We are real “foodies” and any unique restaurant is reason enough for us to stop for the night. During our nineteen years of fulltime travel in our RV, we have literally travelled hundreds of miles OFF our route to try a restaurant and we love to try about anything unique. We like and will try anything from First Class-to-No Class places. We have been to over 40 “Triple-D” places in many states (and Canada). I realize that’s not a record but those places provided us with some great “finds.” We like about everything but I especially like sandwiches, grew up eating lots of them, and still do. Here’s my take…
There are five perfect sandwiches in North America and a bunch of great ones. The five best are the…
A great combination of cold cuts , ham, shredded pork, pickles, plus other goodies on Cuban bread. You order this one “hot and all the way” meaning hot-pressed (like a panini) and with some shredded lettuce and tomato. This sandwich is sold lots of places but is best in southern Florida and on Key West because of access to real Cuban bread and local experience.
A Philly tradition, the hoagie is a pile of Italian meats and cheeses, oil and vinegar, with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, oregano, and other goodies. It is wonderful. Rumor has it that the unique flavor comes from the bread, made in Philly. Supposedly, early in the 20th century, Italian workers needed some food they could carry with them when working on Hog Island near the Port of Philadelphia. The local food shops created a sandwich they carried with them for lunch and it would not spoil. Thus, the “hoagie” was born.
Another winner, the Philly cheesesteak is made by cooking thin-sliced beef mixed with grilled onions, adding provolone cheese, and serving it hot on that Philly bread. Again, maybe it is that Philly bread that causes the unique flavor. You can get the basic sandwich around the nation but the unique flavor of those made in Philly make them wonderful and unmatched. Two famous Philly cheesesteak places—named Gino’s and Pat’s—were media favorites and happen to be located across the street from each other. However, their reputations are from media hype and NOT the food. The best cheesesteak is from any neighborhood “hoagie” shop or “Rick’s” in the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.
Made famous in Indiana and copied all over, this piece of lean pork loin is pounded really thin, breaded, deep-fried, served on a hamburger bun, and topped with tomato and mayo. (Some may put a piece of lettuce on it but just throw that away.) The meat often looks huge (sometimes plate-sized) and perched on a tiny bun but that’s because it’s pounded out so thin before it is cooked. Just break off the parts that stick out of the bun and pile them in the middle.
Go to Maine for the original. It’s so simple with just chunks of lobster mixed with mayo and some finely chopped celery and served on a hotdog style bun. (Some may put a piece of lettuce on it but just throw that away.) There’s nothing like it elsewhere so it must be that Maine lobster!
Of Course There’s More
There are many great sandwiches out there including the muffuletta and Po-Boy—both from southern Louisiana, the green chili cheeseburger from New Mexico, Montreal smoked meat (Canada), Italian beef (topped with giardiniera) in Chicago, chopped brisket in Texas, and the Greek gyro from just about anywhere (plus, I’m a fan of Maid-Rite and White Castle, too). One that would have been included here was the pastrami from the Carnegie Deli in New York City but they closed at the end of 2016.
I suppose I should also mention two others. First, the corn dog. I’m a lover of corn dogs but (take a deep breath), they just don’t belong here because they are not a true “sandwich.”
The second is the “Ripper.” I’m also a great fan of “rippers” (deep-fried hot dogs that are fried to the point that the skin splits—that is, “ripped” open). I realize most of you may have never heard of this one but that’s because it is RARE, indeed! They are really hard to find and I have no idea why. There are generally three levels for cooking them and all are known by slang terms. The first is the “In and Out.” This means the hot dog was dropped into the hot oil (it always sinks) and when it comes to the top, it’s done. This is the shortest cooking time.
A “Weller” or “Medium” is simply cooked longer.
“Cremated” is another term for “Ripped.” This one is cooked long enough that the hot dog casing splits open from the cooking. I recommend you get yours Ripped as this is the best flavor (their flavor is very different from a standard hot dog).
Those Stacked Concoctions
So, if your “sandwich” is not mentioned here, I haven’t tried it or it just wasn’t my flavor! Also, I don’t consider some cook/chef’s “stacked” concoctions where they simply pile stuff on top of each other to create a new “flavor” and call it a sandwich. Two specific kinds come to mind… the first is the “Chicago Dog.” The second is when they pile cole slaw or french fries onto the original ingredients.
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Another Note… While RVers may think this content is NOT related to RVing, it is. I have had the opportunity to try foods across the USA and Canada because I am a fulltime RVer and travel constantly. Think of it this way… “If I had not been traveling in an RV, I probably wouldn’t have been there.” Wouldn’t have it any other way!!!