There comes a time in a man’s life where sliced bread and meat and cheese won’t work. Regular baloney and American cheese, microwave lasagna, Lays potato chips, soup from a can — all of this won’t work. One would need more. Bay Cities Italian Deli is what Los Angeles needs more of — a gourmet deli market with a sense of knowing what they are doing. It needs to be a little messy and chaotic in there, but the food has to be on point. Bay Cities Italian Deli is what every salted cured meat enthusiast wants. Santa Monica, you are one lucky city.
So here is the short story of why we decided not to eat there, and make this into a little beach picnic. Waiting in line, I busted out my camera. I took one shot, and the guy behind the counter says, “no photography”. He continues to explain that since there are a bunch of paparazzi and celebrity activity there, they have a no camera policy. See that guy in black, looking at the camera? That was him. I quietly put my camera away in embarrassment, and moved along. Though I did luckily get one shot of the inside, we decided to take our food to-go.
First, I will start off with the Godmother. This is their most popular sandwich, and it comes in spicy, or mild — in which I had the latter. I had high expectations for this sandwich, and it delivered for the most part. This thing was huge, and quite a deal for 8 bucks. Get the works like I did, and you are looking at mayo, Italian dressing, mustard onions, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, and a chopped pepper salad. That’s a lot of ingredients, and we didn’t even touch upon the meat and cheese yet. You got Genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, and prosciutto. With that, layers of provolone sealed the deal. This sandwich packs a lot of flavor.
Taste wise, this thing has a bunch of it. A little too much maybe? The pepper salad is very tart and vinegary. I tend to like picked and salty things, but to others — I can see why this would be a bit much for them. The bread was another factor — by itself, probably one of the best. It was too chewy and hard to bite through, which made the sandwich messy to eat. Trust me, I love a nice chewy, dense bread with a crispy crust. Eating it as a sandwich bread wasn’t functional.
We ordered some chicken wings just to try. I would pass on these. They were cold, salty and breaded. The breading wasn’t crispy, but just packed with salt. The spice was there as my mouth was burning after one wing. Try other options, as they have a lot of other stuff.
We ordered the bocconcini because we were feeling a bit like cheese. This was really tasty. Each ball of the fresh mozzarella was delicious. It was spiced with pepper flakes and was marinating with peppers in oil. The texture of the fatty, buttery cheese was delicious.
I wanted some prosciutto. Prosciutto is probably my favorite deli meat. It is delicate and butter in texture, and it has the right amount of saltiness. The little don Lorenzo was perfect for my craving. It was a small torpedo sandwich stacked full of prosciutto. Inside it also had fresh mozzarella and peppers. Though it did get boring after a while, it was deliciously meaty and salty and buttery. Honestly, I would have just been happy with a pile of prosciutto.
For dessert, we had the mini cannoli. This was not to my liking. The filling tasted a bit off and outer cookie part was stale. It soaked in all of that cream and formed weird texture and taste that I can’t describe. And the green stuff, not a clue. I heard that they were good, but I guess I was misinformed. Good thing I had more fresh mozzarella to wash out the taste.
Los Angeles can use a lot more markets like Bay Cities Italian Deli. They have the right recipe. Everything deli, they offer it. Stay away on Mondays, because they are closed. Their sandwiches are one of the best money can buy in Los Angeles. Relaxing at the beach, with all that good food was the best. They really stay true to their roots. They don’t try to change much — the just do what they usually do, and they are good at it. The products are good as a result of that.