A sandwich is kind of like your first experience with love. It could be short-lived, like the time you had a crush on the girl who peed her pants, but you were too scared to admit it. Eventually you stopped talking to her, and the feelings dissipated. Your first time could be someone who has qualities within them that you’ve never seen, causing you to delve into their inner components of personality. Like a sandwich, you might fall in love because of the person’s looks. But don’t let that fool you, as too much make-up might ruin the sando’. The love might come from your awe at the person’s body, how much meat they have (excuse the profanity). But what drives the love? It has to be the situation when you’re with them that sparks the first romantic interest within you.
With so many factors coming into your experience at where you eat, sometimes it might not even be the sandwich that makes your meal. It could be the atmosphere – whether you actually want to sit down and eat there, or also price, raising the question of quality over quantity, and also line wait – are you willing to stand for ten minutes for a sandwich that you fall in love with, but is gone within the next five minutes? Lucky for you, you’ll know if you’re in for a digestive heartbreak, as we’re going to rank these eateries so you know exactly what experience will await you when you arrive. Here at Talon we will explore five sandwich places that have been hyped to be great eats: Ike’s Place, The Ace of SandwicheS, Alotta’s, Lettuce and Village Cheesehouse.With so many factors determining ones eating experience, sometimes it might not even be the sandwich that makes your meal. It could be the atmosphere – whether you actually want to sit down and eat there- or the price, raising the question of quality over quantity. Lucky for you, you’ll know if you’re in for a digestive heartbreak, as we’re going to rank these eateries so you know exactly what experience will await you when you arrive.Here at The Talon we will sort through the hype and decide which‘wich is truly the King of Sandwiches.
#1 Village Cheesehouse
Located in Town & Country, 855 El Camino Real, Palo ALto
This is a world class sandwich place, beating out all the others with quality and price. To truly get the most out of your experience here, get filthy. Add meats of which you’ve never heard of. Don’t play it safe. For the amount of meat you get, $2 extra is nothing. Here at Village Cheesehouse, if you order the basic turkey sandwich with mayo, you’ll think this place is nothing special. Village Cheesehouse’s bread, especially the Dutch crunch is different, as you actually feel a tingle of sweetness from it in each bite. What you need to do to make this sandwich amazing is to stack on the meat, pile on some exotic cheese (I ordered smoked Gouda), and listen to your mommy and eat the vegetables. The Cheesehouse is a custom sandwich shop, where patrons of its establishment decide what, and how much of it, they want stacked between two slices of bread.Make sure to add the original spread, free of additional charge. This delicious sauce makes the sandwich that much more of a delicacy. Much like In-n-Out’s thousand island dressing, the Cheesehouse’s spread is a unique flavor that completes their sandwiches in so many ways. For about the same price as Alotta’s, the Village Cheesehouse is the best sandwich, if you’re willing to go big.
#2 Ike’s Place
Located on the Stanford Campus, 475 Vía Ortega
Ike’s is a modern sandwich shop located in the heart of Stanford University, in a huge dining hall which I hypothesize was built to accommodate the huge line. Conveniently, when I began my pilgrimage to the “Sandwich Mecca” (as said by Adam Richmond, host of Man Vs. Food), jackhammers and drills prohibited me from finding it. It also could be the fact that there’s no sign outside the building, but I blame the construction. These sandwiches are the most flavorful, distinctly-named sandwiches you can buy, like the “Minage a trois”, or the “Stupid Eggplant Sandwich.” It’s said that the line can reach out the door at around lunch, causing the wait to be at least thirty minutes. Luckily, I ventured there around 2 to 2:30, so the line was only five or six people long. I ordered the “Matt Cain”, consisting of turkey, roast beef and salami all smothered in godfather sauce and topped with provolone. I took a bite of the sando’, and it was one of the best sandwich I have ever had. Warm, soft, fresh bread laid the platform for Ike’s secret sauce mixed with the godfather sauce. I never knew Ike’s Shehadeh mayo-garlic concoction could add such a kick. The sandwich wasn’t dry, as these sauces ensured that serious drippage would occur. It was nice. The sandwich is priced at about $10, and for the uniqueness and flavor of the sandwich, I wouldn’t say that’s too much. Compared to The Godfather in Italian Deli in downtown Los Altos, the Matt Cain is about 10 times better, with more meat and much more flavor.
2249 Grant Road – Los Altos, CA
Located right off of Foothill Expressway, Alotta’s is a must-go for anyone that lives in the Los Altos/Mountain View area since it’s only a 10 minute drive from school. This newly remodeled sandwich joint has the best sourdough bread out of all of these shops, and also one of the best sandwiches I have eaten. I ordered the Los Altos Sub, a classic consisting of turkey, bacon and avocado, plus the vegetables. Every single ingredient was extremely fresh and savory, added with a side of Dirty’s chips and a Jones’ Soda, this could be the perfect lunch meal. If you have the average stomach capacity, this place is perfect for you. However after eating one sandwich, I found myself in a dilemma: should I spend another $12 for a sandwich? I mean, it’s expensive enough right? Never will I spend $25 on sandwiches in one sitting, unless it’s my birthday and I feel a little extravagant. I don’t know how many times exactly I’ve ventured into Alotta’s, but I know it’s a lot, and once you have a bite of their sandwiches, you’ll know where to go if you want to enjoy a solid lunch.
#4 Ace of SandwicheS
3864 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
Now I didn’t expect The Ace of Sandwiches (TAoS) to be that satisfying, due to its location and size. TAoS is one of those spots that if you blink, you’ll miss it, so keep your eyes peeled. Not to mention, the shop is small and parking can be fierce, so get there early to beat the lunch rush. However since I went on a Sunday, it was easy-squeezy, pastrami-salami. You enter the shop and are welcomed by a ridiculously long list of sandwich combinations, and it’s likely that there will be people in line, so make sure you know what you want before you order. The menu is so extensive that you could order a sandwich, Panini or a wrap for three months straight and not try the same item. Sandwiches here are of the best price, ranging from about $5 to $8. They are extremely generous with the meat and ingredients, but you are compromised with its quality. The sandwich I ordered overall tasted a little dry, but within that comes a certain beauty: the classic, homemade feeling of a good ol’ sandwich. If you just want a sandwich that’ll fill you up and is better than a home-made one, come here.
634 San Antonio Road Mountain View
If you’re willing to sacrifice $2 to $3 for a sandwich of higher quality, Lettuce is the place to be. Located near school between Rasputin and Cold Stone Creamery, this place is a daily lunch spot for Los Altos students. As you enter the store, jerseys from schools from the area are hung in the area are hung from the wall. I don’t know whether to call that creepy or a tactical business maneuver.
Lettuce’s sandwiches can be packed with meat, like the South of Market, consisting of ham, salami and turkey, plus all the available vegetables. They also can be classic, like the Reuben, a classic filled with soft, warm roast beef and some authentic sauerkraut. Generally, the more flavorful sandwiches are the warm ones, as I discovered The City’s warm avocado chicken goodness. Although the bread here isn’t usually that fresh, (as Lettuce makes no effort to conceal the packaged bread under the microwaves) it’s still better than most places, especially when warm. The hard-to-bite Dutch crunch bread becomes soft and amiable to the mouth when heated.
Thanks to ASB, the Eagle Card provides one of the best deals at Lettuce: a free drink with any sandwich. You can get a Snapple, usually costing two dollars, for free. At Lettuce, I recommend the warm sandwiches, although the cold sandwiches are a safe choice for the new eater.