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Recession Obsession: Real Italian Sandwiches at Bay Cities

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Hamon Serrano "Small" Sandwich
A Recession Obsession is, 1) a meal so great that it stays in your mind long after digestion's end, and, 2) plays nice with your sensitive wallet. Is there a better place than Los Angeles to eat a wide variety of amazing food that so happens to be inexpensive? Probably not. We're as lucky as we are well fed. We last obsessed over Thai Town's Ruen Pair, and went Greek at Papa Cristo's. Today, we obsess...

NYC transplants decry LA's apparent lack of hardcore Italian delis. That is, until a clued-up Angeleno points that Negative Nancy to Bay Cities Deli and Bakery. If New York were a sovereign nation (it's not,) its local embassy would be this Santa Monica hotspot.

Here you’ll find world-class Italian sandwiches. And while you can customize your order North of $10 (thanks to exotic cured meats and cheeses,) you don’t have too. Bay Cities has reasonably sized sandwiches that are reasonably priced for about $4-$7 each. That’s why Bay Cities is LAist’s latest Recession Obsession.

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The Rub On The Grub

The Godmother is a sandwich many would walk over their godmothers to eat. It’s genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, prosciutto, provolone, on a crunchy and fresh Italian roll. Get it with “The Works” -- mayo, mustard, onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, Italian Dressing & Mild/Hot peppers -- and you’ve got a serious gastrointestinal commitment. It’s a tasty one that I’ve learned doesn’t do me as right as my eyes (or colleagues) persuasively suggest.

I abandon those Works, pick a single meat, and focus, focus, focus. Something like hamon serrano (pictured, delicious,) chicken cutlet, prosciutto, is right up my alley. Or if I want a light bite, I’ll go for the caprese (fresh mozzarella + basil + tomato = party.) Beware of a Large Sandwich. It's the size of a toddler's leg.

Unfortunately, An Institution

I recently conducted a poll and the result was “everyone” “loves” “Bay Cities.” Good for Bay Cities. Bad for sandwich-eaters who don’t like lines that resemble Studio 54’s Saturday night queue.

The way to enjoy Bay Cities in this wretched economy is to forget about lunch. They can get so crowded that a line of cars forms on Lincoln Boulevard to enter the parking lot. It’s not safety-friendly, and it’s a waste of time. And our time is money -- especially for the 9.5% of the nation who is now unemployed (who should be using that time to find a new gig.) Head here after 3 p.m. but before 7 p.m. (when they close on most nights.)

Bay Cities is like a trip to New York with less Yankee caps and lousy attitudes. But if you feel braving the lunch crowd is for you, beware, you might leave with the attitude of a Yankees fan whose team has just exited the first round of the playoffs.

Photo by Caleb Bacon (Twitter) for LAist

Where do you get your Italian subs? Comment Below!