You’ve clicked on Good Taste, a weekly menu of local bites and food happenings. This week, I’m recommending the seven standout sandwiches I’ve eaten so far this year. There are seven so that you can potentially try one each day of the week, which is something fun to think about, if not totally realistic. Do it for Anthony Bourdain.
Cubana at That’s It Market
Bourdain made the Cubana at That’s It Market famous when he ravished it during a No Reservations visit to San Francisco in 2009. Our mutual friend Oscar Villalon, who is also the managing editor of the literary magazine Zyzzyva, took Bourdain to the liquor store for lunch and made the suggestion to get this super stacked beast. You make the choice of either breaded beef or chicken milanesa and then they take it from there with chorizo, ham, eggs, hot dogs, bacon, queso, tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, mayo, and jalapeños.
“I need to unhinge my jaw like a boa constrictor,” Bourdain said of attempting to eat it.
“Yeah, this is not going to be a proud moment for me,” Villalon said, to which I respectfully disagree!
I watched them do this on TV 11 years ago and never dared to follow in their footsteps until today, because I just felt like it was time to have that experience. As Villalon’s wife, writer Mary Ladd, is fond of asking, “If not now, when?”
So do it, do it if you never did it or even if you have—and do the ish out of it, because it really is all that and then some. I could only have a few bites right now in order to have the cognitive function necessary to detail the rest of my recommendations, but know that about three-quarters of half of this is going to make for quite the blissful nightcap when I’m done.
Tomato katsu sando at Family Cafe
This is a special at Family Cafe in North Beach that I’m guessing may make less frequent appearances after the summer. It wasn’t warm out when I had my fried green tomato katsu sando with avocado, cabbage, greens, and herb cashew cream on milk bread, but sunbeams were bouncing off of it, as you can see, and that feeling has stayed with me.
Senegal street style spaghetti sandwich at Teranga
I’ve previously praised this sandwich, which you can find inside the La Cocina Municipal Marketplace. Chef Nafy Flatley stuffs a crisp and chewy Acme roll with a Bolognese that she hits with her special spice blend, short spaghetti noodles, and a citrus-herb chermoula. So nice, I had to mention it twice.
Cali Club at Flour and Water Pasta Shop
I had some fun playing around with the supple ravioli dough from Flour and Water Pasta Shop last week, which I added onto my Cali Club sandwich order. I didn’t know what I was doing, but my experiments were delicious. It took me two days to finish this eight-inch hoagie with turkey, bacon, pepper jack cheese, avocado, aioli, red onion, and pepperoncini. It’s a good find-a-friend sandwich, in other words.
Daily veggie panini at Alimentari Aurora
Dario Barbone switches up his panini daily from Wednesday through Sunday at his Alimenti Aurora in Potrero Hill, but there’s always one meat and one vegetarian option. On the day I peeked in to say hi, he gave me a veggie panini with (unfurls notes) smoked cheddar, red Fresno chili, hot sauce from the Canary Islands, green jalapeño, garlic, pimenton, vinegar, braised broccoli, rainbow chard, mustard greens, roasted pepper, pickled daikon, and homemade mustard. Yeah, he knows what he’s doing, go see him.
Roasted cauliflower hoagie by Palm City Wines
Palm City Wines in the Outer Sunset sells hoagies that are longer than my arm, another one that is built for sharing or eating for more than one meal. The sole vegetarian option here could be the best, a roasted cauliflower footlong with asparagus, ginger lemongrass aioli, avocado, pickles, cilantro, hot honey, and fried shallots. Just looking at this picture I took a few months back is giving me feelings.
Heroic Italian’s Marinetti
The Marinetti has Bufala mozzarella, avocado, roasted tomatoes, pesto and a sweet aged balsamic glaze. Here’s another case of a place where I prefer the vegetarian sandwiches to the meat ones (although I quite like those, too). Heroic Italian is based in Southern California and operates a San Francisco location inside Swirl on Castro.
Devour more of Tamara’s food adventures at her site California Eating.