If you're a food person, restaurants are right up there with friends as the hardest things to leave behind when you move. I've been in San Francisco for a few months now, just enough time to develop a serious craving for the glorious Godmother sandwich from Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica. It's an Italian sub at its finest, and in search of a satisfying NorCal substitute I headed to Molinari Delicatessen in North Beach, which has been owned and operated by the Molinari family for more than 100 years.
It fit the bill in terms of atmosphere. The small room has creaky wooden floors, an impressive display case of cured meats (most done in-house), and tall shelves of imported Italian products. Take a number, select your bread from the clear plastic box near the back, and decide which sandwich to order.
I ordered the Molinari Special ($7), which is your basic Italian cold cut combo, piled high with Molinari salami, mortadella, and other sliced meats. The bread I chose was on the crusty side, which meant that the meat threatened to slide out with every bite -- especially since the sandwich was lubricated with so much mayo and mustard. It was a fine sub, but it wasn't anything special.
Next time I'll try the South Beach Special ($9.50), with roasted turkey, provolone, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and basil garlic spread - even better, maybe I'll see if they can put the basil-garlic spread on the Molinari Special.
Meanwhile, where else in S.F. should I go to get a great Italian sub?