California, USA

The Godmother of All Sandwiches

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Godmother.  That’s what my friend Darren told me to order if I ever find myself at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery. And so I did. And I’m so glad I did.

I love sandwiches, but this place – ay yi yi. I always make a point to attempt to visit when I’m in the LA area.

It’s so much Italian to fit into one place.  Or rather, just enough Italian to fit into one place without actually being in Italy. Both a market and a deli, there’s a whole lotta Italian goodness to go around.

Italian men work off their tooshies behind the counter, all in the name of making sandwiches. Don’t get distracted by them (I know it’s hard) or you may miss your only chance to get a sandwich that rocked my California flip-flops.

The bread is delicious. Let me make one thing clear: bread can make or break a sandwich. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The fixings inside are smothered together with purpose and absolutely loaded to the brim. The deli meat is fresh and flavorful. I just can’t get enough.

Given its close proximity, I like to grab a sandwich and head to Venice Beach. Sunshine and sandwiches are two of my favorite things, and there’s nothing better than smushing them together.

eating our sandwiches at Venice BeachMarianna Moles | The Meandering Mole

Sunshine and sandwiches. California dreamin’.

While standing around, waiting for your number to be called, you may decide to just grab a pre-made Godmother sandwich, sitting in baskets on the counter. Obviously it is their most popular sandwich, otherwise it wouldn’t have its own basket!  Don’t be afraid to grab one.  They make them constantly, so you know they’re freshly made.

If you’re trying to be healthier (or as healthy as a person can be while devouring an Italian deli sandwich), if you have children, if you eat smaller portions than the average sandwich lover, this place caters to you.

Here, size matters. The sandwiches come in different sizes, which automatically indicates that because they pile them with so much goodness, the average person might be hard pressed to finish a Large With the Works.

Kidding.  I did and I was satisfyingly full.  But then again, I can eat A LOT.

Ordering here is like ordering soup from the Soup Nazi in Seinfeld

Be ready. The men and women behind the counter (I think I spotted at least one woman) will yell and shuffle quickly to make your sandwich. They’re not going to stand there tapping their foot while you decide. You’ve had plenty of time and they know it.

They’re not foolin’ around.

Stay alert!

No daydreaming.

No messin’.

No twiddling on your phone. This is not the time to be looking down, people! Give your sandwich the attention it deserves.

If your number is called and you’re on your phone, as the sign hanging high on the wall explicitly states, they will quickly move onto the next number.  Too bad for you. Guess you’ll be going somewhere else for lunch.  Seriously.  No one wants to grab a second number….

No need to get overwhelmed. Take a number, decide what you want and state your selection with assertive confidence.

And if you feel your anxiety creeping up, just picture George Costanza marching up to the counter and nervously ordering. It will make you laugh and if George can do it, so can you.  It took him two tries though, and you only get one chance. I believe in you!


Keep meandering,



Trip tip

I just need to re-emphasize: Don’t forget to pull a number.  There’s no line, but by golly if you stand there without pulling a number for more than three minutes, gosh darn it, you’ve set yourself back by ten orders.  They’ll demand that you know what you want – and they’re not afraid to pull it out of you through forceful tones and attitude.  Just don’t take photos inside – they’ll yell at you for that. And rightly so.  I learned the hard way.


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