The only thing better than pasta on sandwiches? Potatoes on sandwiches!
A few standouts quickly emerge -
First there is the breakfast variety – a little eggs, some cheese, maybe a little meat, and some AM potatoes. As recently reported by the Village Voice’s Fork in the Road blog, this type is well represented by the version at Torrisi Italian Specialties in New York’s Little Italy. Provolone, soft scrambled egg, and roasted red spuds. What’s not to like?
Next up, to India, where potato on bread is a fixture — from the sandwich-like masala dosa
(not really bread, but close…)
to the stuffed aloo sandwich (sort of like grilled cheese but with potato goes better than cheddar)
to the vada pav, a hugely popular vegetarian Indian fast food delicacy. This belly bomb marries a giant fried spicy potato ball (vada) on a squishy white bun (pav), and is then topped with any number of chutneys, shredded coconut, or even cheese. Last year Shiv Sena, the ultra-right wing Indian political party, launched its own chain of vada pav joints, called Shiv Vada, with the hopes of making the sandwich as globally ubiquitous as the Whopper.
And lastly who hasn’t enjoyed a French fry sandwich?
In Paris’s Quartier Latin, one can’t walk three feet without a vendor imploring you to buy a sandwich grec (shawarma meat and fries on a baguette or pita)
The British chip butty — butty being a Britishism for sandwich, chip being a Britishism for fry; and using the powers of deduction, you’ve got a French fry sandwich on your hands (one so beloved by the Brits that there’s a song in its honor)
The famous Pittsburgh sandwich shop Primanti Bros knows that everything is better with spuds, and so from the sardines and cheese sammy to its knockwurst hero, the restaurants tops all of its sandwiches with fries.
Okay, this list could go on forever – Israeli falafel often has fries; there’s the Thanksgiving sandwich with mashed potatoes; the Danish open faced Smørrebrød featuring thin sliced boiled potatoes; and the Peruvian lomo saltado (steak and fries) on a bun. But all this carb club conversation is making me hungry, so instead I’ll leave you with one more -
A Japanese pork katsu sandwich that just looks like a baked potato…
Urban Daddy has info on an illicit grilled cheese dealer, operating under the radar out of an apartment in New York’s East Village. Though Urban Daddy reports that the company, called Bread. Butter. Cheese., offers delivery of said hot, gooey, pressed sandwiches, according to BBC’s Facebook page, it is take out only. Which means you’re going to someone’s apartment and paying money for some bread, some butter, and some cheese. Seems a bit of a scam, but I guess, when that jones for a grilled cheese hits and your larder is bare, who you gonna call? Now we know.
For those who didn’t grow up in the Carolinas, I’d like to introduce you to two sweet southern delicacies -
The first you’ve probably seen around, as in the last ten years, this fine, fragile flower of southern femininity blossomed from a small town girl, born and bred in Winston Salem, North Carolina, to a true big city gal.
I’m talking, of course, about Miss Krispy Kreme.
You may not, however, have met this fella -
Cheerwine, an obscenely saccharine, cherry flavored soda, from Salisbury, NC.
In a match made in Dixie heaven, the two paired for a limited run and have been gettin’ on like a house afire, selling out around the Carolinas.
Classic glazed KKs, filled with Cheerwine cream and topped with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. Mmmm mmmm.
Well folks, there’s only one week left to sample the product of this sweet, sweet marriage. So get those big wheels a turnin’ and head down to the southland.
As a little tease for our upcoming examination of potato sandwiches, Mattaouille includes of the cacharro hotdog, topped with corn and potato sticks in his review of LA’s new Brazilian lunch truck.
Food Section reports on a robot that each sewage. Kinda like a garbage disposal?
When panting just isn’t getting the job done, your pooch can hit up the world’s first ice cream truck for pups (Eater.)
Last week’s Next Food Network Star saw the cheftestants competing for the affections of Miss Paula Deen by doing their best versions of gourmet food truck cuisine.
So it felt fitting that while attending the inaugural outing of the LA Flea Market, I stumbled upon last year’s also ran, Chef Debbie Lee, serving up her “mobile take on Korean pub grub” from way up high in her new lunch truck, Ahn-Joo.
She was among most excellent company at the event’s truck food court, which also included the mobile kitchens of other TV-made famous chefs, Susan Fenniger (Border Grill truck) and Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites Fried Chicken Truck.)
While under normal circumstances, I probably would have opted for the food of Fenniger or Lefebvre (whose culinary renown came before TV fame as opposed to the path taken by Lee), it was about 10,000 degrees at Los Angeles’ Dodgers Stadium where the event was held, and the thought of eating anything warm made me want to cry.
After quick survey of the cold offerings on hand, I realized that my choices were sushi from the truck Fishlips (but a hot truck plus sushi does not equal love in my book), ice cream from Coolhaus (line too long) or the spicy soba salad from Ahn-Joo.
As there was no line to speak of Ahn-Joo, and I thought a little spice might be just what I needed to cool off, I went that way, not remembering that Ahn-Joo was the not quite Next Food Network Star’s new project. So imagine my surprise when who should take my order but no other than the somewhat cranky seeming (but it was hot so we forgive) Chef Debbie, herself.
I went for the spicy chilled buckwheat noodles with fugi apples and Korean veggies and an order of spicy chicken and Korean peppers skewers.
I can’t say I was overly impressed with either dish.
The salad was basically an enormous wad of soba noodles, which though well cooked, majorly overwhelmed the crispy fuji apples and the Korean veggies (which ended up consisting merely of some julienned carrots, cucumbers, and red onions.) The dressing was cloying and not particularly spicy. But at least there was a hard boiled egg, as everything’s better with egg.
The skewers were better. The chicken was nicely fried and chewy and the peppers had a good crunchy char.
Overall, a general eh meal. But it came with a semi-celebrity sighting, which is always good for digestion.
I went to high school in the golden age of the vending machine, before children’s health advocates sought to remove the blasted things from the hallowed halls of our nation’s schools. To save lunch money so as to be able to put it toward more elicit enterprises, I often skipped the cafeteria (despite the fact that it offered delicious Chick-fil-a sandwiches) in favor of the super cheap “canteen,” a vast city of Coke machines and Frito-Lay.
Though I usually opted for what was considered the “cool” lunch combo – a pack of Mambas and a Diet Coke, I sometimes “accidentally” pushed the button for Red Zingers, only to be “forced” to eat the day-glo cakes because my maladroit hands had misfired. I felt shame, but still oh so happy to sink my teeth into the artificial moistness of the buoyant flesh of the little suckers.
Now, however, my humiliation in enjoying snack cakes can be outlawed like oh so many vending machines, thanks to bakeries that are doing their own high end versions of childhood favorites.
In Southern California comes Cake Monkey, which offers a wide assortment of prettily packaged treats.
I am particularly fond of the Cakewiches (especially the peanut butter creme) because I love a good chocolate coating.
In Denver, Watercourse Bakery offers a vegan version of the classic Ho Ho, a beautifully constructed monstrosity of mysterious, but reliably sourced ingredients
If only they’d sold these in the canteen, I could have spent those formative years with my head held high instead mired in a bed of cream filled ignominy.
The UK’s News of the World reports that Tesco, a British grocery chain, has launched a brand new Las-Sandwich. As you might have guessed, this ingenious concoction consists of two slices of old fashioned processed white bread, surrounding noodle sheets, tomato sauce, cheese, and a little mayo for good measure.
While Tesco claims that this particular piece of carb-loading is the world’s first lasagna sandwich, it’s not alone in its pairing of bread and pasta. Who hasn’t marveled at the genius of the baked ziti pizza? (Not a sandwich, but if you fold it up New York style, it almost counts…)
Then there is Japan’s gift to the starch lover, the yakisoba sandwich, toothsome buckwheat noodles piled high on a squishy hot dog style bun.
Similar in style, courtesy of the Clover Bakery in San Jose comes the spaghetti sandwich (with meatballs of course)
Crunchier than its pasta pan pals is Nathan’s take on the classic Chow Mein Sandwich
And, finally the Wachtung deli in Montclair, NJ serves up the Benny Mac, a chicken cutlet, bacon, barbeque sauce, and mac& cheese, stuffed in a giant Italian roll.
And there you have it, great pasta sandwiches in history. Next week’s course – prominent potato heroes (of the sandwich variety.) We have a lot to learn.