Ham & Cheese

Ham & Cheese at Sambalatte
Look here: the reason I claim Sambalatte as my top neighborhood coffee shop is because they have tasty treats. A Starbucks sandwich never looks or sounds appetizing. Here, there are sandwiches and salads and bad-ass pastries, too, all perfect with a cappuccino.

This simple yet sizable meal is a stack of decent, salty ham with mini-slabs of creamy brie on a slightly crusty, chewy baguette. It could use a little frisee or some spicy mustard, but it's just fine on its own. Coffee bar food doesn't have to suck.


Pastrami Melt

Pastrami Melt
It's real simple: You take some pastrami (in this case Boar's Head brisket cut) slices, throw 'em in a pan and sizzle 'em up, melt some provolone on that mess, and pile it on some toast. Gooey, melty, peppery, salty, beefy goodness. And it's especially good when you're using a nice seedy rye for your toast. Only thing is ... forgot the mustard. Rookie mistake.

Captain's Order

Captain's Order at Slidin' Thru HQ
We've feasted on tons of mini-burgs from this Vegas food truck favorite, but these two Captain's Order sliders were the first thing we chomped at Slidin' Thru's new mini-restaurant out by the airport.

The Captain is one of the more refined tastes on a menu of straight-up slider fun. In addition to a cute little ball of angus beef, it's got bacon, feta cheese, sauteed onions, tomato and arugula. That's a lot to put on a baby burger. Plus, it's all sauced up with a balsamic reduction, bringing a little sweetness and strength. The balsamic and feta is a powerful combo, and adding crispy bacon and arugula are flavor upgrades. At Slidin' Thru HQ, you can also get these toppins on the Captain's Order superfries, which are fantastic.


Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwich

Chicago Style Italian Beef Sandwich at Windy City Beefs N Dogs
Don't know for sure, still ain't been there, but all evidence points to this being straight up Chicagoish.

This tiny but nice sandwich shop in my hood seems to have been several different businesses in recent years, under different ownership, yet always sandwich-oriented. It was originally a Togo's. But now it's Windy City, and it looks and feels pretty much like a big city shop, and hey, it was cold and windy the day we tried it out. So there ya go.

This is only about three inches of the Italian Beef by Windy City, a sliced Gonnella Italian roll absolutely stuffed with thin slices of roast beef drenched in au jus, melting mozzarella cheese and spicy giardinera veggie mix. We ordered, they asked if we wanted it dipped, we said yeah, and then they dipped the whole thing back in the jus for extra messy, extra salty, extra juicy fun. So remind me: why do I need to go to Chicago?


Varadero Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich at Varadero
I'm not the only eater to call Varadero's version the best classic Cuban sandwich in Vegas. Tasty, chewy egg bread is pressed flat and filled with thinly sliced roasted pork and ham, melted Swiss cheese, bright pickles and mustard and mayo. (Of course, we go the no-mayo route.) The beauty of this sandwich is the perfect proportion between meat, cheese and bread ... it's not about stuffing as much meat as possible between two slices grilled bread, it's about balance. And this little Cuban neighborhood restaurant in northwest Vegas does it right. The only improvement could be a bit more spice in the mustard, but we're not complaining.


The Beautiful Contradiction

The Beautiful Contradiction
Potato Bun. Boca Burger veggie burger patty. Dill pickle slices. Chopped barbecue pork. Red onion slices. Why would you do this? Why not?

Sandwich Sundays Presents: The Super Sunday Mini

The Super Sunday Mini Sandwich
In lieu of the traditional chips and dips, chicken wings and pizzas, we did up the big game with a fat stack of meats and cheeses and a nice fresh bread selection. Yes, our old family-style Sandwich Sundays returned, with a vengeance, on the day the Packers took the Steelers down.

Here we have the first of several sandwiches consumed that day. It looks big in this photo but the Super Sunday Mini is only about five inches across, intentionally little so we could continue to feast throughout the day. This bread is a spherical loaf of rosemary olive oil Italian stuff, and it is pretty delicious all by itself. Under fresh veggies lettuce, tomato and red onion rests Boar's Head-brand hot cappy, pepperoni, pastrami, black forest ham and provolone cheese. It's kinda Italian deli meets New York deli meets Super Bowl.


The Original Italian

The Original Italian at Jersey Mike's Subs
Jersey Mike's is one of those storied sandwich shops that became successful enough to spawn franchised versions all over the place. It is, in fact, from New Jersey, even if this version of the Italian sub might be a little more watered down than what you what get from the original location. Who knows? Who cares? It's pretty damn good, stacked with ham, prosciuttini, cappacuolo, salami and pepperoni, provolone cheese and veggie toppings "Mike's Way," which means onions, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano.

Compared to Italian sandwiches from other franchise shops, this sucker has way more meat. Spicier capacola would have been nice, but you can take the extra step and add some peppers if you need a bit of heat. The bread is a little too crusty and a little too dense to absorb the wonderful oil and vinegar seasonings, yet this is still a very juicy sandwich. They get pretty happy with vinegar, and there's nothing wrong with that. I guess that's Jersey style?