Tag Archives: Taylor Gourmet

Taylor Gourmet: The Slow Fade of a Once Great Sandwich Shop

Broad Street

My final Broad Street? A hoagie to end all hoagies.

On Wednesday night I decided that I had eaten my last sandwich from Taylor Gourmet. Admittedly, I came to this decision lightly, in the aftermath of a minor service gaffe at the Gallery Place location that warrants mention only because it clarified a fact I’d avoided admitting to myself for a long time: This is no longer a special place for sandwiches.

For those unfamiliar with the sandwich scene in Our Nation’s Capital, some context: Taylor Gourmet is a local chain of Philly-style hoagie shops that opened its first location on H Street NE in 2008, when that now bustling nightlife corridor was still the kind of place cab drivers refused to go. Like the handful of quirky and curious taverns that neighbored it, it took on an air of exclusivity. Anyone who experienced it firsthand came home and told tales of its awesomeness. The sandwiches are huge! It’s open late! It has really cool rustic/industrial decor!

But at some point between the opening of that first location and the ninth, something changed, and it’s hard to say exactly when or what. “Selling out” is a phrase that comes to mind, but we’re talking about a business here. Really it was something more than that. Much was made of the switch, in 2011, from Philly-baked Sarcone’s rolls to those of a local, ostensibly lower-quality baker. It could have been when Taylor stopped serving the Aramingo Avenue, history’s greatest breakfast sandwich. The owners opened and closed Taylor Charles Steak & Ice, a really decent cheesesteak shop, and replaced it earlier this year with Parts Parts and Service, a pretty lousy pizza joint. Or maybe it was President Obama’s visit late last year; it’s hard to maintain any semblance of mystique once the world’s most powerful suit has been there. Continue reading

#PARTISANDWICHES: The Favorite Sandwiches of DC’s Politicos Revealed

The Classic Italian from A. Litteri’s, “the real Florida Ave market,” according to hizzoner Marion Barry.

In every corner of the world, Washington, D.C., is synonymous with politics. But as those of us who call the District home know all too well, the political drama and general dysfunction of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and the Capitol dome pale in comparison to those of our own city council and mayor’s office. Next week’s all-important primary elections will determine some of the individuals responsible for helping overcome critical challenges facing our largely prosperous city.

Imagine our outrage then that none of the reporters or moderators granted access to the candidates in the run-up to the election posed the one question each of these wannabes should, in our opinion, be forced to answer: What is your favorite sandwich in D.C.?

In a heroic effort to to provide the electorate the information it needs to make the right decisions in the voting booth, I spent the last few months intermittently harassing the candidates and incumbent councilmembers with this query via Twitter. The responses of those with the courage to reply are included here. Needless to say, the silence of the others speaks volumes. Continue reading

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

Commentary: The Ephemerality of the Sandwich

“All we are is dust in the wind, dude.” – Bill S. Preston, Esq.

The Michaelangelo, from the erstwhile The Italian Market, in Merrifield.

The Michaelangelo, from the erstwhile The Italian Market, in Merrifield.

One of the major themes of this blog is the enduring nature of the medium to which it is dedicated. While Sandwich Jack’s recent post What is a Sandwich? demonstrated that there is room for debate over the exact taxonomy of a sandwich, the entire exercise was an attempt to apply a timeless standard that would be as recognizable to an 18th century English nobleman as it would to a hoverboarding, vest-wearing, time-traveling 21st-century high schooler. Such a definition is a tribute to the form and its endless adaptability.

In another sense, though, a sandwich is an inherently fleeting thing. No matter how standardized the McDonalds, Subways, and Burger Kings of the world may become, or how exacting the French Laundrys, an indelible feature of the culinary arts is that each production is unique, unrepeatable, and subjectively experienced by the diner. No Big Mac is exactly the same as another, just as no two rillettes of poullarde can be identical. I have groused innumerable times at the variability of my Chipotle burrito. Continue reading

Dear Diary: A Holiday in Sandwiches

Holiday observations, particularly those of religious origin, are often periods of  abstinence, humility and general restraint. The annual celebration of overindulgence beginning at Thanksgiving and reaching a glorious crescendo in the final weeks of December is not one of these times. Back in November, I wrote a short piece about some of my favorite Thanksgiving sandwiches available in Washington, D.C.; thankfully, the month that followed was no less gluttonous. What follows is an almost daily account of my holiday wanderings, told through the bevy of beautiful sandwiches that defined it. ‘Twas a Happy Christmas, indeed. Continue reading