Top 5: Sandwiches

Narrowing down a list of five, top-notch sandwiches proved to be a difficult task, but one I was up for.

5. The Club from Cedar Creek A friend recently introduced me to this glorious sandwich. This isn't your typical Club. Gone is the sliced processed deli meat. In its place, you'll find a moist chicken breast filet, accompanied by avocado, tomatoes, bacon and mayo. The toasted whole-grain bread just seals the deal. Cedar Creek's take on a classic sandwich is a memorable one.

4. BBQ Pork Sandwich from Givral Hoang Vietnamese Café With so many wonderful options in Houston for a Vietnamese sandwich, I tend to favor Givral's. I'm not even sure why. Maybe it's the fresh vegetables, savory meat, and the chewiness of the bread that separates it from the rest. All of the fabulous textures in each bite make this Vietnamese sandwich one of my overall favorites.

3. Beef Steak Torta from El Hidalguense The torta is an often overlooked Houston delicacy. Much like the Vietnamese sandwich, it's rare to actually consume a bad one, though it happens. An added bonus--they're usually dirt cheap, often found for under $5. What puts the torta from El Hidalguense over the top? Probably the well-seasoned and tender beef. But a great torta is really more than just the beef. From the cool avocado, to the crisp lettuce, to the thin layer of refried beans that acts like a condiment--this sandwich is all about the blending of simple flavors and ingredients.

2. Steak and Cheese from Pappa Geno's What's not to like about slivers of beef, gobs of mayo, fresh bread and several slices of cheese? The Steak and Cheese from Pappa Geno's is hell on your arteries and heaven on your taste buds. I've never had an authentic Philly Cheese Steak, but in H-Town, I'm pretty sure Geno's is as good as it gets. You don't believe me? Just pop in, sit at the counter, and try one.

1. BLT from Shade Shade's BLT is a complete work of art -- thick-cut, toasted wheat bread, crisp bacon, tangy heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and a side of Napa cabbage slaw. So Shade cheated a bit with the cheese, but who cares? There's nothing over-the-top about this sandwich. It won't induce a mid-day coma, and it won't kill your waistline. It doesn't overcompensate in any areas. It's just a nice, normal looking sandwich--that happens to taste spectacular.

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Kevin Shalin
Contact: Kevin Shalin