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Best Sandwiches

Seven Locations

READERS' PICK: These days, the power to make rapid decisions is a necessary survival trait. Take time to think things through and this pitiless world will trample you. Well thank goodness, Baggin's has taken away one of the most perplexing dilemmas you'll ever face. No longer need you stand trembling with indecision as your mind rifles at light speed through the endless permutations engendered by that awful, confounding question: "Would you like that for here, or to go?" Either way, the sandwiches come in a friendly, brown paper bag. They're not asking for a commitment, they just want you to have a sandwich. This frees up your mental capacity for more important things, like choosing among Baggin's delicious offerings At last count there were umpteen of them, but we usually go for the Afternoon Baggin's: nice and juicy, faintly Muffalatta-inspired, and it has olives in it.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Bison Witches Bar & Deli, 326 N. Fourth Ave.

CLUE IN: The little hut at the east corner of Euclid Avenue and Grant Road known as the Sausage Deli (actually 2334 N. First Ave.) comes alive this time of year with all the dudes and dudettes coming back to town to order up their Susie Sorority sandwich, a fave rave at this prime joint. But owner Steve Kleinsmith (the big 50-year-old with the doofy grin) says that My Mother's Chicken Salad is rapidly overtaking Susie for numero uno. It contains fresh chicken breasts marinated overnight, with tarragon vinegar, slivered almonds and a host of secret spices and seasonings. By the by, if you're new in town, the Susie features turkey and havarti on whole wheat with mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and sprouts. Add avocado and it's the California Susie; add bacon and avocado and it's the California Susie Porker. This year the Deli celebrates its 20th anniversary in the same location. To mark the occasion, Steve purchased a new deli case (after the EPA seized the old one), and started his own deli web page, which among other things, allows surfers to see the radar cop on Euclid Avenue. Next on the menu? Green salads.

CLUE IN: The Time Market Deli & Pizza, 444 E. University Blvd., is a neighborhood market. (In fact, see Best Neighborhood Market, page 131.) Lord knows we need more neighborhood markets. And this is a good one to support. They make a monster sandwich, filled with goodies only Dagwood would think of stacking together. For instance: The Chateau Blanc is thinly sliced meat loaf, pepper jack cheese, red onion, pepperoncini, mayo and mustard served hot on an onion roll. What are the chances you'd have meatloaf and pepper-jack in your larder simultaneously? And pepperoncini--please! How about the Green Gringo: green corn tamale, shredded chicken breast, cheddar cheese, salsa and green olives on hot sourdough. Have mercy! Veggie lovers can graze on the Endless Summer (avocado, cream cheese, cucumber, sprouts and tomato on their choice of bread); The Grecian Erika (composed of hummus, red onion, tomato, lettuce feta cheese and Aegean dressing on 12-grain bread), or the Pete's Sake, which is a pepper jack/jalapeño version of the Endless Summer. Oh, and there's more. Much more. Lots of Special Creations, as the sandwiches are called, as well as homemade salads and puddings and regular old sandwiches and subs, most for under $5. Be sure to ask about the daily special.

Case History

1997 Winner: Baggin's Gourmet Sandwiches
1996 Winner: Baggin's Gourmet Sandwiches
1995 Winner: Baggin's Gourmet Sandwiches

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