St. Paul Sandwich

St. Paul Sandwich

St. Paul Sandwich


People are usually better in the abstract.

It’s a line from “Orange is the new black” and one that stuck with me because it’s spot on, especially concerning my online dating exploits.

I’m concluding my sandwich series with one that I’ve been anticipating making for over a year – the low-brow St. Paul Sandwich. Called the St. Paul, but created in St. Louis, and not even available in St. Paul (go figure), it a piping-hot egg foo young patty (how 1960’s!) with lettuce, tomato, zingy dill pickle slices and unctuous mayonnaise, all sandwiched between pillowy-soft, Wonder-style, white bread. It’s dirt cheap and the perfect foil after a night drinking.

This was to be my sandwich magnum opus. But alas, my St. Paul sandwich is…also better in the abstract. I took two bites, plucked out the egg foo young and pitched the rest in the garbage. Perhaps they’re better in St. Louis.

St. Paul Sandwich

St. Paul Sandwich



Tuna Fennel Sandwiches with Pink Polka-dots

Tuna Fennel Sandwich

Tuna Fennel Sandwich with pink radishes (polka-dots)

While waiting for my plane, a nattily dressed man sat down next to me in my pleatherette chair. His breathing was labored, as if he had OJ Simpsoned through the terminal to catch his flight. I didn’t bother looking over until I noticed he was still breathing intensely five minutes after he planted himself next to me, as if it was a triathlon and not an airport sprint. When I glanced in his direction, his socks instantly seized my attention. He had removed his oxfords, revealing brown socks with hot pink and orange polka-dots. Inscribed across the instep were the words “Funky Socks.” I should say so!

“Excuse me,” he said after a few minutes. “I seem to have left my wallet at the security checkpoint. Would you mind watching my bag while I go back?” Why me; why is it always me? I vacillated for a moment, but was eventually convinced. He placed his orange and hot pink polka-dotted feet back in his brown oxfords and leisurely made his way back towards security.

I waited for his return. Over the PA, they called for First Class passengers to board. I waited a while longer. Gold, Platinum, One World Alliance and military personnel were invited to line up. I peered back towards his trail, hoping to catch a glimpse, but there was nothing. Group 1. Still no sign. Group 2 come on aboard. Where is he? All remaining passengers, this is the final boarding call…

The dilemma – Do I miss my flight, waiting until Mr. Polka-dot returns or do I desert my watch and hop on my plane? I attempted to hand the bag to the flight attendant at the door, but she would have nothing to do with it. In the end, I abandoned his bag near the jetway and settled in seat 16D with just moments to spare.

I feel guilty and maybe a better person would have missed their fight. I’m certain I now have a black mark on my traveler’s Karma which will most likely appear as lost luggage, four hours on the tarmac or a missed connection. Sigh.

Tuna fennel sandwiches with Pink Polka-dots
Inspired by a Real Simple recipe
Serves 2

1              Small Fennel bulb, thinly sliced
½ c.        Italian parsley, roughly chopped
3 T.         Olive Oil
2 T.         Mayonnaise
1 t.          Siracha (or to taste)
2              6 oz. cans Spanish or Italian oil packed tuna
2 T.         Capers, chopped
2 t.          Caper Juice
2 T.         Balsamic vinegar
2              Lettuce leaves
2              Radishes, sliced thinly
4              Slices sourdough bread, buttered and browned in a cast iron skillet

Combine Fennel, parsley, 2 T. oil, salt and pepper. Roughly mix with hands to bruise and soften fennel. Set aside. 2. Combine mayonnaise and Siracha. 3. Combine tuna, capers, juice, 1 T. oil, balsamic and pepper. 4. Spread two slices of bread with siracha mayonnaise. Cover with lettuce and radishes. Pile high with tuna and finish with fennel. Cover with additional bread slices, cut in half and enjoy.

Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

With my non-stop travel schedule, I’ve learned some rules for airport dining – Rule #1: those pre-packaged airport sandwiches should be avoided whenever possible. They range from soggy and insipid to rock hard and dry, with not much in between. The lettuce, usually green leaf, is wilted, the chicken overcooked, and the dry bread is usually lacking any spread. Last weekend, and to my surprise, I grabbed a noteworthy sandwich from La Provence Café at LAX. The sandwich itself was simple enough – a baguettini stratified with sliced turkey breast, sautéed mushrooms, brie cheese and a few red onions – and it was more than satisfying. The cashier asked me if I’d like it warmed up; I declined since consumption was sure to be hours away, but heated, with the ripe brie oozing and comingling with mushrooms and fresh bread would surely have been divine. I couldn’t help but think it would have only been improved with a thin veil of arugula pistou.

In honor of my little turkey-brie sandwich that got me through a 6.5 hour flight, I have decided to dedicate the next few posts to the humble sandwich.

The Ultimate Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Inspired by Cowgirl Creamery Cooks
Makes 1 Sandwich

1 oz cream cheese
1.5 oz white cheddar, grated
1.5 oz fontina cheese, grated
2 slices crusty sourdough bread
unsalted butter room temperature

Combine all three cheeses. Generously top one slice of bread with all of cheese mixture and cover with other slice.  Butter both sides of sandwich and place in a preheated cast-iron skillet set on medium.  Cook slowly (low and slow is key) until golden brown underneath, flip with a fish spatula and cook other side.  Cheese should ooze out and create brown crispy side bits and bread should be crisp and golden.

Replace cheddar with mild blue cheese, replace sourdough with cranberry walnut bread.  Add Dijon mustard and caramelized onions and green apples – messy and rich!

Eat a Sandwich

I seem to have turned a sudden corner. Since Thursday, I’ve been feeling okay – not zip-a-dee-do-dah happy, but not pining and crying over love lost either.  There are stretches of time when I’m not even thinking about him, although there’s still stretches of time when I do, but these times see shorter…and not as sad.  I’m not constantly thinking I see his car on the freeway (a silver Altima – do you KNOW how many of those fucking cars are out there?  I do!)  Of course,  I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop – thinking it’s a phase and I’ll be back to my old sad-sack self some morning.  Perhaps my depression has turned into manic-depression and I’m beginning my manic phase.  God, I hope not!

So, what happened to make this change?  I honestly don’t know.  My Psychiatrist thinks the Wellbutrin finally kicked in.  My Therapist thinks it has something to do with my newly landscaped backyard (not a euphemism – I just landscaped my backyard on Wednesday) and/or the fact that I connected my feelings of “unwanted-ness” from my father to my feelings of “unwanted-ness” from my ex.  I, personally, think it’s because I ate a sandwich.

Days since I’ve contacted my ex: 62 (4 days to go!!)

Days since I’ve searched for my ex: 14 (Long road on this one)

What I’m grateful for:  my beautiful newly-landscaped backyard