The sandwich is the workhorse of lunch no matter where you go: quick, portable and inexpensive, estimates say that Americans eat 300 million each day. The sandwich as we know it was popularized in England in 1762 by John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich; yes as goofy as it sounds it’s true. Sure, meat between bread was around long before the 1700s no doubt, but regardless of the historical particulars, we all want meat between bread. So here in Santa Barbara, and since 1991, South Coast Deli still reigns as the best sandwich shop in town. There are multiple South Coast Delis scattered around Santa Barbara and Goleta and inside any SCD at lunchtime it’s a bustling place; lots of hungry people and infectious music regulating the environment. There is a semi-industrial feel to the interiors, practical really, and there is free wireless to keep you occupied. You might consider calling in your lunch order ahead of time as waits can be about 20 minutes if you order at the counter. What has always impressed me at the various locations I’ve been to over the years is the consistent level of service and quality.
|I love the Phatty!|
Sandwiches, both hot and cold varieties are the focus here and bread choices include sourdough, rye, wheat, Italian roll, wheat roll, and croissant. I’m very partial to the Phatty - chicken salad with bacon, avocado and a basil-mayo and the Toasted Sweet and Savory Pork - roasted pork loin, mayo, red onions, arugula, and red pepper-horseradish jelly on a lightly toasted Italian roll. There are 3 dozen sandwiches to choose from. But there are also salads like the Asian Greens with Chicken which is a huge salad including Napa cabbage, regular cabbage, bok choy, carrots, green onions, cilantro, a smattering of black sesame seeds, and crispy won ton strips, with a sweet and spicy sesame dressing.
There are a handful of vegetarian options and you might consider the Caprese, which is a grilled and pressed sandwich with mayo, lots of tomato, pesto and mozzarella cheese on sourdough bread. Breakfasts include the spicy Max’s Breakfast Sammie, which is scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, pepper jack cheese with a garlic-Tabasco mayonnaise on grilled sourdough bread. For a spicy morning wake up this sandwich will fit that bill. The success of South Coast Deli is that they are not afraid of bold flavors and in this world of benign foods, flavor is king. So if you’re visiting Santa Barbara, or you live here but haven’t tried SOUTHCOAST DELI, do check it out.