4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

For one of the city's best sandwiches, look to Ranas Mexico City

It's not just the pambazos — the huaraches and moles are also top rate

A pambazo sandwich, glistening with the telltale red guajillo sauce
A pambazo sandwich, glistening with the telltale red guajillo sauce

I’m not a big fan of making lists, but within a couple bites of this pambazo, my mind starts sifting through all the hot sandwiches I’ve tried in San Diego. Can I think of five better? In no particular order I come up with the Italian beef Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria, and the meatball sub at Poma's Italian Deli. It’s also easy to argue a Philly cheesesteak from Calozzi's belongs up there. And take your pick of any the spicy seafood options at SuperNatural Sandwiches.

Place

Ranas

9683 Campo Road, Spring Valley

But I can’t come up with a fifth, which means I consider this pambazo from Ranas Mexico City Cuisine to be among the top five hot sandwiches in San Diego.

What’s a pambazo? you might be asking. From what I gather, its name starts with a bread called pan basso, which loosely translates as “low class bread.” It’s a light, chewy bread with a thin crust.

The family friendly dining room of Ranas Mexico City, in Casa De Oro

But in terms of Mexico City street food, the pambazo sandwich elevates this bread by dunking it in a red sauce made from guajillo pepper, then frying it. The dried pepper, guajillo, brings with it earthy, smokey, and fruity flavors, lending a deep savor and mild heat to the bread, along with a bit of needed succulence. It can make the sandwich a little bit messy to eat, but spicy fingers are a welcome trade for something so delicious.

The traditional pambazo, available at Ranas, features potato and chorizo, a breakfast friendly combination, and distinct among sandwiches. However, plenty of other toppings are on the Ranas menu, including chicken and pork, and my personal favorite: carne asada $14). A little lettuce, sour cream, and cotija cheese on Ranas toasted torta roll, and you’ve got a sandwich worthy of the trip to this humble table service restaurant in Casa De Oro.

The somewhat football shaped Entomatado huarache, topped with refried beans, lettuce, crema, pork, and two salsas

Okay, unless you live close by, it’s easy to go years living in San Diego without ever realizing there’s a neighborhood called Casa De Oro. Maybe because the “House of Gold” straddles toney Mount Helix and the northern edge of Spring Valley. Or because its commercial center — including the Post Office and public library — mainly consists of an unremarkable succession of 1970s-era shopping strips.

Ranas is the small shop with a cartoon frog peeking out from its sign (*rana means frog in Spanish). And it’s worth seeking out for much more than its exquisite sandwiches. Across the board, I’ve found delicious dishes here, including an assortment of moles, sizzling hot grilled meat platters, chilaquiles, another Mexico City mainstay: huaraches.

Rana’s is the small shop with a cartoon frog.

This antojito originates from other parts of Mexico, named for a type of sandal that shares its ovoid shape. It’s comparable to a pizza or tostada, in that it adds assorted toppings to a flatbread. In this case, it’s corn masa, formed into a thick, soft, more than foot-long tortilla, smeared with refried beans then dressed with shredded lettuce and crema.

Ranas makes breakfast huaraches that include scrambled eggs, but the lunch and dinner options stick to a variety of meats and meat/vegetable combos, including carne asada with nopales (cactus) and that familiar chorizo and potato pairing. I go for the entomatado ($15), which features satisfying chunks of roasted pork with cactus and two salsas: a green tomatillo sauce, and a spicy, dark red sauce made from arbol chilis.

That’s another thing to love about Ranas: not only do they make great sandwiches, but if you’re into it, they’re prepared to bring the heat.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

It’s hard for me to leave Imperial Beach

There were three dolphins behind us, and two on each side of us.
Next Article

Dennis Martinez leads the swap of guns for skateboards

The re-hab Training Center gets shotguns, .22s, .38s, .45s, and the occasional AR
A pambazo sandwich, glistening with the telltale red guajillo sauce
A pambazo sandwich, glistening with the telltale red guajillo sauce

I’m not a big fan of making lists, but within a couple bites of this pambazo, my mind starts sifting through all the hot sandwiches I’ve tried in San Diego. Can I think of five better? In no particular order I come up with the Italian beef Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria, and the meatball sub at Poma's Italian Deli. It’s also easy to argue a Philly cheesesteak from Calozzi's belongs up there. And take your pick of any the spicy seafood options at SuperNatural Sandwiches.

Place

Ranas

9683 Campo Road, Spring Valley

But I can’t come up with a fifth, which means I consider this pambazo from Ranas Mexico City Cuisine to be among the top five hot sandwiches in San Diego.

What’s a pambazo? you might be asking. From what I gather, its name starts with a bread called pan basso, which loosely translates as “low class bread.” It’s a light, chewy bread with a thin crust.

The family friendly dining room of Ranas Mexico City, in Casa De Oro

But in terms of Mexico City street food, the pambazo sandwich elevates this bread by dunking it in a red sauce made from guajillo pepper, then frying it. The dried pepper, guajillo, brings with it earthy, smokey, and fruity flavors, lending a deep savor and mild heat to the bread, along with a bit of needed succulence. It can make the sandwich a little bit messy to eat, but spicy fingers are a welcome trade for something so delicious.

The traditional pambazo, available at Ranas, features potato and chorizo, a breakfast friendly combination, and distinct among sandwiches. However, plenty of other toppings are on the Ranas menu, including chicken and pork, and my personal favorite: carne asada $14). A little lettuce, sour cream, and cotija cheese on Ranas toasted torta roll, and you’ve got a sandwich worthy of the trip to this humble table service restaurant in Casa De Oro.

The somewhat football shaped Entomatado huarache, topped with refried beans, lettuce, crema, pork, and two salsas

Okay, unless you live close by, it’s easy to go years living in San Diego without ever realizing there’s a neighborhood called Casa De Oro. Maybe because the “House of Gold” straddles toney Mount Helix and the northern edge of Spring Valley. Or because its commercial center — including the Post Office and public library — mainly consists of an unremarkable succession of 1970s-era shopping strips.

Ranas is the small shop with a cartoon frog peeking out from its sign (*rana means frog in Spanish). And it’s worth seeking out for much more than its exquisite sandwiches. Across the board, I’ve found delicious dishes here, including an assortment of moles, sizzling hot grilled meat platters, chilaquiles, another Mexico City mainstay: huaraches.

Rana’s is the small shop with a cartoon frog.

This antojito originates from other parts of Mexico, named for a type of sandal that shares its ovoid shape. It’s comparable to a pizza or tostada, in that it adds assorted toppings to a flatbread. In this case, it’s corn masa, formed into a thick, soft, more than foot-long tortilla, smeared with refried beans then dressed with shredded lettuce and crema.

Ranas makes breakfast huaraches that include scrambled eggs, but the lunch and dinner options stick to a variety of meats and meat/vegetable combos, including carne asada with nopales (cactus) and that familiar chorizo and potato pairing. I go for the entomatado ($15), which features satisfying chunks of roasted pork with cactus and two salsas: a green tomatillo sauce, and a spicy, dark red sauce made from arbol chilis.

That’s another thing to love about Ranas: not only do they make great sandwiches, but if you’re into it, they’re prepared to bring the heat.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Buck-O-Nine And Beta7, Dancing Lessons, Guided Low Tide Geology Walk

Events September 16-September 18, 2021
Next Article

California king beds, men's briefs vs. boxers, why Mickey, Goofy, Donald, Pluto have three fingers

Why no muscle cancer, useless parts of a sports jacket, how a fastball rises, why watches on the left hand, why airplane jumpers yell "Geronimo!", murdered wife under San Diego freeway
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close