Glad to hear you know about Bahn mi. It's a mind blowing experience, especially to the uninitiated.Wow...this has been generating a lot of good conversation!
In reply to several posts:
I have had a bahn mi before at a local bahn mi restaurant. I have actually seen a couple shows on food network talking about them specifically and have gotten a little obsessed...
Hot pastrami sandwiches are awesome, especially from a goood kosher deli. I've never been to the west coast to tell, but id pit a good east coast kosher pastrami against west coast any day.
That muffaletta......drool......thats next on my list of sandwiches to make after the bahn mi.
Po'boys can be a great sandwich if done properly. If you've been to NO, then you've been to their birth place. Legend has it, that the term was coined by restaurant owners giving out free sandwiches to the street car conductors who were on strike at the time, and were referred to as the "poor boys", and would typically consist of oysters or shrimp. I love cajun/creole food, but have not had many po'boys. To your point, though, the bread makes all the difference in a sandwich and can make or break it.One type of sandwitch I actually feel is very overrated is a po' boy. I have only ever eaten them in NO (my favorite eating city by far), and I have always been underwhelmed by the dry, breadiness of them. A muffaletta on the other hand, almost always good.
I too, have a strong passion for a good 'witch, and hope to sit across from you at a table somewhere in this great country of ours and dig in. Thanks for the happy thread.
Bahn Mi is great, and sooooo cheap! I used to live right near Eden Center, one of the largest Vietnamese enclaves in the country.I am sure nobody will remember it, but there was a place downtown LA that my grandparents would take us when we visited. It was called Chep's (Deli?). Anyways, you sit down and they bring out plates of pickles. Then, we would order 'The Ring Dinger". This was probably a $30 sandwich or so. They would bring this giant platter that had a huge rye and turkey/pastrami multi layered sandwich all cut up with toothpicks and olives, pickled onions and good mustard and whatnot. It fed 6 people more than comfortably.
That said, good LA pastrami sandwiches are almost a dime a dozen there, and I would put 'em up against anything on the East Coast or Montreal, etc. 'The Hat', a chain makes a very passable sandwich that you can find all over. I have found that for some reason, the prices of these types of sandwiches carry a premium that I personally feel are unfounded.
Beyond pastrami, (a pinch of salt thrown over my shoulder to ward off bad voodoo for even saying it) I am mostly excited about Vietnamese Bahn Mi.
Bahn Mi can generally be found in any Vietnamese restaurant, though the trend nowadays is that there are Vietnamese "Deli"s that pretty much do only Bahn Mi, or at least specialize in it. The approach is interesting. The toppings and varieties in these places that specialize are staggering. I would suggest you first go and have one with something you can wrap your mind around, then explore without hesitation the odd and wondrous varieties that they come up with. My favorite at my local place is a baguette, filled with cilantro and mint, pickled daikon and bean sprouts, carrot, hot peppers and then a meat loaf like liver pate, a headcheese type offering, and barbecued pork. I get a side of fish sauce for dipping it into.... Godly stuff. Another hallmark that I appreciate is that the sandwiches are usually $4-$5. I can also get a "double meat" for $2 and easily split one with my wife to share. $6 take out lunch for 2? Yes sir.
We have Al's beef's, you order it "dipped wit hot peppers" And we have Hot dogs when your order them you say "drag em through the garden" And Maxwell street polish. Sooo good, tast like Mom used to buy.Man, I have a few
Hot Dipped Italian Beef -- Sometimes I throw a slice of Smoked Provolone
Pastrami and Swiss on Rye
Really can't go wrong with a good Pulled Pork either.