Most of my childhood, for lunch I was saddled with sandwiches, often made with little more than cheap white bread, a smear of Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard, and bad bologna or something called “olive loaf.” As soon as I was old enough to escape sandwiches, I did, and to this day I still tend to make double portions of entrees for dinner so that I can have a hot meal for lunch the next day.
Still, I’m starting to re-embrace the idea of meat (or other stuff) on bread, expanding my definition of a “sandwich.” I’ve got my favorites in Seattle. Just about anything from Paseo will work, thanks. Come to think of it, I can probably eat Paseo’s sandwiches every day, though if budget is a factor, a banh mi from one of many Seattle’s Vietnamese delis would do just fine.
These days, there’s much more to explore. For example, I’ve yet to hit most of the promising sandwich joints in Pioneer Square beyond Salumi, but with a day job that keeps me in the home office, I rarely go out for lunch. I’ll find a way.
For now, read on for some cooked dough places where I spent dough recently, starting with the sandwich shop closest to home and finishing with a stray away from traditional sandwiches. The journey takes us from Manhattan to Columbia City to Essex, and beyond.
I’ve walked past Homegrown hundreds of times since it opened in Queen Anne, and harkening back to childhood days, never felt compelled to enter. Until recently. And on that day, they were out of my desired filling and bread, so I settled for half of a Roast Pork sandwich. The apple butter paired well with the pork loin, but the bread-to-meat ratio was too high, and $7 plus tax and tip is too much for a half-sandwich like this.
Like sandwich shops, steakhouses are generally not my cup of tea. But when the brunch gang wanted to get together, it seemed like a good chance to try Manhattan. What I wanted wasn’t on the recently reconfigured menu, so the server talked me into a Pork Belly Sandwich, which he described as “rad.” The sandwich wasn’t bad, with lots of bitter arugula to counter the fattiness of the pork (and the accompanying fries), but it’s also dropped off the brunch menu.
Columbia City Ale House is proud that Seattle Weekly called the Chicken Breast Sandwich “the best chicken sandwich in Seattle.” I was not part of that judging. It’s not a bad sandwich by any means, as it’s nicely breaded and seared before being baked in the oven with mozzarella cheese. I’m not sure about the need for both cream cheese and mayonnaise, and as chicken sandwiches go, I can think of many better ones, including Skillet’s scrumptious Fried Chicken Sammy.
Will an open-faced sandwich fare better with me? At charming little Dinette, I learned that the answer is yes. Their Toasts had been the talk of the town for some time before I finally tried them. The Rapini Pesto is earthy and delicious, featuring Beecher’s sharp cheddar, fresh mozzarella, and spicy pickled peppers.
Also from Dinette, here’s the Fig & Prosciutto Toast. The fig and pig are a fantastic combination, being both sweet and savory, and I like the inclusion of both mizuna and anchovy spread to boost the flavors.
For a different type of sandwich at Dinette, read about their delicious ice cream sandwiches.
Continuing the toast theme, I recently snacked at Essex (as a prelude to pizza at Delancey) and had to make a tough pick of just one item from the Bread section of the menu. Roasted Cauliflower won the day, served with harissa aioli and pine nuts. Flavorful, with nice char on the cauliflower.
Looking like a distant relative to pizza, and perhaps liberally defined as an open-faced sandwich of sorts, a combination platter at an Ethiopian restaurant comes on injera bread, with more of that injera on the side. Here’s a combination offering from Adey Abeda. Nice flavors in the lentils and vegetables, but I’m all about the meats and using the injera to sop up their sauces in tibs and wat preparations.