Among meatless sandwiches, there are those that are simply free of animal proteins, and there are those that — SHOCK — highlight actual vegetables. It’s the latter I’ve attempted to celebrate during our month-long exploration of vegetarian sandwiches. One of the most popular varieties within this category is what I’ll call the vegetable mixed grill, in which a mélange of veggies is seasoned, seared and stacked atop a crusty hoagie roll or baguette. Woodward Table’s Provençale, the first sandwich we featured for Meatless September, is an excellent example. The vegetable sandwich at Cork Market is similarly constructed and similarly delicious. At their best, these sandwiches are characterized by a seamless integration of sometimes contrasting ingredients. The vegetables are prepared more or less uniformly, and each bite brings a consistent and reliable blend of texture and flavor. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Vegan
I have a few theories on the factors limiting the popularity of meat-free sandwiches. Chief among them is the sandwiches’ lack of an easily-identifiable showcase ingredient. Don’t know what the hell I’m talking about? Ask yourself: What is a hamburger? In the most basic sense, a hamburger is a ground-beef patty on a bun, with fixings, right? Likewise, a Cuban sandwich is roasted pork on Cuban bread, with fixings. A cheesesteak is shaved grilled steak on an Amoroso roll, with fixings. You get the idea.
Anyone accustomed to this dynamic of sandwich composition could easily perceive the Cairo from SUNdeVICH as a sandwich composed entirely of “fixings.” And I’ll admit, among the Cairo’s combination of hummus, cucumber, brined vegetables, walnuts and fresh herbs, it is tough to identify a star player. But the absence of an obvious focal point is exactly what makes the Cairo so impressive. Fresh, thick-sliced cucumbers provide a crunchy backbone. A combination of brined carrots, celery and cauliflower introduces a salty tang to the mix, leafy herbs add a subtly aromatic note, and a generous smear of hummus and crushed walnuts balances everything out. It’s a brilliant synergy; like many of the vegetarian-friendly sandwiches we’ll feature this month, the whole of the Cairo is something beyond the sum of its parts.
The mantra at SUNdeVICH, where each of the 20 sandwiches is named for a different world city, is “Local Ingredients, Global Flavors.” Of the largely meat-free cuisine of Egypt, many of whose most prominent dishes achieve a similar harmony of disparate flavors, the Cairo is a fitting representative. For sandwiches lacking a single dominant component, meat or otherwise, perfecting the interplay of flavors and textures is a deceptively complex and delicate task. Balance is tantamount. Success requires thought. The Cairo’s greatest accomplishment is making it all look easy.
Although I’m a committed omnivore and a lighthearted skeptic of the purported benefits of a strict vegetarian diet, I subscribe to the wisdom of Michael Pollan’s advice to eat less, but higher-quality meat. From a health perspective, I probably consume more animal products than I should. I acknowledge the environmental impact of society’s obsession with flesh. I worry about hormones. Et cetera. Nonetheless, I’ve struggled to make good on numerous resolutions to reduce my meat consumption, and honoring my longstanding pledge to support local, responsible farmers whenever possible has proved more challenging than anticipated. Continue reading
I realized this week that literal decades have passed since I last ate a Sloppy Joe sandwich, a childhood favorite that has, from all indications, faded in popularity. While plenty of other supposedly kid-centric meals have been reinvented for more discerning, more mature—dare I say more upscale?—palettes, the poor Sloppy Joe has not, as of yet, gotten the same treatment as macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. What’s more, I’m not even sure children are eating them these days.
There are numerous possible explanations for this decline in prominence, and it’s also completely possible that I’m totally off-base. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. Maybe kids from Kalamazoo to San Berdoo are still chowing on the tantalizingly spiced, definitively messy, tomato-based hodgepodge of ground beef, onions and, let’s be honest, whatever the hell else Mom could find in the bottom drawer of the fridge. For what it’s worth, a Twitter follower hipped me to existence of a gourmet Sloppy Joe truck based right here in D.C. Perhaps the reports of Joe’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
Nonetheless, I took to Google Chat yesterday afternoon to collect some completely unscientific evidence that might help explain or disprove the Sloppy Joe’s dwindling prominence. What follows are selected transcripts from those conversations. Share your thoughts in the comments below! Continue reading
By Kate Bigam, New Jersey Correspondent
I am not a vegan—or even a vegetarian. I’ve thought about it, sure, as I assume has anyone who’s watched “Food, Inc.” or “Forks Over Knives” or even just “Man v. Food” and found themselves disgusted and dismayed by modern North American society’s unending love-affair with meat that is often chemically processed, inhumanely raised and worse. Yet you’ll often find me tweeting, in nearly full seriousness, such sentiments as this:
That is to say that though I’ve thought about becoming a vegan, I seriously doubt I could ever bring myself to actually be a vegan. Some things are just too delicious to give up, and so far, even Jonathan Safran Foer has yet to convince me otherwise. Every once in awhile, though, comes along a meal so mind-blowingly delicious that it causes us to rethink what we thought we knew of food. Continue reading