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Take your ’wichcraft to the next level this picnic season with our crash course in sandwich mastery

Tortas, paninis, banh mis, buttys, croque madames — every culture has its sandwich. And every moment has its sandwich as well: Egg sandwiches for breakfast, turkey and Swiss for lunch, cheesesteak for dinner, a late-night PB&J. (Perhaps you’ve had more than a few of those during the pandemic.) But just because something is everyday doesn’t mean it has to be ordinary. Quality ingredients, flavorful condiments, and a bit of finesse can turn that quick bite into a dish to savor. Here’s how.

The Bread

“The perfect sandwich starts with the bread,” says Paul Saginaw of Saginaw’s Deli in Circa. If you need to do some one-stop carb shopping, Great Buns Bakery (3270 E. Tropicana Ave., greatbunsbakery.net) is the spot. They’ve been supplying local restaurants and casinos for decades (I’ve seen that olive dinner roll before!), and can hook you up with loaves of marble rye for pastrami, potato rolls for ham, challah for grilled cheese. The outlet store is located in the factory building, so you can smell wheaty goodness baking as you peruse the goods.

The German Bread Bakery (9255 S. Eastern Ave., 2237 N. Rampart Blvd., germanbreadbakerylasvegas.com) has a narrow selection of bread, but also offers sausage, spreads, jams, and other condiments of Deutschland. There’s challah and whole wheat, a sunflower seed loaf that adds texture and flavor to your peanut butter & jelly — and then there’s the pretzels, the pretzel bread, pretzel rolls, pretzel sticks and, miracle of miracles, the pretzel croissant, which will elevate your quotidian turkey or grilled cheese to gourmet.

Délices Gourmands French Bakery (3620 W. Sahara Ave. #W2, delicesgourmandslv.com) can hook you up with crusty baguettes, country-style boule loaves, golden brioche, and, of course, croissants. Even if you’re thinking “sandwich” and not “dessert,” it’ll be hard to leave without a mille-feuille or macaron.

The Stuff

The essence of a sandwich is the meats and cheeses inside. Don’t skimp. Dave Simmons, executive chef of the Goodwich, says “double the protein” is the key to their sandwiches, and that holds true for those playing at home. Weiss Deli Bakery (2744 N. Green Valley Parkway, 702-454-0565) makes a mean sandwich platter, but it also offers most of the individual components for sale by the pound — marbleized brisket, peppery pastrami, a classic chicken salad with shreds of meat in creamy dressing, as well as cream cheese varietals from plain to chive and scallion. The Polish Deli (5900 W. Charleston Blvd., 702-259-2008) may be best known as purveyors of pierogies and paczki, but it’s also a place to behold (and slice) the pig in all its many forms: Black Forest ham and Tyrolean ham, pork loin and pork butt, rolls of bacon, and slabs of bacon.

You can order meat-piled sandwiches and other Italian specialties pre-made from Roma Deli (8524 W. Sahara Ave., romadelilv.com), or you can choose your own ingredients from the case of salame, mortadella, capicola — go ahead and throw some provolone and mozzarella on there, too!

The Condiments

Bread, meat, and cheese may be the building blocks of the sandwich, but condiments are where you can personalize. Take a trip with French herbs or Moroccan spice, add levels of sweet or savory, or just grab a jar that looks interesting and see what happens. The International Marketplace (5000 S. Decatur Blvd., impfoods.co) offers flavors from around the globe in a warehouse as big as the world. There are varieties of German ketchup such as garlic, pepper and curry; mustards of the United Kingdom from sharp, yellow British to stout-based Irish, Polish jams of every fruit and flavor; wasabi and ginger sauces and dressings from Japan and thousands of options from dozens of countries.

Chef fave Artisanal Foods (4860 S. Eastern Ave., artisanalfoods.com) offers an ever-changing array of top-shelf products — giant, gorgeous pickles from the Real Dill, Moutarde Pommery mustard in chunky crockery jars, Matiz All i Oli Garlic Spread, and Romesco sauce. If you want to see what walnut preserves or pepper chutney can do to your grilled cheese, this is the place.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the ubiquitous 99 Cents Only store (multiple locations, 99only.com). Sure, you can grab basic mayo or relish on the cheap, but you can also find more intriguing options — flavored ketchups, gourmet salad dressings, regional barbecue sauces. If you don’t like it, you’re only out a buck.

Inspiration on Bread

Four sandwich spots show how it’s done

Downtown’s beloved Goodwich (900 Las Vegas Boulevard S., thegoodwich.com) has made its name by combining comfort-food sandwich classics with unusual twists — tempura batter on the fried chicken, chicharrónes on a Cubano, strawberry and avocado instead of tomato on the BLT/BLS. “Some come from many nights lying there just dreaming about all of the great flavor combinations waiting for me to try. Some nights it makes it hard to find sleep,” says Executive Chef Dave Simmons.

The sandwiches of Bronze Café (2380 N. Buffalo Drive #110, bronzecafe.com) offer an extensive range of vegetarian and vegan options — not just versions with different ingredients, but entirely different dishes. The Miss Piggy’s addition of basil to chicken salad and bacon to the chicken salad sandwich will change the way you make them, while their Guac & Mole uses avocado and mole sauce to add substance and savory to a vegetable sandwich.

Sinful Subs (5135 S. Fort Apache #145, sinfulsubs.com) specializes in Italian sandwiches — a hot chicken parm or meatball sub, as well as cold variations on the club (turkey and bacon) and Italian hero (salami, pepperoni and ham). The use of big, chunky bread and combining the usual afterthought of lettuce and tomato into a topping that’s like a chopped Caesar salad give the sandwiches a satisfying heft.

Saginaw’s Delicatessen (inside Circa, circalasvegas.com) is a local offshoot of Detroit’s classic old-school deli, Zingerman’s. Proprietor Paul Saginaw maintains that quality ingredients are what makes a simple sandwich special. “We’ve been using the same corned beef supplier for 39 years,” he says. “We worked for about two-and-a-half years to get the bread right.” Brisket, pastrami, and roast beef are slow-cooked and served on sliced bread with house-made condiments — quality in every layer. LTR

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