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Vanity Fair July 13, 2009

Posted by Janet & Hich in : SANDWHICH musings , trackback

Dear Friends — a very cool and exciting thing happened!!!  We got mentioned in Vanity Fair magazine — the current one with Heath Ledger on the cover.  We’re in the little section where they list their favorite things — favorite honeymoon spot, etc.  We’re in the “Our Favorite Sandwiches Across America” part.  They said our meatloaf sandwich has a “cult following,” so now I know what all those pagan rituals happening outside our door at midnight were all about.  No no!!!  Just kidding.  The only thing that could qualify as a ritual is when Hich is in the kitchen making the meatloaf and I can smell it and it is early in the morning and I am drinking coffee and trying to enter, say, payroll in our accounting program, and I’m feeling all not-so-thrilled about the slightly tedious work, and then — mmmmm —  I smell the meatloaf cooking and sometimes I have to spring out of my chair and do a little celebratory modern dance.  But usually I just try to concentrate on my work knowing full well that our kitchen, with Hich at the helm, is in good hands, literally (since we make almost everything by hand) and figuratively (since we have such an awesome staff).

It is a good thing to smell food cooking and want to jump out of your seat about it.  I remember when I was living with a family in Italy and it would be about 10:45am and already I could smell lunch cooking and this would be while I was drinking coffee so the savory tomato/onion smells would mix with my coffee and milk smells, and the slightly crispy sugar on the outside of that brioche I might be eating (10:45am notwithstanding) would mix with the olive-oily smells in the air.  I can smell it right now as I am writing.  That’s the thing about microwaved foods — there is no aroma that fills your house, unless it is from the accidentally overheated plastic.  Sure, I have eaten my fair share of Amy’s Indian Entrees, and Trader Joe’s “Chicken Empanaditas” straight from the freezer to the warming device, but still — there is something really special about that long-cooked-food smell and I am so lucky to be able to enter accounting information while smelling really good aromas at our restaurant.

I often get asked by people who have never been to Sandwhich if we are like some really cool Italian Deli.  I never know quite what to answer.  In Brooklyn, where I used to live, there was a really cool Italian Deli that could make the killer-est Prosciutto di Parma sandwich.  One time when I went there, Steve Buscemi opened the door for me.  Nice.  (But now we’re in Vanity Fair so we are just as cool, if not cooler, than he is).  The thing is, we aren’t a really cool deli — we’re a really weird sandwich shop.  We toast and grind aromatic cumin seeds before we add them to our meatloaf.  We can’t even serve ketchup straight up (unless you ask).  Instead, we have to mix a crazy traditional Tunisian spicy sauce into it.  We soak our cut potatoes in turmeric water before making them into fries.  I know this must sound like bragging, and that’s appropriate, because that’s exactly what I am doing:  bragging.  I’m really proud of what we have done at Sandwhich, pushing the envelope in so many areas and still ending up with a line out our door most days. 

Thank you, then, for standing in that line.  Vanity Fair was flattering, but the real flattery is there — that you’d wait for our food.  Dang.  That means so much to us.  We just hope you find interesting things to look at, clever people to talk to, and interesting smells to smell while you wait…

Cheers

Janet

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

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