Santa Ana has always been a city that I drove past in Orange County. Not that there was ever anything wrong with it, but I never thought that there was anything to experience there other than singular attractions such as the zoo (where I rode an elephant once) or the Bowers Museum (where I got to see King Tut’s tomb exhibit). Well dear friends you can call me a moron, because when I decided to try “C4 Deli” in Downtown Santa Ana I came to the realization that I was completely selling the city short. C4 deli reflects the character of the city’s historic districts with its emphasis on house smoked meats and a modern sense of design. There are tons of different craft brews on draft and a nice selection of wines to accompany your artisanal sandwich along along with a comfortable dining area with board games if you want to sit for a bit.
I was thoroughly impressed by C4 Deli & it’s boasts about house-cured meats. You have to commend a place for being that involved in the flavor of their proteins, too often than not the meats are usually relegated to something basic with a much bigger emphasis on the sauce being slathered on the sandwich (I call it garlic Aioli/chipotle mayo syndrome). I normally ask whoever is taking my order what is good or popular but I was immediately drawn to the “Porchetta” sandwich, which boasts crispy-skinned pork belly & shoulder, roasted broccolini, and a malt vinegar mayo on a lightly toasted telera roll. If you haven’t heard of porchetta before, it is essentially an Italian pork dish where they roll the meat and roast it on a spit. The mix of the meaty pork shoulder & fatty belly made for one hell of a rich protein, being augmented by the light brine of the malt vinegar mayo. The outside of the porchetta was crispy, just enough give you a reprieve from the thick fatty nature of the pork belly while the broccolini helped mitigate the richness (plus with this kind of a sandwich you really should have a cruciferous vegetable for the sake of your stomach). This sandwich was a homage to salt & fat, two things that I am a huge fan of, but it was not truly completed until I squeezed a lemon wedge on it. The acidic citrus cut the fattiness in a very profound way, balancing out the flavors and creating a truly memorable sandwich. I love the fact that this sandwich is only 4 ingredients but it can make such an impact on the palate, it’s really a testament to how much one can do with some stellar ingredients.
C4 Deli is a place that I would love to go back to again and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for some interesting sandwiches in Orange County. For the price you pay, the portions may be smaller than what some expect (the porchetta sandwich was $9.95), but they’re by no means small and you’ll be full when finished. With the colorful backdrop of Santa Ana’s art district and their constantly changing beer list, C4 deli has plenty to offer for anyone with a free evening and certainly deserves a consideration when looking for a foodie spot.
200 N Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701
Mon – Thu: 11:00am – 8:00pm
Friday: 11:00am – 10:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am – 10:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am – 8:00pm