2012 was a great year for sandwiches. I scoped out some longstanding local favorites, and discovered a few new creations that were as emotionally satisfying as they were filling. Here are my top 5 favorite sandwiches from 2012:
1. The Carne Asada Torta from Tortas Wash Mobile in Tijuana made such an impression that in my memory, I see it in soft focus and hear a chorus of angels sweetly singing whenever I think about it. I tasted this grilled steak, guac, tomato, and pickled onion torta during an epic trip to Tijuana, where I visited five burger shops in the span of about 4 hours for A Hamburger Today, so in interest of not shredding the seams of my jeans, I had to limit myself to a few glorious bites. It wasn’t just the best thing I ate all day, it was the best sandwich I ate all year. Get the full scoop in my review on Serious Eats.
2. Pork is the most celebrated protein at Carnitas’ Snack Shack in San Diego, but I’m stuck on the steak sandwich. Tender strips of ribeye steak are smothered with aioli and a blanket of jalapeno jack cheese, then dressed with pickled serranos and tomato slices. The jalapeno cheddar bread was cut a bit thinner on my last visit than what’s pictured, but even still, this is a killer sandwich. Add some fries and technically it’s enough to split, but the agony of watching someone else eat the second half of the sandwich can sometimes be too much to bear. Better to hog it all for yourself and pig out (heh heh, get it?). More info in my review on Serious Eats.
3. The Short Rib Grilled Cheese at Saltbox in downtown San Diego is listed as a “smaller plate,” and really is best as a shared snack or appetizer. The combination of fatty short rib, manchego cheese, and a New Orleans-style hot sauce make for a sandwich that hits you so hard, you may have to steal away to the pool deck and sleep it off on one of the cushy loungers. The full review on Serious Eats is here.
4. There’s no need for a med card to inhale the “blunts” at Cheba Hut, a stoner themed sub shop in San Diego. Blunts are the biggest size (a full 12 inches) but you can also get “pinners” (8 inches) and nugs (4 inches). I recommend the Cali Mist, a turkey, avocado, and bacon sandwich that you can dress any way you like. Say yes to the pickles, oil and vinegar, oregano, and parmesan, but skip the mustard — there’s plenty going on already. For more details, and to see what they’ve got on tap (besides beer and soda) check out my review on Serious Eats.
5. New York Subway is one of my favorite spots in Toronto, so much so that I went there three times in the span of nine days on a recent visit. I love the grilled chicken satay wrap, but decided to give the sub version a go for Serious Eats. While the wrap is fairly bare bones (chicken, lettuce, tomato, and onion with their house-made hot sauce), the sub version has a curried potato and mushroom mixture, which makes it a more like an East Indian roti in sub form. It’ll cost you just over $10 with tax, but it is easily enough to feed two people. Take a closer look in my review on Serious Eats.
Best Burgers of 2012, Part Two: Burgers from the Road
Best Burgers of 2012, Part One: San Diego