35: “Sandwich” at Roma Italian Deli:
If locating the best golden Sicilian olive oil, some buttery Prosciutto di Parma, or rounds of garlic-flecked mortadella as wide as bowling balls is of paramount importance, you will at some point end up at Pasadena's Roma Italian Deli a store where owner Rosario Mazzeo has held court for decades, seated behind a deli slicer handing out little samples of sheep's milk cheese or pork guanciale.
But even if you came here for, say, the homemade Italian sausages or the fresh burrata, you will most likely leave with one of Mazzeo's famous sandwiches under your arm. He can often be seen making a half-dozen at a time, splitting open crusty Italian rolls and drizzling them with a healthy dose of olive oil. On top go thin sheets of provolone, salami, capicola and mortadella.
If you're used to the cold cuts at Bay Cities or Eastside Market, Roma's might seem a bit stark and simplistic. The harmony is unmistakable though — good, slightly bitter oil, cured pork, soft cheese and a simple roll that allows the quality of the ingredients to shine through.
Check out the rest of our 100 of our favorite dishes. Suggestion? Write us a comment.
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.