I love sandwiches. Not in the passing way that someone says, “Oh, I love sammies. Yummy!”, and then orders the strawberry salad and mint tea. Sammies? Fuck you people. You know nothing. I really LOVE sandwiches. My adoration of a finely crafted sandwich can only be trumped by:
- Unbridled love for my family
- Gooey, warm brownies
- The sound and smell of the world in the 5 to 10 minutes before the sun peaks above the horizon on a summer morning.
- The croque provençal that I ate in a small, seemingly unnamed cafe in Paris
- The pastrami reuben from a long-forgotten restaurant in Red Lodge, MT (Technically, it was not my sandwich. I stole most of it off of my friend’s plate, while trying to convince her that she would really prefer my BBQ pork sandwich — an argument that might have worked a little better if she hadn’t been Jewish.)
- The Al Pastor torta from Los Dos Amigos in Thousand Oaks, CA.
As of this month, I have a new contender for the list — the Papa Preparada from Porto’s Bakery in Burbank, CA.
The papa preparada brings my passion for sandwiches and my great fondness for potatoes together at last. The geniuses at Porto’s create beautiful potato balls (like croquettes but better), with crusty, crunchy outsides and silky, creamy interiors. Then, they take there miraculous little creations, smash them to bits, and put them inside a Cuban sandwich. They meld perfectly with the beans and the cheese, but the potato ball’s outside maintains a crunchy textural component so key to a great sandwich. The bread, native to all Cuban sandwiches, is fantastic and baked daily by the Porto’s staff.
Now, to gain a permanent spot on my greatest sandwiches list, a sandwich must either have been consumed during one of the greatest days of my life (as with the first two sandwiches on the list) or withstand the test of time. Since my visit to Porto’s was sandwiched (lame pun totally intended) between an airport pick-up and an afternoon spent doing laundry, Porto’s must be tested a few more times before it goes on the list permanently. However, it’s been over 5 years since I’ve had even an contender. This is exciting times folks. Exciting times!