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Friday, October 23, 2009

A Carte, A Garage Door And A Counter...

Lunch this week was such an easy and fun adventure. The weather held up nicely for this quasi-Indian summer that San Francisco is happy to welcome. It allowed me to walk to various Sandwich Stops that have become all the craze of the city. My first stop was CARTE415 on Monday. This gourmet sandwich cart is located inside 101 2nd Street, which according to one Yelp review is "A great indoor public space for folks to have their lunch or coffee breaks or even set up a mini team meeting." It offers it's audience freshly prepared, sustainable and affordable sandwiches geared for those "on the run." In the past I have had the fra’mani charcuterie which is their sopressata, cured ham and prosciutto served with quince membrillo, gruyere cheese, peppercress and Italian chilies. Now, I come from Jersey. A very northern part. I'd say Soprano-land. So I know a thing or two about Italian hoagies or subs. And this particular sandwich is a great merger of the Jersey grinder transplanted with left coast mentality. Meaning it almost tastes healthier. Maybe it's the size or the portion, but I definitely don't feel as guilty as I used to, when I was kid. That may also have to do with my Rhonda Byrne-mindset. I think that all things going into my body are good. And therefore they are.

Well, you wanna know what else is good at CARTE415? Currently, they're doing turkey confit. It is confit of heritage turkey leg and breast with fresh mozzarella cheese, local fig jam and saulsalito springs watercress. Now, again, doesn't that have a healthy sound to it? Really it just sounds good and it was everything you would expect it to be and more. It was ready for me, upon arrival, there was no line to speak of at the time (12:05pm on a Monday). They offer green packaging and even 101 2nd Street, the "great glass building," goes through their trash to compost every last bit of garbage. Oh yeah, try the tomato gazpacho and the hummus (when they do it.)

Tuesday we hit the garage door that kindly opens daily during the work week from 11:30am to 1:30pm (or until they run out!), as they like to put it. And they did that day. We got the last
marin sun farms pork porchetta sandwich stuffed with figs, lemon, garlic, & sage, aioli, shaved fennel, arugula at kitchenettesf. This to-go, truck-stop garage door is located in the heart of the DogPatch district near 20th on Illinois Street and is a collaborative effort of several chefs that happen to work in some of the great kitchens in Bay Area. They make around 100 or so sandwiches according to one of the staff, when I asked her. That day, I also traded half of my sandwich for half of their roasted kadota fig, apple, & blue cheese baguette topped with shaved fennel, toasted walnut-parsley salsa. Although you would think the pork to be the better offering of the two, it was the meatless sandwich, that took the prize of most delectable, according to me and my sandwich trader, who will remain nameless. Ok it was Vytas.

It was a kitchen counter called The Sentinel where I met a friend on Wednesday for Dennis Leary's famous BEEF AND PORK MEATBALLS SANDWICH WITH TOMATO SAUCE AND PARMESAN. Leary, who commands the kitchen at Canteen, does double duty in an even smaller kitchen that once housed a cigar shop. He basically gives every sandwich or daily special he offers his blessing. I like the fact that he is out there handing off each order. That personal touch is what makes this place so appealing. The handcrafted seasonal menu is sensational every time I visit. The line moves quick with friendly staff expediting each part of the process. My friend was nice enough to give me a bite of his PORK LOIN WITH PINEAPPLE, CHILI, CILANTRO, CARROTS. I was impressed. The other highlights on the current menu include his CORNED BEEF WITH CABBAGE, SWISS, RUSSIAN DRESSING and SMOKED SALMON AND FRESH SALMON WITH FENNEL AND APPLES. Both remind me of the Jewish delis I was raised on in Jersey and New York.

The sandwich revolution is going strong in the city. It is inspiring and truly tasty. And it doesn't break the bank. I really want to throw my hat in this game. I have so many ideas. Wanna hear about them?

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