On Wednesday I had the Roasted Leg of Lamb (braised kale, golden raisins, jalapenos and lemon aioli on a ciabatta roll) form ‘wichcraft. This is a combination of ingredients I’ve never had on a sandwich, or even thought to put on one, but what a glorious sandwich it was. The lamb is cooked perfectly, it’s not dry and it has just the right amount of juice. The lemon aioli is a fantastic dressing that I’d love to try on a hot roast beef sandwich (or something comparable). My only problem was the amount of kale, there was way too much, but it’s easily picked off and I was able to tailor the amount of kale to my liking, which was a minimal amount. The lack of raisins and jalapenos had no impact of my enjoyment of the sandwich. The Roasted Leg of Lamb is only available until Christmas Eve, so get it while the getting’s good.

The ‘witchcraft I went to is located at 245 Park Avenue (on 47th St.); http://wichcraftnyc.com/; @wichcraft.

Lemon

December 15, 2011

On the last day on our honeymoon in Dublin, my wife and I ate a late brunch at Lemon, a crepes and coffee company that specializes in breakfast and lunch. Hungry for a sandwich, I decided on the Deli Special, a chicken sandwich with “hot streaky bacon, genuine Swiss Emmental, mixed leaves, tomato, own Dijon mustard-mayo, mixed leaves garnish, and our balsamic dressing” on white bread. Just re-reading the ingredients makes me giddy because this was a great sandwich that I will never have again unless I learn to make it myself or I get my ass back to Dublin.

Perfection on a plate

The Deli Special is basically a grilled cheese sandwich with thin slices of chicken instead of ham, but it’s a damn good grilled cheese. The bread is grilled on hot plates until it turns a nice yellow and brown. I couldn’t believe it was toasted to perfection by hand. It’s toasted with butter on a giant hotplate and this gives the sandwich the illusion that it’s between two pieces of finely made French toast.

Although the sandwich listed two dressings, I could only really taste one, and this dressing was easily my favorite part of the sandwich. The Dijon mustard-mayo was extremely spicy yet unevenly spread across the sandwich, which means you’re getting unequal amounts across the sandwich. There was no mustard-mayo in my first few bites so I quickly forgot about it. But when I finally tasted it I was taken aback by how spicy it was. This is the spicy kick I’ve been looking for in that I’ve been unable to find in the so-called “spicy” sandwiches I’ve ordered in America. It enhanced every ingredient and made me just want more. If I could buy this Dijon honey-mustard in a jar I would because it is perfect and I could see it going on any sandwich.

I’ve been trying for some time now to think of what to say about the rest of the sandwich, but I was so in love with the dressing and the bread that the rest of the ingredients are just faded memories. There was the right amount of each ingredient on the sandwich and all of it tasted fresh and delicious.

All in all, this is another one of those sandwiches where everything goes perfectly together and I have zero complaints about it. When it comes down to it, it’s really a simple sandwich. Chicken. Lettuce. Tomato. Cheese. Spicy mayo. Toasted bread. But what a great simple sandwich it is. It proves that sometimes the simplest, long-standing ingredients can be used to create great sandwich that people living an ocean away will forever crave.

This Dawson St. Lemon location is quite small, so I recommend you carry out rather than eat in. However, if you do eat in, be prepared to be in the way no matter where you’re seated. You can also try and get a table outside if the weather’s on your side.

Lemon is located at 60 Dawson St., Dublin 2 (www.lemonco.com) and can be found on Twitter @lemoncrepe.

Ask any graduate of UVA and they’ll tell you that the best sandwich shop in town is Littlejohn’s New York Delicatessen. Some will tell you that you should only go late (i.e., after 1 a.m.), while others will tell you that anytime is the perfect time. Which assessment was correct? The opinion of the sober college student who, in all likelihood, has been eating only Subway his entire life and, when confronted with his first quality sandwich, immediately labels it “the best”? Or the opinion of a drunk, willing to shove whatever food he can find into his gullet after drinking for who knows how many hours?

Not being big on eating when drunk, I decided to test out the sober portion of this equation.

The menu is a sight to behold. There are 22 specialty sandwiches and subs to choose from as well as “make your own” deli style sandwiches. Since this was my one and only chance to get Littlejohn’s, I had to choose wisely. Although my chaperone recommended some sandwiches to me, I didn’t like the direction she was pointing me in (the Sampson, which features roast beef and turkey, mainly because I felt it was going to make a mess, or the Five Easy Pieces, which features ham and turkey, mainly because it was on pumpernickel and had 1,000 Island dressing).

After a few minutes perusing the menu, I chose the 21 Society, which features Virginia smoked ham, cheddar, yellow onion, blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, Virginia cured bacon, and honey mustard on an 8″ sub. I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. The sandwich was decent, but it wasn’t one of the best I’ve ever had. And I can see why it holds a place in the heart of UVA graduates but to me, it was just another sandwich shop.

I may not know how this sandwich got its name, but it was decent. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it had its moments. My favorite moment was the dressing. Having had mayo on most of my sandwiches for almost my entire life, it’s always a welcome change to have something different. The honey mustard used on the 21 Society doesn’t taste like store-bought honey mustard, it’s got that fresh, homemade taste as if it was just mixed together that morning. It was sweet and tangy, but mixed perfectly well with the turkey and the onions. Each time I took a bite that featured a nice heaping helping of honey mustard I was in heaven. Every time I took a bite that was mostly cheddar, I was not happy with my sandwich. And it’s the cheddar that is my biggest complaint. It overpowers the taste of every other ingredient. The melted cheddar on top was too much. It doesn’t look like much, but when it melts and gets in every nook and cranny of the sandwich, it’s not a pleasant taste.

As you can see from the photo, rather than be in the sandwich, the bacon was on top, almost as if it was asking for me to just pick it off and eat it, rather than have it as part of the sandwich. I took the bait and ate the bacon separately. With all that melted cheese blocking the way, that was no way to strategically add it to the sandwich anyway.

The sandwich comes with a handful of tortilla chips, which obviously come out of an industrial-sized bag. ‘Nuff said.

This is a college town, and college football is the biggest sport of them all. If you go on game day, make sure you get there bright and early, otherwise, expect a line that goes out the door and wraps around the corner. Otherwise, avoid Littlejohn’s for that 6-hour period and go at any other time during the week.

The sandwiches are very affordable, which makes them perfect for a student’s budget, but I couldn’t see myself going there too often. The counter staff gets a little confused, even when there’s no one there, so patience is a must.

I’d love to go back over and over and try other items on the menu, but it’s not a possibility (unless, of course, I open a franchise here in NYC). Maybe I chose poorly. Maybe I had a bad sub maker. But I know this, as long as there’s a college in that town, students, both drunk and sober, will flock to Littlejohn’s.

Littlejohn’s New York Delicatessen is located at 1427 University Ave, Charlottesville VA (http://www.littlejohnsdeli.com/) and can be found on Twitter @littlejohnsdeli.

On Friday I posted my Top 5 sandwiches. In a matter of fairness, is are the Bottom 5 Sandwiches I have ever had. These are the sandwiches I will never order again (some of which I have yet to write about and have no plans on writing about them.)

1. Every sandwich from Subway

2. The Popeye Way from This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef

3. The American Sub from the World’s Best Sandwich Truck

4. The Tuna Fish from Piccolo Cafe

5. Leo’s Classic Club from Leo’s Bagels

Whenever I tell people that I blog about sandwiches, I’m immediately asked what’s my all-time favorite sandwich. I’ve even been asked to pick my Top 5. In order to please both parties, here are my Top 5 All-Time Sandwiches. (Click the hyperlinks to learn why).

1. The Romeo at Alidoro

2. The Pork Belly from Num Pang

3. The Lobster Roll at Luke’s Lobster

4.  The Pastrami on Rye at Katz’s Deli

5. The Roast Beef sandwich from the Gramercy Meat Market