Monday, September 9, 2013

Tummy-Rumbling Bay Area Sandwich Shops

     One of my favorite things for lunch is a big, veggie-packed deli sandwich.  I’m a sucker for homemade bread, a liberal use of sauces and dressings, and meat that’s cooked in house.  Fortunately, the Bay Area offers many eateries that have mastered the art of the deli sandwich.  My three personal favorites, in order of yum, are 1) The Sandwich Board in Alameda, 2) Levy’s Bagel & Co. in Alameda, and 3) Gallery Café in San Francisco.
     The Sandwich Board has won a “Best of Alameda” designation, but I’m going to boldly declare that this is the best sandwich shop in the entire Bay Area, and I do so based on one simple sandwich: the roasted turkey.  You know those beautiful sandwiches you make with turkey leftovers after Thanksgiving?  Well this is better, and you can have it year round.  Turkeys are cooked in the shop daily, so when you order, you aren’t getting cold, thin slices of processed turkey.  No.  You can choose between white or dark meat, and you get great, juicy slabs of it.  You can choose among a huge variety of bread, including the Bay Area favorite Dutch Crunch.  I usually get the sourdough roll.  And then you can have it piled with your favorite, fresh veggies and the perfect ratio of mayo and mustard.  Top the meal off with a can of soda, and you’re living it large, my friend.
     The Sandwich Board is located on Webb, just off Park.  It’s a tiny shop with a real Mom-and-Pop spirit.  You order at a counter that occupies most of the interior, and while you’re waiting, you can peruse the community event flyers covering the front of this counter.  There are a couple tables just outside, but why not find a bench on Park and people-watch while you eat?  The shop is open 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday.  See the pictures below if you still haven’t decided to give this amazing place a try.
     In comparison to the Sandwich Board, Levy’s Bagel & Co. is passable, but in comparison to other sandwich shops, it’s nom-nom-nom.  You can choose from an excellent variety of New York style sandwich creations, and you can choose either bread or bagel to hold those lovely fillings.  These sandwiches are juicy, well balanced, and fresh.  The meat, alas, is nowhere near the quality of Sandwich Board’s meat, but everything is super fresh and oh-so-good.  Levy’s also has a wonderland of sweet treats to top off your meal.  They even have muffin tops (you know it’s the best part of the muffin).  Plus, Levy’s is right next to the slowest Starbucks in the Bay Area, but at least you can get a coffee to go with your sandwich if you don’t want a soda.  The advantage Levy’s has over my beloved Sandwich Board is its hours.  Levy’s is on Webster in Alameda and is open 6 am to 6pm Monday through Friday, 6:30 am to 5 pm on Saturday, and 6:30 am to 4 pm on Sunday.  So, yes, make it a breakfast sandwich if you'd like.
     The Gallery Café, while having sandwiches on par with both Sandwich Board and Levy’s, has something the other two lack: location, location, location.  It’s located right across the street from the San Francisco Cable Car Museum in Nob Hill, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in The City.  This is the perfect date destination.  You can ride the Powell-Hyde or Powell-Mason cable car to the museum, which is free and open every day of the year except Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.  After your sandwich, you can wander the neighborhood and enjoy the awesome views.
     Gallery Café also has unique sandwich choices for the adventurous or developed pallet.  I’ve only had the tuna melt and the veggie sandwich, but they were blissful.  Gallery Café is open from 7 am to 6:30 pm Monday through Friday and 7:30 am to 6:30 pm on Sunday, and they have a larger drink selection, including espresso, tea, beer, and wine.  The interior of the café is homey, spacious, and has an art studio feel to it.  There are great window seats as well as large tables for bigger gatherings.  You can’t beat the friendly, San Francisco vibe of this café.  But bring cash!
     Tourists come to the Bay Area for fresh seafood, but don’t miss out on the fresh, delicious deli sandwiches Bay Area natives love.  These are just my top three choices, but there are many more to choose from, including Domenico’s Italian Deli in Alameda.  These shops let you put wholesome, ingredient-rich food back into your life while shopping local.  Everyone wins.
I present, for your viewing pleasure, the Roasted Turkey on Dutch Crunch.

How about a close up?

Cue inspirational music...
The San Fran

The Sam's on a Cheddar Bagel

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