- Welcome to the Lunch Encounter, a blog devoted to the mighty sandwich, with particular focus on American regional specialties. I am Lisa Cherkasky, a Washington, DC-based food stylist, writer and cook. To see some of my work take a look at my website:
- –WICH LIT–
- ‘wichcraft by Tom Colicchio
- American Sandwich by Becky Mercuri
- Autobiography of a Delicatessen
- Beautiful Breads & Fabulous Fillings by Margaux Sky
- Great Sandwiches by Susan Costner
- Grilled Cheese By Marlena Spieler
- Hamburger: A Global History by Andrew Smith
- Hot Dog: A Global History by Bruce Kraig
- I’ll Have What They’re Having by Linda Stradley
- Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book by Nancy Silverton with Teri Gelber
- Panini by Carlo Middione
- Panini by Melanie Barnard
- Sandwiches, Panini, and Wraps by Dwayne Ridgaway
- Save the Deli by David Sax
- Schwartz’s Hebrew Delicatessen: The Story by Bill Brownstein
- Step-By-Step 50 Great Sandwiches by Carole Handslip
- The BLT Cookbook by Michele Anna Jordan
- The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches: Recipes, History, and Trivia for Everything Between Sliced Bread, By Susan Russo
- The Hamburger: A History by Josh Ozersky
- Toast, Homage to a Superfood by Nick Parker
- Tomatoes, A Savor the South Cookbook, by Miriam Rubin
- CHAINS THAT RATE
- DIY SANDWICHES
- FIRST COUSINS ONCE REMOVED
- Ben’s Chili Bowl – Washington, DC
- Chicago Dog Tales from Time Out Chicago
- Frank – Austin, TX
- Holly Eats – Hotdogs – Great list!
- Hot Doug’s – Chicago
- M’Dawg- Washington, DC – CLOSED
- Poochie’s – Skokie, IL
- Super Duper Weenie – Fairfield, CT
- Superdawg – Chicago
- Ted’s Hotdogs – Buffalo, NY
- The Wiener’s Circle – Chicago
- FOOD MUSEUMS
- Cuba Cheese Museum – Cuba, NY, USA
- Deutsches Currywurst Museum – Berlin, Germany
- Doesburgsch Mostard en Aziijnmuseum – Doesburg, NETHERLANDS
- Fallot Mustard Mill – Beaune, FRANCE
- Greensboro Lunch Counter, 1960
- Lunch Box Museum – Columbus, Georgia
- Mount Horeb Mustard Museum – Mount Horeb, WISCONSIN
- Musee de la Moutarde Amora – Dijon, FRANCE
- Mustard Shop Museum – Norfolk, ENGLAND
- Raye’s Mustard Mill – Eastport, ME
- Spam Museum – Austin, Minnesota, USA
- The International Central Services Toaster Museum
- The Mustard Shop – Boston, MASSACHUSETTS
- The Toaster Museum Foundation
- GOOD LOOKIN’ SANDWICHES
- ICONIC SANDWICHES
- Beef on Weck – Buffalo
- Breaded Pork Tenderloin
- Chop Suey Sandwich
- Cuban Sandwich
- French Dip
- Grilled Cheese
- Grouper Dog – South Florida
- Horseshoe – Springfield, Illinois
- Hot Brown
- Lobster Roll
- Mother-in-Law Sandwich – Chicago
- New Jersey Sloppy Joe
- Peanut Butter and Banana
- Pork Roll – New Jersey
- Scrambled Hot Dog – Columbus, GA
- St Paul Sandwich
- Tomato Sandwich
- LUNCH FOR BREAKFAST? SANDWICHES!
- SANDWICH JOINTS
- UNITED STATES
- GREAT LAKES
- New York – Western
- Pennsylvania – Western
- Big Jim’s – lower Greenfield
- Charlies’s – Oakland
- Chido’s Tavern – Homestead – closed in 2005 – RIP
- Danny’s Italian Hoagies – Bethel Park
- Emil’s Lounge
- Isaly’s – West View
- My Ngoc Restaurant
- Pittsburgh Deli Company – Shadyside
- Roland’s in the Strip
- Rudy’s Grill
- Sam and Rini’s Truck in the Strip
- Smallman Street Deli
- The Thin Man Sandwich Shop
- Triangle Bar – Swissvale
- Union Grill
- Ellicott City
- Pennsylvania- Eastern
- Washington, DC
- Best Corned Beef
- Downtown DC
- 7th Hill
- A&M Wine Shoppe – Adams Morgan
- A. Litteri’s
- Amsterdam Felafel – Adams Morgan
- Ben’s Chili Bowl
- Bread Line is closed :(
- Bub and Pop’s
- Cafe Ole
- Church Key
- Cowgirl Creamery – CLOSED
- Deli City Restaurant – Bladensburg Road
- DGS Delicatessen
- Dupont Italian Kitchen
- Dupont Market on 18th Street
- Fast Gourmet – Chivito
- Hank’s Oyster Bar – Lobster Roll
- Heller’s Bakery – Mt Pleasant
- Hodge’s – New York Ave
- J.J.’s Cheesesteaks – 14th St, NW
- Jettie’s on Foxhall Road
- Juice Joint – Vermont Avenue
- Luna Grill – on Connecticut Ave – Grilled Cheese
- Mama’s Kitchen – Anacostia
- Mangialardo and Sons
- Market Lunch at Eastern Market – Crabcake
- MGM Roast Beef – Brentwood Road
- Modern Times Cafe-Upper Northwest, Connecticut Avenue
- Morty’s on Wisconsin Avenue above Tenley
- Mr Henry’s – Capitol Hill
- Muncheez – Georgetown
- Neopol Savory Smokery at Union Markey
- Pepitos Bakery or Tacos Pepito or something like that
- Pizzeria Paradiso – Dupont Circle and G’Town
- Public Option – Langdon in NE
- Red Apron Butchery
- Schwarma Spot – Adams Morgan
- Shawarma Spot – Adams Morgan – Late Night too
- Shermali’s Deli on New Mexico
- Stachowski’s Market – Georgetown
- Taylor Gourmet
- Two Amys – Panini
- Wagshal’s – Spring Valley
- Z Burger
- Zorba’s – Dupont Circle
- Maryland Suburbs
- Cornucopia – Bethesda
- Crisfield – Silver Spring
- Cubanos – Silver Spring
- Gilly’s – Rockville
- Gilly’s Craft Beer and Fine Wine – Rockville
- Louisiana Kitchen – Bethesda
- Marcella’s in Chevy Chase
- Marchones Italian Delicatessen – Wheaton
- Mark’s Kitchen
- Max’s Kosher Deli in Wheaton
- Moti’s Falafel Stand – Rockville
- Orion Gourmet Takeaway-Greenbelt
- Parkway Deli – Silver Spring
- Pita Hut – Rockville
- Red Tomato – Bethesda
- Riccuiti’s in Olney – Good vegetarian choice
- Roy’s Place in Gaithersburg
- Saint Michel Bakery- Rockville
- The Tomato Place – Columbia – Vegetarian Choice
- Smoked and Stacked
- Virginia Suburbs
- Al’s – Cheesesteaks in Del Ray
- American Seafood – Arlington
- Athens – Bailey’s Crossroads
- Atilla’s – South Arlington
- Banh Mi DC Sandwich – Falls Church
- Bayou Bakery – Arlington
- Cafe Parisien Express – Lee Hwy – Arlington
- Caribbean Grill on Lee Hwy
- Celebrity Delly – Falls Church
- Chutzpah – Fairfax
- Chutzpah Deli in Fairfax
- Cosmopolitan Bakery – Alexandria
- Eammon’s – Old Town Alexandria
- Earl’s in Arlington – Wilson Blvd
- German Gourmet – Falls Church
- Kilroy’s – Springfield – French Dip
- Le Matin de Paris – Annandale
- Majestic Cafe – Old Town Alexandria
- Perfect Pita on Fairfax in Alexandria
- Ray’s Hellburger – Rosslyn
- Ray’s to the Third – Arlington
- Rebel Heroes – Arlington
- Rustico – Burgers! – Alexandria
- Sauca – South Arlington – CLOSED
- Song Que – Vietnamese Bakery and Deli
- The Blue and White – Alexandria, VA
- The Broiler on Columbia Pike at Monroe
- The Italian Store
- The Lebanese Butcher – Falls Church
- The Lost Dog
- The Waffle Shop – Arlandria
- Weenie Beenie – Shirlington
- Westover Market – Arlington
- West Virginia
- MIDWEST – Central
- St Louis
- MIDWEST – Northern
- Door County
- Fontana – Lake Geneva
- New Glarus
- Martha’s Vineyard
- New Jersey
- Atlantic City
- Chatman Township
- Edison – Turnpike Exit 10
- Island Heights
- Palm Beach Gardens
- Pennsauken -Turnpike Exit 4
- Seaside Park
- South Orange
- New York – Eastern
- Aquagrill – Soho
- Artie’s Deli
- Bread’s Bakery – Union Square
- Caracas Arepa Bar
- Carnegie Deli
- City Bakery
- Dave’s Hoagies – Financial District
- Defonte’s of Brooklyn
- Ino – Bedford Street
- Kai Feng Fu Dumpling House – Sunset Park, Brooklyn
- Katz’s Delicatessen
- Lamazou – Murray Hill
- Liebman’s – The Bronx
- Little Morocco – Astoria, Queens
- Loeser’s – Bronx
- Los Girasoles – Woodside, Queens
- Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant
- No. 7 Sub
- Porchetta – East Seventh Street
- Press 195 – Park Slope, Brooklyn and Bayside, Queens
- Prosperity Dumpling – Chinatown
- Province – Tribeca
- Say Cheese
- The Meatball Shop – East Village
- Vanessa’s – Chinatown
- Rhode Island
- New Orleans
- Acme Oyster House
- Central Grocery
- Charlie’s Seafood
- Cochon Butcher
- Danny and Clyde’s
- Domilise’s Po-Boy
- Johnny’s Po-Boy
- Liuzza’s by the Track
- Mahony’s Po-Boy Shop
- Napoleon House
- Parasol’s Restaurant and Bar
- Parkway Bakery and Tavern
- Rocky and Carlo’s – Chalmette
- St. James Cheese Company
- Stein’s Market and Deli
- Zimmer’s Seafood
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- GREAT LAKES
- WEST COAST
- Los Angeles
- All About the Bread
- Artisan Cheese Gallery
- Attari Sandwich Shop
- Banh Mi My Too
- Bay Cities Deli
- Cole’s – French Dip
- Cooks Tortas
- Gram and Papa’s
- Joan’s on Third
- La Brea Bakery
- Mario’s Italian Deli
- Musso & Frank Grill
- Papa Cristo’s
- Philippe the Original
- Porto’s Bakery
- Porto’s Bakery – Cuban Sandwiches
- Sando’s Sub Shop
- The Grilled Cheese Truck
- The Nickel Diner
- The Oinkster
- Xoia – French Dip Banh Mi
- Palm Springs
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Los Angeles
- –WICH LIT–
Tim Carman knows sandwiches. Word. The man eats and eats and eats, drives and drives and eats some more so that the rest of us can eat more targetly. Still and all, his curated list – twenty-five sandwiches – is a whole lotta sandwiches. If a person were to dot the DC metro area map with Mr. Carman’s favorite sandwich joints, then connect the dots via drivable roadways, the route progresses in the shape of a hoagie. Twenty-five dots, twenty-five rendez vous with duo-bread destiny.
I am a tomato sandwich interloper. While that might automatically make me a rabid fan, I hide my late-to-the-game status with nonchalance. Of courrrse, it must be white bread. “I prefer Sunbeam.” See, no hard line for me. Prefer is the word. Just prefer, not a requirement. Duke’s mayo, too. Goes without saying for those to-the-tomato-sandwich-manor born. Shhh, do not shout Duke’s from the rooftop, lest you betray your newbieishness.
The tomato sandwich is an older food, but not that old since it is reliant on white bread, the kind that yields maximum puff from minimum wheat, landing it in early mid-century America. Right? Probably wrong. The Virginia Chronicle references it in 1911, although the bread must have been meatier and yeastier and all that good stuff. Yup, lots of people – anecdotal research here – prefer “good” bread and I can’t blame em. That tomato sandwich is a whole different animal. Worthy. Delicious. Different.
We like lists. I like lists. Lists are arbitrary. Lists are artificial.
We like life. I like life. Life is arbitrary. Life is…so real it is artificial.
Checking off items on a list and noting the dopamine rush – accumulate accumulate accumulate yes! – is my jam jam jam marmalade.
Speaking/writing of marmalade I will never get to France and eat these sandwiches and checkcheckcheck them off a listlistlist. I am familiar with most of them. Does familiarity satisfy?
All so delicious. It is food after all, that weird stuff we put in our mouths to masticate, taste, eat, swallow, digest. Weird, wonderful, sensual, sustaining. Ah. Gah. Yes. Do you want to live forever? No, you do not. Nevertheless, life’s glories are limitless, unmeasurable, vibrating.
Not rushing off to France to eat, yet noting the range of my desire. Feeling more alive for it. Sandwich my desire between buttered bread please. Then take a luscious bite, chewchewchew noting the barbarianism, … of it and STRETCH OUT WITH ALIVENESS.
Merci, Monsieur Spaulding!
April 16th, 1936. The birth of the Dagwood!
Dagwood Bumstead, sandwich connoisseur. Just take a close look – sardines, sausages, chunk of cheese. Nothing individually wrapped, nothing pre-sliced. Dagwood, you’re my guy.
Colossally glorious creations.
Happy birthday to ya and many happy returns!
My Good-Pal-Susan went to Amsterdam and brought me a tube of mustard. And a big chunk o’ gouda. Thank you, terrific friend, neighbor and hard-core mom-squad mate.
A mild variant is the mom I would like to be. Am I? No. As the snake oil of a face cream salesman in Nassau chirped, “Ooh, spicy.” He was not laying a compliment on me. Have I done my son a giant disservice by reinforcing reactivity? Yes indeed I have. His gap year(s) could be seen as an opportunity to create a gap between then and now. A chance to dial it all back, become a milder variant of myself and hope for a little less friction and push back. Only time will tell, as it does always, the slow reveal that is child rearing.
Photo by Mark Snead. I fried the pork belly and squeezed the mustard.
My world has been widened by the Marne addition to the fridge door. The aluminum tube is, as claimed, handy. And our world? The bigger, the better. The smaller we are in it, the better, too. An assist in parental perspective. We are mere specks in a giant universe. Mustard seeds perhaps, if we grow slowly and soundly.
Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Art direction by Jennifer Beeson Gregory. Hole styling by moi.
“On earth I was a manufacturer of Imported Holes for American Swiss Cheese,” the braided man tells Dorothy, in her fourth adventure in Oz. “I will acknowledge that I supplied a superior article.” Read on.
Look up the nose holes of the hoitiest toitiest food mag to date, Cook’s Illustrated, and be shamed for Reubens past:
“A pockmarked wedge of Swiss may be instantly recognizable as the icon of “cheese,” but it’s rarely celebrated for its flavor. Often rubbery and bland, most Swiss—stateside, at least—may be fine as a gooey layer in a Reuben but would never star on a cheese plate. In fact, there was only one sample that we enjoyed eating out of hand the last time we tasted Swiss cheese, in 2005.That genuine Emmentaler from Switzerland (Emmentaler is the real name for the cheese Americans call Swiss) boasted a nuanced, sweet hazelnut flavor.” Read on.
Swiss cheese is not bland. That is my claim because my child would not eat it when he was small. Due to his resistance, I tasted Swiss anew, taste buds and brain fresh, and found it odd and oddly pungent. But not in a good way. Had to give it to him – highly passable, as in, I’ll take a pass.
Emmentaler, eminently, is the goo and the glue of our fondue. Soon too, sandwichitaler.
Plastering is an art, I am told, and I believe it. Plasterers are rare and their artworks are diminishing. Such a shame.
Mustard is alive and well and has become an art as well. Did you know that we are breeding sommeliers of mustard?
Yes, everything. Read about it here. When a school for braunschweigiers opens, I’m in.
The Cuban sandwich is important. People fight for it and about it. Who created it and where? That is just the tip of the loaf. My take? The Cuban sandwich is ubiquitous and no one will ever know its exact origin. Mystery is as beautiful as a slice of pink ham.
Were I a betting woman, and I am, for tiny bits of currency, my money would be, and is, on Tampa. Bet ya a nickel. Tampa is big though and pinpointing seems impossible.
The following are Cuban sandwich rantings, ravings, hurrahings and revelings. No answers and plenty of questions.
“Miami was not even spit in the eye when Tampa was doing business with Havana,” Manteiga said. I believe it. Read and chose your conclusions here.
Meanwhile, if you are eating in Tampa and reaching for roots, the Cuban sandwich is the linchpin.
We sat at the Manteiga family’s private table, on ornately carved wooden chairs, in a corner of La Tropicana Cafe, which for decades has been a gathering place on Seventh Avenue for Ybor City’s immigrant community. Over a lunch of Spanish bean soup, Cuban sandwiches and deviled crab (a dish created by striking cigar factory workers in the 1920s), we chatted a bit about Tampa foodways and its ultimate fusion dish, crab chilau — blue-crab meat in a spicy enchilada sauce, often served over spaghetti — which perfectly represents Ybor City’s cultural mix. But mostly we talked history. More here.
Recently I had the good fortune to visit the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, Florida. The Columbia is legendary and I wanted to see what the fuss was all about – a venture into another world, through a rabbit hole or trick door indeed.
Also, I wanted to eat a Cubano in the city that claims to be its originator. One of the cities, I should say.
Talk of the Cubano elicits heated debate from all camps – I have witnessed debates, and endless rabbit holes. The bread alone is google-maps-worthy. More on that later.
Place of origin, salami or no salami, who bakes the proper bread, butter before pressing or not, exact ham, how manypic and…did I mention place of origin?
I’ve been down this tunnel before and it’s no less twisty this time. Posts on Cubanos here and here and here and here and here, the first from ten years ago at the birth of The Lunch Encounter. Nevertheless, I am taking a stab at parsing the particulars, plain and simple. Here we go!
According to Clarissa Buch of Thrillist
In the mid-1800s, the Cuban tobacco industry emerged in Florida, where it first emerged in Key West. Later, tobacco moved north to Tampa, with thousands relocating to Ybor City — a historic neighborhood founded by cigar manufacturers with Cuban, Spanish, and Italian descent. Because of the influx of immigrants who mainly worked in factories, a quick, affordable lunch was yearned for. This marked the rise of the Cuban sandwich.
“Above all, you need a moist palmetto leaf on top of the dough before it’s baked,” says David Leon of La Segunda Central Bakery, the largest producer of Cuban bread in Tampa. “The dough rises and wraps around the leaf, giving the bread flavor.”
Family-owned La Segunda Central Bakery, which has been around for more than 100 years, chops nearly 60,000 leaves by hand each day, making about 18,000 loaves which are used in Tampa and shipped across the country, including Miami. “Ninety percent of the work is done by hand,” says Leon. “It’s a very old-school process. Using the leaf is what creates those peaks and valleys that Cuban bread is known for.”
After the bread is made, the ingredients are placed inside. The roast pork, says Astorquiza, must be marinated in mojo, which blends spices like bitter orange, oregano, cumin, garlic, onion, vinegar, and salt. The best way to do it, he says, is to marinate the pork overnight. The cheese must be Swiss, and if salami is used, it should be Genoa. If you’re extremely particular, make sure to use exactly three pickles. And, whatever you do, only use sweet cured ham (or something similar to it) because it’s crucial to not overpower the other ingredients’ flavors. Don’t forget mustard… and sometimes butter depending on where you’re eating.
Read more here.
Bread – crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside, wider and flatter than a baguette, not nearly as hard a crust, the bread at Versailles in Miami has a little lard in its recipe and is “basically a pan de agua” – Puerto Rican water bread
Ham – mojo marinated, “sweet ham”
Pickles – dills sliced thinly lengthwise
Pork – loin or shoulder
Cheese – imported Swiss – why imported?
Salami – Genoa, peppercorn-studded preferred (Columbia Restaurant)
Mustard – yellow
Butter – butter the outside of the bread generously before pressing
The Columbia Restaurant’s recipe here. It does include salami and bread from La Segunda Central Bakery. The recipe headnote includes mention of a “smashed Cuban”, which is what you might expect, a heavily pressed sandwich.
The Columbia’s Pork Loin
Roast Cuban Pork:
1 each Fresh Pork shoulder (about 5 lbs.)
1 cup Sour Orange Juice (if not available, ½ cup lime juice and ½ cup orange juice)
8 each Large garlic cloves
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 each bay leaves
The Cuban Sandwich at Versailles in Miami’s Little Havana recipe here on Eater Elements.
Next time I am in Tampa I want to try La Teresita, but that will have to be after another visit to La Columbia. The place is huge, man, and I want to trip up and down every staircase, gaze into each mirror, wish on the individual tiles.
UPDATE! I have been to the Columbia again and to Segundo Bakery. So exciting! Posts to come. PTK. Hurrah! Hooray! Booyah!
“It’s not a sandwich,” said the Atlantic Monthly.
No, it is not, says The Takeout.
RBG WEIGHS IN
“So then, a hot dog is also a sandwich?” Colbert asks Bader Ginsburg again. And here, the Notorious RBG lays down her decision: “On your definition, yes it is,” she says.
There you have it: a hot dog is, in fact, a sandwich—at least according to one of the most nimble and intelligent minds in our nation. So perhaps now we can all move on and start enjoying these sandwiches once again.
Were I writing a menu, the hotdog would be under sandwiches. Weak argument.
Old news. My two cents. Case closed. For now.