We hold this truth to be self-evident: Sandwiches taste better when someone else makes them.

We hold this truth to be self-evident: Sandwiches taste better when someone else makes them.

With summer in full swing, the weather is right for a family meal in the park or an evening hike. I'll be honest though: I've never had that planned spontaneity that gourmets use to pack interesting baskets. Breton crackers? Cheeses not in string form? Wine that wasn't a baby-shower prize? Those all sound great, but they're not always in this bachelor's kitchen.

That's one reason I'm grateful for sandwich shops, lest my friends end up with PB&J on lake adventures, trips to the coast and summer whatnot. There are a couple of new shops out there — and a local favorite I hadn't visited before — so I decided it was time for a sandwich safari.

My hunt started at Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches, which opened recently in the Medford Center. When my friend and I walked in, I was concerned the shop would be too busy for us to have a good first impression. The parking lot was full, and the dining areas all seemed to be taken. I was worried there would be a wait because of the rush, but it turned out the shop's quick turnaround got others on their way in time for us to find seats.

The Jimmy John's way seems to be really, really fast. By the time my card was back in my wallet, our food was waiting for us on the other side.

The sandwiches came on freshly baked French rolls with finely shredded lettuce. My friend was very happy with his Italian Night Club. I went for the Beach Club. I furrowed my brow a bit at the "real avocado spread" on my sandwich, but the cool, creamy combination of it with the mayo worked very well with the crisp veggies, turkey and provolone. We left planning to go again, especially if we're in a hurry.

Jimmy John's is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Call 541-245-7488.

My friend also tagged along with me to the new Togo's location on Center Drive in the Harry & David Country Village shopping center.

It's safe to say that my friend enjoys Togo's as much as I do, and there have been times we've gone out to lunch separately and came back with their signature white bags, surprised we didn't see each other at their Biddle location. Togo's hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

There were some nice touches at the new location. CNN talking heads kept us informed while we ate thanks to the dining area's flat-screen TV. Condiment fanatics will be pleased to find a selection of gourmet mustards on ice courtesy of neighbor Harry & David. I also liked the size of the dining area. Even with a steady flow of patrons during the lunch hour when we visited, there were choices of where to sit.

I opted for the chicken salad, while my friend got his favorite, turkey avocado. The hearty portions and fresh, cold ingredients we've grown to love were present and accounted for.

Our third stop was at R&D's Sandwich Factory, 1132 N. RIverside Ave., Medford. After years of hearing friends rave about it, I decided it was time to make my maiden voyage there. I can hear my friends gasping in shock as they read that admission.

I ordered their Combo on sourdough. The mix of freshly baked sourdough, turkey, beef, ham, salami, provolone cheese, mayo and Italian dressing combined to become my favorite sandwich in recent memory.

That's not to say my visit didn't come with caveats. We may be 13 years into the future, but if you want a really good sandwich, you're still going to need to bring cash. They don't accept plastic.

In addition to the sandwich, I ordered a chocolate-chip cookie and potato salad. The potato salad seemed freshly prepared in-house, but it had a smoky flavor I personally didn't care for. I'll attribute it to a taste I haven't acquired yet, but first-timers may want to start with chips. The cookie tasted fresh, and was a great way to finish a great sandwich. I'll be back for another soon.

R&D is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is closed Sundays and holidays.

— Nick Morgan