Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In Search of the Perfect Sandwich or, REAL Food

As I sit here in my lovely Maida Vale flat in a total food coma, staring at the half eaten Asda pizza in front of me, I'm reminded again of the plethora of fantastic food offerings in the US - enough to induce several food comas per day, in fact.  Now, don't get me wrong - in terms of fresh, high quality food and dining out - London wins hands down.  Maybe it's just where I live or where I've lived, but I've never really been as impressed with the quality of restaurants in the US as I have in the UK.

The photo above was taken at a P-Town Wal-Mart.  I took it because I wanted to show my British friends just how many varieties we have of potato chips, or "crisps" alone and that, if, faced with this choice everyday, you could easily become one of the statistics for national obesity.  Easily.  After having not stepped into an American supermarket for such a long time, I felt like the motto of American grocery stores should be "Anything you want ... you got it."  Then again, it was Wal-Mart.  And before you judge me for shopping there, I'll let you know that I was looking for a good deal on Swiss Miss hot chocolate and Uno.

But I digress.

Snacks, fast food, delis, etc. - Americans do it better.  Not differently, but better.  And this is one thing I will stand by.  I'll never forget the time we stopped at a rural French gas station on our way to Barneville, Normandy and picked up a couple of authentic baguette sandwiches.  Oh my god, it was so depressing for me - one slice of ham lovingly cut into about 5 different little circles and spread along the length of the baguette, with a bit of butter and a similarly slimline piece of cheese.  It was delicious, but I couldn't help thinking that something very important was missing ... FILLING.

This is a sandwich from a local favorite - Joe's Java, located in Edgewood, Washington.  My mom takes great pleasure in treating me to lunch several times a week at this place and watching as I greedily wolf down the sandwich of my choice as if I haven't seen food in months.  I particularly enjoy the Poor Boy Sandwich, pictured here.  Tell me my fellow Frenchies and Brits, does what you see here disgust you?  Enough layers of meat to feed a small family you say?  "That's not a baguette, that's blasphemy!" you say?  Well yes, it sort of is.  But it's so delicious.  The amount of mayonaise on that thing alone could give you a coronary.  But oh, it's so good.  If it makes you feel any better, I usually eat half for lunch and save the other half for a mid-afternoon snack.  Don't know if that just grossed you out even more though.

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