Matt Bonner's Sandwich Hunter: Dec. 28, 2009 - Santa Monica pg. 2

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Page 2 - Bay Cities Deli: Santa Monica, Calif.

So it was game day, and we returned to the hotel from walk-through. Often times I will go to get my sandwich straight from the bus. On my way, I walked into a convenience store to buy a pack of peanut M&Ms. The night before I got hungry and ate a pack of them from the mini bar in my room. Rather than pay the exorbitant $5 fee the hotel charges, I usually just go and buy whatever minibar snacks I ate from a convenience store and replace them before anyone notices, thus avoiding the hotel's attempt at price gouging. I go to pay the 69 cents for the candy and the owner starts grilling me about where I got my bag. Turns out he badly wants my old, dirty, stained, mesh laundry bag full of stinky practice gear. Really bizarre! He offers me $20 for it! I told him I needed it but could possibly bring him one at a later date. He told me he'd be waiting and the offer still stood whenever I returned. I have yet to return…

Which brings me to this trip. Santa Monica is not exactly a sandwich hotbed. Luckily, I got a good tip from Austin Toros assistant coach, Alex Lloyd. He recommended Bay Cities Deli. I cross checked this info with the concierge at the hotel and he corroborated Alex's story of delicious sandwiches. I put on my shirt-jacket and started the 15 minute walk. While everyone else was taking advantage of L.A.'s culinary supremeness, I was doing the same… only with sandwiches.

I arrived and liked what I saw. Bay Cities was set up like an old school New York Deli. You take a ticket with a number on it and wait. If you are on the phone or not paying attention and miss your turn, then too bad. You have to take another number and get back in line. With 8 people making sandwiches behind the counter and a small crowd of people waiting in front of the counter, it was quite hectic. The workers would be shouting numbers and only waiting about 2 seconds before moving on to the next person. You really had to be on your toes.

I asked a man to take my picture in front of the deli. We started talking and before you knew it, word had spread that I had a sandwich blog. Everyone was telling me that I came to the right place. That I had found "The Hoagie Grail". I hadn't heard this much hype since Brent Barry's attempt to persuade me to switch to an Apple computer. A married couple befriended me and as it turns out, the husband was a fellow University of Florida alumnus (Gator Nation!). Then the manager of the shop came out to recommended "The Godmother" and personally made it for me. Apparently, that is the go to sandwich at Bay Cities Deli. There is nowhere to sit down and eat inside so I decided to get it to go.

With sandwich in hand, I left to start my walk back to the hotel. Unfortunately, it was pouring out! There was no way I could make it back in this weather by foot. As functional as shirt-jackets are, they do little to combat a heavy rainstorm. The married couple exited the shop and saw me contemplating my next move. They looked at me, then looked at each other with that "married couple nod of compassion", and offered me a ride back. They had two kids waiting in the car, so it was a tight squeeze. The 5 of us packed in and began the drive back to the hotel. The kids agreed that "The Godmother" was the greatest sandwich ever. They were a very nice family and I am wicked thankful for their kindness in giving me a ride.

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