Tock’s [Shanghai]

Tock’s is a Montreal Deli, like a Jewish Delicatessen you’ll find in New York City.  They have arguably the best smoked meat, including – beef, duck, chicken, and turkey, in Shanghai.  Now, I’ve been to Katz in New York, Langer’s in Los Angeles, and a slew of others in between, which is to say I am an experienced beef pastrami consumer.  Yet, I can’t claim to be an expert of what’s better or not, only what I deem I like.  But I can say I am a serious pastrami eater.

My favorite sandwich at Tock’s is the simple Reuben with sauerkraut, swiss, and thousand island.  I usually get the large one, which is 98 RMB, but today, I just had the smaller version for 78 RMB.  It is unfair to compare Tock’s with Katz, but I still have to, in order to have a base.  Pricewise, they are actually comparable for what you get.  The beauty of a pastrami or smoked meat – is the combination of the tenderness and savoriness with either the bite of the mustard or melding with the swiss and thousand island.  The standard size at Katz is the large at Tock’s – if we are looking apples to apples.  Tastewise, this is where I get a little picky.  Being that I grew up from the states, I like and prefer dishes, including these smoked meat sandwiches a little more savory.  In Shanghai and China, everything seems to be less salty, and in my humble opinion less flavorful.

Do I like Tock’s – I really do.  I recommend it for anyone who is jonesing for some good pastrami.  This is great place for lunch and weekend meals.

Tock’s A Montreal Deli
221 Henan Zhong Lu, near Fuzhou Lu
河南中路221号, 近福州路

Smart Shanghai Listing
Shanghai Girl Post

Part I – The Shanghai Reuben Sandwich Challenge – New York City Deli

The Shanghai Pastrami Sandwich Challenge is a two part series – with New York City Deli being first. I recently had a craving for a traditional New York deli style pastrami sandwich. I missed having the overly savory pastrami with the offsetting mustard. My mouth just waters thinking about it.

I really do miss my favorite Los Angeles deli, Langers, which features great sandwiches. And I will always remember Katz, in New York with the defining Pastrami as well. Yes, I know that I probably mentioned Langers being better than Katz. But I realize now that Katz is the finest around.

I had found New York City Deli, after scouring different sites, in hopes of a consensus sandwich specialist. The other shop that consistently came up, was City Deli (with a review to come later).

So, after figuring out a good time to go – I made my way to the Pudong location. Walking in, you realize that the owners clearly had in mind the local expat market with the bar, pool tables, and diner style seating. Looks like I found the right place.

I ordered a Pastrami Reuben – Monsta version with 225g of meat. With about a 1/2 pound of pastrami with rye, I was set. I don’t think anything less than 225g is enough. The juicy sandwich opens up with meat piled up high in the middle with some sauerkraut and thousand island dressing to mildly add a little flavor. I would have been fine with a simple Pastrami with some mustard. But the Reuben is just fine. The thinly sliced meat piles nicely. But I would have preferred a more thicker cut of pastrami – like they do in the US. The thinly sliced pastrami – acceptably in LA, presents a different texture. I tend to believe it allows, not that it does, a possibly lower quality of meat. While the thicker pastrami can’t hide it. The best pastrami I have ever had was at Katz, where they would give you a small plate of the meats, while you wait – just to wet your appetite. The meat would just break apart naturally and tenderly. New York City Deli may have excellent quality meat, but I just prefer mine to be sliced more thick.

I’m not saying that New York City Deli is bad in any way. In fact, I do like it. I would return again – and probably order the same thing. But when in Rome, or in this case Shanghai, you do what Romans do, or make the best of what you got.

I had also ordered a hot Roast Beef and Swiss on Roll. I didn’t like the brea roll all that much. I thought it was overkill. Perhaps, simple white bread would have been enough. I didn’t care much for the lettuce and tomatoes on this sandwich as well.

What to Order: Pastrami Reuben Sandwich

What not to Order: Roast Beef and Swiss on Roll (maybe better on regular white)

Rating 1 PigsPrice Range 1 $/¥/NT

LinksCity WeekendSmart ShanghaiEating in ShanghaiShanghaiistDianping Puxi listingDianping Pudong listing

纽约三明治(福建南路店)New York City Deli
黄浦区福建南路103号(近金陵东路)103 Fu Jian Nan Road, near Jinling East Road, Huangpu, Shanghai, China, 200002+86 21 6326 2835

‎纽约三明治(苗圃路店)New York City Deli
浦东新区苗圃路614号(近灵山路)614 Miao Pu Road, near Lingshan Road, Pudong Xinqu, Shanghai, China, 200135+86 21 5018 5012

Cook’s Tortas [SGV]

Not many people know Mexican cuisine features sandwiches. This combination of old and new world influences can be seen directly with theses sandwiches – the Torta. Bakeries and flour was brought over and developed by the French in the early 1800′s. Then by using locally cured and marinated meats, the Mexicans produced wonderful sandwiches.

The Torta Ahogada is a great example of a Mexican torta – with fried pork on a thick baguette, similar to the French ones. They layer and smoother the sandwich with a thick and spicy dried pepper tomato sauce. This great, but messy sandwich is from Guadalajara, from the state of Jalisco. I have no idea how to eat it without a knife and fork, but I’ve heard people there, just pick it up and eat it, in all its glory, with messy hands.

Anyways. . . enough about the history. I was reading about different twitters, bloggers, and foursquare’rs going to this little spot in the suburbs of Los Angeles, called Cook’s Tortas. And at that time, I was going through a sandwich craze, going to Langer’s Deli for Pastrami’s, Porto’s for the Cubano, anything from Mendicino Farms, and the Beef Barchetta from Stacked Sandwiches, with disappointments from Bay Cities Deli. So I knew, I had to go to Cook’s.

I didn’t realize that Cook’s took over for the old Aloha Cafe spot on Atlantic Blvd in Monterey Park, till I got there. But oh well, restaurants come and go. After pulling in and walking in, the first thing you notice is the large ceiling to floor black board menu. I liked the coffee/cafe menu on how they explained how the coffees were made. There must have been over 20 different sandwiches. Yet I knew what I was going after . . . something pork related.

Pork . . .. pig . . . ham . .. . were the key words I was looking for on the menu. The Mojito, #151, was my pick, with roasted pork, garlic mojo, and slow cooked onions. This large sandwich with pork, garlic, and onions oozing all around was stupendous. As I consumed this bad boy, I had to be careful not to get the rich goodness on my clothes and hands. The bread was crusty on the outside, but not too hard. The inside softness soaked up the juices and grease to provide the moist base need for each bite. Not overly salty, the Mojito was just right. But after thinking about it, I could have added a little spicy pepper or sauce to enhance this experience. But actually, I was really thinking about the Ahogada, before I arrived, but I realized I only had one stomach, and the Mojito was great – so next time.

I think I remembered I had a drink and an appetizer from the menu . . .but I don’t remember it at all. . . Besides, you wouldn’t care if I didn’t write about it. The sandwich was the star. Hopefully one day, I will find a torta place in Taipei or Shanghai worthy of Cook’s.

What to Order: Mojito
What not to Order:

3 Pigs
Price Range 1 $/¥/NT

Cook's Tortas on Urbanspoon

Cook’s Torta’s
1944 South Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park, CA 91754-6302, +1 323 278-3536

Katsu Sandwiches at 浪漫館横浜 Romankan Yokohama, Breeze Center [Taipei] – closed

Romankan makes a type of sandwich that features a specific type of filling that is quite popular. This Japanese style sandwich is packed with a fried pork cutlet, or chicken one. That’s all you need, practically.
Romankan, brought over by Breeze Center, is smartly located in a high traffic area at the food court at the shopping mall. You can’t be help notice the lines for the simple sandwiches – which is all they sell. There’s a large window where you can watch each You’d almost wish they had their full menu from Japan.
Made to order, the katsu pork is battered and deep fried to a golden brown, then put together with crust-less white bread. Minimal additions, such as mustard, shredded cabbage, and tonkatsu sauce, complete the meal. They offer a couple of variations with Pork or Chicken in their simple menu.
If you imagine a standard American hamburger, you can kinda envision the heartiness of the sandwich. Rather than a grilled and greasy patty, the mouth feel is a savory, crunchy, and juicy pork or chicken fillet. The white bread holds the protein as well as offsets the sharpness of the tonkatsu and/or mustard sauce. If your sandwich has the shredded white cabbage, it is the equivalent of the lettuce and tomato you might find in an In-N-Out Double Double. Each of these sandwiches is presented as perfect as the images on their menus, unlike the burgers found in American fast food joints.
With outlets in Hong Kong and Singapore, Romankan Yokohama has made katsu sandwiches an art. I’m pressed to find a comparable sandwich anywhere else.
What to Order: Any of their sandwiches
What not to Order:
3 Pigs
浪漫館横浜 Romankan Yokohama
微風廣場 Breeze Center
39, Fu Hsing South Rd, Sec. 2, Food Court, B1
(02) 6600-8888
11am-9:30pm Sun-Thur
11am-10pm Fri-Sat

Stacked Sandwiches [Arcadia] – closed

In my hometown of Arcadia, resides one of the best sandwiches I have ever had in my life. I couldn’t believe it, in my never-ending search for the greatest sandwiches. Make sure you get the Beef Barchetta.
The Beef Barchetta – Shaved low and slow roasted beef dipped in a chipotle-chili broth, pepper jack, fries, grilled onions, horseradish sauce, garlic-mayo, on a roll, is a fantastic sandwich. It doesn’t matter if the roasted beef, which is marinated and roasted from scratch on site, is tender and juicy. It doesn’t matter if the fries, an unusual addition, helps hold the sandwich together with the pepper jack cheese. It doesn’t matter if the horseradish sauce with garlic-mayo, and the dipping sauce brings out flavor profiles that really work together well. The thing that makes the Beef Barchetta, what it is, is the roll. Yes, it the bread. This sandwich can get wet, really messy wet – the the roll, which is soft and yet hard at the same time, holds everything together. Most people don’t think anything of the bread, only unless everything falls apart and produces a messy situation. But the Beef Barchetta, as well as the other sandwiches, are fortunate, as well as the customers, to have great bread like this.
If Stacked Sandwiches were in a different part of LA, they would do even better business. But hidden away, in suburbia – Arcadia, secrets like Stacked Sandwiches are here to stay.
When you get the Beef Barchetta. . . enjoy!
What to Order: Beef Barchetta.
What not to Order:
2 Pigs
Stacked Sandwiches
18 N 1st Ave
Arcadia, CA 91006
(626) 445-4455