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Coffee, Roast Beef and Life September 22, 2009

Posted by Janet & Hich in : SANDWHICH musings , trackback

Here are the Cliff’s Notes:

  • Did you know we brew a super delicious cup of coffee at Sandwhich? Now that the weather is a little bit cooler, you might not mind a perfect cup of coffee with the Grilled Gruyere, or The Smoker, or the Grilled Marinated Chicken.
  • The Smoker is a really good roast beef sandwich, maybe the best roast beef sandwich you ever had. Come try it!
  • Sandwhich Tee Shirts are in! Very cool sardines-in-a-can design on the back with “Sardines are not for sissies” text. I think you’ll like them.
  • Life is good, even when it is bad.

… now here’s the more long-winded part with ample discussion of each of the above topics…

OK. Coffee.

We keep it really simple by precisely following the rules of coffee brewing: Freshly-roasted and freshly-ground coffee brewed in clean brewing equipment. So our coffee is really good — come try it. We made the decision to only brew caffeinated coffee at Sandwich. That may change someday, but for now, doing a great job of brewing exactly one kind of coffee seemed to do the trick.

The Smoker: All that trouble for a roast beef sammich? Well, yes. Of course.

Here’s a description of The Smoker so you can start imagining how good it is. We take Niman Ranch top round and pack it with fresh herbs and cracked pepper and then we carefully age it for a week in our coolers, letting the meat soak up the flavors of the herbs and other seasonings. Then we cold-smoke it in a smoker Hich designed and our pal, Leo Gaev made (and I only say that because it is kind of a cool design). Hich smokes those top rounds for THREE HOURS. But because it is cold-smoked, the flavor is beautiful and subtle. Then we take it out of the smoker and pan sear it so it has a beautiful brown crust on all sides. Then it is slow-roasted in our ovens. The result is the most perfectly textured medium-rare roast beef you ever had. No gray slices here — all rosy and tender and, well, perfect.

The Smoker is a sandwich that highlights the perfect flavors of the beef. Sourdough bread is grilled on the inside only, so you have the nice comfort-food-y feeling on the outside, with no sharp toast edges to injure your mouth, and the nice grilled flavor on the inside. On one slice, our lightly spicy harissa mayonnaise is spread (harissa is a traditional Tunisian spiced chile sauce). Then we put a "flosp" of our homemade cole slaw on the other slice. A flosp is an invented word that means a generous spoonful. Katrina, my friend since age 3, invented that word in the middle of social studies in 9th grade and I can’t possibly tell you the story right now. The salient feature of the cole slaw, if cole slaw can have a salient feature is this: creme fraiche. Nope. Not mayo. We like mayo. But here it’s creme fraiche which is heavy cream turne d into yogurt. We also put mustard in the cole slaw and that makes it good too.

Then we put thin slices of the tender roast beef in there and we close up the sandwich and we cut it on the diagonal as always and there you have it. A perfect roast beef sandwich. That’s a lot of trouble for a sandwich. Taste it, and you’ll see why we continue to obsess over food around here. There’s just no other way to do it.

Now think of the very expensive roast beef you buy at very nice grocery stores in the plastic thing and then you take the slices out and they are somehow watery and gray-ish and "perfectly acceptable". And now reread what I just wrote. There is no comparison, so please forgive me for my lack of humility, but our roast beef is the best roast beef ever that there ever was.

Sandwich Tee Shirts

We now have new tee shirts for sale. The design was done by my friend Gary Hirsch who has such a cool website www.doodlehouse.com. Gary and I were in kindergarten together, and we also graduated high school together. In kindergarten, Gary stole my superball and then, when I demanded it back, he threw it across the playground and said, "here’s your dumb superball!". But at least I got it back. And we’ve been friends ever since. All through school, Gary would "doodle’ and make these funny drawings, usually of fish. So when it was time to reprint the "Sardines are not for sissies" tee shirt, I knew just who to ask. He has honestly and truly been drawing these fish since kindergarten. He starts with the eye. Now he has an array of incredibly cool drawings (and fun products) on his website so please check it out. Here’s something else: Gary was in first grade with me and the aforementioned Katrina.

Moving on.

A word or two about life being good. I have always thought life was good, even when it was pretty difficult. And lately, I have added "everything" to the list of good things. I love my son and I love constructing complicated and scary "Bionicle" toys with him. I love my evil NY Times double acrostic puzzles. I love my friends. I love the staff here at Sandwhich. I love the two customers who came yesterday all the way from Raleigh. I love my tiny apartment. I love the spider outside my tiny apartment — a huge, strangely nocturnal spider! I love her! My garden: I cannot believe the tiny eggplant emerging from my potted plants. I’m grateful that both of my cats are age 20+ and counting.

Here are some other people I am especially grateful to right now.

Marc Zawel who wrote the nicest blog entry about us. Thank you, Marc! Look at his beautiful pictures of Morocco!

Gus Grubba, mad scientist computer guy who works on our website in exchange for sardine sandwiches and who recently rebuilt our utterly broken computer and recovered all the data. Look at his beautiful pictures of trees and water and Italy.

Gordon Zacharias who hosts our website and is always johnny-on-the-spot to help us even if he is too busy. Gordon is currently the president of the local "convivium" of Slow Food and we’re very grateful to Slow Food too.

The Carrboro Farmer’s Market which you can still vote for as the best right here. And remember to check out www.doodlehouse.com

Tell your friends and enemies about our website and mailing list! And thank you!

Janet, Hich and staff

407 West Franklin Street - Chapel Hill, NC 27516 - (919) 929 2114

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