Here, Eat This

Houston's Best Sandwiches: The Mortadella at 13 Celsius

Remember that baloney and cheese you had as a kid? The Mortadella at 13 Celsius will make you weep for your youth.
Remember that baloney and cheese you had as a kid? The Mortadella at 13 Celsius will make you weep for your youth. Photo by Jeff Balke
We are in search of Houston's best sandwiches because we love sandwiches and we love Houston!

As a kid growing up at a certain time in a certain part of the United States, baloney and cheese was a legit thing. Like a thing. It would come on some kind of plain white bread with either mustard or mayo and you'd probably gulp it down with some Kool Aid or Hawaiian Punch. It was America's suburban sandwich for kids.

So, I think we have established that baloney is awesome. For those suburban kids who may not realize it, mortadella is where Oscar Meyer figured out his way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a. It is Italian pork sausage with cubes of pork fat and olives. It's a masterpiece of meat...a goddamn meat masterpiece.

Which is exactly why it is worth trying whenever you see it on a menu. In this case, the menu is the wonderful wine bar 13 Celcius (3000 Caroline), where industry folk and people on first dates gather to drink a wide variety of varietals and nosh on some really good snacks. That includes the Mortadella, a sandwich that is both decadent and sophisticated. It's like gourmet late-night bar food.

First, the mortadella is grilled. The slight char adds substance to its sweetness and that is balanced out by the smokey provolone, tangy chopped cornichons and spicy dijon. That would probably be enough, especially since the whole thing is served on a soft, warm pretzel roll. But, then, they crack an egg.

Melted on top of all this devilish awesomeness is a fried egg that runs all over the place with a slight smush of the bread. It is one of those sandwiches that is impossible to put down once you pick it up, especially because every time you do, you need a napkin to clean them up.

Despite the richness, it isn't heavy, just hearty. There's a difference, you guys. And the best part is you can have your fill of vino at the same time. This time of year, an Italian white seems on point, but this bad boy would be great with Kool Aid or Hawaiian Punch because it's the best baloney sandwich you've had since you were that punk kid in the suburbs...or maybe that was just me.

If you have a sandwich you think is one of the best in town, hit us up. We're always looking for new options.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke