Bay Cities Italian Deli, Santa Monica {restaurant} – The Godmother is an Offer You Can’t Refuse

bay cities italian deli, santa monica - godmother sandwich[top: turkey, bottom: godmother. photo from instagram. follow: TheDelicious]

If someone puts a menu in front of you, asks you what you want to eat, offers to call in the order, and is willing to brave the lunchtime traffic and the tiny corner of hell known as parking at the deli to pick up your Godmother with everything…

…that’s an offer you can’t refuse.

Bay Cities is the deli darling of the Westside. There is nothing I can say about the combination gourmet Italian specialty store and deli that hasn’t already been said. Bay Cities is on Lincoln Blvd. between Broadway and Colorado, which makes it local for Westside residents, and easily accessible to anyone off the 10 freeway. However, parking is a headache because though there is a parking lot, a mobster scene of OSUVs (over-sized utility vehicles) makes it a parking “little.” All the rants about the place are the same, but they’re worth the raves.

Though Bay Cities is a deli with a variety of offerings that doesn’t distinguish it from any other Italian deli, it seems that the place would still do exceedingly well if it adopted the In-n-Out philosophy of a severely limited menu. Bay Cities could sell one thing, and one thing only – the Godmother, an Italian sub sandwich teetering on the edge of decency with a barely legal number of meats.

Who knows why Bay Cities named the sandwich the Godmother. Might the intentional ignorance of the grand obvious have been an act of subtle self-deprecation? Was it was so matriarchally named because everyone and, um, their mothers, gets the sandwich. Perhaps the combination of genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, and prosciutto makes this “the mother” of all sandwiches. Maybe when the sandwich is cut in half, the almost indecent exposure of a gluttonous amount of provolone pinned beneath vegetables that have been worked into a creamy, dripping tangle, and pressed from below by an orgy of slippery, slimy, salty meat – is all kinds of delicious naughty when it’s the Godmother, but sort of vulgar when Godfather.

Or maybe that’s a little bit of twisted psychology that we just don’t want to talk about right now, ‘k?

The last time I had a Godmother, it was six years ago, and though I liked the Godmother, I didn’t love the Godmother. The multiple meat fantasy is just under overboard. The cheese balanced it. I loved what they call spicy pepper salad, which I thought at first was an overdue reunion with giardiniera. I could have done without the mayonnaise (which I am certain was an error on Bay Cities’ part because I never order sandwiches with mayo), but the spicy mustard made up for it.

The bread was the one thing that barred me from loving the Godmother back then. The bread was just too chewy. I realize that chewiness is probably the single distinguishing character that everyone else loves about the bread, and if I were eating a slice of bread, I would, too. The chewy bread simply made eating the sandwich slightly messier than necessary because every bite smashed the inside ingredients together, and pushed any potentially mutinous vegetables over the edge and into the creamy mess that was collecting in the folds of the paper sandwich wrapper below.

My my my my MY how much things can change in six years.

Is the sandwich different? Has my personal taste (im)matured? Perhaps circumstance and external experience play a much bigger role in how we taste food?

Can the thoughtful, unprompted (baller) move of substituting avocado for mayo because he knows you make that much of an impact?!

I’d eat a Godmother from Bay Cities Monday, Tuesday, Thursday.

Wednesday and Friday might be overdoing it.

Bay Cities Italian Deli
1517 Lincoln Blvd. (between Broadway and Colorado)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Bay Cities visit, June 6, 2007

Bay Cities Italian Deli - Godmother Sandwich

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Craig July 23, 2007 at 6:50 am

Best on the westside I may have to do a roadtrip out to Santa Monica soon.


2 Andreea July 23, 2007 at 8:31 am

that’s the meanest sandwhich i have ever seen :)


3 benjaminmhyun July 24, 2007 at 1:19 am

i love that place. great wine selection, too!


4 Juan E July 24, 2007 at 4:22 am

I love this place and have been going for years. It’s terrific but parking sucks!!


5 JF July 25, 2007 at 4:26 am

I swear I once posted a picture just like this on tastespotting. Maybe I’m just cracked out.


6 Food Marathon July 25, 2007 at 5:55 pm

I love Bay Cities, especially the Godmother drenched in hot sauce from Won Ton Time Does that make me some kind of freak?


7 aj July 30, 2007 at 2:55 am

Tasty indeed, but the real secret at Bay Cities is the pastrami. Hard to believe.


8 FoodZealot July 31, 2007 at 5:09 pm

The hot food table has a few pretty good items on it, and you can be in and out of there in 2 minutes.

But the sandwiches rule! If you can siesta, the chicken parm or the sausage and peppers are pretty great.



9 sarah August 7, 2007 at 5:12 pm

craig: “road trip.” that’s what i call it when i have to go anywhere east of la cienega.

andreea: she’s pretty evil.

benjamin: ooh…i didn’t even think about the wine! kind of makes it the perfect one stop shop for a hollywood bowl pickup!

juan: parking. you’re telling me. that’s why youhave to wait until someone else offers to pick it up for you!

jf: i think that picture was from losanjealous or one of the other LA blogs.

food marathon: whoa. did you say “hot sauce?” next time, i need to douse the ‘mother with some hot cock!

aj: pastrami! no! are you serious?!?! and pastrami reuben is actually my atf!

foodzealot: ok, now this is crazy. i guess i have to send someone at least two three more times for the pastrami, the parm, and the sausage.

and how on earth is this helping with my bikini-ready plan?!


10 Will August 7, 2007 at 8:08 pm

If you’re just picking up you can probably get away with parking at the Vons on the other side of Lincoln.


11 hermz August 15, 2007 at 7:37 pm

I think I told you about the “spinach salad” they have in the deli. It’s got tomatoes and capers, in a basalmic dressing. Excellent.


12 Kerrsydotes May 30, 2011 at 5:32 am

Youre way off about the bread.   It is the best part of the sandwhich.  Every deli I know carries Boars head meats.  I ve seen  people buy 2 loaves along with the sandwiches.  You didnt even mention the eggshell hardness and the light cotton candy soft inside of the bread.  I toasted the bread with just butter and fed it to my unsuspecting cousin.  He had a near orgasmic reaction.  Yeah, you are way off about the bread.


13 missing bay cities December 8, 2011 at 1:55 am

I love everything about this sandwich


14 L.A. Brown December 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I want one!!! Great write up. And I’m with you on that chewy bread. I always ask about the texture before I order in a deli.


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