Give Me All the Sandwiches: Feast 2014 Sandwich Invitational

I know, I know- the Sandwich Invitational was something like two weeks ago. What can I say? The unemployed life gets real hectic sometimes between scoping out new opportunities and catching up on the sleep that your prior high-stress 60-70 hour work week job sucked out of you; so now that I’m bright eyed without the help of an under-eye ointment and have a 16 ounce mug of Stumptown, I’m ready to talk to you about sandwiches.

Someone once said (meaning myself, but I’m certain there is someone else in history that also said this) that all the best foods are arguably some type of sandwich. And there is a lot of truth to that considering the infinite concoctions one could create and still label as a sandwich.

Considering how epic the Feast 2013 Sandwich Invitational was, I was extremely grateful that for the second year in a row I was given a ticket to the invitational as a birthday gift from my friend, Anne. Though the event was not included in my Blogger Pass, I still felt the need to wear the tag- basically so I didn’t feel like an intrusive badger every time I wanted to run up to the front of the line and snap a few photos.

So, like last year, I did not manage to try every single sandwich because there were fourteen of them and I had little self control with the ones I want to get seconds on…but I did manage to try MOST of them.

Rick Gencarelli of Lardo’s pork burger also was slathered with some “dirty mustard,” peaches and American cheese. Despite drawing one of the longest queues of the night, they STILL managed to not run out. Impressive.

From what I did try, here were some of my favourites:

Paul Kahan’s gyro was absolutely out of this world! I personally like my sandwiches packed with saucy unique condiments and a juicy dose of meat and like the other options above the gyro killed it (and stole my vote). I was also a huge fan of Dustin Clark’s water buffalo short rib sando- Chef Clark was at the now shuttered Wildwood, which had been a personal favourite so I am certainly looking forward to the opening of The Oddfellow Social, his next culinary venture. Another surprising favourite? From Stephanie Pearl Kimmel of Marche in Euguene- I’m a sucker for anything with Middle Eastern flavours so her submission also got five gold stars from me.

Another favourite was of course Salt n Straw’s PB&J; also the winner of the People’s Choice:

Tyler Malek’s magical dessert dish was a scrumptious concoction of buttery grilled brioche topped with marionberry jam, peanut butter ice cream, whipped cream and peanut butter Cap’n Crunch. I’m salivating just recounting that.

Some of the other bites I managed to chew into included Broder’s ultra Scandinavian gravlax on rye rendition, Bar Avignon’s deconstructed Cubano and Dallas based FT33’s pimento and bologna sandwich (which if you ask me would be exactly what I would want to eat at 2am to soak up a night’s worth of cocktails).

The winner of the invitational from the judges’ vote was Bonnie Morales of Kachka with her smoked Sprats, egg, and smetana on butter fried toasts; an usual though gorgeously assembled sandwich. I didn’t try this one nor do I have a photo, but I’m sure if you peruse Pechluck or Michelle’s blogs you’ll be able to find one!

And with that, another ultra successful Sandwich Invitational under Feast Portland’s belt. Already looking forward to what deliciousness is in store for 2015.


The Unemployed Post

I am officially unemployed.

Long story short, the company I have been working for for the past nineteen months decided to close their Portland office so as of last week I am no longer waking up at 7am to pack my lunch and iron my pencil skirts.

I admit that I am not dreadfully forlorn despite the circumstances as the time has come for me to progress in my career; however this also means my days will be filled with working towards the acquisition of whatever my next gig may be. And while the job market in Portland is difficult to break into, I am trying to maintain a positive attitude and keep busy at networking, polishing up  my side hustles (aka this blog), and keeping my vision sharp for any potential opportunities in my areas of interest (Public Relations, Fashion/Luxury Goods, Social Media Strategizing, Journalism, etc).

With the above words, I leave you with a short and sweet post of the last supper  lunch which my lovely coworkers and I partook in on our last day at the office; a trip a few blocks up the road to one of Portland’s most craved after sandwich establishments, Lardo:

Obligatory Pig Map
Obligatory Pig Map
Menu at Westside Location
Menu at Westside Location
Moscow Mules. Much needed.
Moscow Mules. Much needed.
The infamous herb parmesan fries with Korean Pork Shoulder Sandwich with pickled vegetables, sriracha mayo, cilantro
The infamous herb parmesan fries with Korean Pork Shoulder Sandwich with pickled vegetables, sriracha mayo, cilantro
Me: Spit Roasted Chicken on Brioche with arugula, horseradish, pickled red onion, cheddar
Me: Spit Roasted Chicken on Brioche with arugula, horseradish, pickled red onion, cheddar
Priscilla's Cubano Sandwich topped with a pickle
Priscilla’s Cubano Sandwich topped with a pickle

While the majority of Lardo’s offerings are pork inclusive, there are a few unique vegetarian and non-pork options available as well. As a non-pork eater, I decided on the chicken sandwich and while it was delectable and hearty I was not too crazy about having it atop the notoriously buttery brioche. Had I known that would be the choice of bread, I may have gone for my second option, the Italian Tuna Melt. All in all, the quality of ingredients at Lardo are all of impeccable quality, and yes you will pay for it with the $7-10 price point.

The true star of the menu however? The French fries generously sprinkled with parmigiano reggiano and fried herbs- perhaps, some of the best frites I have had in this city if anywhere.

Lardo on Urbanspoon


Arguably, there are few things in the world as satisfying as a good sandwich

Satisfaction in my mind is the complete and thorough fulfillment of a craving; and a fulfillment void of any negative post-event repercussions

This picture is sketchy and grainy and blurry…yes, I get it. But, you see, having such a vestibule of glory before me means I cannot be bothered to get a “money-shot.” Too bad, guess you just have to get your own sandwich.

Allow me to preface; it was lunch time, I was famished and my fridge was meatless; conveniently I headed to New Seasons Market, decided to take the plunge and order a sandwich while stocking up on organic kiwis and fair-trade coffee

Of course, as I was famished I was also in a little bit of a…how do I say it…female-dog-like in the mood…and of course New Seasons was busy as ever, bustling in painfully slow motion with 80% of the over 70 population in the Portland Metropolitan area; and thus I become quite irritated when a shopping cart is blocking me from accessing a $2.50/cup rack of Icelandic yoghurts.

Back to the sandwich; I filled out the grilled sandwich form- requesting the seeded grainy roll with chicken breast, mama’s lil peppers, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, caramelized onions, avocado, tomato, olive tapenade, hummus, and mustard. I am that person who will put everything and their mother on a sandwich.

Once the sandwich-maker mispronounced my name to allude that my bundle of glory was ready, I headed to the express queue (where I realised that it was a Wednesday in which seniors receive 10% off their groceries), and headed home.

Originally, I intended to only eat half the sandwich. Funny, I know.

Let’s just say I had some nice mama’s lil pepper juice dripping down my fingers a mere eight minutes later; plus as it was a grilled sandwich it would have been far too soggy to finish later ANYHOW

Plus, eating only half of it would have been a half-assed attempt at fulfilling my cravings which would have ultimately backfired and led me back to the kitchen counter to go look for some strawberries to binge on or something. Yeah. no.

Instead I was a very happy little camper and proceeded to go to work and be extra nice and social and productive, which really is a gigantic #WIN for everyone involved…thus me eating an entire sandwich indirectly affects the members of the company I work for.


Alors, seeing the success a sandwich brought on the prior day, I wholeheartedly accepted an offer from my co-worker, Joe to pick up some Banh-Mi for lunch on Thursday; he sent out an office-wide e-mail with thorough descriptions of the various types of Banh-Mi available at An Xuyen Bakery, a ridiculously amazing Vietnamese Bakery on the Eastside

There were several other factors affecting my decision:

1. It’s $3. $3!!!

2. Hello, I can blog about it!

3. Joe brings two Banh-Mi’s for lunch and dinner every other day…and we all fawn over it in the break-room as we eat stuff like trail mix and Honey Nut Cheerios

4.Baguettes. Jalapenos. Cilantro. Lemongrass Chicken. Pickled carrots and daikon…I mean do I really need say more?

I arrived to work early; Sriracha in tow, ready to demolish this little beast

And a new obsession has been born. If you have not yet tasted the glory that is Banh-Mi, then you are TRULY missing out. TRULY. I couldn’t shut up about this post-demolishment, it was so incredible that it warranted a Facebook status update, which warranted a linkage from my friend, Elle to a recent blog post Mindy Kaling did on her adoration of the Banh-Mi.

Wow. The world is a much more beautiful and optimistic place when one does not deprive or limit their carbohydrate consumption.

An Xuyen Bakery on Urbanspoon

If you’ll excuse me, I have a stack of buckwheat pancakes to tend to. Saturday morning b-fast, y’all!

Ever had Banh-Mi?

What is your definition of satisfaction? And the ultimate satisfying meal? (Note: my other runner-up is Finnish meatballs w/ mashed potatoes)

What is your relationship with carbohydrates?

Last Lunches: A Progression of Sandwiches

Sandwiches, again?

Perhaps just a Sharpie underlining of my prior post point about the infinite sandwich species which have permeated our still slightly culinarily heterogeneous world

You shall see what I mean.

Today marks the first day of the holy month of Ramadan; 29 (or 30) days of fasting from sunrise to sunset- abstaining from any food, drink (yes, including water), sexual activity, smoking, and being mean (or passive-aggressive I assume) to anyone or anything. It is a time of reflection for Muslims, strengthening ties with God, and upping one’s piety quota. Alors, it is the summer time and the days are LONG- very long- here in the  Bay Area the sun rises at 4:50 am and sets after 8:30pm

For a coffee guzzler like my father, that is an extremely taxing and exhausting work day as he rises at 4:30am to have his cream-cheese slathered industrial-sized bagel and Chobani, fills up on his 10-12 cups of Java and starts the day at work  bright and early to return thirteen hours later to a table set with Arabic Mezze prepared by my chef extraordinaire mother

Alors, this weekend my father and I made sure to make the most of the last of lunches- a preferable form of father-daughter bonding

Saturday, we drove to our favourite ethnic grocer, a market on 22nd and Irving in San Francisco to stock up on all the usual Ramadan food staples:

  • 12 bags of freshly baked Caravan whole wheat pita bread
  • Ackawi Cheese for mama (it’s an Arabic cheese)
  • 6 cans of Cortas Hummus
  • 6 cans of Cortas Babghanouj
  • 6 cans of Foul Mudammas
  • Pickled Lebanese Turnips
  • A LOT of parsley, cilantro, aubergines, lemons, and Mexican courgettes
  • Phyllo dough for Sambusak
After the Mezze haul, we stopped for lunch next door at the delicious Sunrise Deli, home of San Francisco’s BEST falafels!
Falafel Sandwich: Pita stuffed with hot falafel patties, lettuce, tomato, tahini, hummus, and pickled turnips/cabbage
Absolutely delightful (yet simple). Sunrise Deli is the one place where I am perfectly alright with forgoing my regular kebabs in lieu of some Palestinian fried chickpea patties. And the pickled cabbage/turnips are pink because they’re pickled in beets and vinegar, and are splendid

Sunrise Deli on Urbanspoon

Then, on Sunday the pops and I got ready bright and early (just kidding…more like at 11:30) in our preppy workout clothes (which was really an old tennis skirt and a Burj Dubai polo tee for me and a beloved pair of Harvard sweatpants for him) and set out to do the Dipsea steps slash walk around the luxurious wilderness that is Mill Valley
Of course, doing so builds up a substantial brunch appetite, hence we headed over to Toast Mill Valley for yet another variety of sandwich sustenance:
Daddy: Nutella banana crepe with whipped cream on the side

Can you believe he’s NEVER had a nutella banana crepe?!

Your daily source of potassium, hazelnuts, and cocoa-fied bliss

Delightful…but being a crepe connoisseur-ess, I still believe that Suzette in Bombay and Pereira Creperie in Portland are superior

Moi: Chicken crepe with a side of boring fruit
Stuffed with grilled chicken, mushrooms, avocado, pepper jack, & sundried tomato pesto

It was tasty, filling, and had a generous amount of avocado; however in terms of the actual crepe, Suzette and C’est Si Bon (at the Portland Farmer’s Market) are far better- perhaps it’s because they use buckwheat crepes
Toast on Urbanspoon

Nevertheless, the weekend was passed in fine company with a three day consecutive “sandwich” extravaganza and now I can get the excitement juices flowing for tonight’s Iftar (Ramadan dinner); oh yes and I’m finally going to introduce my family to kale chips- I know they’re reluctant and don’t believe me when I emphasize how glorious they are, but they are soon to be surprised!

Are you familiar with Ramadan? Ever eaten a Ramadan Iftar before? 

What’s your idea of parental-bonding time? 

Fan of falafel? Fan of crepes? Tell me your favourite crepe-stuffings!

(Wo)man vs Food: He Made Me a Sandwich

Who doesn’t like sandwiches?

Luke, Kaylie, and I were discussing this on Friday afternoon as we sat atop the “Grand Canyon at the top of San Francisco,” (aka Corona Heights in the upper Castro) with a 360 view of the city by the bay as the wind blew our hair and our napkins into a distracting whirlwind

Home ❤ and a gorgeous view, n'est-ce-pas? Thanks for discovering this Luke!

 Of course, we were devouring sandwiches (and not any sandwiches…just wait) as we questioned how anyone could possibly be against the meal rubric made famous by a British Lord several decades/centuries back.

Sandwiches come in a multitude of forms

-A burrito is a type of sandwich and so is pizza

-Stuff something inside pita/lavash/tameiz/focaccia/chapati/ANY type of bread and it’s a sandwich

It can be open-faced, panini’d, rolled, sealed from all sides (Smuckers uncrustables…or even a samosa/sambusak/empanada)

It can be made with biscuits as the “bread” or arguably even lettuce (I’m lookin’ at you protein-style In n Out burgers)

The filling can be ice cream, frosting-like concoctions, or perhaps a sirloin patty or a fried aubergine cutlet…

…It can be hot, cold, lukewarm, toasted, chewy, crunchy, sweet, bitter, salty, umami, cheesy, saucy, vegetarian or vegan, fried, baked, raw, an artery clogger or the healthiest and  most balanced of meals

It can be portable- scavenged anywhere on the go and it can be an explosive mess of aioli-drenched lettuce particles and soggified crust requiring several handfuls of napkins and persistent lavender-soap-hand-washing for the next week to vacate the sandwich scent from the fingertips

You get the point.

So what kind of sandwiches were we eating exactly? Well, first of all, are any of you familiar with the infamous Travel Channel show Man vs Food?

Yup, I thought so. See where I’m going with this?

It was my Norwegian neon-embracing homie Luke’s phenomenal idea to hit up the famous Castro sandwich shop, Ike’s Place to get some saucy San Franciscan sustenance. Ike’s has over 3,500 Yelp reviews (mostly 5 stars), a menu boasting HUNDREDS of sandwich combinations with everything from the $19.91 Kryptonite sando (roast beef, corned beef, pastrami, salami, turkey, bacon, ham, mozzarella sticks, stuffed jalapeno poppers, beer battered onion rings, avocado, pesto, extra pepper jack) to the Vegan [Your Favorite Sesame Street Character] which includes cucumbers, avocado, lettuce, tomato, soy cheese

At Ike’s, you select the type of sandwich you want, choose the bread you want it on (they’re famous for their Dutch Crunch) and each sandwich is slathered with their secret dirty special sauce and if you are so inclined you can toss on some add-ons ranging from innocent cucumbers to jalapeno poppers and fried mozzarella sticks. Then, every sandwich comes with a free bag of fusion chips and a caramel apple lollipop (REMEMBER THOSE?!)

Cool. And there’s no indoor seating and a line that stretches out onto the street. Yup, you know this place is good 🙂

Alors, with hundreds of sandwiches it was a vair vair difficult decision to make, but LUCKILY Luke and I had our eyes on the same two finalists so we decided to get em both and split them. Alors, let me present the glory:

: Halal chicken, honey mustard, avocado, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, on dutch crunch”]

And here is the photo from Ike’s site so you can see the innards a lil more clearly:

Oh mon Dieu this was absolute HEAVEN! First of all, Ike’s gets an A+ for using halal chicken, second whatever they do to that chicken when they toss it on the bread makes it all the more heavenly. Oh and in regard to the avocado, I swear they use an entire one in the sandwich, no skimping there

Apparently, most people only eat half an Ike’s sandwich as a meal…but come on you know my appetite is better than that

Spiffy Tiffy: Halal chicken, pesto, avocado, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, provolone, pepper jack on dutch crunch

And the Ike’s official photo:

Woahhhh Tiffy blew me away indeed, the pesto just added such a complimentary zing to all the other cheesy meaty veggielicious crunch-encasement going on in this sando. Luke and I made the right choice for our two halves for sure!

As for Kaylie, she chose one of the vegetarian sandwiches which also looked like a glory-fest all on it’s own:

Sometimes I'm A Vegetarian: Grilled mushrooms, marinated artichoke hearts, pesto, provolone, lettuce, tomato, avocado on whole wheat

 Gotta love the names of the sandwiches here…I think my favourite is the Hot Mamma Huda (halal chicken, ranch, Frank’s hot sauce, provolone)

Post-sandwich demolition, we all got out our caramel apple lollipops (sorry no pic, taking photos with a janky-functioning Blackberry touchscreen while simultaneously having pesto dripping on your hands AND the wind blowing is quite the task) and started going to town on those suckers

Plus I love how LONG those lollies last, I was sucking on mine for the entire drive back to Marin. Nothing screams San Francisco summer like non-ghostriding to Zion I across the Golden Gate with a lollipop stick coming out the corner of your mouth.

I’m definitely coming back to Ike’s though. Definitely.

Ike's Place on Urbanspoon

I was full though, so full that this was my dinner (and i should add it was consumed ten hours later)

As usual though I was an indecisive Ingrid and managed to swirl all ten flavours into that cup (Yellow cake batter, peanut butter, chocolate cordial, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, tart, pomegranate tart, some other tart, and yet some other tart). Dinner of the champions, and yes I know I was just hatin’ on fro yo a few days ago (because ice cream really is better), but I had just consumed an Adam Richman-status sandwich for lunch so aerated low-fat colourful dairy was perfectly suitable at the time.

Have you ever eaten at Ike’s Place?
What’s your favourite type of sandwich? You can be as creative as you want!

Have you ever eaten at a Man vs Food certified restaurant? 

NAPA: “Family Time is Best When Forced”

What up, what upppp?

Guess what I’m doing? Roasting like the Middle Eastern Scandinavian marinade fusion  spring chicken I am right here in picture perfect Napa Valley– in case you aren’t familiar Napa is the famous wine country north of San Francisco (also made famous as the home of Hallie Parker in no other than The Parent Trap)!

However, since my parents do not drink beverages of the alcoholic sort, this little familia staycation is consisting of a lot of sun, tennis, golf, and of course world class cuisine (more of that in the next post)!

Family Staycation!!

 In ze car and ready to go…for our hour long journey. And no, those aren’t my Pringles, they’re Nora’s and I am a poser and don’t actually eat Pringles unless they’re salt and vinegar-flavoured

For lunch we stopped at the Plumpjack Carneros Inn for some sustenance at Boon Fly Cafe:

who can guess what I am trying to convey in this photo?

 Don’t you just adore that little red mug?

Well, I certainly adored it and adored it enough that my wonderful mumsy bought me one of my own to cherish and sip my morning energy out of

As for the food:

Daddy (and me...we ordered the same thing): Club Sandwich with turkey breast, avocado, garlic herb aioli, tomato, lettuce on artisan sourdough- of course I also slathered on inhumane amounts of Napa Valley mustard...or moutarde as I prefer to call it

 Man, I really love the satiating crunch n chew of a good and hearty sandwich, and this one was simple yet GLORIOUS since they loaded its innards with a massive pile of MEAT and some creamy gorgeous slices of fresh ‘cado!

Mama: Hippie Sandwich with Munster cheese, roasted red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, sprouts, avocado, and garlic herb aioli on artisan wheat bread

 Mummy’s sandwich was absolutely GLORIOUS as well- and since I have such a lovely and thoughtful mumsy she picked out a lot of the caramelized onions and gave them to me to load up on to my sando. If I didn’t have such an aversion to ordering meatless sandwiches, I would have totally got this!

Nora: Flatbread Margherita

 Nora opted for the flatbread- also a simple choice yet executed beautifully, the crust was thin yet the perfect blend of chewy and crunchy and of course accented by the unmistakable tang of San Marzano tomatoes and a delightful sprinkling of Mozz, Parm, and basil

Verdict: Vair vair satisfied

Boon Fly Cafe on Urbanspoon

That’s all for now folks, I’m about to head over to Yountville, land of Michelin-starred ristorantes! However, I am SUPER STOKED about my next Napa post- let’s just say a certain celebrity chef may have cooked our dinner last night 😉

Have you ever been to Napa?

When was your last family vacation/staycation and where did you go?

Favourite sandwich?

Mama Cama-rones

If I had to choose one restaurant with the best food in all of Marin,

it would be…

Sol Food

And I know I am not alone in this selection considering Sol Food’s CONSTANT line out the door, a growing number of reviews on Yelp (almost 900), and it’s Food Network fame.

But really, if you’re ever passing through Marin and there’s one place to stop, it better be this downtown San Rafael located Puerto Rican enclave which my friends and I have been frequenting since our high school days

Funny enough, I’ve been telling my parents about Sol Food for ages, but they happened to discover it over the past six months while I was up in Portland and now they are…le obsessed, shall I say?

Large Insalata Con Camarones: Pan fried garlic prawns with tomato, avocado, mixed greens tossed in lemon garlic dressing

This salad is ridiculous, I’ve been having it for years and the prawns are always succulent and meaty, the avocado/tomatoes/greens farmer’s market fresh, and the dressing packs one pungent garlic punch

My parent’s on the other hand’s favourite go-to is:

Nino Pobre: Puerto Rican Po' Boy with breaded fried prawns, lettuce tomato, garlic mayonnaise panini'd on French bread (oh yeah and the prawns are breaded in plantain and rice flour)

I had several bites of the Nino Pobre and it is PHENOMENAL- the prawns perfectly crispy yet meaty and the tangy garlicky mayonnaise permeating the fresh tomato and lettuce. Not greasy at all and a very satisfying midday meal. (And keep in mind I am a member of the Mayo-detesting club, but this one can set up shop on my sandwich anytimeeee)

Of course, no meal at Sol Food is complete without:

Their famous hot sauce. Whatever is in this needs to be at my last supper. And my wedding.

Marta and I once used up an entire bottle a couple of years back…delicious…but we both had the worst acid reflux of our lives.

Sol Food on Urbanspoon

Ever had Puerto Rican food?

Are you a fan of hot sauce? What’s your favourite hot sauce?