On a Roll: Sandwiches at Haight Street Market

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Haight Street Market is a less corporate and polished version of Whole Foods, though certainly no less popular and certainly a little bit hotter. Kind of like Kat is to Bianca in the 1999 hit teen romantic comedy Ten Things I Hate About You. At any rate, its deli section boasts an impressive array of house-made sandwiches, and I decided to test-drive a few.

In addition to a rotating daily special, Haight Street Market (HSM) offers 17 different types of Signature Sandwiches and the option to create your own. My fellow taster and I opted to try both the Buffalo Bleu (Boar's Head buffalo chicken, blue cheese dressing, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles and peperoncinis with a shot of Frank’s RedHot sauce) and the Wild West (pulled pork, BBQ sauce, spicy cole slaw, served hot), each $7.50. Other options include the Valencia (sliced oven-roasted chicken, sliced Fuji apples, tomato pesto mayo, mixed greens and red onions) and a few vegetarian choices like the Marinated Tofu (Hodu Soy Beanery marinated tofu, artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers, alfafa sprouts and Italian vinaigrette).

We had to wait around a little bit for the sandwiches to be made, but after they were presented to us, we felt it was certainly worth the wait. The sandwiches are enormous monsters, heaving with filling. This merely encourages the perennial problem of having your sandwich contents squirt out the back as you try to take a bite from the front — but is definitely bearable when the contents are so delicious.

The Buffalo Bleu offered a nice contrast of spiciness with the smooth dressing. The produce was fresh and they certainly didn’t skimp on the meat — I was edging on feeling full only halfway through. I could have probably done with another shot of Frank’s RedHot sauce, or more pungent blue cheese dressing, but this may be because my tastebuds have been shot off by an unhealthy addiction to spicy dishes.

The Wild West came to us piping hot and crammed full of pulled pork. The spicy coleslaw was a great addition for its contrast in temperature and texture to the meat. Double points were awarded to the sourdough bread roll for remaining structurally sound and not turning into a soggy mess when faced with such juicy cargo. Again, I probably could have done with spicier BBQ sauce, but those with more refined palates might argue otherwise.

Overall, Haight Street Market has a dedicated following, and I can certainly see why. The produce is fresh, there’s an extensive selection of wines, and the sandwiches far and away displace the ones offered by the more corporate sister down the street. It even offers a frequent sandwich card — buy eight sandwiches and get the ninth free. In addition, Tuesdays are double-stamp days, meaning that if you bought a sandwich every Tuesday, it’d take you only four purchases/weeks to get a free lunch (or breakfast — they open at 7 a.m. daily).

The store is in a prime location at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury, and mere blocks from both Golden Gate and Buena Vista Parks. Grab a sandwich and a bottle of wine, and you’ve got yourself the beginnings of a perfect picnic on a lazy weekend — especially if you can get a hunky someone to serenade you with a marching band on the bleacher steps of Kezar Stadium.

Haight Street Market

1530 Haight St.


(3 out of 5 stars)

RECOMMENDED Buffalo Bleu Sandwich on a Dutch crunch roll

DRINKS Wines, beers and non-alcoholic beverages

PRICE RANGE Sandwiches $6.50 and up

HOURS Daily, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

PAYMENT Credit and cash