Jonathan Lethem the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including Dissident GardensThe Fortress of Solitude, Motherless Brooklyn, and most recently A Gambler's Anatomy; three short story collections; and two essay collections, including The Ecstasy of Influence, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. A recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Lethem’s work has appeared in The New YorkerHarper’s MagazineRolling StoneEsquire, and The New York Times, among other publications.

a White Castle slider

White Castle

An American staple and pioneer of the burger chain, White Castle and their unique square-patty sliders have been doing it right since 1921. Jonathan Lethem knows a good thing when he eats it and so should you. Simple: meat, cheese, ketchup, pickle, and grilled onions. They no longer cost a nickel, but these sliders are worth the price hike. So, get down to a restaurant and enjoy one or fifteen of these delicious bite-sized treats. 



Phil Klay a graduate of Dartmouth College and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a Public Affairs Officer. After being discharged he received an MFA from Hunter College of The City University of New York.  Klay’s New York Times-bestselling short story collection won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2014.  Redeployment also received the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s James Webb award for fiction dealing with U.S. Marines or Marine Corps life, the National Book Critics’ Circle John Leonard Award for best debut work in any genre, the American Library Association’s W. Y. Boyd Literary Award for Excellence in Military Fiction, the Chautauqua Prize, and the Warwick Prize for Writing; and was short listed for the Frank O’Connor Prize.  He was also named a National Book Foundation ’5 Under 35′ honoree.  Klay’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and the Brookings Institution’s Brookings Essay series.

Katz’s Pastrami

Katz's deli

Thanks to fellow Hunter College MFA alum and National Book Award-winning writer Phil Klay for suggesting I get my hands on a classic. It's hard to beat a pastrami on rye from Katz. It's been a New York institution since 1888. And for good reason. They're not simply doing something right...they do everything right. If you've never it. Do it NOW. Pricier than your local bodega, but worth it. For the experience, the free pickles, and the superior sandwich. Put on your best pair of elastic waistband pants and enjoy.



Mark Sundeen

...Mark Sundeen is the author of The Unsettlers, The Man Who Quit Money, The Making of Toro, and Car Camping. He has won fellowships from the Macdowell Colony, the Montana Arts Council and the Utah Arts Council. A contributing editor for Outside Magazine, his work has appeared in the New York Times, The Believer, National Geographic Adventure, and McSweeneys. 

Raised in Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach, California, Sundeen holds degrees from Stanford and the University of Southern California. He is the Russo Chair in Creative Writing at the University of New Mexico, and faculty at the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA program.

My favorite sandwich when near the southern border, is the carnitas torta.
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Tacos el guero

Born and raised in South City...I know Mexican food. On a recent trip back home to San Diego, CA, I stopped by a local favorite to honor Mark Sundeen's Destination Sandwich choice. Tacos El Guero, in San Ysidro. Exit at the final United States off-ramp and enjoy a torta done right. Mayo grilled into the bread. Greasy pork. Mounds of guacamole. It's a religious experience. Sound off with a hallelujah at the salsa bar and be sure to ask for extra napkins. 



Nick Flynn also the author of the books of poetry Blind Huber (2002), The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands (2011), and My Feelings (2015). He has also written several memoirs, including Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2004), Being Flynn (2005), The Ticking is the Bomb (2010), and The Reenactments (2013); and the play Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins (2008). His book The Ticking Is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment (2010) addresses the Abu Ghraib scandal. 

Flynn teaches creative writing at the University of Houston, and splits his time between Houston and Brooklyn, New York.

Kalustyan’s in Little India, upstairs, the Mujaddara sandwich—caramelized onions, bulgur, lentils...


123 Lexington Avenue, 

New York, NY 10016

Nick Flynn strongly recommended this inexpensive and magical deli, a New York City landmark since 1944, with such enthusiasm it was almost impossible for it to meet expectations. But it did. And then some. The food is/was delicious, but the true experience was the staff. I want to send a special thanks to Ahmed at Kalustyan's for his hospitality and conversation; this beautiful human works one day a week, Sundays, and my wife and I were lucky to have met him. Do yourself a favor...visit this deli and eat this sandwich!