its been forever.
your sandwich-ian hero was sidetracked along his quest. there was a change in job title, there was a trip abroad, and a trip to the big easy for a most triumphant weekend of debauchery, sunshine, orioles, and surprise birthdays. the quest had fallen to the way side. material in hand (actually on a smartphone), motivation was lacking. but just like quixote needed sancho panza, skywalker needed solo, and bill needed ted to complete these seemingly insurmountable feats; i needed to rely on others. there was a video game designer, a god-brother, a frat star, and a west coast tech exec, all of whom came up along side and triumphantly asked ... 'where f#cks your next blog dude?'
it was the poking and the prodding from the ones closest to me that have me here clicking out another (my 13th) sandwich quest blog for you to enjoy. (note: this took place in march. when i arrive at a new sandwich location i take extensive notes on my smartphone so that i can remember those little one liners or smells or quirky people that are there so that you can get the full experience and feel. this is a little tough because its weeks old, but the notes are good ... bare with me) this 'x' on the baltimore sandwich quest map came about in an interesting way because it was headed by the inter-web phenomenon that is groupon, and the deal wasnt for a sandwich shop; it was for soup's on in hampden. being a child of 'the avenue' i knew this deal would come in handy the next time i found myself on 36th street. i know soups on is an interesting stop for a sandwich quest i know, but to be honest i had heard good things, knew a person who used to work there, and well knew that the $7 investment (for $15 bucks worth of food) wouldnt be a high risk purchase ... also i had an inside scoop; soup wasnt the only thing on the menu!
soup's on is located towards the chestnut ave side of 36th and if i am not mistaken is where the original golden west cafe was housed (that was when food came out on time from waiters who cared). so upon arriving there was some nostalgia of good food and good dining experiences and that nostalgia was soon paired with excitement as i realized there was a line that was out the door. i normally am not one to do backflips or cartwheels over having to wait to be fed, but when trying out a new place, this is 100% the type of foreshadowing that i hope for. once i got in the store i realized why there was a line, there were 6 tables and really only 14 people could eat there at once. the line moved fast though. there were a lot of 'take out-ers' in front of me and as i mentioned before ... the place specializes in soup. soup doesnt take long to serve.
my time in line allowed me to peruse the chalkboard menu and start to formulate an order in my mind. soups were listed 1st. damnit! it was brisk outside and the soups sounded freakishly desirable in written form, smelled delectable wafting in aromatic form, and looked belly satisfying delicious as a glanced from table 1 to table 6. reading the chalkboard a little more i found the sandwiches. oh no! there were only 2 sandwich selections. a fruity chicken salad and ... wait ... whats this? a self proclaimed 'ultimate tuna salad Gmail - Inbox - firstname.lastname@example.org'?!?!?! challenge accepted! but i couldnt pass up the soup, could i? but then in a feat of marketing genius, as i approached the register i saw the sign stating that soup and full sandwich was $12. problem solved.
ultimate tuna sandwich and a white tuscan bean soup with kale was on the docket, and after swapping my groupon code for a 4 of hearts playing card i made my way to a cozy corner of the restaurant (really just a shop front) and waited in a puddle of anticipation. the smells were amazing, the laughs and smiles from other customers were loud and bright, and then when things couldnt get any better, the playlist segwayed (sp??) to omc classic, 'how bizzare' .... ahhh i knew the sandwich gods were with me that afternoon for sure.
soup and sandwich came plated together. the plate looked fresh, had a rustic charm, smell phenominal, and looked like way too much food for lunch. well not being one who is afraid of over eating, especially on food that looked like this, i dove in without hesitation. The tuscan white bean soup with kale had paper thin slices of parmesean cheese on top of it that with the heat had melted ever so slightly to provide a nice fatty (in a good way; think lipids in wine and the whatnot) feel to the soup. the kale was small and not overly leafy which allowed for the veggie to be cooked properly allowing for just a hint of texture to the dish. the broth with the bean had an almost perfect viscosity and was soft and light which lent to me eating the entire bowl on the spot. only draw back on the soup was that it was served warm and not piping hot. im a soup piping hot kind of guy. that being said i did crush that soup like no other!
the sandwich had a lot to live up to, but just by the looks of the sammie, it looked like there would be some serious competition for best food on plate. the 'ultimate tuna' was served on a fresh crunchy roll that had been hallowed out so that the tuna salad (chunky, light on the mayo, and seasoned pretty darn well) rested perfectly in a bread canoe. this tuna kayak was topped generously with some arugala, avocado, and thinly sliced jalapenos, and the roof of the sandwich had a a smattering of some sort of zesty dressing/vinaigrette. this seems like normal sandwich toppings, but there were levels of thought here people. the bread added some serious crunch and some pull which helped play off the soft and smooth tuna salad. the arugala increased the crunch as well, but at the same time added a little bitterness to the sandwich. the avocado shared the same texture as the tuna, but it was there to provide a bit of fattiness (again think good fatty) and to also help cut the heat of the jalapeno that was there to provide some kick, but to also play off the zestiness of the dressing/vinaigrette. did you get that? it was kind of like trying to explain 'inception' .... but all i really wanted to say was i was pleasantly pleased with this stop on the quest!