Each Peach Market, in Mount Pleasant

The Dude, from Each Peach Market Salami, ham, hot capicola, mozzarella, arugula, tomato, and banana peppers

The Dude, from Each Peach Market
Salami, ham, hot capicola, mozzarella, arugula, tomato, and banana peppers

Among the retailers that define a mature urban enclave — a dry cleaner, a watering hole, a coffee shop, a drugstore — none is more crucial than the corner grocery. It’s a place to grab a bulb of garlic on the quick, a baguette at sunrise, or a bottle of wine (or pint of ice cream) after a long day. Convenience and quality come at a cost, of course, but no neighborhood is truly complete without one.

Residents of Mount Pleasant, in Northwest D.C., are lucky for a lot of reasons unrelated to their skyrocketing property values. The Raven is one of the District’s great dives, and the long-standing Heller’s is a D.C. legend for good reason. But while many hoods around the capital can boast a nice bar and good bakery, none other has a local grocery quite like Each Peach Market. Continue reading

On The Lobster Roll, The World’s Greatest Sandwich

Made from the best stuff on Earth.

Made from the best stuff on Earth, the lobster roll at Thurston’s Lobster Pound

The culinary principle that the best meals start with the best ingredients — garbage in, garbage out, you might call it — applies to a much greater extent to steak tartare or trout amandine than it does to a sandwich. Sandwiches, at least the good ones, are inherently greater than the sum of their parts. They rely on technique, proportion, construction, and contrasts of flavor, texture, and temperature. By and large, getting these things right matters far more than whether a cheesesteak is made with shaved truffles and sliced Kobe beef or grocery store sirloin. Continue reading

Gulf Coasting: The Grouper Sandwich at The Hurricane

005

A trip to the beach generally means a grouper sandwich — at least, for me, and when I’m in Florida. May 17 marked my daughter Julia’s first-ever beach trip, which, being a native Floridian, puts her a little behind the curve at 5 months of age. I myself never saw a body of salt water until I was eight. Growing up in Ohio also limited my exposure to seafood in a really tangible way; I thrived on Red Lobster and whatever my mom could cook up at home (which actually was usually pretty tasty, featuring perch, cod, halibut, and the like at various points). Nevertheless… Continue reading

My Favorite Sandwich Shop That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

IMG_0576

The St. Asaph at The Uptowner.

My favorite sandwich shop doesn’t have an artfully crafted design aesthetic. House-smoked meats do not grace its menus, and you won’t see it grabbing headlines it in Going Out Guide or Young & Hungry. My favorite sandwich shop doesn’t have a multi-channel social engagement strategy. It doesn’t have a Twitter handle.

What’s my favorite sandwich shop? You’ve probably never heard of it. Continue reading

The Hot Dogs of Our Lives: Personal Histories

MaineDogsEvery other summer of my childhood, my parents piled my brother, my sister, and me into the back of our 1986 Dodge Caravan and drove us 15 hours from Akron to Mount Desert Island, Maine. I wasn’t interested in lobster or clam chowder until I was nearly a teenager, so a healthy majority of my early family vacation meals involved the crunchy, bright red franks that can be had in New England but are unlike any other hot dogs I’d seen before or since. Served exclusively on the customary butter-drenched split-top buns, this was plenty exotic for me. Mount Desert Island is still one of my favorite places in the world, and, though I now partake fully of the bounty of the sea, I still have at least one “red snapper” every time I’m there. Continue reading