For the September Details Magazine (on newsstands now) I wrote a story on 22 sandwiches that will change your life. It's worth buying the magazine for Anthony Cotsifas' pictures alone. Here's some of the story cut for space reasons:
There are the thousands of sandwiches we eat out of habit and for sustenance, like the soggy, brown-tinged tuna sandwich I get from my local convenience store. And then there are the sandwiches that are so cosmically correct, so intrinsically perfect, that eating one becomes a lifechanging experience. These are the sandwiches worth writing about.
What elevates a sandwich to life-altering status? Fantastic fillings, the appropriate bread, and the proper condiments, all coming together in some
The bread does not have to be a fancy-pants baguette made by a former hippie or monk. It just has to be right for the filling that goes into it. It could be a perfectly toasted hot dog bun for a lobster roll, or two pieces of crusty, seeded rye bread for a pastrami sandwich. Condiments are the grace note of a sandwich. A caper vinaigrette, a dab of whole grain mustard, or just the right amount of Hellman's mayonnaise can make any good sandwich great.
That was the intro cut for space reasons.
Because I had such a good time writing the story for my editor there, and because Details doesn't put its articles on-line, I can't list the sandwiches described in the piece here. But there were quite a few sandwiches that were cut for space and geographic diversity reasons. These sandwich outtakes I can share with you. I'll tell you about five sandwiches today, and five more on Friday.
1) The smoked sturgeon sandwich at Barney Greengrass:For nearly a hundred years hungry New Yorkers have come to Barney Greengrass for the delicious comfort food and the friendly abuse heaped upon customers by the perpetually cranky but hamisch waitstaff. Hipsters know the one must-have sandwich here is a smoked sturgeon, cream cheese, onion and tomato on a bialy (the bagel's lighter, oniony first Jewish cousin to the English muffin). You don't have to believe me: Groucho Marx said this when Barney Greengrass passed away: "Barney Greengrass may not have ruled any kingdoms or written any great symphonies, but he did a monumental job with sturgeon." 541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY; 212-724-4707, 9570 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, Ca. 310-777-5877
2) Roast Turkey, Mozzarella and Brown Gravy Sandwich at Leo's Latticini: I know, I know, it doesn't sound like much. But somehow the good sisters that run Leo's under their mother's watchful eye turn out a warm, unbelievably moist turkey breast layered with their own superb mozzarella topped by a slightly peppery turkey gravy. Not exactly traditionally Italian, but oh so delicious. Ask the cops and firemen that stop there for lunch. They'll tell you how good the sandwich is and they won't even give you a ticket for parking illegally out front.
3) Bouchon Bakery's Grilled Cashew Butter and Housemade Apricot Preserves: Ultimate fancy-pants chef Thomas Keller makes the P, B and J of your dreams at his Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Building. Have the sandwich at the bakery counter itself (it even has a few seats that turn over quite rapidly) instead of the sit-down dining room and save yourself five bucks plus tax and time. Time Warner Center (59th and Broadway)
4) At Pearl Oyster Bar Rebecca Charles serves three sandwiches at lunch that will change your life; the lobster roll, of which there is not much more to be said; the fried oyster roll, and the Pan Fried Fish Sandwich. 18 Cornelia St. 212-691-8211
5) Brook Trout BLT at Mary's Fish Camp A crafty take on a BLT. A piece of pan-fried trout, vine-ripened tomato (at least this time of year) and a couple of crisp slices of bacon make for one mighty fine sandwich. 64 Charles St. 646486-2185
6) Pork Rillette Sandwich at Blue Ribbon Market: The Bromberg boys make a good sandwich at both Blue Ribbon Bakery and Blue Ribbon Market, the tiny toasted sandwich bar right across the street from the Bakery. The Pork Rillette Sandwich comes with cornichons, and it positively explodes with fantastic porky flavor. 14 Bedford St. 212-647-0408
More life-changing sandwiches to come on Friday. What are yours?