As your Presidents Day travels take you here and there around town, heed the message from your growling stomach and stop to grab a bite.
Sure, you could fill up on mediocre grub at chain sandwich shops, but why would you want to? Instead, treat yourself to the real deal at one of these top delicatessens.
Where: 9380 Elk Grove Florin Road, Elk Grove
Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. daily
Information: (916) 685-4587 , www.baguettesdeli.com
Heavyweight sandwiches loaded with flavors are made in a cramped but efficient space; take them to a table on the outdoor patio.
"If we don't make it, we don't sell it," said Paula Hunley, who owns the deli-bakery with husband Larry Hunley. That includes the breads and pastries (the cinnamon buns are a must-have).
Favorites: "Three little piggies" grilled panini, stacked with pulled pork, ham and bacon, with pickles, onion straws and cheddar cheese, was a weekly special so popular that Paula Hunley added it to the full-time menu. Another to try: tender, smoky tri-tip with barbecue sauce joining bacon, cheese, onion straws and roasted garlic mayo on a baguette. With each sandwich are terrific housemade flour tortilla chips and great salsa made from fresh veggies cooked on the smoker.
P.S: The deli features various "sandwiches of the week." Recently, a veggie sandwich was piled with mac 'n' cheese and vegetarian chili.
Where: 5810 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento
Hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Information: (916) 736-3802, www.cortibros.biz
"If you come in and look at our deli, you're going to buy something," guaranteed deli supervisor Linda Wright.
Cruising the goodies-packed deli is a delight. Many of the items are prepared in the massive Corti Brothers kitchen by chef Andrew Cordaro. Linger over sausages, pâtés, imported salumi, cheeses from around the world, olives, polenta, caviar, pasta, chicken cutlets, potato salads, ham, turkey, rare roast beef and so much more. There are even Indian dishes, made by cook Kohila Udaya. "The samosas fly out of the store," Wright said.
Favorites: For a deal, try the $4.99 Corti Special. It's a roll loaded with five meats, cheese and greens. The French bistro club is house-cooked turkey, French ham and Jarlsberg or goat cheese, with condiments. Or opt for a sandwich overflowing with house-made chicken salad chunks of chicken breast, caramelized walnuts, parsley, celery, green onion and mayo.
P.S.: Sandwich meats are sliced to order, and artisanal breads are delivered each morning. The Sacramento chapter of the California Restaurant Association gave its "best delicatessen" award to this deli in 2005 and 2007.
DOMINICK'S ITALIAN MARKET & DELI
Where: 8621 Auburn-Folsom Road, Granite Bay
Hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
Information: (916) 786-3355 , www.dominicksmarketdeli.com
Dominick and Raquel Bellizzi came to town eight years ago from New Jersey, a state that's on intimate terms with submarine sandwiches and cannoli.
At their shop you'll find hot and cold hero sandwiches and panini overstuffed with imported and Boar's Head-brand salumi; marinated and roasted veggies, pasta and tuna salads, calzones and pizzas, imported and domestic Italian cheeses, and more. Bonus: Italian cookies and candies, and briners in the old-fashioned pickle barrel.
Favorites: The cold Italian combo is ham, Genoa salami and provolone with Italian dressing on a rustic Italian roll. An Italian twist on the New Orleans muffuletta combines mortadella, ham, salami, mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and piquant olive spread. The kitchen chops and grills Angus ribeye, onions, peppers and provolone for the Jersey version of a Philly cheesesteak.
P.S.: The market sells imported goods (think wine, olive oil, pastas and tubes of crushed garlic). And the adjoining Dominick's Trattoria has a full menu of hot Italian entrees, but don't miss the three-quarter-pound burger.
Where: 3340 C St., Sacramento
Hours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Information: (916) 443-5402, www.roxiedeli.com
Expertly made sandwiches are heaped with premium meats and condiments and served with a helping of San Francisco-style attitude, as countermen joke with customers while assembling good eats. Bonus: The potato salad and deviled eggs are outstanding.
Favorites: The "house special" of pastrami, turkey and cheddar cheese on Dutch crunch bread is a double handful. Seldom-seen smoked brisket is wed to cheddar and provolone cheeses, topped with horseradish and crammed into an Italian roll. Meatballs and provolone are smothered in marinara sauce and veggies, on either ciabatta or hard sourdough roll.
P.S.: The cast-iron smoker gets loaded with tri-tip on Monday, pork shoulder on Tuesday, pork ribs on Wednesday, and brisket on Thursday and Friday.
"We serve smoked meatloaf every day, and it's not your mom's meatloaf," said co-owner (with wife Amy) Chris Tannous.
SAMPINO'S TOWNE FOODS
Where: 1607 F St., Sacramento
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Information: (916) 441-2372, www.sampinos.com
The "affordable gourmet deli" offers a long menu of house-made and -cooked items, including Calabrese sausage (turned out on a 19th century hand-cranked machine), pastas (52 flavors, including saffron and lemon-black pepper), fresh mozzarella (Fridays only), turkey and chicken, beef and pork, meatballs and lasagna, and four to five soups daily.
"We smoke our own bacon, too," said Michael Sampino, co-owner with dad Bill and wife Gabi. "The cold case has eggplant Parmesan, ossobucco and saltimbocca. We change it up to make it interesting for the people."
Favorites: The "Sampanini" is the house-special panini, weighty with mortadella, dry copa, provolone, mild cheddar cheese and housemade garlic aioli. A high-steppin' take on the classic Reuben is stacked with house-smoked pastrami, Gruyere, wine-sautéed sauerkraut, heirloom tomato, homemade pickle and house dressing on swirled rye from Il Fornaio bakery.
P.S.: Sampino's hosts three-hour, eight-course dinners at 6 p.m. Fridays ($30 to $40).
"The portions are real," said Michael Sampino. "You're guaranteed to break a sweat at the first course."
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