Bubbling and Popping

It’s been real quiet around the Lunch Encounter lately and I’m feeling it. A quiet shop kinda kills me. Not to say the extracurlunchular hasn’t been madness cause it has.

IMG_2271I won’t mention the T word (teenager in the house), nor the W word (work) since saying “the T word” or “the W word” puts it in your head anyway. Same as outright saying it, doncha think, while skirting the responsibility of causing a deep cringe.

At any rate, stuff is catching up with me and I’m squashed here in middle age with a situation. Nothing a little planning ahead while IN MY TWENTIES could have prevented. I had plenty of time for sandwiches then. Could I not have put pen to paper while living another languorous afternoon and done the math on time, money and biological clock?!?


Now, however, the chickens have come home to roost, and I  don’t mean as Chicken Parm. Every day, day in and day out, a thought streaks through the pandemonium of my brain, naked and on a bicycle, screaming, “Get me outta here!” At the very least, let’s lock up on Sundays.

Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 6.51.53 AM


A daily dalliance to Bub and Pops would do me. I took one. A dalliance, with the fine, fine bf.


And healed I was.  Quotidian reminder, “Enjoy every sandwich”, including the sandwich of the chaos. A mash up between yesterday and tomorrow.


Bub and Pops sticks out like a thumb sore from happily painting, pickling, fixing up, punching a cash register, frying, trying, smiling and serving ridiculously delicious sandwiches, Philly style. Right here in DC, thank the lord.

IMG_2287On the left, behold, Bulgarian Feta Sandwich. One could barely hold it with both hands.

Sheep’s Milk Feta, Arugula, Eggplant Caponata, Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onion, Caramelized Mushrooms, Grilled Zucchini, Grilled Fennel, Balsamic Vin Cotto, Hazelnut Gremolata, and Pecorino Romano.

I kid you not. A true Texas (hipster Austin)  hold’em showdown and you don’t wanna let it flop…into yer lap that is.

And on the right, a whole in my estimation, masquerading as a half, Chicken Parmesan.

Marinara, Aged Provolone, Arugula, Caramelized Onion, Hazelnut Gremolata, and Pecorino Romano. There was chicken in there, too, tasty bird.


Bub and Pops is DOWN THE STREET FROM HIS OFFICE. With all due respect, the man has a regular job, can you imagine?! I cannot. The calm of routine might cause a delirium of happiness, so let’s pretend we would wither from tedium while downing sour grapes in the break room.


Kettle cooked. Lily gilded by homemade French onion dip with caramelized onions.

Bub and Pop’s supports No Kid Hungry, a well run and worthy outfit that feeds kids who need it. It doesn’t get much more essential, people. Click on the link below if you’d like to put some heat in your heart. And then dip it.

No Kid Hungry




Smiling. Hell yeah. Bub and Pop’s is an ANumberOneHellYeah. As is the teenager and the cashflow, the bf, the time clock and all the bedlam in between. Not to mention the L word - the legs to get there on.

Buttoned Up DC Goes Extreme

Shameless Self Promotion Alert

washingtonian_F_985Photo by Scott Suchman, Styling by Yours Truly

The Washingtonian’s 25 Best Burgers was created a while back but I failed to post it here. Extreme oversight.

Traipsing around town, the photo crew – Michael Goesele, Diane Rice, Scott Suchman and me – took pictures at several hamburger outfits. Ray’s Hell-Burger,  Red Apron Butchery and Food Wine & Co were all in the running, on what criteria I do not know. They all make damn fine burgers.

The extremist burger I have styled to date was a jaw-dropper, although to wrap your mouth around it would require the engineering of a snake’s lower jaw. Extremely wide opening for eating things larger than one’s own head. Yuck, who would want to? Well, say you did, this burger was a humdinger.

Two disks of macaroni and cheese, breaded and fried, surrounding a lobster cake, cheese-topped beef burger, lettuce and tomato. What’s with the dinky salad, buried and wilted? Were it up to me I might have included a couple fried green tomato slabs. If you’re going extreme, go extremely extreme, say I. Brown, brown, brownish orange, orange, orangish brown, top to bottom, dripping and crispy.


Now This is How You Slice It

NoVa Cover

Bubba Mike Sandwich
Is an
Oversized Sandwich with 1/2 lb. of Pulled Pork and a Texas Sausage Link, topped with Cheese Sauce, Creamy Coleslaw, and Original BBQ Sauce.
Find it at
Sweet Fire Donna’s.

Photo by Jonathan Timmes and Styling by Moi
Sandwich Saga in Northern Virginia Magazine
It’s a righteous reference.

It’s been a while since we were there and I’d forgotten the details on this legendary sandwich. To refresh my memory I called proprietess Donna and she gave me the Dagwoodian details.

Originally, Donna wanted to name her sandwich spot Bubba Mike’s, after her husband. He’s a Mike, all right, but he wasn’t comfortable being quite so publicly honored. They settled on Sweet Fire Donna’s.

When creating the menu Donna had her heart set on something mammoth, gargantuan, a “big mouth” sandwich.  The pulled pork, Texas sausage, cheese sauce, slaw and bbq sauce combo came to be. Perfect, she thought, but what to call her creation? Of course, she had just the name up her sleeve. The Bubba Mike!

“There’s a guy,” she told me, “who eats it three times a week.” She paused. “For lunch.”

Romancing the Stone

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 5.27.00 PM

Bruno’s Health Bread is cowboy bread. Venturing out on its own, no superficial ingratiation, tough as spurs, strong as a 48-hour brisket.


Brought to us by express locomotive from Chicago, Kate Strong shoveling coal from the tender, we are butter ready at the station.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 5.29.49 PM
Effective as a door stop, although a tragedy to put it so low, Bruno’s Health Bread triggered a memorable bread purchasing Whole Foods encounter. Bagged loaf of “peasanty” looking bread in hand – how quaint the noble notion of a peasant – with strident slashes in the unpeasanty plastic.  Cavalier comment to the clerk that the crust looked sharp, almost dangerous. “You could cut yourself on that bread!!” said the clerk. I took it home with taming on my mind.

Bruno’s bread is smooth on top, no worry that you could cut yourself on it, nor will it slit its bag to escape. You could, however, lose a tooth to Bruno’s. Worth it, particularly when loaded. We’re broken now, our teeth ready to tear into a boulder, if buttered. The stuff is delicious. Virtue you need a vice to slice.IMG_5213Health bread is a total mind-body work out. Unsliced as it comes, we were advised by Kate to slice it – THIN! – and then freeze. So we did, and pull it out as needed, toast it up and cover with fillings and toppings that are up to the task. Forte. Stinky cheese, shaved brussels sprouts, hot summer arugula, dense homemade blackberry jam, onion hunks and always always butter to lubricate. Once you get the hang of Health Bread you feel deprived, limp, pinched, without it.
Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 5.27.52 PM
And then there is unhealth bread, the Bacon Rolls, also baked by Bruno’s. As you might imagine if you have experience with 14-year-old boys, these went over well with  my roommate, pork-product-boy. The anti-health bread, bodily speaking. Uber-health, spiritually speaking.  As the minister said, spoken like a true Unitarian, “Let it be so. Let it be so. Let it be so.”Bacon rollls

Toast Poast Number Two One Six

Scientists today revealed the mathematical formula for a perfect slice of toast, showing that it is best cooked for exactly 216 seconds. A team of researchers carried out a study which found the optimum thickness is 14mm and the ideal amount of butter is 0.44 grams per square inch. The recommended cooking time gives the slice a ‘golden-brown’ colour and the ‘ultimate balance of external crunch and internal softness’.

 Joan Rivers’ Toast

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 3.21.51 PM

Joan says two minutes will do. She’s fast at 120 seconds and you better believe her toast was fabulous to the f. To her instructions I would add: You might fluff your feather mules  Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 4.02.23 PM or adjust your peignoir Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 7.51.50 AM while waiting for the toast to pop.

The Huffington Post chimed in with, Rivers also took the time to point out that in the event of a “holiday or special occasion,” raisin bread could be substituted for the white bread, in which the recipe name would then change to “Joan Rivers’ Holiday Toast.”

“I hate housework! You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.”
Joan Rivers

You turn my bread into buttered toast, Joan, and we will miss you terribly.

It has the look of ‘builder’s tea’ and, crucially, the outside is 12 times crunchier than the middle. The result is achieved by setting the toaster dial to ‘five out of six’ on a typical 900-watt appliance to produce a temperature of 154 degrees Celsius, the study revealed. Bread expert Dr Dom Lane, a consultant food researcher, spent one week toasting and tasting a staggering 2,000 slices for his research, in his bid to assist the nation’s toast eaters.

Thank you, B of Cafe Clementine, for the dopamine uptick, as always. You turn our bread into pecan-studded sticky rolls and you are the funniest girl we know. 

Pecking Order

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 9.26.19 AM

Pecking Order

The heart of Pecking Order, as announced a while back, is chicken marinated in Subido’s mom’s marinade (including soy sauce, sugar, garlic and vinegar), which you can order grilled, roasted or fried. Sides will include “Saucy Tots” which she describes as “a Filipino poutine” with tomato gravy over housemade tater tots, garlic rice, adobo-stuffed rice puffs, or housemade (by Mama Subido) pickles.”  YES PLEASE.

To that signature lineup she’s now added a selection of sandwiches on pandesal bread, the primary bread of the Philippines, similar to Mexican bolillo rolls, with fillings such as chicken, housemade pate, pickles and fried egg. And she’s planning salads with brightly-flavored ingredients like mango, jicama, and calamansi (a Filipino citrus) dressing. There will be Halo Halo, the traditional fresh fruit and shaved ice dessert. Read on here UH HUH.

Though the store is closing, the Pecking Order brand will now focus more on catering, pop-up dinners, special events and farmer’s markets, including the Low-Line Market outside the Southport Brown Line station every Thursday, and The Nosh, a lunch market Downtown every Thursday and Friday, where Pecking Order will appear every other Thursday. Read more here. OH NO.


Stuff like this:

Man vs. Food Host’s New Show on Hold After He Called Woman a “C**t”

Adam Richman, a man who eats sandwiches professionally, was scheduled to eat some other things professionally today as part of a new show called Man Finds Food. That’s no longer going to happen, because the Man vs. Food host started an Instagram flame war that culminated in his calling a woman a “c**t.” » 7/02/14 10:12am



55. Elvis                                   26. Veal parm
54. Fat Darrell                        25. Fried chicken
53. St. Paul sandwich           24. Lampredotto
52. Chow mein sandwich     23. Primanti Bros.
51. Tuna salad                        22. The Gatsby
50. Roast beef                        21. Caprese
49. Fluffernutter                   20. Bacon, egg & cheese
48. Italian beef                      19. Oyster po’ boy
47. Eggplant parm                18. Ice cream
46. Beef on weck                   17. Peanut butter & jelly
45. Horseshoe                       16. Cuban
44. Tuna melt                       15. Shrimp po’ boy
43. Cheese                             14. Club
42. Hot Brown                      13. Pulled pork
41. Sloppy Joe                       12. Kokoreç
40. Chip butty                       11. The Dennis
39. Chicken salad                 10. Cheesesteak
38. Ham                                  9. Chicken parm
37. Croque-monsieur           8. BLT
36. Croque-madame             7. Bánh mi
35. Turkey                               6. Muffaletta
34. French Dip                       5. Pilgrim
33. Corned beef                      4. Porchetta
32. Steak                                  3. Lobster roll
31. Patty melt                          2. Grilled cheese
30. Pastrami                            1. Italian hoagie
29. Reuben
28. Egg salad
27. Bologna



Fried Brain, Mother-in-Law, New Jersey Sloppy Joe, Felafel, Meatball, Breaded Pork Tenderloin, Grouper Dog, Peanut Butter and Banana, Gyro, Pork Roll, Spiedies, Tomato Sandwich and Souvlaki


My Pecking Order

1. Reuben, Hot Brown, French Dip, Cuban, Breaded Pork Tenderloin, New Jersey Sloppy Joe, Cheesesteak, Banh Mi, Italian Hoagie, Beef on Weck, Fried Perch, Grilled Cheese, BLT, Corned Beef with Cole Slaw and Russian Dressing, Primanti Bros, The Gatsby, Meatball, Egg Salad, Croque Monsieur and Madame, Porchetta, Lobster Roll, Muffaletta and Poor Boy.

2. Everything else.

Fall In

Thanks to the Sublime Miss M for the aLeRt!



BLT Mania

Where did the summer go? Ours went to Asheville, Greece, the Zuni Mountains, Martha’s Vineyard. A wonderful, wanderful couple months. While we didn’t stay home much, the computer did – a spectacular formula for vacationing, not so much for the Lunch Encounter. Neglected. Sad. I feel bad about it.

The formica carries a coating of dust, the fryer is cold and the walk-in bare. Time to get those purveyors on the horn, fire up the grill and yank the chain on the OPEN sign.  Let’s sand wich it, shall we.

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 7.39.48 AM

A sandwich is a collaboration, of course, and we all know the beauty of sums and parts. Four is the magic number – bacon, lettuce, tomato, bread. Begin at the beginning – bread, use a loving touch, many hands and all that.


We had many hands and the eating was splendid over the long (but not long enough) weekend of July 4th. Warmed  up with fried chicken, potato salad and cole slaw – not to mention the hours and days of foraging for the proper ingredients (thank you,  Extra-Steps Kay, for the whipcracking), and swung into BLTmania with absolute ease.

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 7.39.08 AM

Begin at the beginning. The vehicle. The bread. The boys knew what to do, I’ll betcha.


All you need is bread…provided it’s been toasted and smeared, while warm, with mayonnaise. Mayonnaise haters will not be tolerated. So good when it melts into the toast.


This is how it’s done. Everyone knows.


Not my idea, but the foraging was epic. An island safari in search of THE bread, THE mayonnaise, THE tomatoes, THE bacon. Thank god I did not burn the bacon as I would have been dropped at the ferry pronto.


The thing is, and any true maniac can tell you, once you are nuts for something, anything, you’ll down it with gusto, superlative or not. A BLT…well…puffy white bread, sweet salad dressing, ho hum tomatoes, greasy-ass bacon? Even at it’s worst it’s still the best.

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 7.40.02 AM

The same can be said for you-know-who. Yeah, that’s right, anybody I love. Even at their worst, they are the best. Tell you what, at my worst I am the worst. Praying to Demeter, goddess of bread, that I compensate with sandwiches.


It was a fab four days over the fab Fourth. It’s good to know, now and again, that I too can cook. Thank you, Barbara, Bruce, Jeff, Kay and dogs, dogs, dogs for feeding  my heart and my mania. Boom, boom, boom.



Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 7.42.10 AM