Sandwich Spotting Los Angeles ~ “the sandwich” @ Roma Market Italian Deli

Every now and then, the internet spreads the gourmand’s gospel, preaching about the find of finds: a true Italian’s deli, boasting only one item on the menu, “the sandwich”, made by a Sicilian antipasti artisan. Cue the foodie spotlight and suddenly the once quiet little deli in a suburban corner of Los Angeles is on the map for the throngs of the charcuterie obsessed. All these chowhounds and yelpers have left their foot print; “the sandwich” made by the legendary Rosario(more on him below), pre makes his cold cut masterpiece. Thankfully, this salty work of art is as good as it was when he would make it for me on the spot. The truth is, if you ever have had this portable Italian feast before, you would know that it would always sit before you dove in – there are no seats at Roma, at best you would engage this bespoke cold cut combo in your car or like I did the first time, standing in the middle of the parking lot in a mortadella induced euphoria.

What is wonderfully debatable, off putting to the close minded and somewhat frightening to nutritionists, cardiologists and the paleo crazed, is that there is simply no room on this sandwich for any vegetable of any kind. Meat, cheese, bread and a little olive oil. That is it. Anything else would interfere with the taste brought on from the incomparable quality of imported Mortadella, Capicollo, Genoa Salami, Mozzarella and olive oil; the bread is the only domestic ingredient, and of course it is made in house.

To see how little is layered on top of the sandwich and realize how intense and rewarding the flavors are, I can’t help but marvel at what is surely nothing short of Sandwich Divinity. And the bearer of God’s Hoagie Law is this man Rosario, a man whose sight beckons instant charm and sullen respect. I dared not ask to take his picture, his true image lies in his work, this king of kings of the cold cut world. Not since a man who wielded a sushi knife, by the name of Nozawa, has there been a truer master of a single piece of cookery in Los Angeles. When you take your pilgrimage to Roma’s, seek out the man who stands no taller than 5 feet and change, has walked the earth for I would guess seven decades and frankly looks like he could walk right on to a DeNiro scene from Godfather 2 without Coppola skipping a beat, look him in the eye, and thank him for his work.

Perhaps you may not touch the face of God when you try “the sandwich” but you surely will have sampled some of the mortadella He keeps in His fridge.

Roma Deli

918 N. Lake ave

Pasadena, CA 91104

(626) 797-7748