Best Pork Sandwiches - 2010
San Francisco, CA 94110
The sandwich has become San Francisco's favorite culinary medium, inspiring pedigreed chefs to glorify subs, banh mi, and grilled cheese sandos (not to mention burgers). We at SF Weekly contend that pork, in its many incarnations, brings the sandwich to a transcendent state.
Pan con chicharrón from El Perol
2590 Mission (at 22nd St.), 550-8582
Re-creating a Lima specialty, the Peruvian stand in the Mission Market piles slow-roasted pork butt — with all the flavor of carnitas and all the tenderness of braised pork belly — into a crusty French roll. On top, the cooks layer finely sliced onions and grilled sweet potatoes; drizzles of a green chile–vinegar sauce set off all the flavors.
Porchetta from Il Cane Rosso
1 Ferry Building (at Market and Embarcadero), #41, 391-7599
Why wait for the Thursday farmers' market to get in line for a porchetta from Roli Roti? Daniel Patterson and Lauren Kiino's permanent Ferry Building stall makes an even better one, spit-roasting a hunk of pork until the skin browns to a bacony crackle and the fatty meat, perfumed with fennel and orange, melts into the bread.
Pulled pork from Pal's Takeaway
Inside Tony's Market, 2751 24th St. (at Hampshire), 203-4911
Working with the care of a four-star chef, Dave Knopp cures pork shoulder with a mixture of spices and ground coffee for a couple of days, then smokes the meat gently, braises it in apple juice for eight hours, and teases apart the fibers with forks. Only then does he dab it with barbecue sauce and crown it with fennel-laced buttermilk slaw.
Cubano from Ironside
680 Second St. (at Townsend), 896-1127
Most restaurants turn their pressed Cuban sandwiches into a multimeat mass or a cheese-glued hockey puck. Ironside carefully layers country ham, thin slices of slow-roasted pork butt, cheese, and smoked-chile mayo into a roll, then presses the sandwich just long enough to evenly crisp the bread.
Carnitas-pierna torta from Tortas Los Picudos
2969 24th St. (at Alabama), 824-4199
The grilled sandwiches at this Mission shop would dwarf most Pynchon novels. Nevertheless, there's no extraneous fluffery, only layers of crunchy lettuce and creamy avocado, half-melted crumbles of queso fresco, and smoked ham paired with chunks of earthier, lardier carnitas.