No disrespect to french fries, potato salad, and coleslaw, but the fact is, a sandwich has no better sidekick than a small bag of chips. Using your bare hands to grab a few salty slivers of fried potatoes between bites of your favorite sandwich is an American tradition. The savory side adds crucial and oft-needed texture and flavor to create a classic lunch.
While we all have our own method when it comes to chip selection, certain sammy-chip combinations just make good sense. Some sandwiches may be loaded with vinegar, heat, or fatty condiments like mayonnaise; for such sloppy sandos, the pronounced potato flavor of a thick kettle chip with a loud crunch pairs best. Other subs, grinders, or heroes, or what have you, are simple and straightforward—their counter-flavoring is better suited with a chip featuring a bold heat, pungent flavor, or bright tang. The bottom line: Choosing the perfect bag of chips for your sandwich takes some thought. LAMag is here to help.
The list of notable sandwiches in Los Angeles is lengthy—simple Italian hoagies, banh mis, hot dogs, flatbreads filled with garlicky basturma, tortas, and sandwiches that satisfy without any meat whatsoever. When it comes to providing a tasty and diverse array of sandwiches, Los Angeles absolutely crushes it. While there are certainly a ton of great sandwiches in this town, not every vendor sells chips as an accompaniment. It’s a crime. Or it should be one. Every single business—gas stations, bars, restaurants, the mechanic—should sell little bags of chips for your emotional convenience. Prove me wrong.
Now, moving on: Here we’ll discuss the L.A. sandwiches that Angelenos know and love, and then, we’ve paired them with the bag of chips that will guarantee absolute, maximum enjoyment. Because as we all know, there’s no more iconic duo, no tastier lunch combo, then these two.
Roma Market’s The Sandwich + Tim’s Jalapeño Chips
918 N. Lake Ave. Pasadena
Roma Market’s The Sandwich is an L.A. icon—a small, simple loaf of crusty and chewy Sicilian bread, some thin slices of mortadella, capicola, salami, and provolone, and a good drizzle of olive oil has captured the hearts of Pasadenans…and just about every food writer in this city. There’s no mayonnaise, no spot of mustard, not a drop of red wine vinegar; it’s sans sandwich staples like your typical tomatoes/lettuce/onion combo. This L.A. classic costs $6 (!) and satisfies with its simplicity every time. It should be noted that I’ve run into a few food writers who find this sandwich a bit too simple.
Now, I’ve got a remedy for that opinion and it’s bursting with flavor: Tim’s Jalapeño Chips. Roma Market sells them and they’re delicious on their own; this is a chip with a subtle heat which is both salty and crunchy (it being kettle cooked). That wallop of savory flavor comes from MSG and torula yeast, which gives the chips a meaty, smoky quality. They’re seasoned to perfection and make a perfectly crunchy, mouth-smacking sidecar to the blissful simplicity of Roma Market’s iconic sandwich. And here’s a tip: For a drink, go with an A’Siciliana Blood Orange soda to add a fruity, sugary compliment.
Bay Cities’ Godmother + Kettle Krinkle Cut Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper Chips
1517 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica
A fully loaded Godmother sandwich at Bay Cities in Santa Monica is the antithesis of our previous entry—chewy bread stuffed with mortadella, prosciutto, ham, salami, capicola, provolone, as well as lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayonnaise, Italian dressing, and mustard. This one is sure to give your jaw a workout. It’s a fatty, tangy, spicy, sloppy, condiment-heavy sandwich that’s drippy—and deeply satisfying.
For a sandwich that’s this robust, a simple potato chip is in order. Kettle’s Krinkle Cut Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper potato chips are refreshingly basic, providing a solid crunch along with a salty, peppery seasoning— which is really all that’s needed when ordering The Godmother with the works.
Jeff’s Table’s OG Roast Beef + Irvins Salted Egg Potato Chips
5900 N. Figueroa St.
A classic, cold roast beef sandwich just doesn’t get enough love in 2023. Jeff’s Table, however, pays its respects, and then some. The Highland Park modern micro deli’s medium rare, thinly sliced, miso-crusted roast beef is exceedingly savory deli meat that’ll make you wonder why the hell you ever even bothered with Boar’s Head. The OG comes on a sandwich roll with horseradish creme fraiche, olive oil, aioli, shiso-pickled red onion, and wild arugula. It’s simple, but it’s full of flavor and packs plenty of sharp heat. It’s also the perfect sandwich to add some chips on top.
For that, meet Irvins Salted Egg Potato Chips: buttery, rich, and super indulgent. Adding a few of these umami-packed fried potatoes to your OG Roast Beef sandwich adds additional savoriness and the requisite crunch factor. Now, this recommendation must come with a warning: these incredible chips do not come in a tiny bag and cost $11. However, they’re sold in a shareable size and, in addition to perfecting the roast beef experience, make the perfect addition to many other sandwiches at Jeff’s Table.
Finally, don’t miss the additional drink selection in the storefront’s cold case—it’s full of rare gems, like Mexican Squirt, Boylan’s Grape Soda, Pineapple Fanta, and Big Red.
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