Tag Archives: Red Apron Butchery

What It Is That We’re Doing Here

Red Apron Beef & Cheddar

The Beef & Cheddar from Red Apron Butcher at Union Market. Rare roast beef, atomic wiz and ranch aioli on a burger bun.

A couple weekends ago, I spent 45 minutes waiting in a line that would never move for a sandwich I would never eat.

The sandwich in question — a Wagyu beef cheesesteak — sounded like worthwhile endeavor. But it was probably not the cheesesteak that inspired most of the hundreds of people who choose to stand outside and brave the day’s unseasonably cold temperatures in a queue spanning the entire block-long glass and brick facade of Union Market. The more likely draw was the man who was ostensibly preparing the sandwich, Kwame Onwuachi, a competitor of the most recent season of Bravo’s Top Chef and, that weekend, the host of a pop-up called Philly Wing Fry, staged so as to promote his soon-to-open, much-anticipated restaurant Shaw Bijou. Evidently and much to my surprise, mine is not the only household that still watches Top Chef.

I really enjoy eating sandwiches. Even more, I enjoy eating sandwiches with other people. Over the past year or so, my sandwich-eating and -writing activity has been significantly slowed by other, far more important life priorities. I’m out of the loop, and I’ve missed the eating and the writing. I resolved earlier this year to make time to pick it back up. The Wagyu cheesesteak, with its buzzy celeb chef angle, seemed like a suitable opportunity to have a nice lunch, write an easy blog post, get some retweets, and feel like I was back on top of things.

Nonetheless, as I stood in place nearly an hour after the posted open time, with the chef still glad-handing other would-be customers, and with a single meal yet to be served, I started to ask myself what I was doing there. I didn’t start this blog to become a food scenester. I have no desire to snap a selfie with a minor reality TV star. I do not aspire to conquer Eater’s Heat Map. I’ve never been to Rose’s Luxury. That’s not what this blog is about.

The day took a marked turn for the better when I jumped ship and joined my family inside.

Some friends of ours recently took a trip through Italy, and I got to hear all about it. I introduced my wife to the glory of kolaches. We picked up a baguette and a bottle of Cotes du Rhone for our dinner that night***. I drank a truly brilliant oatmeal stout, and after everything else, I got my sandwich: a Red Apron Butcher Beef & Cheddar, which is quietly becoming one of my favorite sandwiches in the city.

The highlight, though, was watching my ten-month-old son drool over his mom’s meatball sub. While I don’t begrudge the folks who stuck around to eat at the celebrity chef’s pop-up, that is exactly what this blog is about.

Anthony Meatball Sub

Want.

*** Union Market is, admittedly, a bright, shiny monument for the yuppie takeover of Northeast DC. I hate myself for how much I love it.

Where to Eat in D.C.: The EAS Sandwich Map

View the full map here.

There are few better places to be a hungry sandwich lover right now than Washington, D.C. The trickle-down from the city’s burgeoning fine dining scene has brought with it a demand for better, fresher ingredients and more daring combinations of texture and flavor. Thanks to the district’s international diversity, a stunning range of ethnic variations are within easy reach. Although the relics of our less evolved age persist — downtown, for example, remains peppered with characterless chain shops — sandwich lovers in our nation’s capital are increasingly spoiled for choice. Continue reading

The 10 Best Sandwiches of 2013

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Like every year before it, a lot went down in 2013. Triumphs and tragedies, deaths and rebirths, dustups and shutdowns. On the personal front, I got married. I traveled. I moved to a new neighborhood on the other side of town. And through it all, there were sandwiches. In most cases, I can remember what I was doing immediately prior to and after all of them. I remember what the weather was like outside. The sandwiches I ate over the past 12 months are a thread that binds together an otherwise meandering and disjointed collection of experiences.

All these sandwiches were enjoyed, of course, but some clearly stood above the rest. A few were noteworthy for their bizarre ingredients. Others are memorable for where, when or with whom they were eaten. Still more were exceptional for their pure, indisputable excellence. As we approach a new beginning, it’s important to take a look back and appreciate the spoils of a fantastic a year, and to be thankful.

What follows is a chronological listing of the 10 sandwiches that defined 2013.  Continue reading

It’s All Good at Red Apron Butchery

MuffalettaRAB

The Muffaletta sandwich at Red Apron Butchery.
With bologna, mortadella, salami, smoked ham, provolone, hot mustard and olive salad on focaccia.

There’s something admirable about doing one thing and doing it well. Nathan Anda was already known as one of D.C.’s most talented meat artisans when he and his partners opened Red Apron Butchery‘s first bricks and mortar location early this year inside Union Market. The space might have been used merely as a permanent retail market for the cured and tubed Red Apron goods that had previously been peddled at local farmers markets and through the brand’s Frank food cart. It would have been a hit.

Fortunately, Anda had bigger intentions. Continue reading