By Jesse Zanger – It’s almost impossible to compile a list of the 10 best sandwiches in America. That said, the editors of Gear Patrol put me out to do just that. Honestly, it’s like asking for a definitive list of the 10 most beautiful women ever with 50 of them standing there in front of you. For one thing, it’s probably going to keep changing, and the fact that you’re never going to reach agreement in the ranks. So, for your drool-laden consideration, I present you the 10 Best Sandwiches in America (including burgers).
First things first, lets settle on the definition of a sandwich. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary a sandwich is defined as:
Main Entry: (noun) Two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.
Etymology: John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich died 1792 English diplomat.
With that out of the way, let’s proceed.
9. PMP at the Hot Truck
Hot Truck – Ithaca, New York – Ithaca is known for many things: Home of Cornell. College town. Natural gorges. Reisling. But food? Not so much. At least not while I was studying there. However, for a young, broke student (or not), there is, mercifully, the Poor Man’s Pizza, or PMP. Moored near the Cornell campus, the Hot Truck which serves it is the food equivalent of a life boat for Titanic survivors. All those who can, swim and clammor towards it – and no wonder: The PMP is a delicious (and cheap) concoction of crunchy French bread, a drizzling of garlic and oil, with pizza fixings slapped on top. The sandwich has variations, like the Full Sui (short for ‘Full Suicide’), which has mushrooms, sausage, and pepperoni. There’s also the MBC – essentially a meatball hero. All in all, the Hot Truck’s fare rates as a sentimental favorite.
8. Fried Oyster & Shrimp Po Boy at Acme
Acme – 724 Iberville Street, New Orleans, Louisiana – Once, during a drunken bachelor party in New Orleans, my friends and I made a point of reeling to the much-lauded Acme Oyster House. There I ordered a Fried Oyster and Shrimp Po Boy, although it may have been all oysters. Truth be told, I’m a bit fuzzy about the whole event. Whatever it was, I was in the midst of the onset of alcohol poisoning and turning an interesting shade of undead green when we sat down. When the Po Boy arrived, the fat, golden-battered, glistening oysters at first looked to me like deep fried testicles and I thought for certain I was going to hurl. It is testimony to the overwhelming delicious excellence of the sandwich that not only did I devour it with the intensity of a zombie attacking a brain, but it somehow set me right and settled my stomach. It is, just, terrific.
7. Jim’s Steaks Cheesesteak with Provolone
Jim’s Steaks – 400 South Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Between Acme Po Boys and Cheesesteak at Jim’s, purists out there are going to accuse me of picking tourist spots. But there is a reason these places endure: they are excellent, and capture the ousia of the sandwiches which made them famous. I am partial to provolone on a cheese steak, perhaps with onion, peppers, mayo and ketchup. What I just described may sound wrong to some, but you can’t really go wrong at Jim’s. Be prepared for a line and don’t be thrown if you see some celebs or (as was apparently the case on my most recent excursion there) a pimp treating his various top girls to a special lunch.
6. Shawarma at Bereket
Shawarma at Bereket – 187 Orchard Street, New York, New York – There are a million lousy places to eat shawarma. There are just as many overrated places to eat shawarma. But there is only one Midnight Shawarma, and that’s at Bereket. I call it the “midnight shawarma” because that is usually the time of night it is eaten – perhaps later – by stumbling inebriates after a night partying downtown. The loaded pita comes overstuffed with tender slivers of lamb, some sauce, lettuce and tomato. It does an excellent job of turning one from intoxicated and incoherent to functioning and fed, sometimes all four. Many kinds of food can do that, as we saw in New Orleans, but few are as savory and delicious. The glaring, packed confines of Bereket’s resemble a typical fast-food joint, but it is nonetheless an excellent capstone to a booze-fueled evening. Highly recommended.