"Can I share with you my worldview? All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich." -- Liz Lemon, 30 Rock "Sandwich Day"
Truer words were never spoken. From brown paper lunches as kids to business breaks as adults, sandwiches are the sure yet simple staple of midday meals. With so many options available, choosing our top 10 was a test, which is why we pushed aside the panini, maneuvered around the melts, and made a list of only best cold sandwiches in metro Phoenix.
Tuna salad sandwich at La Grande Orange
Ordering tuna salad at a restaurant always comes with a certain level of trepidation. After all, it takes only one traumatizing experience to make a person swear off chicken of the sea. Fortunately, the tuna salad sandwich at La Grande Orange is good enough to redeem the spirits of any PTSD pescatarian, served with tomato, cucumber, apple, golden raisins, and leafy greens on lightly toasted nine grain bread.
Ham sandwich at Ollie Vaughn's
How good is the signature ham sandwich at the recently opened Ollie Vaughn's? So good that it managed to stay on the menu despite the restaurant's seasonal changes, because, as one sandwich staffer pointed out, customers simply would not allow it. This sandwich comes with thinly sliced honey ham, gruyere cheese, watercress, Dijon mustard, and a lightly sweet apple butter that does well to complement the savory meat.
BLT at Matt's Big Breakfast
The BLT at Matt's Big Breakfast is a perfectly stacked serving of Americana. There are no frills or fancy sauces, just a classic composition of thick-cut bacon, sliced vine-ripened tomato, iceberg lettuce, and "real" mayo on toasted white country bread. It's edible proof that quality always trump quantity.
Turkey Lurkey at Luci's Healthy Market Place
Look past the silly name and you'll see why this signature sandwich is a serious favorite among Luci's uptown Phoenix customers. The Turkey Lurkey is Luci's personal spin on the club sandwich with thick-sliced turkey, Havarti cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, avocado, spinach, tomato, pesto, and mayo on cold but toasted white "artisan" bread. It's the lunch special that makes us truly love Luci.
Billy Club at Chestnut
Now for an actual, albeit gourmet, club. The Billy Club at Arcadia's all new Chestnut Fine Foods and Provisions is served with turkey that's roasted and sliced in-house plus fresh avocado, heirloom tomatoes, surprisingly sweet maple glazed bacon, and toasted white bread. The price is a bit higher than you might normally pay and the parking situation is hardly better than LGO, but a few bites of the Billy and, we'll admit, all was forgotten.
Where's the Beef at Duck and Decanter
Vegetarians, rejoice. Finally, there's a meat-free sandwich that doesn't taste like a sad salad between two slices of bread. Check your carnivorous qualms at the door because the Where's the Beef sandwich at Duck and Decanter can hang with the best of them. This green sandwich is piled high with tomatoes, celery, sprouts, iceberg lettuce, avocados, cucumbers, jicama, mayo, mustard, and pine nuts for an added bit of crunch. It comes with your choice of bread but, in keeping with the healthy theme, we think it pairs best with the multigrain.
Market or caprese sandwich at Pane Bianco
As small as the lunch menu is, we still find ourselves stuck between a ricotta and a hard place when picking out our Pane Bianco sandwich. Fortunately, we've narrowed it down to two sandwiches and one strategy. If the market sandwich of the day happens to be the spicy soppressata with arugula, creamy burrata, and pesto, your lunch order is a no-brainer. However, if this market sandwich is not available, we strongly recommend the Bianco sandwich staple that is the Caprese: local tomato, basil, and housemade mozzarella served on Pane's famous bread.
Long Tall Texan at Cheese N' Stuff
If you're wondering how this small-scale sandwich shop has stayed in business for over 60 years, you probably haven't been there for lunch. The Central Phoenix deli delivers fills up quickly between the hours of noon at 3 p.m. with Valley regulars and midtown businessmen getting their fix of freshly sliced meats and cheeses on white or wheat roll. For first timers too overwhelmed by the limitless lunch possibilities, we recommend the Long Tall Texan: Boar's Head roast beef and ham with Swiss and cheddar cheeses, tomato, lettuce, mayo, and mustard on a white sub roll.
Roasted turkey sandwich at Bertha's Cafe
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Turns out Bertha isn't just brilliant in the pastry department. She makes a pretty killer sandwich as well. Our personal favorite is the roasted turkey sandwich served, as promised, with thick cuts of oven-roasted turkey, avocado, spring mixed greens, tomatoes, havarti cheese, bacon, and a generous slathering of pesto mayo and balsamic onion marmalade on toasted bread. With so much contents spilling out of one sandwich, we suggest grabbing napkins and utensils ahead of time.
Italian Combo at DeFalco's Italian Deli and Grocery
This isn't your typical cold cut sandwich. The Italian Combo at DeFalco's Italian Eatery is an eat-with-both-hands beast of a sandwich served with ham, salami, pepperoni, mortadella, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, Italian dressing, mustard, and mayo on your choice of white or wheat roll, marble rye, sourdough, nine grain, focaccia bread or crispy baguette. Seriously, folks, cancel your dinner plans or skip breakfast, because the day isn't big enough for both these meals. This post has been edited from its original version.