Coney Island Hot Dog

Coney Island Hot Dog at American Coney Island
What do you do once you've decided to buy a downtown Vegas casino and re-brand it with a Detroit theme? Bring in a Detroit hot dog joint, of course. IT'S CALLED LOCAL FLAVOR GET IT. Whatever.

This is the standard dog from American Coney Island in The D. It's a Dearborn Sausage brand dog (from Michigan) in a natural casing, complete with that strange-but-pleasant snap with each bite, and as you can see, it's a bit overcooked, into a wrinkly little puppy. It's supposed to be served in a warm steamed bun with chili sauce, mustard and chopped sweet onions. Unfortunately, the bun was cold, and really, this is maybe the most important thing with hot dogs. Spectacular bread can always cover for subpar sandwich fillings, and a moist, warm bun would have made this a winner. But it was cold. And dry. The chili sauce was fine, well-spiced and guilt-inducing, but the onions were not sweet. Try bitter. Fremont Street is in need of great walk-by-and-bite options, but American Coney, sadly, fails to fill that seemingly simple niche.

The Prosciutto

The Prosciutto at Baguette Cafe
Located in a southwest valley office park, Baguette Cafe is one of the great secret sandwich spots of Las Vegas. Walk in and luxuriate in the smell of baking croissants and baguettes, instantly driving your hunger into overdrive. There are no bad choices when it comes to fresh-baked bread, but this is a particularly creative sandwich. Meaty, oily salami proves the perfect counterpoint to the delicate, buttery prosciutto, and both are layered liberally. It's veg'd up with some green leaf lettuce and tomato, then the chef masterfully uses softened blue cheese in place of mayo or other spread and adds walnut crumbles for an intriguing crunch. Of course, the perfect baguette could make any ingredients sing, and this is one perfect baguette.

Grilled Barely Buzzed Cheddar Cheese

Grilled Barely Buzzed Cheddar Cheese at Honey Salt
Holy Cheezus. Before Honey Salt opened, chef Kim Canteenwalla offered us a taste of Barely Buzzed cheddar, a rich, sharp, slightly sweet treasure with a bit of coffee rub around the outside, made by Beehive Cheese Company in Utah. That chunk of cheese was pretty great, but it's even better in this grilled sourdough sandwich, all truffled up and transformed into decadent fonduey goodness. This sandwich comes with a cup of Tuscan bean soup, but guess what: nobody cares. Thick, buttery slabs of crunchy toast, just the right amount of greasiness, plus oozing, gooey goodness equals a peerless grilled cheese. Big winner.


Hot Pastrami Deli-Style

Hot Pastrami Deli-Style at the Peppermill
So obviously I haven't been to all the delis in the world, or even all the big famous delis, or even all the delis in Vegas. But I've never been to a deli that puts an extra slice of bread in a hot pastrami sandwich. The Peppermill does it. I didn't think it was a good idea, but it worked. It took away from the meat-mountain effect that often occurs in piled-high deli sandwich construction, providing a nice crispy texture in every bite. The downside: the meat in this sandwich was stuffed into the middle, of course, making for an overabundance of bread in your face when you're eating around the outsides. Not a big problem, though, considering this toasty rye was grilled with lots of butter for guilty-pleasure, greasy goodness. The pastrami was sliced thin, lean, and tasty, and there was melty Swiss cheese and a few dabs of mustard-mayo sauce adding moisture and flavor. The Peppermill is fantastic place to eat a sandwich in Las Vegas; you should go and eat this one.


Spicy Asiago Ranch Chicken Club

Spicy Asiago Ranch Chicken Club at Wendy's
Did you ever notice that fast food joints have long-ass names for their food, whereas nice little neighborhood hole-in-the-wall restaurants and cafes have short names for their food like "chicken sandwich?" Just thinking. Of course, I added one word to this title by ordering this promotional birdwich with Wendy's spicy chicken filet, which is pretty good. Not sure if the red peppery seasoning on the chicken goes well with the asiago cheese and creamy ranch sauce, but the bacon is a nice complement. Of course, there's lettuce and tomatoes on here, too. Overall, pretty good for fast food, no matter what they're calling it.

Vegas Club

Vegas Club at Simpo Sandwich
Mayonnaise! (That's supposed to be in your best Louis Gossett Jr. voice.) Yeah, that's a lot of mayo on there, and you know we're not big fans. But check it: that's a lot of turkey on there, too ... thick sliced, smoky turkey, making for a very respectable take on the traditional club. Also, there's crispy bacon, American cheese slices, plenty of crisp lettuce and tomatoes on whole wheat bread. Pretty straight-ahead stuff, and we'll take it. Simpo is a pretty straight-ahead sandwich shop, and you need to have one of those in your neighborhood. Hopefully downtown Vegas will patronize this joint enough to keep it around.


The Full Montagu

The Full Montagu at Earl of Sandwich
Rarely does a sandwich elicit anger, but ... fuck this place. Seriously. My first Earl of Sandwich experience was so miserable, I swore I'd never return. But they opened another one here in Vegas at the Palms, and I happened to be in the food court, and how bad could it be? Terribly, disgustingly bad. I encourage you to go to the Earl's website and look at their pic of this sandwich, and then compare it to the real thing above. I know, I know, this is never a fair comparison, but then again, when you spend your hard-earned bucks on a sandwich you don't expect the meat to be slimy. The Full Montagu—this name makes me even more angry since it bears the name of the man credited with inventing the sandwich—is supposed to be a tasty pile of roast beef, turkey, Swiss and cheddar cheeses, "the Earl's mustard sauce" plus lettuce and tomato. Somebody behind the counter clearly thought "the Earl's mustard sauce" was so good, they should drench both sides of this dry, dense, thick and crumbly roll with it. Well, it's not good. It's not good at all. It's abhorrent. And this sandwich is a mushy abomination. Fuck.


Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger at Five Guys
There's something beautiful about Five Guys. It makes sense that this burger chain has been compared to In-N-Out, because of this menu simplicity and a focus on creating the straight-up tasty, but Five Guys is like the evolution of In-N-Out: all the crazy toppings you can't get there, you can get here. And then some. So for my first Five Guys burger, I focused on the one thing just about everybody wants but can't get on a burger from In-N-Out—bacon. To the standard bacon cheeseburger—which has a double patty, mind you—I added sauteed mushrooms and onions, skipping the fresh crisp veggie stuff. Five Guys brings the all-American burger taste, slightly greasy, loosely packed beef smothered in melted American cheese. The bacon was crisp and my other toppings were flavorful, and the spongy bun also reminded me of In-N-Out without the shiny, buttery top. In my 'hood, we've got this new Five Guys, In-N-Out a couple blocks down, and Smashburger across the street. That's a pretty strong burger battle.


Banh Mi Thit Cha

Banh Mi Thit Cha at Pho Thanh Huong
This may not be the best banh mi sandwich I've ever eaten, but in Las Vegas, I don't think there's a better place to eat banh mi, a more consistent French-Vietnamese sandwich factory in this town, than Pho Thanh Huong. It's just off the Strip, within a few steps of UNLV, which is incredibly good news for the broke-ass college students of Las Vegas. Because not only are they baking their own crackly-fresh baguettes, not only are they stuffing in larger portions of meat and pickled veggies, but the real clincher is: these babies are about four bucks each. Makes you wanna go back to school, almost. Along with the traditional crisp vegetable and herb fillings, this one has roasted pork roll, pate, and lightly cured Vietnamese ham. Yep, it's a porkathon. Go get a couple.

Cheeseburger Bite

Cheeseburger Bite at 7-11
I'm really sorry, you guys. Sometimes things get so bad, you don't know where the bottom is. Well, this it. If you're going to eat something that literally looks like a piece of shit, you get what you deserve.

Tortas Sampler

Tortas Sampler at T&T
Available only on the lunch menu at Luxor's Mexican joint Tacos & Tequila, these tasty friends are just too good to limit yourself to just one flavor. I would usually never review three sandwiches at once, but these tortas are equally delicious, mostly because of the soft, spongy, sweet, perfectly absorbent bolillo rolls. This light, lovely cloud of a bread is the quintessential component in these sandwiches, which are surprisingly authentic considering this is the Vegas Strip. They have been made a bit more friendly by this outgoing kitchen, but the flavors are staying in the spirit of tradition. From the left, you've got carne asada (tender and juicy with a bit of sour funk), carnitas (succulence personified) and shredded chicken (moist and slightly spicy), plus each also has lettuce and tomato, fresh pico de gallo, and a thin layer of soft, long-simmered bean puree for extra texture. If you happen to find yourself in the Luxor at lunchtime, allow me to introduce option numero uno.


BLTA Mini Scraper

The BLTA Mini Scraper
This is a random-ass, whatever we've got in the kitchen kinda piece. A chunk of Albertsons starchy-yet-delicious French bread, slabbed out. Smashed avocado smothered across the bottom. Five pieces of bacon that turned out a little too crispy, a couple nice crisp iceberg lettuce leaves, and thick slices of yellow heirloom tomato. Mustard, of course. All done. It's too tall to bite due to the bread density, and it barely stands up by itself long enough to snap a pic. But if you can get your mouth around it, satisfying.  Even though it looks weird.

Chili Cheese Fritos Coney

Chili Cheese Fritos Coney at Sonic
Not sure why I was compelled to order this when I really just wanted a root beer float, but once I clarified that this was, in fact, not a foot-long, I was game. Because look, Fritos with chili and cheese is a good combination. On a mediocre-at-best Sonic hot dog, still pretty good. There are diced onions and mustard on this baby, but the magic that makes it special is recognizing these are chili cheese-flavored Fritos. So, yeah. It's meaty and crunchy and salty and chili-y, so it's enjoyable on a very primal level.

Torta Ahogada

Torta Ahogada at El Birotazo
A tiny eastside taco shop in Las Vegas. You would never find this place, in a million years, and if you drove past it, you wouldn't consider stopping in for a torta. This is the kind of sandwich in the kind of restaurant someone has to tell you about, and that's what happened. And now I'm telling (writing) you about it, and you're going to go try it. For simplification, let's call this the Guadalajaran version of the French dip, only with pork, and WAY BETTER. The roll is dense and crusty. The meat, piled on top of a thin layer of refried, mashed beans, is carnita-syle pork, roasted to succulent perfection. And there's quite a bit of it. That glossy orange sauce it's swimming in? Drenched in? Totally saturated in, so that the sponge-like roll is absorbing every drop of that sweet-and-earthy spiced tomato salsa? It's fantastic. What you can't see is in that silver bowl in the back: spicy chile de arbol, another smooth salsa rich and thick and hot as hell, with raw white onion shards hanging out. For fun. You need to pile that stuff on each bite of porky wonder to get the full effect. That's what this sandwich should be called: The Full Effect.


Diablo Lobster Roll

Diablo Lobster Roll at Lobster ME
Well, well ... what have we got here? It seems the crazy folks at Lobster ME have struck again. Not only are they off their rockers enough to try to build a fast-casual franchise around a single, expensive (yet beloved) ingredient, they're already tinkering with their menu, and the experiment in this case yields improved results. The basis lobster roll, all sweet and buttery, is delicious. The Diablo is a hot and spicy upgrade, something like bouillabaisse on a bun. Red peppery marinara sauce, much like a Fra Diavolo, saturates the chunky lobster bits squished into the buttery, toasty roll. Order it extra spicy or it won't have enough kick, but when it does, it's a flavor knockout. It's messy, meaty, and awesome. There's only one problem: the smaller size, big enough for lunch but small enough to tempt you to order up, is almost 20 bucks by itself. Sheesh. These guys are gonna have to find a way to knock a few bucks off if they plan to take over the world. But ... I paid, ate it all, and I'd do it again.

Roasted Pork Panini

Roasted Pork Panini at 'Wichcraft
That's what I'm talking about. It might not look like a huge pile of juicy piggy meat on this baby, but it is. The compressed, crunchy goodness of panini bread shrinks the size of the sandwich and plays tricks on your eyes. This is actually gigantic, two great big slabs of country bread grilled to crisp, buttery perfection. It's easily the size of two sandwiches, and great for sharing. Packed inside is a simple, lovely mountain of roasted pork, a thin layer of sharp coppa, a thicker layer of melted fontina cheese, and tangy, vinegary pepper relish. This sandwich is actually too good; you can't eat it all because it's too rich and succulent. Another superb offering from 'Wichcraft.


Buffalo Chicken

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Smashburger
It's kinda weird that Smashburger treats chicken the same way it does burgers. That's to say, they pound the bird flat and smash it down on the grill. With ground beef, this method creates an interesting shape and texture, with a nice, nearly crunchy outside. With chicken, it creates an odd, almost rubbery texture to the meat, albeit with a crisp, scorched outside that tastes nice and is pleasant to chomp. But the chicken is the easy part of this surprisingly good sandwich, lacquered with Frank's hot sauce, crumbly blue cheese, lettuce and tomato on a soft, buttery bun. It's another winner from the Smash crew, a great variation on our love for spicy chicken wings with something creamy and cheesy to dip them in.


Sandwich Sundays Presents: The Taco Muffin

The Taco Muffin
Does anyone else remember when Taco Bell served Bellburgers? Or am I super old? This breakfast mini-sandwich is Bellburger-inspired, a whole wheat English muffin with green chili-spiced, taco-style ground turkey, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and jack cheese. It's not quite there: the sweetness of the muffin struggles against the spicy taco meat, but overall it's a satisfying, meaty bite. Just think of it as a hybrid between a Bellburger and an Egg Mcmuffin.


Junkyard Dog

Junkyard Dog at Weinerschnitzel
For the average eater, a new kind of hot dog at a fast food restaurant might generate slight interest. For me, it equals therapy. Why do I do this to myself? Why can't I just NOT EAT this stuff? The shrink doesn't have any answers.

The JYD at the 'schnitz is the standard chili cheese dog plus French fries, mustard and grilled (diced) onions. This is an improvement, mostly because the 'schnitz fries are probably the best, most satisfying item on the entire menu. They're thin, crispy, and not too greasy. They're nice, but a big bite of fries plus this appalling weiner is not a pleasant textural combo. It's yucky. The onions add a little depth of flavor, but not enough to make this thing edible.

440 Sandwich

440 Sandwich at Rachel's Kitchen
Doesn't "Rachel's Kitchen"sound like the type of place that serves "gourmet sandwiches" such as a nice, healthy, tasty one with grilled chicken breast, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce and mayo on toasty wheat bread? Of course it does. Not trying to be snarky. Rachel's is actually one of the best places to eat at The District at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, a quaint suburban retail walk that could use a little more retail and a little less quaint. Nevertheless, this is a delicious sandwich, particularly the creamy goat cheese working against the sweet, delightful roasted peppers.


BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar Smashburger

BBQ, Bacon & Cheddar at Smashburger
Let's be real: Smashburger is consistently impressive. Sometimes the greasiness of their burgers, depending on the other toppings that may or may not balance things out, can be too much to handle. On this barbecue burger, there is enough texture and flavor to offset any surplus juicyness, not to mention the formidable soakage ability of the firm egg bun. This sucker has cheddar cheese, sweet barbecue sauce, applewood smoked bacon and a nice pile of fried onion straws. Not too sweet, with a crispy-meaty bite, and plenty of richness from real cheese. Smashburger is staying at or near the top when it comes to fast food in Vegas.


Chef Mike's McGriddle

Chef Mike's McGriddle at Border Grill Brunch
The weekend brunch at Border Grill -- located in Mandalay Bay -- is one of the best meals in Vegas right now, an insane cavalcade of wonderful small plates for an incredible price, and the man who gets the credit is Chef Mike Minor. In addition to killer huevos rancheros, Oaxacan chocolate pancakes, green corn tamales, plantain empanadas, machaca chilaquiles, and way, way more, Chef Mike unleashes an off-the-top-of-the-dome special dish every week. We were lucky enough to visit when he was going all golden arches on that ass, stacking a juicy, spicy sausage patty on a fresh-from-scratch biscuit with bacon, cheese, chipotle aioli and a maple syrup drizzle. That sticky sweetness pushes it way over the edge, duking it out deliciously with the savory meat and rich, buttery biscuit. Can't wait to see what he dreams up next week.


Ultimate Angus Philly

Ultimate Angus Philly at Arby's
The Philly cheesesteak may be an iconic sandwich, but it's certainly not above bastardization. Fast food spots have been doing it for years, and Arby's, as usual, is one guilt culprit. Granted, there does appear to be some textural and flavor difference between this "Ultimate Angus" sliced roast beef and the normal gray-green garbage they use. But the portion of meat is too small to be considered a real Philly, which should be exploding with sliced or chopped meat. Cheese, peppers, onions, blah blah blah. It's still Arby's. Almost a nice try. Not quite.


Red & Green Veggie Burger

Red & Green Veggie Burger
Okay, we've got a honey wheat bun smeared with Sierra Nevada Porter Spicy Brown Porter Mustard, a Dr. Praeger's veggie burger patty, a melted Kraft American cheese single, homemade pickled red onion, roma tomato slices, and hulking green bell pepper slices. This was nearly a hit. What do we know? What have we learned in our quest to make a legitimate veggie burger (or legitimize the veggie burger)? We know we've got some winners here, with thick slabs of bell pepper that provide a fresh, delightful crunch, and the amazing pickled onions. Wherever this mission goes from here, these two ingredients will be along for the ride. The fake cheese is not a good match, but it does create a peculiar, real-burgerish bite. But it's guilt by association; it makes you feel like you're eating some garbage when you're not. Lesson learned. Let's keep moving.



Muffaletta at Magnolia's Veranda
It's hard to explain exactly how, when searching for a tasty sandwich in Downtown Vegas, I ended up sitting down in the coffee shop at the Four Queens. As far as I can tell, unless you're checking in for some beers at the Chicago Brewing Co., there's really no reason to step foot into the Four Queens. But this is Fremont Street; unexpected things happen down here with totally expected frequency.

This version of a muffaletta is stacked with salty, run-of-the-mill ham, mortadella and salami, pretty tasty if unspectacular. There's Swiss cheese, too, and the bread was a little dry but had some nice flavor to it. The biggest problem here was the olive mix, which wasn't very powerful or plentiful. In my mind, the olives are the essential ingredient that make the muffaletta so memorable, and this version comes up a bit short.


Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese
Today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day and that's hella stupid! Seriously, it is. A straight-up grilled cheese needs no fanfare. It's simple and wonderful and satisfying. This is merely wheat bread with a bit of butter skillet-grilled with a couple Kraft singles oozing out. Yes, Kraft singles. What? Don't judge.


Grilled Tomato Sandwich

Grilled Tomato Sandwich
What do you make to accompany homemade beer-cheese soup? Grilled tomato sandwiches, of course. Get it? It's the reverse? It's the best way to annoy your dinner guests with your sense of culinary whimsy? Nevermind.

On toasted dill rye, you've got some crispy bacon, some watercress, some brie, some garlic mustard, and then a somewhat messy serving of heirloom tomatoes. They'd been cooked for a bit in a grill pan with the tiniest droplets of balsamic vinegar added at the end. Those droplets ended up adding a bit too much sweetness to a sandwich with a whole circus of different flavors. Everything tasted good, it was just a bit muddled.


Ham & Cheese Croissant

Ham & Cheese Croissant at Sambalatte
Once again we're back at one of suburban Vegas' finest coffee spots, eating food. I never plan to eat a sandwich at a coffee shop due to the risk of eating something that might have been made days ago, but Sambalatte keeps things relatively fresh. The croissant is wonderful, a warmed-up, flaky, buttery bite of splendid sweet-and-savory pleasure. There's nothing more to this sandwich than average slices of swine and melty Swiss, a fine combination. Not bad.


Cheez Whiz Steak

Cheez Whiz Steak at Pop's
Pop's serves the quintessential cheesesteak in Vegas. It's undeniable. Anybody who has been in Vegas for long knows the funny little A-frame building on Decatur Boulevard that was once an original Weinerschnitzel -- the structure is nearly 50 years old now -- is the absolute top spot for a cheesesteak, the closest point to Philadelphia in Sin City.

We only eat the whiz steak at Pop's. So what you're looking at is a fluffy-soft, 9-inch roll baked by the Amoroso company in Philadelphia, completely packed with paper-thin slices of grilled sirloin, sauteed onions, bell peppers and mushrooms, and a generous slathering of original Kraft-brand Cheez Whiz. It's the perfect combination of tangy cheesishness, crispy veggies and savory, satisfying meat. It's huge, and it's about 10 bucks. The best part is eating it outside on the patio at Pop's, where you would never know you're in Vegas.


Double Croissan'Wich

Double Croissan'Wich with sausage and bacon at Burger King
I'm not sure why I eventually end up having fast food breakfast at Burger King. Every few months, strange conditions arise, and I'm eating a fucking croissan'wich. Of course, this has to stop. BK has proven to me that it is willing to go to all sorts of trouble to set new, lower breakfast standards. This sounds like an abusive relationship.

The Double Croissan'Wich: Because a 570-calorie sandwich is a great way to start the day. Same soggy wet cardboard scrambled eggs, only now there's flavorless sausage AND bacon along with melted fake cheese. The only thing BK breakfast has ever had going for it is the mouth-coating butteryness of its half-ass croissants. Have you ever even had a real breakfast sandwich on a real croissant? It's pretty awesome, the whole sweet-savory thing. BK will never get there.


BBQ Pork Sliders

BBQ Pork Sliders at Bottles & Burgers
Kudos to the folks at Bottles & Burgers for their courage. They've opened yet another Vegas burger joint, they've done it in the struggling Tivoli Village shopping center, and they've gone above and beyond to make it interesting. Of course, a pulled pork slider sandwich is nothing new, but these are pretty damn good. The meat is tender and flavorful but not too soft, the apricot barbecue sauce is not too sweet, the chiptole coleslaw has a delicious zesty, creamy kick, and the baby brioche bun is wonderful. There's event a sweet pickle chip on top, just for fun. Of the several sandwiches we tasted in our first visit to Bottles & Burgers, these baby barbecue bites were the standouts.


Baby Dragon

Baby Dragon at Fukuburger Truck
One of Vegas' favorite food trucks, Fukuburger recently opened a restaurant in Los Angeles. We haven't made the trip to Cali yet to see if their Hollywood burgers are as good as the ones off the truck, but clearly the cuisine here in Vegas isn't suffering. At all.

When Chef Mags comes up with something crazy for the daily special, you'd be wise to check it out. Hopefully this masterpiece will make the permanent menu some day, as it's one of the best burgers we've ever had the privilege to devour. This was the Chinese New Year special, hence the funny name. The key to this burger is that they took the standard Fuku patty, already legendary for its bold Asian flavors and tendency to be perfectly cooked, and pepper crusted that bad boy. So the Baby Dragon already comes out with a Sichuan peppercorn crust, then adds applewood-smoked bacon, smoked gouda cheese, and an insane wasabi-hoisin-serrano chile sauce. It's just spicy enough, beautifully balanced by the sweetness from the hoisin and the creamy cheese.

Fukuburger's experiments with umamification continue. Chalk up another victory.


Lomo Completo

Lomo Completo at Rincon de Buenos Aires
Whoa. Seriously. These days lots of places make sandwiches so huge, you'd be crazy to try to down them in one sitting. That's the way I feel about half of the Lomo Completo, a cheesy-beefy-eggy masterpiece found in this humble Argentinean outpost hiding in the neighborhood of Vegas' Chinatown. Super-stacked on top of rustic, crusty pressed bread is steak, thinly sliced ham, melty white cheese, fried eggs, lettuce, tomato and onion. All of the components taste great, particularly the ham, cheese and egg that seem to steal their way into every mouthful. The steak is no joke, juicy, tender filet that easily adds up to twice the size of what you get if you order a petite cut in any steakhouse. It's simply the most filling sandwich we've encountered yet in Vegas, and it's delicious, too.



Pastrami is kind of a big deal 'round here. It might be the single best sandwich stuffing ever created. It's so important, we've tried to make our own version. But it's not easy, and it's very complicated to accurately re-create something you love so much (especially when others are doing it so well.)

But the hunger for pastrami is omnipresent. So we decided to twist it up a little, really make it our own. Thus was born Pigstrami. We grabbed a five-pound bone-in pork shoulder, and dry-brined it for almost three days with an incredibly powerful spice rub of traditional pastrami seasonings: black pepper, coriander seed, garlic, red pepper flake, other stuff. Then we slow-roasted this porktacular creation for six hours, rendering fatty, glossy, beyond-tender meat that falls apart in your fingers and melts spectacularly in your mouth. Plus, tastes like pastrami. (The only signature element we didn't try to incorporate is smokiness, but we're still very happy with the results. Obviously.) Dropped a pile of this decadent goodness on garlic mustard slathered rye, and added some homemade pickled banana peppers for some extra bite and texture.

Sandwich success is a beautiful thing.

The Hangover Burger

The Hangover Burger at Binion's Cafe
Binion's in downtown Las Vegas is one of the true old-school spots left in the city. Anybody who was hanging out downtown before the current hipster redevelopment knows the best place to grab a burger in the area -- and one of the best burgers in Vegas overall -- was always the greasy-wonderful "snack bar" counter in the casino. A couple of years ago, Binion's closed its cozy subterranean coffee shop and expanded this "snack bar" spot, and now it's known as Binion's Cafe. And they're still serving up badass burgers.

This is the only way to upgrade that nice, juicy, straight-from-the-flattop-grill cheeseburger. The Hangover has two big strips of bacon, an egg fried hard in butter, a thick slice of American cheese and a nice ground beef patty on a soft, fresh bun. Toss on lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion served on the side, and Binion's superior French fries make this meal a complete breakfast, no matter the hour. The best burgers are from sketchy little diners. It's a fact.


Spicy Baja Black Bean Burger

Spicy Baja Black Bean Burger at Smashburger
The burgeoning Smashburger chain switched up its vegetarian offerings recently, offering a new black bean patty available as a cow or chicken substitute on any of its sandwiches. It's pretty good stuff, too: a soft, delicate, almost crumbly patty with plenty of flavor. They smash it on the grill and quick-cook it, just like they do with their beef burgers. The obvious choice for this specialized faux burger is the Spicy Baja option, with pepperjack cheese, guacamole, fresh jalapeno, lettuce, tomato and onion. The hot-to-cool balance is particularly effective against the lighter flavor of the black bean burger, resulting in an ultimately satisfying veggie experience.


Salami Sandwich

Salami Sandwich
So one time I was making a salami sandwich at home, and I put the thing right on the counter, no plate, just like this picture here. I left the kitchen for all of 45 seconds and when I returned, the sandwich was gone. But my dog was there. He turned away from me. When I cornered him, I saw small half circles of salami jutting out from around his mouth. He had the whole sandwich in his mouth, hadn't even chomped it at all. It was just resting in there. He was smuggling it.

This is regular old plastic-package, store-bought salami, piled three layers deep on dill rye bread. That's it. Nothing else. I've been eating this since I was a kid. That will probably continue forever, dog smugglers notwithstanding.


Sicilian Tuna

Sicilan Tuna at 'Wichcraft
A few words about 'Wichcraft: Yes, it is created by Tom Colicchio. Yes, it's a Vegas sandwich shop located on the Strip, way way back in the restaurant walk of the MGM Grand, near the pool. Yes, We had lunch there of two sandwiches, a bag of chips, a soda, a beer and a banana for $37. And yes, I felt compelled to revisit 'Wichcraft because I had heard and read some negative things, that it wasn't so great, that maybe the food there had fallen off.

I disagree with that last part. It may be a little spendy, but hey, that's the Strip for you. If you yanked this joint out of MGM and dropped into a Vegas suburb, all the people who say it's not good or it costs too much would be falling over themselves, blogging and Yelping and talking about how great this little gourmet sandwichery is, how the ingredients and breads are wonderful and rustic and innovative. It's a great little neighborhood sandwich shop, it just happens to be in a huge casino resort. Accept it.

This is the 'Wichcraft version of a tuna salad sandwich, way better than the average version. The fish is light, like fluffy cloud of oceanic deliciousness, and there's no sign of glop mixed into the meat to yuckify it. Just lots of tasty fish, a little fennel and olive relish dabbed here and there, with a thin spread of mayo and some sharp lemon on the bottom layer of a soft, chewy baguette. It's quite good, I just wish it had some greens to add a little healthy, vegetably crispness. But overall, this is good stuff, and emblematic of what you'll find at 'Wichcraft.