Enjoy Every Sandwich. On National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day and Every Day.

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The day I write a list of bests is the day the world turns so slowly we are given a thousand hours between sunrise and sunset. Bests, bests, bests. The best sandwich is the last sandwich eaten. So very many sandwiches, and more inking up the papers every minute.

Thank you, Look-Out-Tina-Brown-Amanda for linking me to the non-inking pages of  Food and Wine’s Best Sandwiches in the U.S.  Thank mana they did not stretch their greasy hands worldwide. It would all just be too much.

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Just around the corner from the the cozy digs of the Lunch Encounter, this Muff-A-Lotta from David Guas’ Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia tops the list. Number one of twenty! Hooray for you, David, and your divine sandwich.

A barrage of familiars, astonishingly non-trendy, the list is a comforting collection of sandwich spots that have been known to deliver sybaritic sighs from those of who have not leapt off the carb wagon. I remain an attached rider, my knees hanging tight to bread, no thank you Jack Nicholson, j’adore un sandwich.

Wishing all a notable Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, this year and all years. Take each bite with note.

the best thing she ever ate. yet.

She will eat one, Fanny she is. She will eat one with a mouse. She will eat one in a house. She will eat one on a wall. She will eat one in a hall.

TUNE IN TONIGHT, PEOPLE!

The Sandwich Hall of Fame, no less.

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TUNE IN TONIGHT, PEOPLE!

From the Food Channel Website:
We’re honoring the all-time favorite sandwiches in the Sandwich Hall of Fame because it’s all about the bread and what’s in between! If you’ve never had a BL”G”T, Eddie Jackson will tell you where to go. Fanny Slater hasn’t missed a week without her “Friday Special,” and Katie Lee heads to a small shop in New York to get the best Italian hoagie she’s ever eaten. And Southerners don’t have to travel to Philadelphia for the best cheesesteak, as Alton Brown reveals a hidden gem in Atlanta.

TUNE IN TONIGHT, PEOPLE!

In six degress of Kevin-Bacon-Lettuce-and-Tomato-Land, Fanny Slater is the fine, fine sandwich eating niece to My-Main-Sandwich-Man-in-New-York, JAF. Kind enough to clue me in, MMSMINY, sent along the link to the Sandwich Hall of Fame episode featuring the MILBURN DELI. The MILBURN DELI. Shouting it: The MILBURN DELI. Thank you, JAF. I am righteously indebted.

TUNE IN TONIGHT, PEOPLE!

Choosing favorites has never been a happy pastime for me. Do I hafta? No, I do not. Neither do you. So…remember that the Milburn blasts the New Jersey Joe into the universe of STELLAR SANDWICHES. (The Joe with, uh, meat, not tuna. Got it?)

Why there is not a Sandwich Joint Hall of Fame, I do not know. Perhaps because the Milburn is the Sea Biscuit of sandwich joints. No one can touch ’em. Period.

REPRISAL ALERT! REPRISAL ALERT! REPRISAL ALERT! REPRISAL ALERT!

At this rate, The Lunch Encounter will become LRoy’s Lunch Encounter. Deservedly. He’s taking a mess o’ Joe’s for the team. Poor thing. Not.

So, this is where we separate the true believers from the “can I have mine on toast with no mayo please.”

If you’re a religious reader of Lisa’s blog (that is, on your knees, begging for forgiveness), you’ve heard about the New Jersey Sloppy Joe before (all hail the Milburn Deli). Not a mess of ground beef and tomato sauce, but a triple-decker cold cut ‘wich. Best-man (twice!) James provided a long exegesis a ways back, but here I was this week and it was as good (and exactly he same) as my first, 45 years ago. How do they do that? Like this:
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That’s 3 thin slices of rye (buttered), your choice of ham (mine), roast beef (James’), or turkey (WTF?). Swiss. Cole slaw. Russian dressing. To die for (I’m sure some have. Plus, often served when sitting shiva. Make a note for when I pass). Ta-da:

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Rules for eating: left side first. Then the right. Save the wedge for last:

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That first bite of the wedge is better than sex (first, last, ever).

I once had two Joes in one sitting. No problem. Looking forward to doing it again. Then dying.

Know what? What? I’m driving through Jersey on Saturday and I’m gonna stop for a Joe. Life is long and I need the calories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take That!

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Make it on trend! And make it snappy, while you’re at it, dammit!

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Last winter, midway through my hourlong commute into Midtown Manhattan — having traversed part of Queens and all of chic north Brooklyn — I found myself reading about how a dish called a “chopped cheese,” a sort of cheese steak made with hamburger meat, had been gentrified. Once a specialty of uptown bodegas, the sandwich had caught the attention of novelty-seeking foodies: Whole Foods was selling them for twice what they cost in the Bronx, where they went for $4 and still do. Read on here.

Been a long time since I blogged and rolled. Meanwhile, many a sandwich rock has been turned by a novelty-seeking-foodie – sweet Jesus save me from the onslaught – hoping to unearth the next cool thing, to carry it into the gaze of media/social media and shine a light on it so bright that it is forever altered.

Out of it’s natural habitat, does an indigenous sandwich taste as good?

 

Chow Mein and Other Delights

Whipped cream and other delights

Happy National Sandwich Day with whipped cream on top!

The Conversation gabs about our favorite topic. Slide into a comfy Lunch Encounter booth, order yourself a snack and find your reading glasses. Sandwiches define and unite our world.

Everyone has a favorite sandwich, often prepared to an exacting degree of specification: Turkey or ham? Grilled or toasted? Mayo or mustard? White or whole wheat?

We reached out to five food historians and asked them to tell the story of a sandwich of their choosing. The responses included staples like peanut butter and jelly, as well as regional fare like New England’s chow mein sandwich.

Together, they show how the sandwiches we eat (or used to eat) do more than fill us up during our lunch breaks. In their stories are themes of immigration and globalization, of class and gender, and of resourcefulness and creativity.

Read more here.

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Thank you, Mr. Levy, for the sandwichy linkage on this noteworthy day.

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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Passenger Side

Along-for-the-Ride Heidi, who rides shotgun for fun on a regular basis, beamed this design missive along to the Lunch Encounter. We can go along with gusto on anything that is “For the Fun of It”, particularly if the ride includes good design. Along-for-the-Ride Heidi drives too, and drives good design.

Click on the link for an eyeful of a ride through sandwich country and company.  A lunch encounter that will leave you yearning, Design for the Fun of It will shift your stick.

Thanks, H7!

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http://www.printmag.com/daily-heller/design-for-the-fun-of-it-mo-lebowitz/

Bow Down to Geometry

Square

Pyramid

Cube

Pinwheel

Ball…

and let us not forget

the TRIANGLE, king and queen of sandwich math

Curtsey to your roots, your origins, your primal shapes. Before you can freestyle it and become a banh mi, torta, reuben or rachel, with your stuff hanging out all over the place, you must first master the basics, the shapes that are tidy and contained, simple and plain. Then onward to the mess that is a sandwich, the sandwich that is contained by your fingers-lips-napkins-tongue-teeth. Bow down and then stand, straight-backed and ready, math ready, the curves of condiments noted.

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thank you, mike rhode of comicsdc, our link to the world at large

Eeeeeee, Mo’

Mo please, jeez. E mo jeez pleez. Perhaps an Imogen Emoji?

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She said it. And from MMSMINY:
World Emoji Day

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Friends don’t let friends think without sandwich emojis. Need more be said? Methinks not. Metawichity witch wich. Metawich. Think, squint, emoj it.

Reliable Source – Drive North – Poughkeepsie!

The Imports Mix, a “house favorite panini.” The anticipation triggered by the oil-soaked paper is almost as pleasurable as the eating. Almost.

 

My main sandwich man in New York nailed it once again, this time a bit north of his usual beat, sending me to Poughkeepsie on sandwich intel. He heard it from a guy, who heard it from a guy. Thank you, MMSMINY, once again, for steering me right.

When Rosticceria Rossi and Sons made their debut in 1979,  I was graduating from the Culinary Institute of America and packing up my apartment just blocks away. Poughkeepsie’s historic Italian neighborhood – the Mount Carmel District – was home, at the time, to several bakeries, but no rosticceria’s. Rossi’s fills that gap with gusto.

Just a couple blocks off the Mid-Hudson Bridge, Poughkeepsie’s  Little Italy hugs the river and feels cozy, tight knit and secluded. Give the wheel a hard pull and there you are. Your own private Italy.

Head to the back to order a sandwich, then browse the packed shelves and cases, drinking in the scents, while the strapping sandwich man loads your focaccia or ciabatta with prosciutto, sopressata, copper, olive salad, “spicy sauce”, arugula, whatever your pleasure. Giant pork roasts lounge in wait. Roasted peppers are mounded high, slick with olive oil.

Time simultaneously marches on and pauses in the Mount Carmel District. While Rossi’s is newish for this hood, the Caffe Aurora, opened in 1941, remains unchanged, at least since 1979 when I was last in. The potted palms flourish, the cookies abound, the air of quiet anticipation is deep and velvety yet. Espresso and cannoli for old time’s sake. And new.

Later the same day, on the grass, the majestic Hudson gliding by, I sank into my panini and sighed. Mmdemmlimmcious…

 

Loca-wich-a-Vore

Club Sandwich from Community, Bethesda, MD

A recent sandwich scavenger hunt took me all over town, with stops at On Rye, Smoked and Stacked and Doi Moi (to grab a banh mi from their pop-up – located elsewhere), before rendezvous-ing with Scott Suchman at the offices of the Washingtonian. Scott had swung by Community, as well as Straw, Stick and Brick Delicatessen.

Super fun assignment. Tailored to ME!

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There’s Never Been a Better Time to Eat Sandwiches in Washington, is the story. I’m not completely sure that there has never been a better time, but it is the best in recent memory.  I do still miss Schwartz’s, as well as Reeve’s, and am unwilling to disrespect their legacies.

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Nevertheless,  onward we go. Delis are on the upswing, thank you pastrami gods, and On Rye is riding it. They’ve got it going on, aesthetically, as per this image on their website (the one below), repeated in wallpaper at their brick-n-mortar.

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First thought: Nice, right? Followed closely by: I wonder who made those sandwiches? So dope.

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Very cool location, behind the Verizon Center and north, near to Chinablock. Pretty Penny Street but still lots of hopping spots available.

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You know you’ve really made it when…

the City Paper gives you enough ink to wrap a Reuben.

First time restaurant owner Ilyse Fishman Lerner grew up in Boca Raton, Florida—home of grandparents and Jewish delis. “I got my deli education down there,” she says. But it took a while for Fishman to return to her deli-loving roots. The 31-year-old spent much of her professional career as a corporate lawyer before making the leap to the hospitality industry. Read on here.

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Swanky, yeah? #notmygranddadsdeli #andthatsok

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Keeping those restaurant consultants, designers and architects in business. Not a trickle, mind you, a steady stream here in DC, and that’s a good thing.  On Rye will get worn in, one hopes.  Corners rubbed soft, corned beef aroma rubbed in. Can our new places, so polished and planned, fill the shoes of those sandwich emporiums gone before? Time will tell. Persistence, patience and pastrami. Counting on the three p’s.

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Smoked and Stacked has a brilliant breakfast sandwich called, confoundedly, The New Yorker. Geez I hope it has a counterpart up north named The Washingtonian. Pastrami, fried egg, comte and hot pepper jelly on milk bread got scarfed while I waited for the official sandwich. That New Yorker sure makes a mess.

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Marjorie is in the house!

MARJORIE MEEK-BRADLEY, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TIN SHOP, IS EXCITED TO BRING THE FIRST SMOKED & STACKED TO THE SHAW NEIGHBORHOOD OF WASHINGTON, D.C.
MARJORIE, A CALIFORNIA NATIVE, HAS LIVED ACROSS THE U.S. AND SETTED IN D.C. IN 2009. WHILE IN D.C., SHE HAS WORKED IN NOTABLE RESTAURANTS SUCH AS ZAYTINYA AND GRAFFIATO BEFORE BECOMING THE EXECUTIVE CHEF AT RIPPLE AND ROOFERS UNION. AS A JAMES BEARD NOMINATED CHEF AND TOP CHEF SEASON 13 FINALIST, MARJORIE FELT THAT D.C. HAD A HOLE WHEN IT CAME TO BREAKFAST SANDWICHES AND PASTRAMI, BOTH OF WHICH SHE FELL IN LOVE WITH WHILE LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY.
SMOKED & STACKED IS HERE TO FILL THAT GAP — SPECIALIZING IN HOUSE-CURED PASTRAMI AND BREAKFAST SANDWICHES SERVED ON MILK BREAD.

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What was I saying about keeping those architects, planners and designers in business? Dang these newcomers are savvy.  Textures, timing, tones. High tone. Stain and distress me impressed.

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Coached and Spaded, I say.

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Evocative. Smoke and stacks, no question. Soot is not so appetizing to me, but still, the image is chic in a rust belt kinda way. I go for this stuff – hooked, lined and sinked.

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Load em up, head em out. All the stuff on its way into the magazine offices.

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Take em apart, put em back together better. Better from one view, that is. Not gonna tell you what I did to the tomato, or the bread, or the slaw…

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See, not glamorous. Just some sandwiches, reclining on seamless. The talent.