Any ingredient you can imagine, piled between two slices of your favorite bread, a culinary expression of culture, creativity and convenience - who doesn’t enjoy a sandwich?
What better way to celebrate our collective love affair with the world’s tastiest invention – amusingly named after a gambling aristocrat - than dedicating an entire day to them? This year, November 3rd is National Sandwich Day, so let’s get rolling and look at the best Orange County has to offer.
Costa Mesa and Irvine, CA
Does the thought of scrumptious Latin-inspired food keep you up at night? Luckily, Habana is open past midnight and the “Media Noche” is the perfect bite to satisfy those late nocturnal cravings. This Cuban style pressed sandwich is loaded with slow roasted pork, jamón, Swiss and all the fixings, as well as a tantalizing roasted garlic yellow mustard aioli that makes the whole thing melt in your mouth.
4th St Market, Santa Ana, CA
Whoever thought to add tuna salad to the already delicious grilled cheese deserves a medal. The crew at Stockyard Sandwich Co. earns the gold for their take on the classic because the ciabatta and cheddar make it better. Tasty tuna and crisp pickles meld together in a gloriously salty and tangy experience that’s only elevated by tomato and red onion. House-made chips or tater tots are included with the order, so you’ll surely find happiness at this 4th Street Market standout.
Fountain Valley, CA
At The Recess Room, a trendy energetic vibe meets innovative cuisine. If your interests lie between the bread, the “Pork Belly BLT” has your name written all over it. Thick slabs of succulent, rich and flavorful kurobuta pork set the tone for this ‘wich; the charred edges alone will get your mouth watering. Arugula, tender Roma tomato, and chipotle aioli fill out the rest and beer battered fries come on the side. Just remember, there is never any shame in filling your belly with pork belly.
Anaheim, Newport Beach, Long Beach, and Orange, CA
Artisan French bread and aromatic coffee highlight this charming breakfast spot - oui, s’il vous plait! If you dream of sipping espresso while savoring a Croque-Madame along the Champs-Élysées, Pandor Boulangerie and Café can at least get you halfway to realizing your fancy. Served atop a Provençal loaf, this delicacy of jambon ham, cheese, creamy Béchamel sauce and eggs over easy evokes the finest of Parisian sensibilities.
Anaheim and Costa Mesa, CA
Please excuse the language, but the “Hot Mother Clucker” is so delicious, profanity is entirely necessary. On this ‘which, you’ll find tender, free-range Jidori chicken coated in a spicy buttermilk batter and stacked amid jalapeño waffles, along with zesty slaw, buffalo sauce, and jalapeño maple syrup. This delectably obscene creation will have you exhaling "&#%$ that is good!” between gulps of water. I would keep the pitcher close by.
Anaheim and Tustin, CA
What’s the coolest thing since sliced bread? Sandwich dipping. At The Kroft, thinly cut prime rib slathered with horseradish mayo and caramelized onions are the passengers on a French roll vessel certified for dunking, especially when it’s into Au Jus dip. With your Prime Rib Dip in hand, throw in some panko fried cheese curds and you’ll be on a voyage of delicious discovery.
4th St Market, Santa Ana, CA
CIVIC’s house-made pesto is the key that truly unlocks the flavor of its juicy, free-range chicken breast burger. Its basil is garden fresh, the olive oil enhancing the herbs while not being too soggy. They then throw savory sun dried tomatoes, arugula, melted Swiss cheese on a delicate yet crispy bun, proving that you can still get your fill without completely wrecking that healthy streak you’ve been on.
TRADE, Irvine, CA
For the “Bird In The Hand” sandwich, you’re going to need twice the standard gripping action, especially if you order double chicken for $3 (as you should). The massive portion towers on a cornmeal bun, seasoned, crispy poultry dripping with slaw and special tiger sauce. Don’t be intimidated, a fork and knife can make tackling the monster more feasible. Add a side of waffle fries and an Arnold Palmer truly bring the Southern comfort home.
Costa Mesa and Santa Ana, CA
When the lunch bell rings, countless kids across the country dig into a timeless classic, the staple of every childhood diet. Blackmarket Bakery will take your fondest peanut butter and jelly sandwich memories to the next level. The Über PBJ is a layered masterpiece of creamy peanut butter, signature berry jam, shaved almonds, and fresh berries slathered on pieces of toasted 6-grain. You’ll never think about a PB&J the same again.
Santa Ana, CA
What is the meaning of life? Was the dress black and blue or white and gold? Is a hot dog actually a sandwich? These are the questions of our time. Including frankfurters on this list might land me in the doghouse with some, but perhaps spending time at Dog Haus will provide a new perspective regarding this controversial debate. Whatever you decide, you’ll surely leave satisfied by the chain’s signature beef sausage combinations, each served on a fresh King’s Hawaiian Rolls. The popular “SOOO CALI” is garnished with wild arugula, spicy basil aioli, crispy onions, avocado, tomato, but you also have the option to craft your own.
Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA
Nestled in the heart of Chinatown, this outpost of authentic Southern cooking truly is a treasure. Each of their Po’boys is rich in bayou flavor; choices liked golden fried catfish, oyster, and shrimp come with mayo and all the fixings. Ask for a ‘crown’ on your sandwich, a topping of melted sharp cheddar and hand-smoked honey bacon, you’ll be glad you did.
At Hollingshead Delicatessen, family owned and operated since 1963, every Hero (sandwich) has its Demon (sandwich). On the path to righteousness, you will encounter beef, ham, turkey, cheddar, mayo, mustard, lettuce, and tomato heaped on a French Roll. Luckily, giving into the dark side only means swapping for pastrami, Swiss, and an onion roll – well, and maybe partaking in the diverse beer section that features 22 different brews on tap every day.
Santa Ana, CA
The fact that Mexican cooking, predominately embodied by the tortilla, has developed its own type of sandwich is a testament to the universal appeal. At Tortas Sinaloa, there are 60 different combinations to choose from, but the Torta Ahogada, a carnitas sandwich drenched in chili tomato sauce, lime juice and red onion is the best. Add some avocado and queso, and don’t forget to indulge in some of the liquid refreshments like tamarind or horchata.
West Los Angeles, CA
When pasta ends up on a sandwich, it is a match made in carb heaven, and the meatball sandwich at The Carving Board is your ticket to those exquisite, pearly gates. Sliced all beef meatballs covered in a homemade marinara and melted mozzarella are served between Parmesan spaghetti bread (yes, it’s exactly what you think it is). Extra marinara on the side makes this pièce de résistance all the right kinds of saucy.
WRITTEN BY: Ben McBee