A Salute to National Sandwich Day

It’s National Sandwich Day, people, and to honour such an important event, it’s fitting to give shout-outs to some of the best places in the city to celebrate. And though I have yet to find a sandwich as good as the Assorted Cold Cut Sub from the DeRosa Bakery (549 Wilson St.) in Hamilton, Toronto does have a ton of places that are worthy of mention. I am hoping that with enough support, today will eventually be considered a national holiday. I’m sure it already is by some. Seeing as the definition of a sandwich is so vast, let’s stick to what’s stuck between 2 pieces of bread.

Let’s get started by chatting about the Cadillac of sandwiches. Now, we all have a go-to place when it comes to a Hot Veal Sandwich, but nowhere does it better than San Francesco Foods (10 Clinton St; co-lo at 965 Coxwell Ave). A Toronto institution, and a place I have been going to since birth, San Francesco’s simple, unpretentious combination of tender Veal, sweet Tomato Sauce, Hot Peppers and Fresh Bread rivals anything, anywhere in the city… especially the inferior version on offer from that California Sandwiches place.

The Missus and I cannot be happier that the family-run Oak Park Deli (213 Oak Park Ave) is at the foot of our street. Their Turkey & Cheese Deli Sandwich ($5.50) sees 150 grams of Smoked Turkey get covered with the absolute works (Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Pickles, Hot Peppers, Mustard and Mayo) and then sandwiched inside a store-baked Cheese Bun. The owner, Toula, will often put a fresh batch of Cheese Buns in the oven when I arrive. It’s well-worth the wait. This sandwich is so good that I have already been given orders from my pregnant wife… “Once the baby is delivered, the first thing I want to taste is Toula’s Turkey Sandwich!”

Peameal Bacon is kind of a big deal, and while many swear by the St. Lawrence Market, I say Jim’s Restaurant (897 Queen E) makes the best one in town. Think three thick-cut Pork Chops on a Crusty Roll with Prepared Mustard for less than six bucks. It’s too bad I didn’t place a unit of measurement next to the picture above, as this thing is an absolute monster. Jim’s also makes one heck of a Club Sandwich, but not quite as good as this next place…

The House on Parliament (454 Parliament St) is a Cabbagetown landmark. And though they have recently moved next door, they brought their kitchen with them. Good thing, too, because their Club Sandwich is an absolute beauty. It’s probably the priciest Sandwich on this list, but it’s definitely worth the splurge. Once you taste their Dry-Rubbed Grilled Chicken Breast and Smoked Bacon, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

I recently had a lengthy conversation with some friends of mine about the best-tasting type of meat. Beef prevailed. There are a few places worth noting if you’re asking yourself where to get it. The Tulip’s Beef Brisket (pictured above) is shaved thin and piled high… nine ounces worth to be exact. Served with Coleslaw, a Pickle and Au Jus for $7.95, it’s the best deal in The Beach. If it’s BBQ’d Beef you’re after, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more generous offering than Astoria’s Beef Souvlaki on a Bun. The real Taste of the Danforth, this mainstay (390 Danforth Ave) has been char-broiling the goodness for what seems like forever. Head across town and a very honourable mention goes to Corso Italia’s Dairy Freeze (1601 St Clair W @ Caladonia), whose six-dollar Steak on a Bun is both the best value and the best taste in the league.

The recently-reviewed Buster’s Sea Cove @ the St. Lawrence Market does a Mahi Mahi Sandwich ($12.95) that’s loaded with a Grilled Fish, Tomato, Lettuce, Cucumber and a Sriracha-Infused Tartar Sauce, all of which is sandwich-pressed inside a Fresh Roll. I make a bee-line for this place every time I hit the Market, passing the Pemeal at the front and the Veal down below for the Seafood at the back.

What’s a sandwich list without Smoked Meat? The problem is that opinions vary to such a degree that it’s tricky to talk about. North of the city, the Centre Street Deli and Moe Pancer‘s reign supreme. They virtually wrote the book on the Toronto version of Bubbie’s Brisket. If you’re downtown, however, Caplansky’s (356 College St) is your safest bet. The thing I love about all places of this nature is that they have solution for varying degrees of hunger. Corned Beef on College!

Happy National Sandwich Day, everyone. Let’s work together to make this a recognized holiday. We all know we could use a day off to feast on our favourite food. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry. I’m definitely thinking sandwich; just not sure where yet. Any suggestions?

A short-list of honourable mentions include the Chicken Parm @ the Agincourt Bakery (3059 Pharmacy Ave); anything from the Schnitzel Queen (237 Queen St E) where she loads Potato Salad and Sauerkraut right onto the sandwiches; the $3.50 Cold Cut Sandwich at the Brisa Do Liz Bakery (1174 Blor St W); the Bacon Combo at Belly Buster Submarine (3447 Yonge St); the Corned Beef Sandwich at the Avenue Open Kitchen (7 Camden St) and Luck’s Deluxe Schnitzel Sandwich from Bread & Butter (507 Mt. Pleasant Rd).

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