Romesco, roasted squash, and feta on ciabatta.
BY KATE BIGAM, LOCAL CORRESPONDENT
Confession: I’m wary of sandwiches served sans meat.
Of course, this very blog dedicated the entire month of September to meatless sandwiches, featuring a number of delicious bread/not bread/bread combos that included no animal carcasses whatsoever. And some of the most beloved classic sandwiches are meatless, including my favorite, grilled cheese, and that childhood staple, PB&J.
What, then, makes me such a hater? For some reason, when I think “vegetarian sandwich,” I think “hummus” — and though my Jewish roots may dictate that I should find joy in hummus sandwiches, I just… don’t.
I was forced to face my prejudice against vegetarian sandwiches when I happened upon Pleasant Pops, an Adams Morgan café that specializes in gourmet ice pops. (Un-sandwich-related sidenote: Their ice pops are made with locally sourced fruit, veggies, herbs, and dairy, featuring 100+ flavors from sweet corn to watermelon mint to Thai iced tea, and just about everything in between.) Though Pleasant Pops doesn’t advertise itself as vegetarian, a quick once-over of their menu revealed my biggest lunchtime fear: not an animal byproduct in sight — but not a slathering of hummus to be found, either, so perhaps it all balanced out. Continue reading
The Spicy Mushroom Panino: With tallegio, arugula pesto and cherry pepper on pressed ciabatta
G Sandwich Shop, which debuted on 14th Street to much fanfare in July, is not just any sandwich shop; it’s Mike Isabella’s sandwich shop. Nary an article trumpeting Italian-inspired spot’s opening — and there were many — failed to mention the former Top Chef contestant’s name in the first paragraph, if not the first sentence. Visit the website and you are commanded by a prominent sidebar graphic to “Buy Mike’s Book.” G’s Twitter handle is @GbyMikeIsabella. A seemingly tireless self-promoter, the dude is the Tyler Perry of D.C. chefs.
Fortunately for Isabella — and, more importantly, for me — the hype in this case is well justified. The menu at G is chocked full of tantalizing, Italian-inspired sandwiches ranging from the classic Chicken Parm to the more avante garde Spiced Baby Goat (an early crowd favorite). The beyond excellent Spicy Mushroom Panino, one of two meat-free options, features a mix of rough-chopped sautéed mushrooms paired with a generous ration of oozing Tallegio cheese, zesty arugula pesto and a powerful cherry pepper relish. Continue reading
Avocado, queso blanco, jalapenños, refried beans, lettuce, onion, tomato on bolillo
You’re on a farewell tour of your beloved neighborhood, a move across town just days away, when you walk into your long-cherished local taquería. The tacos here are widely admired, the tamales a thing of beauty, but the tortas — Oh, the tortas! — are all that’s on your mind today.
Like the Vietnamese bánh mì, the Italian panino and some other non-indigenous sandwich types, “torta” describes only the basic foundation upon which any number of delectables varieties can be built. Standard garnishes for this traditional Mexican sandwich include avocado, onion, lettuce, tomato and hot peppers, situated on a oblong bolillo roll, but there’s plenty of room for creativity. (See the torta ahogada at El Chucho.) However, very unlike the bánh mì, tortas are defined in your mind by their meat content. The notion of a meatless version seems almost sacrilege. Your favorite taquería offers torta varieties including barbacoa, carnitas, chorizo and chicken, but beef tongue, ham, tripe and all other manner of goodies have been known to feature. Continue reading
Top: The Stoplight: Red pepper, yellow squash, kale and vegan mozzarella on a pressed hoagie roll
Bottom: Eggplant portabella, with vegan mozzarella, spinach and hot sauce on a kaiser roll
By Christopher Nank, Gulf Coast Correspondent
Eat a Sandwich can finally claim to have moved the needle on a grassroots, far-reaching level, at least when it comes to sandwich culture (if such a thing exists). And as an added bonus, this month’s focus on vegetarian-friendly sandwiches inspired what is probably the healthiest meal I’ve eaten in some time.
From this blog and other sources, I’ve determined that the hallmark of a truly good meatless sandwich is this: Would you seek it out and eat it even in the presence of other options? To my mind, I can honestly say only the Capri from Waterworks in Tallahassee fit this description for me — and as you might sense from the profile I wrote earlier this year, that old favorite ain’t what it used to be. I’ll generally go out of my way for good falafel, as well, but my tastes there aren’t tied to a specific establishment. Continue reading
The Bulgarian Feta: Sheep’s milk feta, arugula, eggplant caponata, oven-roasted tomato, caramelized onion, caramelized mushroom, grilled zucchini, grilled fennel, balsamic vin cotto, hazelnut gremolata and pecorino romana on a sub roll
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