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You can find sandwiches at almost every restaurant, from takeout shack to fine dining spot, and most are tasty enough. But great sandwiches? That's a rare find. Here's a rundown of some of our favorite sandwiches, from two-handed monsters to more dainty affairs. It's not an exclusive list, so we invite you to tell us about your favorites in the comments below, @ticketsarasota, or on our Facebook page. And post pictures -- everyone wants to see what they could be eating.
1533 State St., Sarasota; 951-1533; statestreetsrq.comTurkey Sandwich, State Street Eating House
Saying that this is just a turkey sandwich is like saying Siesta Key Beach is just another stretch of sand. Chef/owner Christian Hershman roasts the seasoned and moist turkey himself, then pairs it with the necessities: crisp iceberg lettuce, salty bacon and ripe tomato, as well as a generous swipe of homemade olive oil mayonnaise. All of that is piled on bread that adds just a touch of sourdough tang to the mix, toasted to easily contain the fillings. – Brian Ries
1917 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota; 487-7300; libbyscafebar.comLibbstacker, Libby's Cafe + Bar
Rarely do you find something like this two-handed monstrosity at a fine dining spot, but Libby's is willing to satisfy its patron's baser natures with a touch of elegance and a huge amount of flavor. The Libbstacker consists of truffled meatloaf, sweet and smoky Berkshire ham, sharp cheddar cheese, deep-fried onions, roasted mushrooms, crisp lettuce, fresh tomato and a dollop of truffle aioli. It's not everything and the kitchen sink – it doesn't have the fried Velveeta you can find on Libby's meatloaf sliders – but it's more than enough. – Brian Ries
1668 Main St., Sarasota; 366-7600; mozzarellafella.comProsciutto, Mozzarella Fella
You can't go wrong with any of the sandwiches at Mozzarella Fella, especially the ones that focus on the fresh mozzarella made in-house daily, but this is one of the best. The reason is the thinly-sliced prosciutto, which adds a silky, salty richness to the pillowy mozzarella, bright balsamic vinegar and fresh, crusty bread it's paired with. – Brian Ries
2336 Gulf Gate Dr., Sarasota; 922-2253Candied Bacon BLT, Jim's Small Batch Bakery
Though there are plenty of pastries, baked goods and sweet treats at Jim's Small Batch Bakery, this sandwich is one of the shop’s best creations. Chef/baker Jim Plocharsky fries the bacon, then bakes it with maple syrup, brown sugar and a dusting of red pepper before constructing the BLT. The tomatoes are ripe and the lettuce is crisp and cool, but the real star – besides the bacon – is the fresh bread baked in-house daily. – Brian Ries
850 Pinebrook Road, Venice; 484-6864; angelositalianmarket.comMeatball, Angelo's Italian Market
For casual fare, it is hard to beat the Angelo’s Italian Market meatball parm sandwich, which comes hot and flavorful on a long Italian roll. It is a classic example of a simple sandwich elevated by quality ingredients prepared well, starting with the plump meatballs – homemade with beef, pork and veal – topped with a restrained amount of imported mozzarella or provolone cheese and just enough red sauce to bring everything together. Try it with peppers and onions.
12306 46th Ave W., Cortez; 794-1243; starfishcompany.comOyster Po' Boy, Star Fish Company
OK, here's the deal: If you want to eat the freshest seafood in Southwest Florida from a cardboard box while seated dockside overlooking a fleet of commercial fishing boats and the gorgeous vistas of north Sarasota Bay, nothing beats Star Fish Co. For the purposes of this piece, we are focusing on the Po’ Boy, which comes with fried shrimp or oysters on a long roll with zesty, homemade, New Orleans-style remoulade sauce, which easily challenges just about anything in the Big Easy. It's a toughie, but go with the oysters, fried just enough to create a crunch without taking away from the tenderness or natural tastiness. – Wade Tatangelo
101 Riverfront Drive, Bradenton; 896-9660; yachtseagrille.comReuben, YachtSea Grille
When Kansas City restaurateur Kurt Petty relocated to a spot by the Bradenton Riverwalk he couldn't help but bring some of his barbecue background to YachtSea Grille. This works wonders on the Reuben, a decadent combination of thick, buttered, rye toast piled high with thick slices of in-house, slow-cooked, smoked corned beef covered with nice portions of crisp sauerkraut, gooey Swiss cheese and tangy Thousand Island dressing. – Wade Tatangelo
6656 Cortez Road W., Bradenton; 792-3970; sagebiscuitcafebradenton.comMeatloaf, Sage Biscuit Cafe
The ultimate comfort food gets the love and care it deserves at Sage Biscuit Café. Placed between alluring slices of grilled sourdough bread, the slab of baked meat features an array of vibrant flavors that play well together, especially when covered in Swiss cheese, portabella mushrooms and caramelized onions. Want to visit with someone who doesn't eat meat? You're in luck. Sage Biscuit Cafe also offers a bunch of killer vegetarian dishes. – Wade Tatangelo
8799 Cortez Road W., Bradenton; 795-4898; josesrealcubanfood.comPan Con Lechon, Jose's Real Cuban Food
Spiky-haired host Guy Fieri rightfully raves about Jose Baserva's picadillo, paella and boliche on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” But don’t forget about Jose’s more simple pleasures, like the bread with pork sandwich that translates in to “pan con lechon.” Baserva uses first-rate Cuban bread, but it's that heaping pile of shredded roasted pork shoulder that seals the deal. Served with a container brimming with even more of those delicious juices for highly-recommended dipping action (plus homemade salsa, if you’re feeling like a little more kick), Jose’s signature sandwich is unpretentious, messy and addictively mouthwatering. – Wade Tatangelo
419 Old Main St., Bradenton; 708-3287; favsitaliancucina.comItalian, Fav's Italian Cuisine
Much more than just a handy meat vessel, the bread, baked in-house daily, caresses and complements every big bite of judiciously chosen pork product: freshly sliced black forest ham, capicola, prosciutto and salami topped by some clean sheets of provolone. Dressed with a healthy helping of shredded lettuce, cuts of ripe tomato, slivers of white onion, traditional mayo and old-school yellow mustard – plus the requisite baptism of oil and vinegar – you have an Italian sub even your ornery uncle from Jersey should adore. – Wade Tatangelo
10 Great Sandwiches
/ Wednesday, January 29, 2014