Here are my favorite places to get sandwiches in Los Angeles that aren’t Subway.
BAY CITIES ITALIAN DELI & BAKERY
1517 Lincoln Blvd in Santa Monica
One word: Godmother. Two words: Spicy Godmother. I’ve heard all the sandwiches, meat, and bread are stellar at Bay Cities, but I can’t bring myself to order anything but their signature Godmother sandwich. My friend Brittany told me about this place, saying it would be the best sandwich of my life, and I was skeptical…until I took my first bite. It was so good that I literally signed-off from Gchat and stopped everything else I was doing at home and concentrated on this sandwich. The wait and the parking lot can be kinda crazy, but Bay Cities does do online ordering in advance. If you’re lucky and not picky about your Godmother, they often have pre-made mild and spicy versions available for purchase.
Also available? Kinder Buenos, my favorite chocolate bar in the world. They’re not that readily available in the U.S., so any time I see them in stores or duty-free shops, I must buy them.
1944 South Atlantic Blvd in Monterey Park
When you walk into Cook’s Tortas, the menu is overwhelming. The first time I went, I stared at the huge list of sandwiches for about 15 minutes, wanting to order about 5 of them with a budget (and appetite) for only one. This is the reason that I sadly don’t remember which sandwiches I’ve had or which ones I should recommend, but every sandwich I’ve had here has been amazing. So take a chance on one of the 30 on their menu!
I first tried bahn mi when I was about 12 or so. My mom had fallen in love with a Vietnamese sandwich shop near my grandparents’ house in Brooklyn, so anytime we paid them a visit we paid the shop one, too. I was a picky eater back then, and I never really understood what was in these sandwiches my mom was nuts for. One day, my mom bought a bag of sandwiches for the family and there was one extra that was given to me. There was no other food at the gathering that interested me, so I finally tried this magical sandwich.
It was love. I’m pretty sure that’s the bite that opened my mind to the fact that new, unknown food can be good, too.
I’m well-aware that there’s a lot of other more highly regarded bahn mi places than Lee’s, a famous chain. But Lee’s is always there when I need it, it’s affordable, and the BBQ Pork Sandwich always hits the spot. So does a Thai iced tea, which I’m totally addicted to.
DK’S DONUTS & BAKERY
1614 Santa Monica Blvd in Santa Monica
DK’s got famous during the Summer 2013 Cronut craze, since they sold their own version of the trendy pastry. While I was there, yes, getting a cronut, I also got a turkey sandwich on a croissant that was actually more impressive than the cronut. Ask for everything and the combination of flavors is just so satisfying.