9/10/2010

hold the pickle vol. 2 ....

i am happy to report that the sandwich quest is well underway and has been a tremendous success. i mean how can going around town eating delicious concoctions that are cradled between two peices of bread not be successful? but seriously i have had lots of folks give me recommendations of places to try, so i should have enough material to make this quest a winner.

atwaters soup & sandwich bar
so the next outpost on 'el questo de bocadillo' was atwaters at belvedere market. for those who arent familiar with this market, its on the corner of york rd and northern parkway in the very northern stretches of baltimore ccity proper. if you are hungry and looking for a place to eat in the area, you need to go no further. the belvedere market hosts some amazing places that offer a wide variety of palate tickling culinary efforts even beyond the sandwich.

the market boast a peanut shop, a sushi bar, neopol smokery for every thing smoked (ummm ... freaking delicious!), a small farmers market, italian deli offerings, and even a small cheese sampling. but there are in my opinion two anchors to this pseudo well kept indoor market secret, and thats atwaters and the grand cru wine bar. want a bottle to go with those groceries, cheese, or sushi you just bought? grand crus got it. want a glass of wine outside on a fall afternoon like this? they got it. want a sixer of brewers arts famous resurrection ale in a can? yep, they got that as well. but i digress. staying focused to the quest at hand i want to talk all about my sandwich experience at the other market anchor, atwaters.
quest guide
atwaters is hard to explain, but before i attempt i want you all to know it kicks ass. they specialize in fresh, simple, flavorful, and hearty food that almost lends itself to a new type of cuisine that i might dub 'refined rustic'. pretty much the menu is constantly changing with the seasons and with whats available, but the menu is almost always broken down into three separate sections; salad, soup, and sandwich.

the beauty of this three tiered approach is that there is something on this menu for everyone. some of the offerings in the salad section included a bib lettuce a watermelon salad, heirloom and burrata salad, and an asian chopped salad. the soup section could of made anyone drool with selections that included a seafood squash and tomato curry, a turkey veggie chowder, and a vegetarian offering of broccoli, ginger, and mushroom (note: they will give you a shot of soup if you want to taste, and well taste away friends). damn it again im getting side tracked...

time to focus the attention on the third and most important tier of atwaters refined rustic menu, the sandwich section. i had 6, maybe 7 choices which made this a very difficult stop. it is nearly impossible to pick just 1 sandwich from the scripturesque menu,but these guy have already thought it through ... they offer half sandwiches all of the sandwiches! so the two i chose were the greek veggie and the turkey avocado. this is a good thing because all the sandwiches on the menu looked like they had been conceptualized by someone whos soul purpose in life is to give you amazing flavor profiles found in many contemporary dishes, but adapted for the sandwich form. for a prime example of what i mean by this, lets look at my first half sandwich ... the greek veggie.

greek veggie & raspberry ice tea
as read on the atwaters menu, a greek veggie sandwich comprises of feta cheese, artichocke hearts, kalamata olives, marinaded cucumber, red onion, lettuce, and local tomato on olive bread. cant go wrong with those ingredients. i took my first bite and intstantly my taste buds fired a message to my brain to confirm that indeed i had just taken a big bite of a fresh greek salad. the feta cheese, artichoke, and olives had all been blended into a texture laden spread. the tomato and the marinaded cucumber provided at lot of moisture that would have drowned most breads in a pool of tasty oily flavor, but not this olive loaf. the fresh bread was thick enough to absorb most of the liquid and the crust was baked so perfectly that it has a crunch texture to it, but it also had a toughness to it that contrasted so well with the soft moisture laden inside of the bread that i found myself in the perfect greek veggie zen like balance. the one draw back, and this is a personal thing, is that there were too many red onions on the sandwich. i feel that red onions place is to provide a back board for flavors. red onions are strong and in the role of a backboard, they allow the person eating the sandwich to have a flavor to compare all the other flavors whipping around their mouth to, but with too many red onions i feel like some of those flavors that are whipping about wind up being muted.

red onions aside i enjoyed my visit to atwaters. i always do. the turkey avocado was intriguing because it took one in a different direction than one might think a turkey avocado should go. this sandwich was served on raisin pumpernickel bread with cole slaw and had a light and zesty basil mayo on it. delicious, but i was still side tracked from my greek veggie experience to fully appreciate this guy.

so if youre looking for a taste bud centered out of downtown adventure i fully suggest you hop in the car, head to york and northern, stroll around the belvedere market, and pig out on some soup, salad, and definitely some sandwiches from atwaters ..... oh and dont sleep on the raspberry ice tea either.

**this is the best quest ever. please send me any and all recommendations in the greater baltimore area**


Atwater's Belvedere Square on Urbanspoon

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