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Sandwiches That You Will Like

January 2, 2008

Sandwiches That You Will Like (Alt. link here.) is a documentary in the style of the FoodChannel’s Unwrapped series.  It’s a direct and to-the-point story about delicious sandwiches and the fine people that enjoy them.  There’s the St.Paul, the Cheesesteak, the Beef on Weck, the Bahn Mi, the Loose Meat, the Chipped Ham Slammer, and many wonderfully meaty others.

Book Cover
Based on a book of the same name written by Becky Mercuri, it’s not at all for the weak of heart. The only vegetarian amongst them is a Falafel that apparently brings Israelis and Palestinians together in meaningful ways.  The film veered off a bit there, but for good reason.  And not bad for the vegetarian minority to be depicted as the one that will draw the road-map to peace in the Middle East, but the power of shared food we know is strong.  Stronger still is the power of a regionally distinctive sandwich that draws a line between the past and the present, between an older way of life, and this one.  Most of these sandwiches are dying breeds…nobody’s making them anymore, and when the current crop of shops selling them finally succumb to the developer’s front-loader, they’ll be gone.

One of my greatest food memories of a trip to Europe over New Years 06/07 was in the Tuscan town of Lucca.  We walked through a market that was closing up for the night, and wrapping their belts and wallets and other Lucchesi trinkets, but one stand stood brightly lit and still with it a line.  They were selling Frates (FRAH-taze), and damn were they good.

They aren’t sandwiches at all, but the feeling was the same.  They’re regionally distinctive, old, and still loved by those in the know.  I remember them fondly as if they were sandwiches.  Crispy, chewy, lemony doughnut sandwiches rolled in coarse sugar. 

After watching Sandwiches That You Will Like, I feel as if I’ve developed a whole new set of cravings for sandwiches I didn’t know existed.  Seriously, Egg-Foo-Young patty on wonder bread with pickles and mayo?  That’s the St.Paul, and it’s only found in St.Louis.  Why is it called the St.Paul?  NOBODY KNOWS!  That’s the beauty of it.

The chipped ham looks pretty stellar,  what with the way thinly sliced ham frys up crispy and nice, and although I’m not at all a fan of the tired and lame Muffalettas pawned off at so many delis around the country, the one from Country Grocery in NOLA looks ‘effing phenomonal.  This is what it boils down too sometimes…something interesting yet simple and pragmatic, done perfectly well.  The $742 lunch at the French Laundry seems pretty superfluous when held up against the raw power of a straightforward Roast Beef Sandwich on Kummelweck Bread, but then again…they’ve both got a place on my plate.

Film Header
Here’s the full list of sandwiches: (from wikipedia)

# Tripe — George’s, Italian Market (Philadelphia)
# Peanut butter — Peanut Butter & Co., New York City
# Beef on weck — Schwabl’s, West Seneca, New York
# Roast beef — Kelly’s, Revere Beach, Revere, Massachusetts
# French dip — Philippe’s, Los Angeles, California
# Italian beef — Mr. Beef, Chicago
# Loose meat — Taylor’s Maid-Rite, Marshalltown, Iowa
# Cheesesteak — Dalessandro’s, Roxborough; Geno’s and Pat’s, South Philadelphia
# Hoagie — Chickie’s, South Philadelphia
# Pig ears; snouts — C & K Barbecue, St. Louis, Missouri
# Brain — Ferguson’s, St. Louis
# St. Paul — Kim Van, St. Louis
# Bánh mì — Huong Lan, San Jose, California
# Lucy Sheets, outside My Ngoc, Pittsburgh
# Primanti — Primanti’s, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
# Chipped ham — Isaly’s, West View, Pennsylvania
# Hot Brown — Brown Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky
# Lobster roll — Red’s Eats, Wiscasset, Maine
# Po’ boy — Domilise’s, New Orleans, Louisiana
# Muffaletta — Central Grocery, New Orleans
# Barbecue — Thelma’s, Houston, Texas
# Falafel — Sepal, Watertown, Massachusetts
# Pastrami — Katz’s Deli, New York City

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 10, 2010 9:29 pm

    Taylor’s Maid Rite is the best! – Julie

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