what's your fave?
Ken Hoffman digs into America's list of favorite sandwiches
Sandwiches are the greatest thing since — and between — sliced bread. Sandwiches are Joey Tribbiani’s favorite food on Friends. Sandwiches are easy to make, neat to eat, and easy on the wallet.
My favorite sandwich of all time was the chicken parmigiana sandwich from Johnny’s Pizza in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Friends would come over to my house, we’d put the New York Knicks game on TV and order two chicken parm sandwiches per guy, plus a large pizza for everybody to share. One of the guys always made a point to hold up his sandwich and exclaim, “It would be physically impossible for Johnny to put any more chicken parm on this sandwich.” They were huge. We were growing boys.
Chicken parm sandwiches are so terrific, even Burger King’s version is pretty decent, and Burger King can ruin the unruinable. (Have you tried their $1 tacos?)
To celebrate National Sandwich Month, YouGov recently published the results of its poll: What’s America’s Favorite Sandwich? They surveyed 1,225 people, and the most beloved sandwich from sea to shining sea is the good ol’ grilled cheese sandwich.
America’s fave sandwich?
Nearly 80 percent of people surveyed voted thumbs up on grilled cheese. I got no problem with grilled cheese being No. 1. But if you want to make it No. 1 with a bullet, throw some bacon on that grilled cheese sandwich.
The rest of America’s Top 10 sammies:
2. (tie) grilled chicken breast, turkey
3. roast beef
4. (tie) ham, BLT
5. club sandwich
7. peanut butter and jelly
8. pulled pork
10. egg salad
Grading the grades
I do have a problem with No. 2, grilled chicken breast. I don’t know a single person who actually likes them. People order grilled chicken sandwiches because they’re on a diet or think grilled chicken is healthier for you. I hold my nose and try grilled chicken sandwiches every time a fast food chain introduces one. I’ve never found one I liked. They’re dry and have no flavor to them. I'd rather eat a shower flip flop. As Kramer would say, grilled chicken sandwiches are the biggest con since One Hour Martinizing.
I also have a gripe with BLTs, but only because there’s never enough B[acon]. Even when Sonic came out with a BBLT, double the bacon, it wasn’t nearly enough B. Another thing, we can do without the L. Lettuce on a sandwich is as useless as parsley on a steak. (Or traffic reporters on TV. By the time you get out of the house, and on the freeway, the three-car wreck will have been removed.)
Before we take this poll of sandwiches seriously, just remember that the survey was produced by YouGov, the website that brought us “12 percent of men think they can win a point off Serena Williams.” In case you missed it, if they surveyed men who play tennis regularly, 12 percent is low.
YouGov decided to order off the menu and ask people if they considered a hot dog a sandwich. An overwhelming majority said no, a hot dog is not a sandwich. They’re wrong. A hot dog definitely is a sandwich, just as a hamburger is a sandwich. World champion pro wrestler Booker T explains it this way: anything with bread on the outside and something in the middle is a sandwich. When Booker TV was a kid growing up in Houston, he ate “ketchup sandwiches.” You want to argue with Booker T? I’ll give you his phone number.
It’s not my favorite, but the sandwich I’ve eaten the most: bologna on white bread. My mother packed a bologna sandwich in my school lunch sack every day. It’s tough to trade up in the cafeteria when all you’ve got is a bologna sandwich.
My favorite fast food sandwich is the No. 6 (roast beef and provolone) at Jersey Mike’s. That’s because they slice the roast beef right in front of you, and it's good 'n' rare. The roast beef wasn’t sliced somewhere far away and who knows when, like at Subway. My top sandwich at a real restaurant is the two-meat sandwich (brisket and pulled pork) at The Pit Room. Sometimes I’ll order the two-meat sandwich and say, “first meat is brisket, and the second meat is brisket.” I can’t prove it, but I think you get a bigger sandwich if you ask for two different meats.
Another fantastic sandwich, and it’s right down the street on Richmond, is the Surf & Turf po’boy at BB’s Tex-Orleans Café. It’s got roast beef, homemade gravy, melted Swiss, fried shrimp, and tomato slices on a crusty bun. I get a side of Tex-Cajun Virgin, which is a heap of shoestring fries loaded with queso, gravy, and roast beef debris. Honorable mention goes to the French Dip sandwich at Houston’s.
The most underrated sandwich is scrambled eggs on toast. I make them at night, nothing better.
I’ve never had one, but the Larry David Sandwich at Leo’s Deli sounds awful. It’s got smoked sable (it’s a fish), whitefish salad, cream cheese, and capers on a bagel. No wonder Ted Danson didn’t want to trade sandwiches with LD. Danson’s sandwich has turkey, cole slaw, and Russian dressing on rye. A deli classic.
Try Ken’s own sandwich
Of course, you can head to Kenny & Ziggy’s and try the Ken Hoffman Sandwich from the secret menu. This is a skyscraper sandwich packed with chicken salad and so much bacon … it’s almost enough bacon. Why chicken salad?
Ziggy wouldn’t let me anywhere near his corned beef or pastrami.
What’s your favorite sandwich? Let Ken know on Twitter.