the window offers seating for customers, so you’re better off taking your sandwich elsewhere.) The location in the TL isn’t ideal, but the experience, and each bite, are worth the trek.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Picking Sides in the Deli War in New York City

    Sandwiches. Wars have been fought over less. (Did we go into Iraq over mustard gas and BLTs? Pat Buchanan thinks so.) Perhaps no theater of this epicurean war is more contentious than New York. Slicing imported prosciutto, hot sopressata, and delicately marbled bresaola, the Italian trio of Alidoro, Faicco’s, and Mike’s Deli make an offer you can’t refuse (seriously, at $10 a pop, it’s hard). Though the Jewish trio of Second Avenue, Carnegie, and Katz’s Deli may be a bit more expensive ($15-20), they boast decades of tradition, Kosher cuts schlepped from the homeland, and pickles like mama used to make. With such passionate sandwich-craft, some would have you pick sides. Personally, I say let ‘em duke it out. Competition is supposed to be a healthy thing, isn’t it?

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Experiencing the Sacred Cakes of Smith Island, Maryland

    Patrolling the narrow streets of the small fishing village of Smith Island—only accessible by boat somewhere in the middle of the choppy Chesapeake Bay—locals point out the Drum Point Market, which serves the famous crab cakes and ten-layer Smith Island Cake. The sandwich is succulent and juicy, made fresh by the women of the island; the stratified cake, rich and sweet made possibly with only butter and sugar. Sitting on the hard, plastic chairs with plastic plates on a red vinyl table-mat, cocktail sauce dripping out from between the bread and the meat, mouths water as the romance and tales of this far-flung island finally prove themselves to be true.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Following the BBQ Trail to Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC

    NC BBQ Society Historic Trail Historic Pit # 1: “Who cooks the best barbecue in the world?” With more than a little sense of pride, Pete Jones, owner of the Skylight Inn, will tell you that he does. He will quickly add he believes this to be so because National Geographic told him just that in 1979. He says that every year or so since, National Geographic sends him a letter and tells him that in all of their travels, they have still found none better. Pete’s barbecue without sauce has almost a sweet taste with rich smoky overtones. Add Pete’s sauce—which is a special blend of vinegars, peppers, and seasoning—and you’ll note a slightly wood-smoked flavor. It’s as tender as veal. Dark and white meat with tiny pieces of pork skin mixed in with the barbecue. These tiny morsels, smaller than Rice Krispies, add a unique new flavor when crunched along with the barbecue pork. I found this delightful! Keep reading at ncbbqsociety.com.
    —Excerpt from “The Best Tar Heel Barbecue Manteo to Murphy” by Jim Early.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Approaching Cuban Sandwich Perfection at La Ideal in Tampa, Florida

    If what you’re looking for is a no-frills, puro y duro Tampa cuban, La Ideal is the place to go. Yes, at the Columbia, you may find a more upscale rendition, flaunting meat roasted in a special $30K pork oven. Over at Arco Iris you can get Chinese fried rice on the side. Lincoln entices you with its wall mural paying graphic tribute to pig on a stick in all its glory. And Brocato’s faithful are legion. But here at La Ideal, the humble sandwich shop that specializes in this, the most sacred staple to most Tampans, it is just between you and your sandwich mixto … roast pork, ham, a discreet slice of Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard pressed between Cuban bread. Out of respect to the old-timers who frequent the joint, refrain from adding new-fangled bastardizations like tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo. Like a close-knit family, this sandwich is meant to stick together.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Biting Into History Where the French Dip Was Born in Los Angeles, CA

    The stories vary, but diners from all walks of life know Philippe the Original as the birthplace of the French dip. Step down into Philippe’s (as it’s known locally), pick a line, and place an order familiar to generations of Angelenos: a beef “double dip” (or “wet” for even more jus), a side of slaw, lemonade, and perhaps a slice of pie. With practiced ease your server assembles your meal, and within minutes you take your tray, cross the sawdust covered floor, and hunt for a seat. Sitting at a communal table, you ask your neighbor to pass the sinus-clearing spicy mustard. At Philippe’s, it might even be the mayor who hands you the squeeze bottle.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.
  • Surrendering to Sandwich Ecstasy at Sarcone’s in Philly

    At Sarcone’s, the motto is: “It’s all about the bread.” Order any of the hoagies, and you’ll see why. The bakery’s light sesame-seed-sprinkled rolls are a carb-lover’s dream. As I devoured one of Sarcone’s “old-fashioned Italian” hoagies with abandonment — prosciutto, sopressata, capicola, sharp provolone, vinegar and oil, and tomato — my face was dripping with gooey goodness, a state of ecstasy tempered by a bracing flavor slap from hot peppers that brought tears to my eyes. Pleasure and pain intricately intermingled and served up in fluffy bread. Although the inside of this hoagie heaven is best suited for take-out, two tiny tables are perched outside in case you want to brave the chilly air.

    Map it.

    Read the story.

    trazzler.com and click "write a trip" to add it.