Saturday, May 12, 2012

All Hail!!!...

the noble sandwich. There is one thing on which Chuck and I agree (actually there is more than one) and that is eating great meat between two slices of great bread or on a great roll can be an awe-inspiring experience.

So wherever we travel we seek out good regional sandwich specialties. And although we are here in New Orleans, the land of the poor boy, we subscribe to the dictum that man (or woman) can’t live on poor boys alone. So today’s blog centers on great sandwiches from two different local favorites.

We had multiple errands to do in Metairie, and since we enjoyed our previous lunch at Martin’s Wine Cellar (see blog on April 20, 2012), we saw no need to seek out a lunch alternative. On this occasion, Martin’s was no less busy than during our previous visit, but again we managed to find one of the last empty tables.

Today, my selection was the Deli Deluxe with hot corned beef, hot pastrami, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and Creole mustard on an
onion roll. Now, when I think onion roll, I think of a round roll roughly the size of a kaiser. Instead, this was a very large oblong roll that was crammed with wonderful meats—especially the pastrami. I am never sure which of the spices used as a rub it is that imparts the distinctive taste but pastrami is like no other meat. It makes for the perfect sandwich.

As a side, I chose the cole slaw, and all I can say is: WOW! This was great cole slaw composed of thin shreds of green cabbage and grated
carrots in a creamy dressing that contained a good quantity of parsley along with another herb that I couldn’t identify; (Chuck thought maybe it was dill.) And as good as my sandwich was, it was made only better when I added a scoop of slaw atop the meats.

Chuck ordered the Pastrami Mouth-buster on rye. When he placed the order, the woman at the counter asked if he wanted lettuce, tomato, or mustard. “No” he replied.

“Not even cheese?” she asked.

“No. Just the pastrami.” Just the pastrami he got. Heaven he was in. And he added the red skin potato salad to round out his lunch.

Now Martin’s is not inexpensive eats. But like the sign that used to hang—and maybe it still does for all I know—on the wall at Sam’s Cold Cuts on Chew Avenue in the Olney section of Philadelphia read: “Good meat ain’t cheat. Cheap meat ain’t good.” Truer words were never spoken.

As I said at the start of this blog, great bread is the foundation of a
great sandwich and we already knew that Jeff Talbot at Ancora Pizzeria makes great bread. So when Ancora decided to switch from serving a limited lunch menu of pizza and salad on Fridays and Saturdays to serving sandwiches and salad, we knew we needed to check this out.

We started by sharing a salad of roasted zucchini and yellow squash with fresh basil that was tossed in a fruity olive oil and topped with quartirolo cheese, which is similar to feta, but not quite as intense. This was so large that it could have been a light lunch for one person.

Chuck’s sandwich choice was the Ancora Muffaletta made with
capicola that is dry cured in house. The olive salad was made with their house marinated olives and house pickled and marinated cauliflower. And, instead of the more traditional Swiss cheese, Ancora used thin shaved sharp provolone. A muffaletta purist might object to Ancora’s reworking this iconic New Orleans sandwich. We didn’t object at all. Especially when the sandwich contains so many delicious and high quality house made ingredients.

I chose their take on the Philadelphia roast pork sandwich with mustard greens substituting for broccoli rabe. And the use of the
greens was a definite improve-ment over the overly bitter rabe that I had at Stein’s a month ago. For cheese, Ancora used taleggio, “…a pungent cow's milk cheese from the Lombardy region of Italy. The cheese is cave-aged and becomes quite tangy….Prior to the 1900's the cheese was called ‘stracchino’ which means ‘tired’ or ‘exhausted.’ The reference is to the tired herds of cattle making their journey from the Alpine pastures back to the plains. The exhausted herd was still able to produce milk for making cheese and thus the term ‘stracchino’ was born” ( To me, this is similar in texture to brie, but with a little more “bite.”

Two great lunches. Four great sandwiches. Both were 5.0 Addie experiences.

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