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Simple Acts of Sandwich Genius

Now that so many chefs are opening sandwich shops around the country, our lunch options are exponentially better. Here, a few creative ideas to replicate at home.
Bunk Sandwiches, Portland, OR
Courtesy of Bunk Sandwiches

Bunk Sandwiches • Portland, OR

Oregon Tuna Melts

At Bunk, co-chefs Tommy Habetz and Nick Wood reinvent nostalgic American dishes. That means transforming the iconic combination of biscuits and gravy into a sandwich with a filling of braised rabbit leg, say, or preparing luscious melts with locally canned albacore.

Manhattan’s Num Pang
© Tyson Reist/Courtesy of Num Pang Sandwich Shop

Num Pang • New York City

Piquillo-Pepper Num Pangs

“People are more open to trying new things if the form is familiar,” says Cambodian-born chef Ratha Chau. At Manhattan’s Num Pang (Khmer for “bread”), he presents Southeast Asian flavors in the form of sandwiches. Chau’s pantry includes fish sauce and Sriracha, as well as house-made raspberry-basil jam and rhubarb pickles.

Lionel Vatinet, La Farm Bakery
© Tamara Lackey/Courtesy of La Farm Bakery

La Farm Bakery • Cary, NC

Asparagus-Cheese Tartines

For the past decade, La Farm Bakery has been known for exceptional breads; earlier this year, baker-owner Lionel Vatinet (left) added a café and began serving tartines, the open-faced sandwiches he ate as a child in France. La Farm features a 72-hour sourdough bread and carries house-made spreads like a slow-roasted tomato pesto.

The Sentinel, San Francisco

© Ana Homonnay www.anahomonnay.com

The Sentinel • San Francisco

Focaccia Reubens

“Eating a big Reuben at New York City’s Carnegie Deli at age 11— that was a pivotal moment for me,” recalls chef Dennis Leary. At The Sentinel, his sandwich counter in a former cigar shop, Leary personally assembles all eight sandwiches on the letterboard menu, from a marinated yellowtail with avocado and fennel to his very own Reuben on focaccia.

Rick Bayless
© Maren Caruso

Xoco • Chicago

Mexican Tortas with Black Beans and Chorizo

“I want to show people another side of Mexico besides tacos,” says chef Rick Bayless. For his newest venture, next door to his flagship Frontera Grill, Bayless focuses on street food like tortas, crusty sandwiches stuffed with meat like braised-overnight suckling pig and house-made chorizo seared on a plancha (hot griddle) or roasted in a wood-burning oven.

More Amazing Recipes:

Wine Pairings for Sandwiches

Published September 2009
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