Tag Archives: sandwich

A sandwich is no joke

28 Sep

In my professional kitchen months, I prepared sandwiches and salads which, believe it or not, takes a fair amount of cooking. Prep is a bitch– you spend the whole morning scrambling around to get everything into place on time (which is so much harder than I have energy to describe) and have back ups just in case you run out. The bacon has to be a perfect crispy dark pink and brown, the chicken breasts need to be marinated and never overcooked, the cheese and veggies sliced at exact widths. You can’t prep too much or you’ll be wasteful. You can’t prep too little or you’ll scramble during the day. It’s the ultimate balancing act, and it takes a lot of thinking. Not only is it physically exhausting, cooking in a professional kitchen is mentally draining. And I wasn’t even “doing the hard stuff”. The salad is tossed with the most delicate care to not crush the leaves, arranged so that it has a full, bountiful appeal, and dressed like you would be putting on a summer skirt and not a ridiculous ball gown, in other words, dress it lightly or your salad drowns.

So I learned how to not burn bacon (I’ve had such horrible nightmares about this, waking up in cold sweats for a week), check for doneness of chicken breasts by touch, built up really strange muscles for slicing cheese and vegetable on the deli slicer, learned how much to pinch to get a teaspoon of salt, how you DO NOT salt the water in order to make it boil faster (that is a lie) but how you DO salt the water generously for boiling pasta and blanching the green stuff. I also learned the secrets of how to make a perfect omelette, which I will definitely post about. I learned to secure a cutting board with a wet towel, how best to “peel” and slice an avocado, what arugula is and why it shouldn’t be peppered, how to make perfect grill marks on sourdough bread, how to slice loaves as big as a large man’s thigh, and how to not make a horrendous mess in the kitchen while cooking. I still have to get better at that, my roommate can vouch for that…

Now, I go to a place called Intermezzo to get my sandwich and salad fix. Their “veggie delight” is the most colossal mound of lettuce, beans, sprouts and avocado you’ll ever encounter in one sitting. My personal favorite combination is the sandwich/salad combo– chicken salad and their tossed green topped with tomatoes, croutons, carrots and other fun stuff. Their chicken salad has apples and pecans in it, and on the crunchy, chewy ciabatta bread, it’s just scrumptious. To top it off they serve it with a slice of pineapple– a perfect, refreshingly sweet note to end a most magnificent lunch.

Blessed Offering

23 Apr

I had a nice chat about sandwiches and employment with the counter help and experienced a life changingly delicious brunch and today at the Musical Offering, a pleasant cafe and record shop right by the university. I surprised myself when I found the courage to ask what’s good on the menu. (Lately, I’ve been in such a way that my words are stripped and my thoughts are blank, in most situation. Half-hearted jokes met with awkward laughter, comments met with painful silences… devastation.) She was more than happy to share her ideas on which of the hot sandwiches would be a good fit for my hunger level and preference for amounts of cheese. It was a difficult decision, but with the resolve that I would return before the menu changed, I chose the Hot Chicken on Focaccia, a hearty meal to set the pace for the rest of the day.

I did a double take and moaned to myself at the free samples of chocolate chip cookie sitting at the counter. The square of cookie melted happily as soon as it hit my tongue. It was delightfully soft with a slightly crispy edge and therefore irresistible. The server smiled at my reaction and told me they had just come out of the oven. I pointed to the cookie jar with a grin, without a word, and tipped her generously.

Normally I would object to small chocolate chips, but it made for an even distribution of a lot of chocolate in each bite.

The tea… oh the tea. A jasmine green served in a plain glass tea cup– gorgeous! The cup was fragrant, deeply soothing, and nostalgic. It was the same scent that floats through my window on a breezy summer day. I’m not exaggerating for the sake of sellable prose either. The pot of tea was just that pleasant, down to the very last, very bitter drop.

The meal was so balanced and spot on, especially when it came to texture (huge selling point). There was just the right amount of slightly chewy melted provolone, perfectly seasoned and cooked chicken breast, warm tomatoes softened by heat, and a garlic aioli that brought it all together. The focaccia was phenomenal all on its own. It was crispy yet soft, herb studded, and toasted in such a way that made me ooh. Taste, check. Temperature, check. Texture, triple check. Simple, comforting, with a touch of elegance: this was my kind of meal.

The description alone will be enough to recreate the sandwich, though the whole experience is something I would go back to the cafe for again and again. Classical music, good service, delicious menu items. It all made for lifted spirits and a wonderful day.

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