The one I eat most often these days seems to be PB&J. Very little prep time required.
Sometime try a sandwich from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. They are incredible, at least in part because they bake the best bread I've ever tasted.
Very little prep time is not an important consideration for me. I like PB&J well enough, and I eat them more or less frequently, but they don’t prompt the savoring that a truly delicious sandwich demands.
This time of year, and especially the coming two months, the only reason not to have tomato and cucumber every day would be if I had the chance for pane cunzatu for a bit of variety.
And if I were looking for the most delicious bread in this country, I might start in San Francisco, and will keep an eye out for Tartine next time I am that way.
The secret to an outstanding savory sandwich for me, is making your own mayonnaise. Hellmans' (Best Foods) is pretty good, but compared with fresh can come off as a bit rancid.
And thank you for those detailed descriptions. I think I'll take the trouble to get some kalamata olives down in Greektown today, just so I can slice them and enjoy them with our fresh, midwest tomatoes!
Where is Alvarado Street Bakery? And was that recommended bread crunchy white sourdough?
We eat a lot of kalamata olives. They improve almost every dish. Capers are pretty critical, too.
Alvarado Street Bakery is in Petaluma. They produce a commercial bread in several flavors. Any of the sprouted wheat kind are excellent. However, flaxseed and no-salt are to be strictly avoided. ASB bread is available in only one of the grocery stores we find ourselves in around here, and when they have it I buy about six loaves and keep it in the freezer. Generally when I see it, six loaves is about all they have. I always fear that it will discourage them from ordering it again if I buy up their whole stock, but I never seem to leave any behind.
Not sure how we first found it. Maybe Rhonda just happened on it somewhere here, or maybe we first got it at the estimable Oliver's in Santa Rosa when we were out there.
My goodness, plenty available here in Chicago at our Whole Foods stores. Hope their new owner Amazon hasn't discontinued the product, as they have for many of my other WFM favorites.
Interesting that, according to the ASB website
, they began as a left-wing cooperative in the 1970's:
...Our roots can be traced back to the "Food for People not for Profit" movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. We were originally part of a non-profit organization called Red Clover Worker's Brigade....
How much of that era's uniqueness and creativity are we still enjoying 50 years later?
Well, maybe WFM would be another place to look, but the nearest one is in West Hartford, a bit of a hike from here an not on one of our usual routes. For whatever reason, the Stop & Shop in Winsted carries it, and a few other stores have had it from time to time, but are less reliable. Seems perfectly reasonable to me that I would like bread from a left wing cooperative.
Every day, I seek out the best sandwich I can find. When I was in SF a couple years ago, I walked four miles to get to Tartine: it was worth it. This summer, I've been interrupting my days at the Smith library to walk to State Street deli, working my way down their list
of speciality sandwiches (for $5.95 - they would be triple that in SF). My favorites so far are the Bronx Tale and the Manchester.
Walking 4 miles for lunch in San Francisco could be doubly enjoyable, as it is a fine place to walk.
You should have seen San Francisco in the post-war 1950's, when my brother and I were growing up. Back in those blue-collar (non-Yuppie) days, there were many more cable car lines, corner grocers, real ethnic neighborhoods...fewer cars; no freeways; no smog. Walking every block was a new adventure. My brother and I ran the streets, with nothing but an SF Muni school pass, and a Flexible Flyer to double-deck (brother on the bottom, steering) screaming down those steep hills!
I am intrigued by the notion that a place might be discouraged from re-ordering product if you bought them out. But perhaps there are places out there that re-order feverishly as customers refuse to buy anything from their already ample stock on hand.
And, have you considered extending your prime tomato/cucumber season by growing them indoors?
I am glad you have chosen to enumerate several of your favorite sandwiches. It is a worthy effort.
Like you, I don't think PB&J would rise to the top of any list I would have either, unless I were trapped in a cave for several weeks and it was either PB&J or cave crickets. Not that cave crickets can not also be delectable, especially when lightly sauteed in some good olive oil with a few garlic, and served with pesto. But clearly not a sandwich.
This time of year, garden tomato and cheese is my go to, maybe some basil if not in a hurry, but most important is the bread, and my easy go to is When Pigs Fly from Maine, available at WFM, a 20 minute walk for me (or 35 minute bike), Pumpernikel (which is real pumpernickel ie with molasses and caraway seeds, no caramel coloring) or the NY Rye.
In the winter I go for the same bread, but with canned salmon, not exotic, but nutritious.
Our first tomatoes just came in - 3 cherries. Delicious and along with a fresh cuke, some fresh basil and fresh baked bread from my very local bakery, it just doesn’t get any better.
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