Another day, another lunch. Working in Sunnyvale has definitely had its lunchtime limitations, but when I looked hard enough, there was definitely greatness to be found. Asian food has proven itself as the area's strong suit so it was almost unsurprising that there's a real, legit, banh mi-slinging hole-in-the-wall in Sunnyvale. This shop, called Cam Hung, is located in an extremely nondescript strip mall parking lot much like every other decent eatery in Sunnyvale and would be next to impossible to spot if you weren't intentionally seeking it out. It's literally not visible from the street and has almost no signage to catch the eyes of passerbys so its a little amazing that they get traffic.
When people ask me what I miss most about New York, the answer pretty much solely correlates to food. There are a lot of things that are better out here in SF, but there's some things that I've found particularly difficult to get my hands on. Specifically, I truly miss my weekly stops in at the old Italian meat and cheese shrines at Di Palo and Alleva in Little Italy. Their prosciutto, mozzarella, porchetta, meatballs, and other sliced meats rank as some of my favorite things to eat in all of New York and it sort of feels like I've lost a part of myself without them in my life. Upon moving to SF, I learned the hard way that finding incredible versions of these simple Italian classics wasn't nearly as easy as it was back east. Sure, SF has North Beach – its own unsatisfying version of Little Italy, but just like New York's Little Italy, most of it is just touristy dreck. In SF, to find the good stuff, you've got attack the city with a little bit more of an informed approach. And that's exactly what brought me to Lucca Delicatessen on this Sunday afternoon.
We had just endured a brutal red-eye from San Francisco to NOLA via LA to finally arrive at our Airbnb on the very fun, cool, and completely non-touristy Magazine St. After napping for a few hours to catch up on lost Zzzzs, we woke around lunch time and found ourselves in desperate need of something very satisfying to transition our minds and bodies over to NOLA time. A quick Foursquare search of the nearby neighborhood led me to a sandwich joint called Mahony's Po-Boy Shop fully vetted by Guy Fieri and Emeril Lagasse on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Seriously, Emeril made a guest appearance on DDD just to hawk this place to the masses alongside The Spiky One. With a simultaneous seal of approval from both of these men, how could I not check it out for myself?
With a name like Vikings Giant Subs, I was ready to be utterly blown away by massive sandwich portions. This sub shop has with a very positive reputation that it's built over the past 15 years and I was excited to figure out if it could fill the Meatball Parm void moving from NYC to SF left in my life. On a daily basis, I find myself missing New York's Alleva and their absolutely perfect Meatball Parm so I've been on a constant hunt for its replacement.
As a recently departed New York Jew on his way to San Francisco, one of my biggest concerns about the relocation was the ease of access to quality Jewish deli meat. I kid you not, I was really worried. I'm happy to report that this is no longer a concern for me as I've found Miller's East Coast only a few blocks from my new San Francisco apartment and it is able to completely fill that gaping void in my life.
I've spent a good chunk of time in Philly during my four years of college. Over this time, I ate my fair share of cheesesteak. No surprise there. So, when it comes to cheesesteaks, I have really high standards. I've eaten most of the big names in Philly and I know what makes a good cheesesteak great. Now, I get it. Cheesesteaks are not going to be as cheap in New York as they are in Philly. And that's a shame since it is street food and is supposed to be cheap. It's a blue collar sandwich for the common man, but I've come to terms with it. However, there are still a few aspects of a cheesesteak that are musts and only a few of the cheesesteak shops in NYC have met my requirements. On the many visits I've taken to the mobile Phil's Steaks trucks, they have passed my tests with flying colors.