I’ve been somewhat lazy with writing lately and I am unsure why. The reason may be that I will be moving shortly and anxiety is driving me from devoting time here. Or perhaps I have some mysterious disease that keeps me from writing. Or the most likely situation, I get really fucking lazy and just don’t devote the time to writing something worthwhile. Anyhoob, I have a couple of restaurants that I’ve taken photos at and have some short notes on but I have neglected to write anything substantial about them. The positive thing is that I’m writing again. So without further ado…
I decided to review a meal I made at home. Specifically a samich I made. One thing to note, I love junk food. I seriously love junk food. Pizza, burgers, tacos, wings, Thai, American influenced Chinese food… shit, you name it and chances are that I like it. So, on a lazy Sunday I sometimes get lazy and order something or pick something greasy up from a drive through. Today, I was strong and picked up some fresh goods from the store, made a healthy meal, and arguably ended up having something tastier and likely ended up more satisfied/satiated. The bonus of eating at home as I’m sure everyone knows, you generally get fresher products and you spend far less than you would going out.
I do most of my shopping at Publix. Publix is a chain of grocery stores that started in Florida and is only available in the South. According to Wikipedia, Publix can be found in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. For those of you from the North, it’s similar to a classier Kroger. You can see a Kroger akin to Publix located in the Detroit area (Coolidge north of 14 Mile). The only other way I can relate Publix would be to call it a less-hip Wholefoods. It’s also considerably less expensive. Publix does carry a decent amount of organic foods, at a premium of course. Why am I describing Publix? The reason is that I believe to make a great samich, you need to have great resources or components to include. If possible I like to hit up one of the fruit/veggie stands to get my greens (as well as fruits), but Publix is a good stand-in when you can’t make it there. A bonus of making it to the fruit/veggie stand is that you generally spend less and you generally get a larger amount of fruit or vegetables to pick from. Here is what I used to make my samich:
First, the bread. I love a great Rye bread or a Pumpernickel/Rye swirl. Depending on what you’re having, sourdough can also be great. Unfortunately Publix didn’t have a great selection of fresh baked bread so I opted for Pepperidge Farm’s seeded rye. Apparently this bread is ‘Jewish Rye’, I’m guessing it was somehow Chosen? In a literal sense I did choose the bread, and placed it in my basket so maybe that’s their angle:
The kicker for me after the bread is the primary component of the samich. What should you slap between those 2 slices of carbs? Why not something you love? I happen to love pepper, thus I love Pastrami. There is nothing better than a meat that has been brined, smoked, and then encrusted with pepper, garlic, coriander, paprika, cloves, allspice and mustard. It lends a bit of crunch as well as some kick. Today, I decided to go low-cal and got the Turkey Pastrami. Publix offers their brand of lunch meats that are mediocre yet passable, but they also offer Boar’s Head. Boar’s Head isn’t cheap but it’s worth the price… it’s like the difference between a hotdog and a good bratwurst. The first will do if you’re in a bind for cash or it’s all you have but unless you’re 5 years old, you’ll probably want the meat that isn’t composed of tails and assholes.
Now, to take a samich worthy of putting in your mouth you need to add toppings. I happen to love anything green and I wanted some crunch today. I went with Alfalfa Sprouts, Cucumber, Tomato, and Baby Spinach. The other direction I sometimes take is to add Avocado (in which case I’d skip cheese) or include pickles. You can substitute Baby Spinach with some other leafy green like Romaine Hearts or Iceburg Lettuce, but I like the substantive taste and texture of fresh leaf-Spinach. To note, I also added Swiss to top off the mix.
I don’t think it’s necessary to include this, but perhaps some folks don’t know… with Pastrami you always go with Mustard. In particular, you should be using a Brown Mustard, it has a kick that normal mustard won’t deliver and will round out your samich.
For sides to my samich I included some fresh carrots, cucumber slices and stuffed Green Olives. The olives were stuffed with Blue Cheese and tossed in some olive oil.
Now that you’ve been introduced to the components of my samich here is the assembled beast:
I love this samich because it has a little bit of kick from the meat and the brown mustard, but it also carries a diverse range of textures. The sprouts add a somewhat earthy flavor that gets balanced by the clean flavor of the cucumber and the juiciness of the tomato. The baby spinach added a great degree of roughage as well as added it’s own great flavor. The olives were salty and acidic but were balanced well by the strong blue cheese. This is a samich I would highly recommend to anyone that loves a little bit of kick and is open to anything that will please the taste buds.
-Matt in Tampa