i knew this would happen. i started out on my quest with noblest of intentions to stay true to my sandwich quest code. i was only going to go to places that were recommended to me. i was only going to try sandwiches from the menu. i was not going to go to restaurants, only carry out/deli/lunch counters. and for you purists out there, i need to apologize. i broke my code last friday.
last week was a monster week for me work wise. i was at 3 different food shows (1 attending and 2 presenting), introduced 3 new products to my largest account, and put more than 1200 miles on my car. so when lunch time on friday rolled around and i had to make my last drop of the day, my weekly pastry allotment to ceilies water front inn at fell point, the lure of a quick bite and a cold magners at slainte on thames was too difficult to resist.
full disclosure: this wasnt a random visit to a place that i hardly know. in fact quite the opposite. slainte is best known for being open way too early on weekends in order to broadcast live epl matches to thirsty sports fans who come together in order to cheer on their favorite squads and to be there for each other justifications for having a shot of whiskey before 930am. i happen to be one of those looking for justification on saturdays. in addition to frequenting slainte (aka 'the pub') to support arsenal fc, this place also houses one of my best friends, chef bill crouse.
now on this particular friday i knew bill was there and i hadnt seen him all week, so under this false cover i strolled in and popped my head in the kitchen to say 'hey'. after some small talk bill (i think he knew all along) broke the ice by asking if i wanted lunch .... and hoping/longing for this question i promptly gave a simple simple reply:
'only if you make me a sandwich'
well bill delivered (see photo), and what he delivered was his take on a pork sandwich. this wasnt your uncles pork sandwich though. the pork was slow roasted with some earthy spices and then shaved thin and piled way too high (this is a good thing people) on a toasted bun. spread on the bun was one of my favorite components to this dish, and that was a cumin mayo spread. id be lying if i told you that i wont be stealing this and putting it on almost everything. kind of like what i did with david chang and his ginger scallion sauce. but that wasnt it. most all meat sandwiches are indeed artery clogging good, but can sometime be overpowering with meatiness (too much protein can sometimes be an issue), so to combat this chef bill had laid out a small stack of grilled fresh asparagus that cut the meatiness, prevented the bun from getting soggy, and added a distinct texture and flavor contrast to the pork. who knew asparagus on a sandwich is a winner! the only downside to this tasty delight is that you do have to pay restaurant prices ($12-$15) for chef bill sandwiches, but if you want to splurge on a special lunch for you and youre taste buds then this is where you want to be.
without my previously stated biases i would still highly recommend stopping in at slainte. whether its at 9am on a saturday, a ravens game, or for dinner the place has the food (chefs new menu out this month), the ambiance, character, and staff to make you want to stay ..... for a long time.