FOODBEAST Restaurants

Which Orange County ‘Wich To Have in Hand This National Sandwich Day

Any ingredient you can imagine, piled between two slices of your favorite bread, a culinary expression of culture, creativity and convenience – who doesn’t enjoy a sandwich?

What better way to celebrate our collective love affair with the world’s tastiest invention — amusingly named after a gambling aristocrat — than dedicating an entire day to them? This year, November 3rd is National Sandwich Day, so let’s get rolling and look at the best Orange County has to offer.


Costa Mesa and Irvine, CA

Does the thought of scrumptious Latin-inspired food keep you up at night? Luckily, Habana is open past midnight and the “Media Noche” is the perfect bite to satisfy those late nocturnal cravings. This Cuban style pressed sandwich is loaded with slow roasted pork, jamón, Swiss and all the fixings, as well as a tantalizing roasted garlic yellow mustard aioli that makes the whole thing melt in your mouth.

Stockyard Sandwich Co.

4th St Market, Santa Ana, CA

Whoever thought to add tuna salad to the already delicious grilled cheese deserves a medal. The crew at Stockyard Sandwich Co. earns the gold for their take on the classic because the ciabatta and cheddar make it better. Tasty tuna and crisp pickles meld together in a gloriously salty and tangy experience that’s only elevated by tomato and red onion. House-made chips or tater tots are included with the order, so you’ll surely find happiness at this 4th Street Market standout.

The Recess Room

Fountain Valley, CA

At The Recess Room, a trendy energetic vibe meets innovative cuisine. If your interests lie between the bread, the “Pork Belly BLT” has your name written all over it. Thick slabs of succulent, rich and flavorful kurobuta pork set the tone for this ‘wich; the charred edges alone will get your mouth watering. Arugula, tender Roma tomato, and chipotle aioli fill out the rest and beer battered fries come on the side. Just remember, there is never any shame in filling your belly with pork belly.

Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Cafe

Anaheim, Newport Beach, Long Beach, and Orange, CA

Artisan French bread and aromatic coffee highlight this charming breakfast spot – oui, s’il vous plait! If you dream of sipping espresso while savoring a Croque-Madame along the Champs-Élysées, Pandor Boulangerie and Café can at least get you halfway to realizing your fancy.  Served atop a Provençal loaf, this delicacy of jambon ham, cheese, creamy Béchamel sauce and eggs over easy evokes the finest of Parisian sensibilities.

The Iron Press

Anaheim and Costa Mesa, CA

Please excuse the language, but the “Hot Mother Clucker” is so delicious, profanity is entirely necessary. On this ‘which, you’ll find tender, free-range Jidori chicken coated in a spicy buttermilk batter and stacked amid jalapeño waffles, along with zesty slaw, buffalo sauce, and jalapeño maple syrup. This delectably obscene creation will have you exhaling “&#%$ that is good!” between gulps of water. I would keep the pitcher close by.

The Kroft

Anaheim and Tustin, CA

What’s the coolest thing since sliced bread? Sandwich dipping. At The Kroft, thinly cut prime rib slathered with horseradish mayo and caramelized onions are the passengers on a French roll vessel certified for dunking, especially when it’s into Au Jus dip. With your Prime Rib Dip in hand, throw in some panko fried cheese curds and you’ll be on a voyage of delicious discovery.


4th St Market, Santa Ana, CA

CIVIC’s house-made pesto is the key that truly unlocks the flavor of its juicy, free-range chicken breast burger. Its basil is garden fresh, the olive oil enhancing the herbs while not being too soggy. They then throw savory sun dried tomatoes, arugula, melted Swiss cheese on a delicate yet crispy bun, proving that you can still get your fill without completely wrecking that healthy streak you’ve been on.

Two Birds

TRADE, Irvine, CA

For the “Bird In The Hand” sandwich, you’re going to need twice the standard gripping action, especially if you order double chicken for $3 (as you should). The massive portion towers on a cornmeal bun, seasoned, crispy poultry dripping with slaw and special tiger sauce. Don’t be intimidated, a fork and knife can make tackling the monster more feasible. Add a side of waffle fries and an Arnold Palmer truly bring the Southern comfort home.

Blackmarket Bakery

Costa Mesa and Santa Ana, CA

When the lunch bell rings, countless kids across the country dig into a timeless classic, the staple of every childhood diet. Blackmarket Bakery will take your fondest peanut butter and jelly sandwich memories to the next level. The Über PBJ is a layered masterpiece of creamy peanut butter, signature berry jam, shaved almonds, and fresh berries slathered on pieces of toasted 6-grain. You’ll never think about a PB&J the same again.

Dog Haus

Santa Ana, CA

What is the meaning of life? Was the dress black and blue or white and gold? Is a hot dog actually a sandwich? These are the questions of our time. Including frankfurters on this list might land me in the doghouse with some, but perhaps spending time at Dog Haus will provide a new perspective regarding this controversial debate. Whatever you decide, you’ll surely leave satisfied by the chain’s signature beef sausage combinations, each served on a fresh King’s Hawaiian Rolls. The popular “SOOO CALI” is garnished with wild arugula, spicy basil aioli, crispy onions, avocado, tomato, but you also have the option to craft your own.

The Little Jewel Of New Orleans

Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA

Nestled in the heart of Chinatown, this outpost of authentic Southern cooking truly is a treasure. Each of their Po’boys is rich in bayou flavor; choices liked golden fried catfish, oyster, and shrimp come with mayo and all the fixings. Ask for a ‘crown’ on your sandwich, a topping of melted sharp cheddar and hand-smoked honey bacon, you’ll be glad you did.

Hollingshead Delicatessen

Orange, CA

At Hollingshead Delicatessen, family owned and operated since 1963, every Hero (sandwich) has its Demon (sandwich). On the path to righteousness, you will encounter beef, ham, turkey, cheddar, mayo, mustard, lettuce, and tomato heaped on a French Roll. Luckily, giving into the dark side only means swapping for pastrami, Swiss, and an onion roll – well, and maybe partaking in the diverse beer section that features 22 different brews on tap every day.

Tortas Sinaloa

Santa Ana, CA

The fact that Mexican cooking, predominately embodied by the tortilla, has developed its own type of sandwich is a testament to the universal appeal. At Tortas Sinaloa, there are 60 different combinations to choose from, but the Torta Ahogada, a carnitas sandwich drenched in chili tomato sauce, lime juice and red onion is the best. Add some avocado and queso, and don’t forget to indulge in some of the liquid refreshments like tamarind or horchata.

The Carving Board

West Los Angeles, CA

When pasta ends up on a sandwich, it is a match made in carb heaven, and the meatball sandwich at The Carving Board is your ticket to those exquisite, pearly gates. Sliced all beef meatballs covered in a homemade marinara and melted mozzarella are served between Parmesan spaghetti bread (yes, it’s exactly what you think it is). Extra marinara on the side makes this pièce de résistance all the right kinds of saucy.

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The Extravagance Of The Torta Cubana Is A Sight To Behold

While the famously known Cubano sandwich is the product of Latin culture, originating on the East Coast, the Torta Cubana sandwich is a product of Mexican culinary practices, originating in Mexico City, Mexico.

While there are similarities in the name, and both are undeniably delicious, there are several differences between Cubanos and Torta Cubana sandwiches.

Today, the legacy of the traditional Torta Cubana sandwich is being kept alive at a vibrantly colored taqueria located inside MainPlace Mall.

Cancun Juice, a well-known  hot spot for burritos, tacos, tortas, smoothies and agua frescas, has introduced the Ultimate Torta Cubana sandwich, a torta piled high with fresh carnitas, grilled pineapples, onions and tomatoes, topped with a heap of jalapeños, chorizo and breaded steak.

But true Torta Cubana fans know that’s not all.

Cancun Juice then adds hot dog, ham, turkey, melted provolone, and a creamy avocado dressing to complete this Mexican-inspired culinary marvel.

If you’d like to experience the Ultimate Torta Cubana yourself, find it at Cancun Juice at MainPlace Mall.

Created in partnership with MainPlace Mall

Culture Opinion Restaurants

The Top 10 Regional Sandwiches From Across The USA

While we all may think of “American food” as a massive melting pot of cultures and plates of fried delights or fast food that can be found across the entire country, we have to remember how big the United States truly is. Different parts of the United States, from the beaches of New England to New Orleans’ bustling Bourbon Street and the greater Los Angeles area, have sandwiches that they are proud to call their own.

While we may see variations on these sandwiches all across the USA, each region claims that their sandwich invention is the greatest. It’s time to see whose grub really lives up to that claim and who’s on-the-go meal between two slices of bread really is the best sandwich in the nation.

10. Dutch Crunch (San Francisco Bay Area)

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Also known as tiger bread, this loaf is the defining sandwich bread for Northern California sandwiches. Originally from the Netherlands, Dutch Crunch was already locally famous before Ike Shehadeh’s sandwich empire gave it more national attention. The extra crunch makes it perfect for sandwiches of all sizes and flavors, especially at iconic Bay Area sandwich spots like Village Cheese House nearby Stanford University and the East Bay’s Genova Deli. It’s hard to find a bread better suited for sandwiches than Dutch Crunch, and the sandwiches build to honor it are a strong testament to that.

9. Philly Cheesesteak (Philadelphia)

We all know this sandwich. A massive, long hoagie roll, thinly sliced beef, optional grilled onions, and either thinly sliced Provolone or Cheese Whiz make up this Philly lunch staple. Many restaurants around the country have brought the Philly Cheesesteak to the national masses, but let’s be real: you can’t beat the real deal. Philly Cheesesteak icons like Jim’s, Sonny’s, and Phillip’s are some of the timeless classics location to get your legit cheesesteak fix.

8. Deli Pastrami Sandwich (New York)

New York Pastrami is in the upper echelon of fine deli meats, especially if you go to iconic spots like Katz’s Deli. The sandwich it belongs in is simple but perfect: succulent New York-style pastrami, fresh rye bread, and a touch of mustard. No fuss and all flavor is the name for this top-notch sandwich, and is a must-try whenever you head over to the Big Apple.

7. Italian Beef Sandwich (Chicago)

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This legendary sandwich is one of the most scrumptious creations to have come out of Chicago and the surrounding area. Slow-roasted beef with Italian spices is already a winner on its own, and the addition of the hot, pickly relish known as giardiniera just takes the sandwich to the next level. If you find yourself in the area, make sure to go to Al’s Italian Beef or Tony’s for some of the best Italian beef in town.

6. Muffaletta (New Orleans)

Muffuletta Monday

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There’s something about this fully-loaded sandwich that makes you feel like a boss when you eat it. Maybe it’s the monstrous amount of Italian cold cuts piled on, or the tangy and fresh olive salad that balances out the whole meal. Or maybe it’s just how the name “muffaletta” rolls off the tongue. Whatever it may be, when you’re in NOLA, make sure to hit up Napoleon House, Parran’s, or Central Grocery and Deli for one of the most gangster sandwich experiences you’ll have in the entire USA.

5. Lobster Roll (New England)

Lobster Rolls in Cape Cod. More fire in our Insta Stories! 🦀🍞@theknackcapecod

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Lobster rolls are easily gonna be the most expensive sandwich on this list because of how pricey lobster is. It’s really hard to find a good one outside of New England, where basically all of our lobster is sourced. But something about the combo of sweet, juicy lobster meat with a hot buttered bun makes an authentic New England lobster roll experience unforgettable. Whether you prefer your lobster roll hot or cold, places like The Clam Shack, The Knack, and Five Islands are spots to mark down for some of the best crustacean sandwiches in the country.

4. Philly Roast Pork Sandwich (Philadelphia)

It’s a perfect day to stop in RTM for a sandwich! ☀️☀️☀️ #EatMorePork #loveRTM

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Sorry, Philly Cheesesteak, but you got nothing on what is truly the best sandwich in the City of Brotherly Love. The roast pork sandwich is just as simple as its more famous cousin, with only three necessary ingredients: roast pork, sharp provolone, and broccoli rabe. That combination, especially when ordered at places like John’s Roast Pork or Dinic’s that have mastered the craft of constructing one, is so mouthgasmic that you’ll trade in the cheesesteak for one almost immediately.

3. Cubano Sandwich (Miami)

Cubanos are probably the hottest sandwich in the nation right now, as you can head to sandwich spots or pubs across the country and find this Miami staple in just about any of them. Sarussi, Versailles, and Las Olas Cafe are some of the classic spots that have perfected this combo of roast pork, ham, swiss, mustard, and pickles. If you’re looking for the originators and the masters of the Cubano sandwich craze, I’d definitely start there.

2. French Dip Sandwich (Los Angeles)

SoCal’s legendary sandwich has already swept across the entire nation since the French Dip’s inception, and it’s very easy to see why. Philippe’s and Cole’s feud over who really invented it, but it’s safe to say that both have perfected the straightforward but heavenly combo of meat, bread, and jus that everyone’s fallen in love with. The addition of the beef jus provides the Dip with a burst of umami and meaty flavors that no other sandwich in the country can achieve. The French Dip is arguably one of America’s greatest contributions to the world of sandwiches, and we have the City of Angels to thank for it.

1. Po’ Boy (New Orleans)

As great as every other sandwich on this list has been, none is more iconic or delicious than the New Orleans Po’ Boy. Named after the strikers this sandwich was invented to feed, what makes this sandwich so special is the bread, which has to come from either Leidenheimer’s or Riesling’s French bakeries for your meal to be a true Po’ Boy. Beyond that, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and remoulade are the perfect complement to your protein of choice, from some of the freshest oysters in the US to the most decadent pot roast. The rich history, truly amazing bread, and the amazing flavors put into it by Mahony’s, Parasol’s, Mother’s, and more make this sandwich the best in all of the United States. We salute you, Po’ Boy. No sandwich is more worthy of this title than you are.

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Watch This Restaurant Turn Fried Chicken & Waffles Into A Cubano Sandwich

It’s easy to see why the Cubano sandwich trend has began to proliferate, branching out from its roots on the East Coast. If you think about it, the Cubano is probably one of the simplest sandwiches ever made, yet its simplicity is sparking culinary intrigue across the country —  and everyone is beginning to notice something special about the Cubano.

Having originated in Florida, the Cubano is traditionally made with roasted pork, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and lightly toasted on a panini grill. Its adaptations can certainly vary when it comes to specific ingredients, but all share the same no-frills approach to making an unforgettable and deliciously savory, melt-in-your-mouth creation.

This April, Bruxie, the fried chicken and waffle sandwich chain, will also be sharing their own Cubano concept.

Photos by Pete Pham

Behold: the Bruxie Fried Chicken & Waffle Cubano Sandwich.

Made with shaved ham, Bruxie’s house-made honey-mustard, thinly sliced pickles, and of course their crispy, golden brown fried chicken, all served between two savory waffle buns, this is something that might actually be better than Spring Break.

If you’re looking to experience the traditional taste of the Cubano with a twist from Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches, you’d better hurry. Like Spring Break, Bruxie’s Cubano Sandwich won’t be here forever (even though we all wish it would).

The Bruxie Cubano sandwich will be available from April 5 – 25.

Created in partnership with Bruxie

Adventures Features Restaurants

These Photos Prove Not All Cuban Food Sucks


Photo: Guillaume Baviere

We heard it dozens of times before we left for Cuba: a very general praise of the country, followed by a crazy-specific dig at one aspect of it.

“Beautiful place—food is awful.”

“Cuban people are great, but they really don’t know how to cook.”

“It’s a trap. They don’t even have Cuban sandwiches!”

These accounts were surprising, because Cuban food in the US is delicious. Anyone who’s been to Versailles or El Rincon in L.A.—two of my staples when it comes to group dinners—can back me up here. In Miami, even the dirt-cheap Cuban food is worthwhile. And my New York brethren will tell you how often I used to suggest Café Habana for weekend lunches. You know how everyone has that one friend who over-recommends a place so badly that you can’t think of the place without thinking of the person, and vice versa? That was me with Café Habana. (Seriously, get a Cubano there next time you have a chance).

It was hard to ignore the warnings we got ahead of time. How could a country’s cuisine be so good outside that country, and so poor in it? Apparently, many a Googler wonders this very thing.

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 5.12.54 PM

The Government

It turns out there’s a pretty valid answer to that question, and it rhymes with “Nommunism.” According to locals, the government’s grip on Cuban goods has a stunting effect on fresh-cooked restaurant food.

You see, in the U.S. and much of the modern world, restaurants are free to source ingredients from wherever they find them. In those places, competition incentivizes restaurants to find higher-quality, rare ingredients to dazzle customers and beat out the next restaurateur. Great kitchens are constantly on the hunt for a fresher meat source or an unexpected spice.

In Cuba, however, the government controls the supply of food, and it makes the same limited list of ingredients available to all buyers. For my food TV junkies, the Cuban food game is like a Top Chef challenge, where everyone has to compete from an equal ingredient set.

Location, Location, Location


On top of the restricted access to food, it’s not as though anyone with some chops in the kitchen and seed money can freely lease a storefront and start serving food to customers. The best eateries in Cuba are extensions of owners’ homes. Most of these used to be humble paladares—home kitchens where a government-mandated maximum of 12 guests were allowed to dine at once.

Since Raúl Castro took over in recent years, that cap has lifted, and well-reputed restaurants are beginning to expand in capacity. Still, new businesses are subjected to a rigorous business application process. The fact that some restaurants still manage to serve delicious food is a minor miracle.

My Experience

Now, I’m personally more of the “I’m eating because I’m traveling (and therefore need to continue subsisting)” type rather than a “I’m traveling in order to eat” person. In other words, I don’t need to eat super amazing food wherever I go in the world. My general criteria for traveling is that I ate well if I didn’t eat anything that put me in a hospital room.

That said, the forewarnings spooked us enough that we did what gringos do best—took our anxieties to the Internet and did a buttload worth of research to find the good restaurants. Out of our 20 meals or so in the greater Havana area, about seven of them were by reservation, with a few others having been recommended by our guide books.

I can’t tell you everyone is wrong about Cuban food being pretty blandito. But I can say this: we didn’t have a bad meal in Havana. Average? Sure. But we also had some freaking fantastic food. And let me just settle something—while Cubanos reportedly originated in Miami, they do have them in Cuba.

In lieu of being able to transmit flavors through the Internet, I invite you to feast your eyes on some porno de food Cubano.

Garlic Shrimp Plate @ Rio Mar


Smoked Marlin Tacos with Rum Essence, Capers, and Mayonnaise @ Paladar La Guarida


Roasted Chicken with Corn and Lemon @ Paladar La Guarida


Rabbit Paté with Mango, Tamarind, and Cotton @ Paladar La Guarida


Unless otherwise noted, all pictures are courtesy of Asher Rumack.

Celebrity Grub

Jon Favreau Just Shared The Ultimate Cuban Sandwich Recipe With The Internet


You may know actor-slash-director Jon Favreau best for his role in Swingers or more recently as Tony Stark’s assisant Happy in the Iron Man trilogy, but once upon a time Mr. Favreau played a chef. It wasn’t actually that long ago.

In the 2014 film, Chef, Favreau played a big-time chef who loses it all and has to reconnect with his roots. If you seen the movie (spoiler alert) you’ll know that cuban sandwiches play a HUGE role in his character’s story arc.

So for the Super Bowl this past weekend, Favreau decided to post his favorite Cuban sandwich recipe on the Internet for everyone to enjoy.

Here it is.

Cuban sandwiches I made for the Super Bowl. First time I cooked these since Chef was released. Still delicious!

For everyone drooling during the entirely of Chef, you can now enjoy one of the film’s most prominent dishes in the comfort of your own homes.


Watch Jimmy Fallon ‘Mop the Floor’ with Martha Stewart in Cubano Making Contest


If you’re going to challenge Martha Stewart to a cook-off, you better damn well be sure you can back it up. This was the case for late-night host and Fever Pitch star James Thomas Fallon, better known as Jimmy Fallon, last Friday evening. Stewart made a guest appearance on the Tonight Show, which Fallon hosts, and the two set off making Cubanos with a wide assortment of ingredients spread out on the cooking space.

A Cubano is a cuban sandwich made with bread, different types of pork and typically swiss cheese. The sandwiches are then pressed flat, similar to a panini, and served with plantain chips. One can also add other ingredients to the sandwich depending on personal preferences.

To keep things impartial, judge Questlove was equipped with a sensory deprivation helmet to prevent any bias between the sandwiches. We won’t spoil anything further, but the video is definitely worth checking out for Fallon fans. Just brace yourself for the sandwich cravings. We’re already feeling them.