Category Archives: DC

Into the Wild-ish in Search of Our Sandwich Tribe

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I heard it there first, at work for the Washingtonian, wrangling sandwiches in their boardroom. Community carries a first-rate club. So off we set, Did-You-Know-She’s-Canadian Michelle and I, across the river on a Saturday sandwich safari.

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Community’s dining room is attractive. Flawlessly so. Set down, whole plaid cloth.
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She took our order and was calm. We liked her and she seemed happy to be there communing with the customers.

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Nice wich. Well done. #notaclub

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So well done that it got me thinking. Is community formed gradually, or can it be sprung wholecloth? Is it created by a flawed journey, with as much to disdain and dislike as to admire and adore? Yes, I think so.

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The food was good. The name – Community – set my standards beyond capability for an establishment sans histoire. Or for any establishment. Community is deeply personal. With proper fairy dust, instant, although rare. More likely it takes time, weathering, fits and starts, adaptation.

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Michelle and I are community. The dictionary term is shockingly dry so I am upping the ante to include the sharing of sandwiches. The tip of the toast point. Venture down to find the sharing of stories, theories, flights and fancies.

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#shegotaclub

I wonder, has Community attracted a community? Is there such a thing as a regular anymore? We need to go there first thing in the morning and see if we can find tables of codgers drinking coffee and joking with the waitresses.

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Should you exit without satisfaction, there is a donut window. Or perhaps you have arrived without satisfaction. There is a donut window. Find your community in a sugar rush. It’s brief. It will tide you over till the real thing.

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Kolache-nation

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Photo from Tori Avey with recipe here.

My mother is upset. The kolaches at Public Option are not true kolaches, says she. “They must be Texas kolaches,” she claims with disdain.

There is no food that has not been subject to alterations, incarnations, elaborations in some major US city in 2017. Foodies have indelibly fused anything and everything that anyone recalls eating from days gone by. My mother is 89 and she knows kolaches.

According to the website of Verdigre, Nebraska, the “Kolach Capital of the World“,

Kolaches, a favorite Czech and Slovak dessert originating from Eastern Europe, are baked pastries of yeast dough with delicious fruit filling. Some fillings include prune, poppy seed, apricot, cherry, & cottage cheese.

Thanks to Steve Hildreth for the inside on Verdigre.

My mother is in this camp. With heels dug in next to her tent stakes. She has plenty of company and, to be frank, I’m with her. The kolaches I know from childhood in Wisconsin and from my own kitchen are open and filled with something sweet. That said, the kolaches at Public Option are totally delicious and I plan to go often for half-smoke kolaches and a beer.

‘Show him the spiced plums, mother. Americans don’t have those,’ said one of the older boys. ‘Mother uses them to make kolaches,’ he added. Leo, in a low voice, tossed off some scornful remark in Bohemian. I turned to him. ‘You think I don’t know what kolaches are, eh? You’re mistaken, young man. I’ve eaten your mother’s kolaches long before that Easter Day when you were born.’

– Willa Cather’s novel My Antonia (1918), about Bohemian immigrants in Nebraska in the 1880s

Hotcha! Hot Kolaches in Langdon

I thought I knew a thing or two about kolaches. My two things: they are czech and the filling is pressed into the top. Plus, one can absolutely find them in Wisconsin and Texas. Today we ate Polish kolaches in Washington, DC and they were round, browned buns of sweet dough, the top sprinkled frugally with sesame sides and the filling encased. I have always known kolaches to have sweet fillings – apricot, cheese and others – but not today. Beef and cheese, half smoke and saag paneer. Worlds collide.

FullSizeRender-2Today was a beautiful day for a visit to Public Option on Rhode Island Avenue, NE to eat hot kolaches and drink beer. Prelude to a nap,
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“What’s for lunch?” he said. “Kolaches,” I said. “Dough and meat. You’ll like it.”

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Half smoke kolaches, saag paneer kolaches. Well, I never! And brown ale. Sleepy Sunday afternoon. If this is brunch, I can handle it. Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 5.10.52 PM

Welcome to The Public Option

The Public Option is a brew pub.  We make all our draft beer on site, and try to maintain a well balanced selection of 8 varieties at all times including 3 darker, more malty beers, 3 paler beers with a focus on the hops (often delicate), and 2 more experimental brews.

Read on here.

Public Option is cozy. If we lived nearby – dang, I wish we did – we’d be there a lot.  The owner is talkative, enthused, and talking up the bigger menu to come. And live music upstairs in the not-too-distant future.

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According to the website, this spot pays a “living wage” and discourages tips, but with a smile like his…and our general discomfort with not tipping…what to do??? We tipped.

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Come On and Safari with Me

On a Happy-Global-Warming-the-Daffodils-are-Blooming-in-February kinda Saturday we dropped the teenager at Katsucon and beelined it for 9th Street. The buzz did not do Smoked and Stacked justice. No, it did not. Our city sandwich safari was smokin’ hot and stacked in our favor. And yow, did we eat! Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley has done a good thing by DC, creating a lunch encounter deluxe. screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-8-24-20-am

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Is pastrami not the king of cured meat? Do not answer that. We all have our prejudices. Is pastrami fat not the lily that gilds? Do not answer that either unless you are nodding vigorously. Maple-Leaf-Michelle did not feel the fat so much, but I like its effect on my lips. Slippery and porky and flavor-laden, it is the grease that wheels the sandwich. Pastrami and pork fat are unquestionably in Chef Meeks-Bradley’s wheelhouse.

After Smoked and Stacked, if you have the time, cross the street and duck down Blagden Alley to Colombe Coffee, the lights above the coffee-swilling beasts below. Any proper expedition deserves a cortado capper.

 

Stillness is the New Chase

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Chase the Submarine in Vienna makes a fine sandwich, laced with ambition, loaded with cool. Add a side of sass and you have an It Wich.

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The faster you chase, the farther away you get. That’s how it looks from here. Stand still for a sec and the world appears before you.

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Smilishly. In an apron. Ready for action. Action that splashes. Action that spills and greases your lips.

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Fabulous Claire from Brooklyn, True-to-HimSelf Teddy and I ordered. Actually, we asked nicely. Steak and Cheese, Pork and Pickles, Bulgogi. Around the world at the speed of the maillard reaction.

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Watching was happening. Doing is our preference. In lieu of doing, watching it done with expertise and vivacity is vicariously satiating.

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I like this place enough to go often were it in walking distance. I admire and envy Tim Ma’s sandwich sanctuary.

 

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Bread and fillings exponentially expand into sandwiches ad infinitum, starting with its bread ectoskeleton. Chase the Submarine explores the natural kingdom of all four hemispheres.

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The young people. We love them. So many sandwich safaris ahead. And dang they are snappy. Had to stand still, stand back and love them till my fist of a heart pounded deeply in its deep, still waters.

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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?!?

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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


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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.

Now This is How You Slice It

NoVa Cover

The
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.”