Category Archives: DC

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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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



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.


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.

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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.

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.”

Whither the Pig Ear Sammich?

A pig ear sandwich is a thing. Of course it is.

pig ear taco
Mr. Walston and I went for tacos at Taqueria Los 3 Reyes. The man thinks he does not eat meat. Similar to my son, who at the age of four announced, “I do not eat meat. Only pig!” So he, the man, ordered chicken, which apparently, in this age, is not technically meat. I buy that, just as I buy that ketchup is a vegetable. I did not order chicken because THERE WAS PIG EAR ON THE MENU. He, the man, did take one teensy gnaw of the pig ear and was put off by what he called the cartilage, which I suppose it was.

Here comes the required rant, a prerequisite, not a perquisite, thank you, Mr Gingrich:

Why is the texture of ear offputting while we are fine with the texture of thigh? RHETORICAL QUESTION. DO NOT ANSWER. Anyway, I understand that some of us are accustomed to consuming thighs, but not ears. Should you decide to eat me, please do not discard any of the parts.

Now, back to business. With dedication. Wither the pig ear sammich? Were one in Mississippi there would be no need to wonder. Over there the pig ear is the best state sandwich, according to Business Insider.

SMOKES & EARS from Joe York on Vimeo.

In Mississippi, from what googling implies, the pig ear sandwich is not simply A thing, it is THE thing. Good on ya, pig ear sammich. Featured lovingly at The Big Apple Inn  in Jackson, this sandwich is the money maker.

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The Southern Foodways Alliance 

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 7.35.49 AMA big part of our mission here at the SFA is to document the stories behind the food and bring them to a larger audience. We’re stoked that an Associated Press article on the SFA’s documentary work has appeared in newspapers from the Washington Post to the New Orleans Times-Picayune in recent days. The article spotlights Geno Lee, the fourth-generation proprietor of Jackson, Mississippi’s Big Apple Inn. Lee was the recipient of the SFA’s 2009 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award. If you haven’t seen it already, check out Joe York’s film about Lee, Smokes & Ears.
(Photograph of Geno Lee by Rogelio Solis/A.P.)

When a lovely flame dies and smokes gets in your ears, the sammich is ready! Please pass the mustard, Mr. Thang.

Local Hero

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Capitol City Eats Talks About Shawafel


Shawafel is refreshingly without gimmick. No horseshoes, mini golf, burlesque, craft beer, micro-bakery bread or other hipster touchstones.  The toum, however, is the difference maker and makes Shawafel a landmark. Immerse me in toum, please. Mark my soul with this glorious garlic cloud.

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The makings of chicken shawarma. Start with toum, end with fries, you can do no wrong.


A few months back Chef/Owner Alberto  stopped by the photo studio of Renee Comet  with his chicken shewarma for a Washingtonian sandwich story. Renee was taking the pictures, I was wrangling the sandwiches, and Chef Alberto stayed for a bit of a visit. He impressed me. A former Jose Andres protege, Chef Alberto has struck out on his own and hit a home run.


A person could hit a home run with one of these babies. They are rock solid and heavy  as hickory baseball bats.

Mr. Walston, feeling the omniscent gaze of his vegan daughter, chose crispy cauliflower with tahini. She’s got him wrapped around her little finger, as it should be.


Le French Fries doused gloriously with za’atar. We did not do a sludge test so I am taking an educated guess – sesame seeds, dried sumac, oregano and thyme. For sure on the sesame seeds and oregano.


Lebanese cooks have a handle on the goods, folks. Sheeeeeewafel, sheeeeeebang, sheeeeeedoobeeeeeee. Do me!



Tied Up in Apron Strings

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Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.02.35 PM The pull IMG_7617 of the apron strings at Red Apron Butchery was powerful last week.   Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 5.51.42 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.15.07 PMPorkstrami with Tracy on Friday.Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 12.47.48 PM    Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.27.30 PM   IMG_7635  Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 5.54.33 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.15.16 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-19 at 5.55.22 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-19 at 4.26.40 PM       Porchetta and Roast Beef with Doug on Monday. IMG_7591Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.15.25 PM            IMG_7621          Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.27.12 PM   IMG_7616 Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.27.30 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.15.38 PM  Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 5.56.00 PM    IMG_7622    Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 5.56.12 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.21.21 PM      Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.15.45 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.26.54 PM Meatball,IMG_7639    Beef and Cheddar,    IMG_7630  Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.36.07 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.15.53 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.04.58 PM   Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 6.44.11 AM   Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.29.50 PM       IMG_7622Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.21.11 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-20 at 6.54.53 AM  and Grilled Cheese with Niko, Teddy and Katrina on Saturday. IMG_7637 Screen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.29.39 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-19 at 6.21.05 PM   IMG_7642   Am I now free, strings cut with kitchen shears? Nope nope nope and nope.   Image