The meatball is one of the most significant creations in history, up there with chocolate croissants and agricultural cultivation. Nuclear fission – maybe. It was only a matter of time before it found itself residing betwixt and between two pieces of bread, as so many in the food world do, thus satisfying the natural progression of any respectable meat product towards portability and ease.
Because of this, however, the care usually afforded to the meatball has been perverted and downgraded in importance. Once the centerpiece of any close nuclear and extended family, it is now not uncommon to see it in the hands of an unkempt man taking it a little too easy by the side of a car he does not own, burning through the afternoon before he must return home to a life of worthlessness. You see him dripping it onto the ground. You see him kick the semicircle beneath a car. You know this is a waste, a complete disregard of a nation for the agricultural cultivation that produced the crops that now produce the healthy, robust meats currently found underneath a Kia Sorento. You try to contain the fury within. You tell yourself, not everyone cares about the same things you do. But you know – oh, You Know – that one day, one day the world will see just how insensitive it has been.
Why does the meatball fall and why is it so often difficult to eat? Here are two of the best meatball subs in Southern California (that are not immediately in Los Angeles or San Diego).
1. CAPRI DELI
Located in Covina, CA, the meatball sandwich here does what most others cannot: it retains its integrity, like a building, by not falling apart the moment you bite into it. This is key to being a good meatball sandwich. To avoid coming undone, the meatballs are the perfect size, and untethered to the usual sauces and condimentary gimmicks that constantly threaten to undermine the whole deal, they hold fast to the garlic bread bookends that would taste amazing on their own. But fear not, for the marinara sauce you thought should be in the sandwich is on the side for your dipping pleasure. This puts you in the driver’s seat to calculate the meat/bread/sauce ratio you desire. The simplicity of the setup, the tomato sauce, the seasoning, the cheese that’s not too thick and not too wet, makes it easy to taste every aspect without anything overpowering another. Grab an orange soda from the deli’s vast assortment and get ready to fall asleep for about two hours afterward.
2. CIAO DELI & PIZZERIA
Just slightly less sound in its infrastructure is the meatball sub here, in a less-than-enthusiastic strip mall in Costa Mesa, CA. While there is a small risk of a meatball jailbreak from the other end of your sub, the last thing you’d call it is messy. The bread is decidedly more flimsy and soft, but no less stable. The wonderful folks here at this nascent deli are aiming to please. With ample homemade marinara and mozzarella waiting to burst, it’ll be sooner than soon before you’re in a committed relationship with the meatball sub. Couple it with a giant calzone and the deli’s amazing pizzas (though a little pricy) and you got yourself a date all by yourself. Why spend the money taking out a beautiful girl in hopes of a lifetime of romance and financial stability when you can eat two or three of these bad boys, ride home with a smile on your face, and fall asleep for about two hours afterward?
Oftentimes, many people forget that what makes a sandwich delicious is not only the contents, but how it’s housed. Preparation and presentation is what makes the meatball subs aforementioned stand out. Of course, I can’t ladle sewage runoff on top of some bread and call it a masterpiece. I’m sorry that you’re no longer hungry.