Our endless summer has finally given way to some blustery fall weather, begging the question - where's all the gravy at?
OK, it's not exactly gravy in every case for these hot, saucy sandwiches. But what they do have in common is their comfort food factor; they'll warm you up when your dogs are cold, nose a bit runny, or if you just have a good ol' case of the rainy day munchies.
Any way you slice it, cuddle your taste buds up to my favorite waistline-altering sandwiches now, because who knows when bikini season will strike again.
Poma's Italian Delicatessen
Since 1965, this family-owned business in Ocean Beach has been making sandwiches with care, the old school way - like what you'd expect from a lunch at nonna's house.
I usually order the eggplant parmesan, Poma's "famous" roast beef, or both, because these sandwiches pack a mean value for under $8 each, and still taste great hours later to boot.
On my last visit, these eager eyes followed the gentleman making my eggplant parmesan sandwich to a creepy degree as he ladled marinara sauce into the sesame seed roll, tapping it from side to side so the tasty slurry dispersed throughout. When all is said and done, you'll be drooling-ready for this sub loaded with thinly sliced, breaded eggplant, and plenty of provolone cheese.
Go the meaty route and prepare for a food-coma inducing amount of tender roast beef, submerged in jus, before meeting the Little Italy baked solunto roll squirted down with with lots of mayonnaise, shredded lettuce and tomato. At this point, just go for it and say yes to the addition of cheese. Bubbling provolone adds to the beauty of this delicious beast.
1846 Bacon St., Ocean Beach, (619) 223-3027 or pomasdeli.com
Big Front Door
OK, now I'm diving head first into the gravy, my innermost fall food desire, along with fluffy mashed potatoes, cubes of tender smoked turkey, pillowy stuffing flecked with candied bacon morsels and well-cooked green beans, all on top of a sourdough slice.
This fun riff on Thanksgiving dinner leftovers, the O.F.T. sandwich with "the goods," should be on the top of every San Diegan's fall eats bucket list - it's that freakin' delicious. Served with a side of cranberry relish that packs a tangy kick with whole, juicy berries, it's like eating the best of the holidays all in one box.
I'm always surprised to hear when people haven't tried it - but perhaps they've been distracted by the Turkey Day, a toasty torpedo stacked high with sliced turkey, stuffing, cranberry relish and just a touch of gravy. Either way, these fall feast sandwiches are a B.F.D.
4135 Park Blvd., University Heights. (619) 255-4100 or bfdsandiego.com
Gaglione Brothers Famous Steaks and Subs
Sometimes, bordering on a lot of times, nothing sounds like a better instant, comforting fix than a cheesesteak dripping with Whiz. I've yet to find an interpretation in town that beats Gaglione Brothers' thinly sliced, tender beef, ultra rich and naughty fake cheese matter and super soft roll from the Philadelphia standard Amoroso Baking Co.
There are other places in town that use all the same ingredients, but the Bros have that certain special something that strikes at first bite. I simply love the place, especially with its hot and tangy pickled pepper bar that is unrivaled by other local sandwich shops. Please enlighten me if I'm wrong.
Locations in Grantville, Point Loma and Encinitas. gaglionebros.com
El Gallito Tortas Ahogadas
This spicy roasted pork sandwich comprised of dense, Guadalajara-style bread slathered with refried beans and drowned in chile de arbol sauce will warm you up in more ways than one.
When deciding on a heat level (1-10) proceed with caution, because even a four makes me sweat bullets, and I'm down for the hot stuff.
Yeah, the scene at this permanent food stand in the Toys R Us parking lot isn't oozing with ambiance, or even sandwich shop qualities. But just one bite in, and you'll understand why it's a cult favorite and that it wouldn't matter where in the world you were eating it, just so long as there was a drink and maybe some napkins around.
1008 Industrial Blvd., Chula Vista. (619) 397-9650.