Tales From A Hungry Life

May 11, 2016

The Best Sandwiches Ever

By Maria Schulz

Recently, I read an article in the New York Times called “The Best Sandwich Ever.” The author likes to play a game with his kids where he lists his top 5 sandwiches of all time. Wait a minute…I want to play!

I wasn’t sure I could come up with five, but once I started thinking about it, I wasn’t sure I could keep the list down to only five choices. This was hard work! Okay, so I’m not working in a salt mine or panning for gold, but still.

So good!

So good!

Sandwich #5: The Breakfast Burrito

My husband, girls, and I found this little place a few blocks off of Union Square in downtown San Francisco that serves the best breakfast burrito bar none. Eggs, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and potatoes are expertly seasoned, cooked, and folded into a burrito shell, for a sandwich sensation. If it had its own cult following, I would join. Wash it down with their freshly squeezed orange juice for a taste of perfection.

Perfect for summer grilling

Perfect for summer grilling

Sandwich #4: Sausage & Peppers

The year was 1987. My friend, Dorothy, and I were in Boston visiting our pal Lisa. Lisa went to college there and took us to see all the sights: Harvard, a new restaurant called Legal Seafoods, and of course, Cheers, the very real bar that served as the fictional home to Sam and Diane of TV fame.

But the thing I remember most about that weekend was walking into Fenway Park. It was so small compared to Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium, but I loved the intimate feel of the place. There was the Green Monster! (Bucky Dent, I love you still).

Thanks, Bucky

Thanks, Bucky

The Mets were fresh off their World Series win and Boston fans were still smarting over that one. Did I gloat? Well, maybe a little (but only on the inside…I didn’t want to get killed at Fenway Park). I soon realized we had more in common than the sum of our differences when I bit into a sausage and pepper “hoagie” on thick, crusty Italian bread. Smoky and sweet, crunchy and soft, it made me proud to be Italian. (But still not a Red Sox fan).

Sandwich #3: The Gobble, Gobble Panini

It's starting to feel a lot like Thanksgiving

It’s starting to feel a lot like Thanksgiving

My local diner offers this treat that’s truly Thanksgiving on a plate. Take roasted turkey, a thin layer of stuffing, a healthy dollop of cranberries, and just a splash of gravy on hearty ciabatta bread. If you don’t have a Panini press, here’s a tip: place your sandwich in a heavy-bottomed skillet and then place another skillet on top to flatten your sandwich). One bite and you’ll feel thankful too. Sweet potatoes or sweet potato fries make the perfect side.



Sandwich #2: Lobster Roll

I’ve had this sandwich at a beautiful restaurant in Mystic, CT as well as at a roadside shack in Northport, NY. No matter what the setting, this sandwich is always KILLER.

Traditional New England Lobster Rolls come with mayonaisse, but I prefer a sprinkle of drawn, melted butter. Season it all well and put it into a soft, chewy hot dog roll and you’ve got magic!

Sandwich #1: Curried Chicken Salad Sandwiches



A couple of summers ago, my husband and I had a rare day off when the kids were at camp. We spent our morning at the beach and by lunchtime, we were famished. We drove straight to a beautiful restaurant on the water and ordered the Curried Chicken Salad on Crunchy Baguettes and a glass of white wine.

Maybe it was the company (always great) or the sunshine (I love me some Vitamin D), but this sandwich was spectacular. Whenever I have it again, it brings me right back to that happy, sunshine-filled day with a loaf of bread (baguettes), a jug of wine (okay, just a glass), and my sweetheart.

Recipes: Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich

Full-fat version

Low-fat version

So, Hungry Lifers…what would your TOP 5 sandwiches be? Understand that I left off my mother’s meatball sandwiches on Italian bread (to paraphrase Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront, “it coulda been a contender.” This goes without saying, but I would love to have another one of these) and my Aunt Mary’s Eggs and Peppers sandwiches…also the BOMB, and I mean that in the best way. Please leave a comment and let us all know about your favorites. Thanks, and happy eating!




  1. This post is making me hungry. I love the turkey panini and the sausages and peppers hero. Those are definitely on my top 5 list. You forgot the Rueben (not sure how to spell it but it tastes so good!) Love Corn beef especially from a Jewish deli. You got me thinking of what to have for lunch. Great post as usual!

    Comment by Kathleen — May 11, 2016 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  2. My favorite of all time was five belly bombs from White Castle, with a coke just a block away from Newtown High. every Monday, their was a coupon in the Daily news, all for 25 cents. Now that’s what I call a great sandwich.

    Comment by Bobby — May 11, 2016 @ 9:10 am | Reply

  3. I concur with all till you got to the curry chix, not good with curry. but you forgot potato’s and eggs, and peppers with eggs, but that’s ok.

    Comment by Diane Vitolo — May 11, 2016 @ 10:13 am | Reply

    • I’m not great with curry but there’s just a hint of it in this sandwich and I love it. I didn’t forget Peppers and Eggs or Potatoes and Eggs…I just had to limit it to 5. You are free to put them on the top of your list! Go ahead, REPRESENT!

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — May 11, 2016 @ 10:28 am | Reply

  4. I believe the placing of meat between two slices of bread came from the practice of the Earl of Sandwich, a British nobleman. It was a hurry up thing to do if one was hungry and didn’t have time for a meal. What you described is more like a sumptuous meal and it did get me salivating. It also put on two pounds of fat onto my body just thinking of it. You have always had an event or a person connected with these sandwiches. For me this is the Freudian theme underlying the food. You ended with an experience with your love and it was number one on your list. Fenway Park with your friend made the sausage & pepper sandwich really delicious. For me sausage & peppers that tasted so good happened at Brooklyn’s el giglio feast when you and your siblings were with mom and me for the celebration. The band and people being carried by 100 Italian men with the 4 or 5 story tall upshoot carrying a statue of St. Paul, not the Apostle another one, brings back the memory of that food tasting really good. Or was it the fact we were together and in the midst of an exciting place. I can’t remember ever having sausage & peppers that tasted so good. My mom made melanzana, dialect melanyam, eggplant on Fridays. I used to go to work with my Father and Cousin on Saturday in their business and for lunch we had the eggplant leftovers on Italian bread. The workers gathered around in a circle and we ate, laughed and being Italian argued. Nothing has ever approximated the great taste of this leftover melanyam, melanzana, sandwich on crusty Italian bread in my mind because my father was there with my cousin and friends. Almost all of them aren’t here anymore and neither is that great taste of leftovers that my mother made
    and we ate with gusto so long ago.

    Comment by bglou — May 11, 2016 @ 2:38 pm | Reply

    • Happy memories with great people. You didn’t give me any sausage and peppers at the feast, that’s why I don’t remember it!

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — May 11, 2016 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

  5. I am writing something because I didn’t get notice that I have subscribed to this particular blog and I want to see the comments.

    Comment by bglou — May 11, 2016 @ 2:41 pm | Reply

  6. Mmmmm…Sandwiches….I had the famous Ham and Hershey sandwich if you remember LOL

    Comment by turafish — May 11, 2016 @ 9:39 pm | Reply

  7. Decades (and decades) ago, when I wasn’t a vegetarian, I would kill for a sausage and pepper sandwich, whether bought at the Italian feast of St. Whoever (That aroma and sizzle!) or homemade by “Ma” (Delizioso)! I now live vicariously through others, as I’m sure veggie sausages just won’t cut it. 🙂

    Comment by wordimprovisor177 — May 12, 2016 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

    • The Italian Feast of Saint Whoever–one of my favorites! Yet another reason I can’t be a vegetarian. What’s your favorite sandwich now?

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — May 13, 2016 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

  8. Maria, I remember coming home from work during the summer of 1980 and getting off the bus where there was a deli that made the best turkey hero. I don’t know if it was the turkey, the fresh tomatoes, or the bread, but it hit the spot.

    Comment by Tony Lagalante — May 26, 2016 @ 12:10 pm | Reply

    • Gunther’s! I agree, those were awesome. We were probably amazed by the taste of real turkey, instead of turkey roll.

      Comment by talesfromahungrylife — May 26, 2016 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

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