Sandwiches are like one of the year’s best picture Oscar contenders: Everything, everywhere, all at once. Within a recent 24-hour span, I admired the contrast of soft-scrambled eggs and spicy-sweet fried chicken on a brunch sandwich at Distrito Catorce, where Jonathan Perez has a residency for his Macheen pop-up, and debated on a rainy night whether I liked the chicken parm or meatball parm more at the new Ggiata location in West Hollywood. I thought then that it made sense to push myself into looking for more newish sandwiches, from freshly minted operations to the latest creations from places that have been settling in for a year or two.
What did I find? A reminder that the universal medium of sandwiches helped the food industry refocus and reinvent itself in the pandemic afterquakes. And that, as always, sandwiches are windows into the nostalgic past (New Jersey and New York deli inspiration emerged as a recurring theme) and foundations for original creative expression. These are nine new favorites, alphabetized by restaurant rather than ranked.