The Belen Artisan Bakery is owned by José. It is located in Escondido a bit of the beaten path. They specialize in European artisan breads, and so naturally we went there only to find they made sandwiches. We had a roast beef sandwich on ciabatta bread, with avocado, tomato and olives. The bread was perfect; just a bit crunchy on the outside, thick, and fresh and spongy on the inside, and you could clearly taste the freshness that so many sandwiches lack. Service was speedy, and sitting outside on their little patio a delight, despite the odd location and nearby road.
For the vegetarians out there, you can’t go wrong with a delicious portobello mushroom burger. This is one of our favorite sandwiches, for yes, a burger is also a sandwich, much like a Lada is also a car (although reluctantly). Whenever we see fresh portobello mushrooms we try to secure a few for grilling. They are simply delicious when soaked in the right marinade, and actually taste better than most meat patties. The grilling really brings out the best in these shrooms, and you get to enjoy the wonderful colors and look of this gigantic Agaricus bisporus.
These shrimp are very versatile on sandwiches. They are chili-lime shrimp from Costco, pre-cooked, and they are very moist and succulent. To really try and savor their taste, we created this sandwich which combines them with mashed potatoes, lime, and a toasted bagel. The bagel gives the inevitable ‘crunch’, while the shrimps can triumph over the subtle taste from the mashed potatoes. A few sprouts just makes it look good. Of course, Anders can’t leave well enough alone, and sprinkled the whole thing with sweet curry. So much for subtlety.
This spicy roast beef cheese sandwich has hot (but sweet) chili sauce inside, and is made with a strong pungent cheese as well, both adding to the spicy flavor. It’s made on a toasted ciabatta roll, and has plenty of crunch from the sprouts. Adding a few fresh basil leaves brings it to a whole new level.
I love potatoes and I love bread. This sandwich brings out the best in both of them. Half a ciabatta roll, toasted (for the ‘crunch’) and with a light spread of tarragon mustard. Add potato, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes and a few more things you can read about below, and you got yourself a treat for lunch. Yes, it’s as good as it looks!
I made this after a long day at work, one of those days where you really just want to get home and sleep, but you’re starving… Having a potato handy in the fridge from dinner the night before became my saving grace.
For me, one of the elements of a good sandwich is relevance. What do I mean? Each element brings something necessary to the sandwhich: the spread might serve to unite disparate flavors, the fried onions to give flavor and also add needed texture etc. Nothing must be superfluous. Sometimes I fail in the relevance battle because I am outvoted by Anders for whom there is never just enough… in his sandwhich world view, there is always this little bit more that can be added. As you can imagine, between my relevance approach and his delight in superfluity, we often need the United Nations to mediate our sandwhich choices. Sometimes I win. This little one is one such victory.