Sandwiches: They're what's for dinner, according to a survey called Eating Patterns in America. TNT photo by Russ Carmack
I have this thing about heroes. I don't mean sandwiches, but I'll get to those in about a hundred words.
My heroes are word guys -- songwriters and literary types. One of them was Warren Zevon. Shortly before Zevon died from lung cancer three years ago, David Letterman asked the songwriter if there was anything he understood in the face of his mortality.
"Just how much you're supposed to enjoy every sandwich," Zevon said.
If I had a tattoo, it would say Enjoy Every Sandwich. Like ham on rye and "Keep Me in Your Heart," the last song on Zevon's last album, "enjoy every sandwich" is such a simple thought, so purely constructed that there's nothing you can add to it, except maybe mustard. Smelling roses I can take or leave. Prosciutto di Parma with fresh mozzarella di bufala and pesto on ciabatta –- now that's life-affirming.
One of Davies' new songs is called "Is There Life After Breakfast?" It goes like this:
When you wake up, all of a fluster
Thinking life has passed you by
Give yourself a kick up the backside
Jump out of bed and punch the sky
Is there life after breakfast
Full of possibilities
Is there life after breakfast?
Yes there is ...
After breakfast, of course, is where the life-affirming "enjoy every sandwich" comes in. But not just for lunch. According to market researchers NPD Group, sandwiches are the most popular entrees served for supper in American homes. Survey respondents preferred sandwiches because they require little effort and little or no planning, and because they can be healthful and nutritious.
Here are more sandwiches I've enjoyed recently:
Gyros at Gyros Place (7510 40th St W, University Place, 253-460-8081) are among the best I've eaten. I went for the 7-inch "super" version with extra meat, $5.99 (the 6-inch standard is $2.99). What a whopper: a warm, folded flat bread amply packed with thick slices of lamb-beef meatloaf, plus lettuce, tomato, tzatziki and a light spread of hot sauce.
Unlike The Pita Pit, the Canadian chain with a Mediterranean bent where thin slices of pre-fab meat are thrown on the grill, Gyros Place cooks and slices its lamb-beef meatloaf on the spit. For me, tzatziki, the yogurt-cucumber sauce, made the sandwich, finishing with a fresh blast of garlic.
Unfortunately, the decor at Gyros Place doesn't keep pace with the gyros themselves. While customers' hand-written praise glows on the tile wall, the restaurant itself is rather dingy.
Viafore's Special at Viafore's Italian Delicatessen (604 Regents Blvd., Fircrest, 253-564-2228). Salami, pepperoni, sausage, mozzarella, lettuce, tomato and peppers are about twice as many ingredients as I prefer on deli sandwiches. But I enjoyed every bite of this sandwich ($5.95), which owed its tastiness not only to quality meats but quality construction. First, a layer of salami was laid down in two overlapping rows. On top of that, down the center, was a fanned-out line of pepperoni. On top of that, was a thin slice of mild Italian sausage. On top of that was a slice of cheese. Lettuce and tomato crowned the fillings. A soft hoagie roll encased it all. I also enjoyed Viafore's DeFazio: pepperoni, mozzarella and butter on a hoagie roll, $3.25.
Mistake sandwich at an unidentified delicatessen (somewhere in Pierce County). I'd eaten here before. I'd had a specialty sandwich. It took some time to make and seemed to tax the woman who made it. This time, I went the build-your-own route and ordered salami and provolone on a baguette. It took two bites before I realized that wasn't provolone cheese in my sandwich: It was prosciutto. Being of a mind that there's no such thing as too much cured pork, I didn't bother to send back this delicious salami-prosciutto sandwich.
Think the sandwiches at Goldbergs' Famous Delicatessen in Bellevue couldn't get any bigger? They will on Nov. 3 in celebration of National Sandwich Day, a day that honors the birth of the Earl of Sandwich, the 18th-century nobleman who ate meat between bread so he could have one hand free to play cards. Commoners may need two hands (and $12.99) to handle Goldbergs' 1-pound-of-meat version. Goldbergs': 3924 Factoria Blvd in Bellevue. TNT photo by Peter Haley