Toast Poast Number 3 Pounds

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We may have 100 billion neurons in our brains, weighing in at a measly three pounds, but none of them can truly imagine time. We think there is such a thing as the present – don’t we? – but there is not. Time is constantly moving, yes? And as my son pointed out at the ripe old age of three, “It is never any time exactly, mom, it is always becoming that time.” Or that time has already come and gone, I am adding. There is future, there is past, but there is no present. We stand between our befores and afters.

Oh, the thought of that makes my head feel  heavy, as though  loaded down by an industrial toaster.
Thank you, Anna St John for the thought provoking ToasTerheAD.

At the Intersection of Harmony and Homemade Cookin’

Mark your maps! Start your engines! It’s a rare day that I have a discovery, a spot that I did not read about online or in print. Katie’s Korner appeared serendipitously. Oh joy!

Katie’s Korner in Harmony, Pennsylvania, just off the turnpike – just off the turnpike – is reason enough to road trip it to Buffalo, New York. We used the app iExit, which DID NOT MENTION KATIE’S. Oversight alert!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset From what I can discern, Katie’s Korner is a Hubbard, Ohio based franchise, although the Katie’s folks in Harmony, Pennsylvania have made it their own private Dine-In-Or-Go.

IMG_4929Such a sweet oasis and unexpected.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_4893Hand-written menus and local labels on the beverages are happy signifiers. We walked in, saw the mob, noticed the chalked scrawl and raised eager eyebrows. Grins all around.

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Hunky dory, what dory hunkys. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

My co-travelers, Benji and Carolyn felt an urgent burger desire, which seemed absolutely apropos. The fries, hand-cut and skins on, came in a large, just right for three appetites. Crispy exterior, creamy inside, they held up to vinegar stoutly. FullSizeRenderMy oh my we were so happy when our lunch showed up.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Turkey Reuben. Dat a Rachel, yes? I call it that and did not make it up.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThe turkey was off the bone of a roaster, the kraut crunchy, the bread marbled and grilled. What more could one want? Not halved was smart. The sandwich would have self-destructed had it been severed.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Katie’s Korner, the Sunday we were there, attracted a diverse crowd – homemade utilikilt-wearing hipsters, camo-clad giants, apres-church families bearing tutued kidlettes.

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Banana Cake, touted as the best you’ll ever taste, was. We scarfed it en route to the car. Homemade Cookin’, it was. Extra points for accurate apostrophe use. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

A Smoldering Debate

Celebrity sighting today at the Lunch Encounter – Mr. Fixit! His Honor Wit-and-Wisdom had a few minutes and a few ripe tidbits of sandwich sagacity to share.

The putative debate over gas grilling vs. charcoal reminds me of a politician’s straw man argument.

Such as, “There are those in our country who would shred the U.S. Constitution and use it for cat litter!”

There actually probably aren’t many sane people who would do that, unless they were really in a pinch. And it’s hard to believe anybody really believes that food tastes better cooked on a gas grill than over real fire.

People use gas for convenience – it’s easy and fast. It also seems wasteful to light a grill full of charcoal if you only want to cook a couple of pieces of chicken or a few hamburgers.

So plan ahead already. Fire up the grill on a weekend when you’re not in a rush, cook some meat or fish for dinner, and then grill some things to eat later in the week. 

That includes vegetables. While meat undoubtedly tastes best right off the grill, peppers and zucchini and eggplant might actually benefit from a few days in the fridge. 

I especially like to grill eggplant. Peel it and slice it lengthwise and soak the slices in olive oil and garlic while the coals are getting ready. Grill on both sides until it’s golden brown. A day or two later, you can dice it up along with a good tomato and some fresh mozzarella. Add more olive oil, salt and pepper.

The eggplant is creamy and smoky and satisfying, and it makes a perfect summer meal. 

But you’re probably asking yourself, what does this have to do with sandwiches?

Well, you don’t have to smoosh it over a slice of good bread to eat it. But you’d be crazy not to. 

Kind of like those cat litter people. 

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Crab Happy – Crisfield’s

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Why Crisfield’s isn’t overrun by hipsters, I do not know. Crisfield Seafood is superb. Effortlessly so, seemingly. And it is not swarming with neophytes, hooray.
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I am truly, madly, deeply in love with this old flame. Forgive me my lapses, I have been away waywayway too long.
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Crab Cake, Crab Salad, Fried Perch, Oyster, SOFTSHELL. Get thee to a softshell. So tender and sweet when they have just shed the straightjacket of youth – one of their youths to be precise. Back to the vulnerability of infancy, they are tasty, poor things.

Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 5.46.47 PM  Soft shells, in season, the tastiest insect-like thing you will ever eat. A reason to live when you are grappling with February’s mid-Atlantic death grip.

Crisfield Seafood is old DC, the DC that patronized Reeve’s Bakery and RestaurantWhitlow’s on E Street Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 5.57.46 PM, Scholl’s CafeteriaScreen Shot 2015-07-06 at 5.54.32 PM, the original Old Ebbitt Grill Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 5.53.25 PM, the counter at People’s Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 6.00.07 PM, and Schwartz’s Drugs lunch counter Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 6.11.43 PM.IMG_4797

Crisfield’s is not a ghost of DC past. It lives and breathes.

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They do not serve oysters in the summer, there are four to a plate of softshells and the counterman heartily recommends the cheesecake. We admired his salesmanship and shared a slice – creamy, nutty, caramely, fresh, just as promised.

IMG_4798I weighed almost 3 pounds more on the way out. Going to GospelFest for a little cardio.

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La Taquara – Mad Taystee!

IMG_4242 In April, Joanie took me to La Taguara in Madison, Wisconsin. I had read about it in Madison Magazine Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 11.08.47 AMand wanted a see-for-yourself. Vivid, it was and yes, mad taystee. It’s a mad town all right and never fails to be freshly surprising.

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Visiting Madison is always a food fest. Seems to me, when there is a little less from which to choose, the food tastes better and the adventures feel more personal.
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La Taquara serves primarily Venezuelan food, punctuated by dishes of its Latin neighbors. In the words of La Taguara,

Due to its location in the world, its diversity of industrial resources and the cultural diversity of the Venezuelan people, Venezuelan cuisine often varies greatly from one region to another. Its cuisine, traditional as well as modern, is influenced by indigenous people and its European ancestry and is also influenced by African and Native American traditions. Food staples include corn, rice, plantain, yucca, beans and several meats and seafood.
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The “bread” for this sandwich is squashed plantain, like a giant tostones. Crispy, crunchy, messy and delicious.

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Our lunch choices were easy – the Patacon Pisao or “flattened plantain” and a filled arepa,  two wonderful sandwich species little known north of Latin America.

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I won’t lie, our lunch was madelicious.

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There it is in the magazine, the Patacon Pisao. Super nice photos, Mr. Musteikis.

Take me home, sandwich roads.
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Photography for the magazine by Paulius Musteikis

Patacon 101

FOR plantain lovers, it may be the best thing since sliced bread. In fact, a patacón (paht-ah-CONE) — the full name, patacón Maracucho, identifies its birthplace as the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo — is a sandwich that dispenses with bread entirely. In its place is green (that is, unripe) plantain that’s been sliced lengthwise, fried, pressed flat and fried again. Still warm, the golden discs embrace shredded beef, roast pork, chorizo, chicken or cheese.

Read on in the Times here.

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A Sandwich Situation – Sisters’ Sandwiches

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These two dolls look big screen ready and so do their sandwiches. Such is the tag on their title, Sisters’ Sandwiches and Such, because while you are at it – eating lunch, picking up dinner – you can make an impulse purchase of something you never knew you needed, but simply must buy.

The closest my sister and I  got to sandwich big time was our fictional enterprise, Stuff and Such, an endeavor whose cash cow was a lot of laughs. Our metonym never left the realm of our imaginations, thankfully. Producing such takes vim, vigor and vitality.

The sandwich sisters are cheery, bubbly, upbeat. Their optimism and industry add sparkle to each bite. Eat up and expect a bit of sandwich zing in your step.

Washington Post story here.

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Better Eating Through Technology

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It is one of life’s nagging mysteries: Why is a sandwich you order at a restaurant so invariably and intensely better than a sandwich you make at home? Read on here.

The sliders with this story are super fun and they let you take a dissected view of sandwich interiors.  Go NYTimes! Bravo!


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