Common sandwiches taken to the next level at local eateries


The common sandwich has just been upgraded - deep-fried, smothered or covered in a secret-sauce.

In Highland Park, family-run Huarache Azteca is serving up its famous namesake sandwich: The Huarache, which in Spanish is a type of Mexican leather shoe.

'It's because of the way it's shaped. It looks like a sandal, and that's why it's called El Huarache," said Alfredo Rodriguez.

Instead of traditional white bread or tortillas, the foundation is thick cornmeal, stuffed with beans (fried a little) and piled high with so many choices of toppings, such as marinated pork, carne asada, chicken, or squash blossoms and avocados for vegetarians.

Inside the new Groovy Gourmet Pnut Butter Bar food truck, chef Karen Russell has taken the peanut butter and jelly sandwich to new heights.

The "Thank You Very Much," is a tribute to Elvis. It's a PB&J with bacon, bananas and honey.

Or sink your teeth into the "Can You Dig It" - a quarter-pound Angus beef patty, cheese, pickles and a chipotle-aioli spread on top of the peanut butter and jelly.

"It's just an explosion of so many different flavors and sensory things going off in your brain," said Russell. "It's really, really good. It's really quite delicious."

I tried the "Peanut Butter Puff," which is a deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It's so good!

At Root Beer Joe's, owner Joseph Wong walked away from his accounting job to bring his beloved garlicky-crunchy sandwiches and exotic sodas to Pasadena.

The secret to his tangy sandwiches is all in the spread. Instead of mustard and mayo, a traditional club features spreads made from a secret recipe, atop crispy Dutch-crunch bread.

"We are famous for our garlic sauce," said Wong. "It is a great pesto sauce that really gives it a nice kick, and there's a pepper sauce that's really spicy. People love it."

Huarache Azteca
5225 York Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90042
(323) 478-9572

Root Beer Joe's Sandwich Shop
380 South Lake Avenue #106
Pasadena, CA 91101-3527
(626) 844-3488

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