“Pass the Bread” highlighted the odd juxtaposition of the gluten-free trend/fad/movement with the foodie sandwich trend/fad/movement. For a bit of amusement xray-delta takes look at some of the many “best sandwich” lists. One thing they all share is a total lack of concern about the evils of bread; indeed, the phrase “whole grain” is about as rare as the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.
Toronto Life magazine’s Jeffrey Bercuson, in its May 2013 issue, proffered his top 20 list including these gems:
1. Chorizo from Origin Liberty: “This hot, sloppy chorizo bomb appears as an occasional special at Origin Liberty. The bun alone earns it a spot on this list: freshly baked, almost creamy brioche crowned with Maldon salt. Inside, the charred chorizo is heaped with caramelized onions, smoked red peppers, chipotle aïoli, chimichurri and arugula. It’s a bargain at $9”; 171 East Liberty St., Unit 100, 416-649-4567.
2. Brisket from Leslieville Pumps: “Hunks of lean yet tender meat are slathered in homemade sauce that hits all the right notes—sweet and smoky with a puckery finish from apple cider vinegar. The resulting mound is then piled onto a blackened bianco bun (the love child of a baguette and a Portuguese bun) with grainy Dijon and a haystack of fried onions. $8”; 929 Queen St. E., 416-465-1313.
3. Pork Cutlet from Jabistro: “Tonkatsu, the Japanese version of schnitzel, brings a panko-crusted pork loin, deep-fried until it’s caramel-coloured and crisp. It’s sprinkled with shredded cabbage and doused in demi-glace that soaks into the Wonder-style bread, so every bite is chewy, rich and moist. $18”; 222 Richmond St. W., 647-748-0222.
4. Fried Chicken from Barque: “Pitmaster David Neinstein brines his chicken in buttermilk for maximum juiciness, breads and fries it twice for super crunch, then blankets it in Swiss cheese and smushes it into a pillowy white hamburger bun that’s smeared with mayo he whips from—wait for it—smoked bacon fat. Order with a beer, wear a bib. $14”; 299 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-532-7700.
5. Bokit from Le Ti Colibri: “This Guadalupian street snack brings a fried-to-order dough pocket stuffed with salt cod, avocado, iceberg and cucumber in cantaloupe vinaigrette. $9”; 291 Augusta Ave., 416-925-2223.
New York City is probably the Galapagos Islands of sandwiches: due to its population and high density, NYC can afford to sustain thousands of Darwinian experiments in sandwich evolution; every street has all kinds of food, great, indifferent and bad. New York Magazine called out its favorite sandwiches (http://nymag.com/bestofny/food/2010/sandwiches/).
Saltie: Beets, radishes, a hard-boiled egg, butternut squash, feta, black olives, capers, pickled onions, parsley, and spicy aïoli on focaccia, the so-called Scuttlebutt is a sprawling kitchen-sink sandwich designed for the vegetarian whose appetite yields to no one, gluttonous carnivores included. 378 Metropolitan Ave., nr. Havemeyer St., Williamsburg; 718-387-4777.
Rye: Cal Elliott uses a gourmet mash of ground veal, pork, short rib, and duck to construct this two-fisted monster. Factor in the fresh toasted roll, the frisée and horseradish sauce, and the crunchy topping of frizzled onions, and you have the mother of all meat-loaf sandwiches. 247 S. 1st St., nr. Roebling St., Williamsburg; 718-218-8047.
Fort Defiance: The only way to get a more authentic muffuletta in this town is to have it FedExed from Central Grocery in New Orleans—which is exactly what owner St. John Frizell did in order to learn from the master. 365 Van Brunt St., at Dikeman St., Red Hook; 347-453-6672
Bklyn Larder: An off-season BLT (BLE?) for locavores incorporates a golden-yolked hard-boiled egg; thick, smoky bacon; and crisp escarole on mayo-slathered Pullman toast for the ideal contrast of texture and temperature. 228 Flatbush Ave., nr. Bergen St., Park Slope; 718-783-1250
Grub Street has a list of the Top 101 Sandwiches in New York: http://www.grubstreet.com/2010/05/the_101_best_sandwiches_in_new.html while Restaurants Vancouver has its Best of list: http://www.vanmag.com/Restaurants/Vancouvers_Best_Sandwiches.
Wheat belly? Bring it on.