Sandwiches for Sale

We finally got around to lunch at August Rhodes Market, the sandwich shop owned by the same guys who run the two Prep & Pastry and Commoner and Co. restaurants last week.

We had waited to avoid the rush that happens when new restaurants open and for them to get all the pieces in place. Make no mistake, the pieces are in place. The restaurant was still packed but we were able to snag a table in the small indoor dining room. There were a few empty spots on the patio, but eating outside in 100 degree heat has lost its charm for this old foodie. Yes, there’s shade and yes, there are misters but still, it’s too damn hot!

Anyway, August Rhodes is located in the former home of the original Prep & Pastry on Campbell Avenue. They’ve done a great job on the remodel. Gone are is the chalk board art and the bar. The back wall has large patterned wall paper in a modern art deco style. The fire place hold plants and stuff.It looks like a very, hip place for ladies who lunch.

Unlike P&P and Commoner, this is fast casual dining where one orders from a menu that hangs above the counter. There was a line, but there were two people taking the orders so our wait was almost non-existent. Sandwiches and salads are the backbone. Ingredients are local as much as possible and in a clever twist, many of the breads are baked in house. You can even buy loaves to take home. Vegans will be happy with the four options that are on the menu. Kids have three choices.

We ordered the turkey club and the grinder, two old school sandwiches. Soft drink choices were plentiful and varied but we just poured ourselves two lemonades (we did try the blueberry limeade as a refill which was top shelf) from the half-dozen fountain machines that line the counter.

The servers were running beautiful looking plates to the mixed bag of diners. The sandwiches are so big you could pretty much tell what everyone has ordered.

Our sandwiches arrived quickly. They were beautiful! The house made potato chips, thin and golden brown, added to the pretty plating. Should chips not be your thing you can substitute hummus & crudite, pasta salad, fries and a secret sauce, fruit and tajin or kimchi slaw. I think I could make a meal of just the substitutes.

The fillings in both sandwiches were of the finest quality, The grinner was served on a crispy, fresh baguette and filled with capicolla, salami, pepperoni, pickles, provolone, pepperoncini (cut in tiny circles and spread over the whole sandwich which made them easier to eat than big chunks found most places) and romaine and dressed in a perfectly balanced viniagrette. This sandwich was fresh! august rhodes market grinder

The club was served on super thick slices of house-made sourdough. The slices so think it would have been impossible to make a triple-decker that makes a club sandwich a club sandwich, but that didn’t matter. The turkey, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, pickles and mayo came together like magic.

Both sandwiches had just the right amount of fillings. Often sandwich shops cram fillings in the sandwiches usually with the cheaper meats and then in an attempt to make a “pretty” sandwich over do the lettuce. Not so here. This is how a sandwich should be built.august rhodes club

Two bites in and we were making plans to return.

Service was outstanding from the counter person to the manager who refilled a drink for us by taking the cup back to the fountain machine not from a pitcher. They all seemed genuinely happy in their work.

Currently only wine and beer potent potables are available but the sign in the window notes a liquor license is in the works.

We’ll be back. I want to try the soups and a salad and several of the sandwiches. I guess that means more than one revisit.

 

 

G.U.T – Let’s Do The Time Warp

Apologies to this great group of local chefs and to all you foodies out there.

This should’ve been posted last week at the latest.

Below you will find the menu for The Gastronomic Union of Tucson’s Summer Series Dinners held at The Carriage House.

Tickets ($75) are still available at:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gut-summer-series-2019-time-warp-tickets-64808536076

Cocktails kick off at 6:00 pm

Thses dinners are a blast and you get to enjoy one-of-a-kind dishes prepared by a whole legion of creative, passionate chefs.

Time Warp  ~ Sunday, July 28th

Menu:

Hors d’œuvre (1950’s)

Salmon mousse, chicharron, cucumber kimchi, salmon roe

Rumaki – brûlée pork belly, chicken liver mousse, Asian pear

Coronation chicken deviled egg

Ceviche aspic, avocado mousse, Tajin shrimp

 

First Course (1970’s)

Not Your Grandma’s Cheese Ball

spice whipped cream cheese + english cheddar, tomatillo + summer herb coulis, crispy butter toasted croutons, asiago crackers

Second Course (1980’s)

Pablo Prudhombre – Blackened Sea of Cortez Cabrilla, maque choux terrine with Southwestern accent, lemon butter sauce, rocket

Third Course (1960’s)

Mesquite Beef Cheek Bourguignon,

lingerie potatoes, carrot confit,

sweet onion puree,

truffle glazed mushrooms

Dessert (1810’s)

Course 4 – 1810

Sonoran Mille Feuille

mesquite puff pastry, prickly pear pastry cream quince, pomegranate gel, candied orange, bahidaj sitol meringue

 

The chefs/collaborators for Time Warp include:

Obadiah Hindman, Mountain Oyster Club

Janet Jones, Tanque Verde Ranch

Mat Cable, Fresco Pizzeria

Marianne Banes, Kingfisher

Rica Rances, The Parish

Ken Foy, Dante’s Fire

Izaak Morhaim, The Hub

Gina Skelton, Casino del Sol

Brently Singletary, Zona 78

Matt Kraiss, Culinary Ronin

Kelzi Bartholomaei, Mother Hubbard’s Cafe

Jerry Morgan, Mountain Oyster Club

Wendy Gauthier, Chef Chic

Max Provost, Private Chef

Lindy Reilly, Local Kitchen Pirate

Stacy Vernooy, Chef Chic

David Hargis, Kitchen Management Solutions

Rocco DiGrazia, Rocco’s Little Chicago

Roderick Ledesma, PY Steakhouse

Nohemi Montoya, Eurest

Mike Gradowski, Catalina High School Culinary

Devon Alsakkaf, The Coronet

Juan Almanza, El Taco Rustico

Nichole Correa, Batch

Mike Estelle,  Mountain Oyster Club

Devon Sanner, The Carriage House & Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails

G.U.T (Gastronomic Union of Tucson) is a union of local Chefs working to further education and give back to Tucson’s diverse culinary community through responsible agriculture and locally sourced ingredients. It is a collaboration of over 30 chefs and food professionals who came together following Tucson’s designation as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, to foster a culinary community of creativity, professional development and community engagement. Their goal is to educate the public that our dynamic food scene is more than its exceptional restaurants; it includes seed banks, food banks, community gardens, the 4000 year agricultural history, farmers markets, breweries, wineries, distillers, ranches,  growers, food writers, and most importantly the Tucson community that supports them. G.U.T seeks to bring these elements together both to honor our food heritage, and to foster culinary innovation and creative exchange.

Peameal Bacon – a Toronto Treat

Peameal Bacon Sandwich –Carousel Bakery,

 

St. Lawrence Market, Toronto

When I started this ‘memory project’ I made a list of my favorite food memories, but as I began to write more foods came to mind. I thought I’d listed them all, but then I remembered the peameal bacon sandwich I had at the Carousel Bakery in the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto.

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St. Lawrence Market is a marvelous collection of foods and other goodies from around the world. The Market has been in existence since the mid-1800’s and has evolved into a must-see site when one visits the lovely city of Toronto. There are basically three buildings that serve multiple purposes (the over 100 food vendors in the South Building. The options are a world of tastes. Japanese, Thai, Portuguese. French…bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, fruit stands, jams, jellies, mustards….and that isn’t counting the crafts people or the antique market on Saturdays. You could eat three meals a day there for weeks and never repeat yourself.

Our daughter took us there on our first visit to Toronto and we were gob smacked at the size and variety of goods. She insisted we have a pea meal bacon sandwich.

Pea meal bacon? Ummm, doesn’t sound very appealing. But, in all honesty this was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. Anthony Bourdain agreed. Some say it’s a signature dish of the city, certainly they aren’t found many other places.

Pea meal bacon it thinly sliced pork loin that has been wet brined, rich with salt and sugar. There is no smoking involved. The loin is then thinly sliced and rolled in cornmeal. In the early days, people used dried, crushed yellow peas, but eventually that morphed into the cornmeal coating.

The sandwich is served on a Kaiser roll with mustard (although there are other toppings if you choose.)

Salty and sweet, tender and toothsome with a wonderful crunch, this is a one-of-a-kind sandwich. The roll is the ideal mate, not overwhelming but supportive. Though it may have a funny, almost unappealing name, a pea meal bacon sandwich from The carousel Bakery is top notch and a great little break form some of the finest food shopping anywhere.

Smelt – that’s all I need to say

Imagine a tavern somewhere in the woods in Michigan. The paneled walls are covered with antler trophies. The tables are mismatched and close together. The bartenders are a blur trying to keep the customers glasses from going empty.  The beer is ice cold and the drinks are strong. The music from the jukebox could be a hit from the 60’s or 70’s. The crowd is a mix old time regulars and families with three or four kids. A perfect picture of the Great Lakes living.

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This is Dick’s Pour House located in lovely Lake Leelanau, one of the many small towns that dot the countryside in Eastern Michigan.

My sister and her husband have a home near there and in October of 2017, I visited to help her with her chestnut harvest.

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After all that backbreaking work, we needed a break and some refreshments so they gave me a tour of the area and Dick’s Pour House was on the route.

We were lucky to get a table. It was Saturday afternoon and a big University of Michigan football game was on TV. Pizza is the specialty but when I saw there was fresh smelt on the menu, I insisted we order a plate.

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Smelt are wonderful little fish that run during certain parts of the year. It’s a big event around Lake Michigan and I grew up eating these little wonders.

I’ve only had them breaded and fried; I’m not sure they come any other way. I love them!

Dick’s smelt were everything fried smelt should be: hot, crispy, salty, plentiful and addicting. They have three of four of Samin Nosrat’s four elements of cooking (Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat) in one dish.  I could’ve eaten the whole plate. even as I write these words the I can taste them.

The only time they can be found in Tucson is during Kingfisher’s Summer Roadtrip, during the Midwest weeks, which is happening right now.

I hope I can get there soon.

Kewpie’s Burgers are a real blast from the past.

 

Kewpie Burger – Kewpie’s – Racine, WI (and other spots in the Midwest)

Kewpie’s Burgers are the burger of my youth, pretty much the burger I use as a benchmark to all others.

Today they are served in a building a half-block from where I used to eat them (not the original mind you building mind you, that one was torn down in 1939. The newest building is a faithful reproduction of the space I ate at, but there are a couple of things missing. The room is larger, tables are not crowded together like at the old place. The classic Kewpie’s aroma is there but this comes from the burgers currently on the flat top and not decades of fried food that lingered in the air ar the tiny place (torn down) across the parking lot.

Part of the lure, beside the heavenly aromas, was the show behind the counter. There the burger master would oversee tens of fresh patties at a time.

You’d order your burger and fries and a handmade shake or creamy root beer. The waitress would write anything down. Instead she’d call out the order following a strict coded system that made sure every burger was cooked and served just how you ordered it. First the servers name. then what the person wanted i.e. cheeseburger, double burger etc. Toppings would come next. When the order was ready for pick up the cook would repeat it back and in a flash the burgers were served.

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The waitresses cooked the sides. It was loud and seemed chaotic but mistakes were few and far between.

The burgers, however you had them, were hot, juicy, meaty and utterly fab! Fries and onion rings held their own. The hard part was deciding whether to have a thick shake or a mug of the house made root beer,

Kewpie’s is still around and I haven’t been there in a long, long time so I don’t know if the show is still part of the experience.

My money is that is and the even though there are more than the original 36 chairs, the place still has a line out the door every day.

Should I return to Racine, Kewpie’s would be the first place I would go.

They were sliced off a log of meat with a spatula, cooked on the grill, assembled in a flash

A Burger as big as Texas (or at least that’s what they say)

Texas Burger – Dog ‘n Suds – Various locations – the one I ate at in Racine, Wisconsin is closed

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Oh, to have a Texas Burger again.

A double cheeseburger with a double bun. Melty American cheese. Two sauces – a Coney sauce, which resembled a spicy chili and the house secret sauce. Lettuce just for appearances. The burgers were flame-grilled which added another level of flavor. These were big, sloppy burgers that were unlike others I’d had.

Served in a basket with fries and a mug of their own root beer, I often ate two of them (although now, I bet I couldn’t eat one.)

This was a drive-in with all the trimmings although since my dad’s shop was just down the block we’d walk over and get our order to go or eat at a table outside. Just across the street from the shop was one of the first McDonald’s in the country and up the street there was a Bob’s Big Boy. The neighborhood was a hamburger heaven.

Apparently, there are still a few around but none within a thousand miles of Tucson.0

 

Corn Season

Cold Corn Chowder – Gramercy Tavern – NYC

Corn again is the center of this food memory.

We were in NYC for our daughter’s wedding and when we had a few minutes to ourselves we decided to do lunch at Gramercy Tavern. Run by Danny Meyer, who is probably one of the smartest restauranteurs in America, Gramercy was on my Restaurant Bucket List. Am I the only person who has one?

Anyway, the heat was on high with humidity that made the air seem like water. Walking into the cool, stylish Tavern (GT has two dining spaces – The Dining Room and The Tavern) was a welcome respite from the oppressive air on the streets.

The room is stunning with gleaming wood, shiny glass and splashes of color everywhere. Servers slide silently but surely between the closely grouped tables. The vibe is clubby and chic.

Again, I don’t remember my entrée, but I started with a bowl of the chilled corn chowder. I was leery about ordering corn soup but it was August in New York and corn on the cob was in its prime. Tomatoes also were in high season. Say what you will about farm fresh in Arizona, nothing reflects summer better than vegetables grown in New York State from June to September.

The soup was unlike anything I’d ever tasted. Corn had been creamed to a not-too-thick texture with a judicious amount of big, juicy kernels of fresh corn. The whole blend was chilled to a temperature that brought out the best in the vegetables in the soup; the chill was almost as refreshing as an iced tea. Sweet and savory in a bowl …. unbelievable.

One spoonful and I was a goner. I tried to make it last but that was impossible.

There is no way that I’ll ever have that soup again. If I get back to NYC, what are the odds that I’ll be there in August, in corn season. What are the odds that the soup will be on the menu that day? Even if I found the recipe, I couldn’t recreate that luscious texture or the rich corn flavor.

Sadly, I don’t have any pictures to drool over, only a flavor flashback.