Time to Chill Out

The past 30 days has been a month of change. I have a new job, no apartment and have decided to move to a new coast. Let me explain...

I am going to try my luck in San Francisco (ding ding!) - I leave in 30 days. I can hardly believe it. No really - I can't even imagine it seeing how I have never even been to San Francisco.  I have pulled my ripcord and will be cascading into the unknown this summer. To be honest, I am one big ball of emotions - excited, anxious, sad - but I am ready to embrace them all. And I will have plenty of time to mull over my feelings on my drive cross country. I say drive, but what I really mean is EAT. The plan is to eat my way cross country. I want to experience what this country has to offer...my stomach. I will report my findings for you all right here - and on Twitter. Please stay tuned.

Unfortunately this change in destination has required me to relinquish my beloved West Village cubby hole. Charmingly cute, perfectly located and more importantly, MINE - I will miss my apartment more than I care to admit. As the site of my first experience living alone, I fear I will have a lingering nostalgia for all 300sq feet. Yes, there are things I may not miss - the hoards of mice and their lovely droppings, my cold-as-ice British neighbor who's inability to say 'hello' never ceased to amaze me, and the dog-sized rats I stepped over whilst disposing garbage. And while I look forward to a time and place when I can keep a plant alive (henceforth my move to the Golden City), I am saddened to leave that dark, mouse infested closet. However, in an effort to keep this less than four pages, I will save the 'what i'll miss list' for another post.

So here I am, homeless, living out of a suitcase, worked to the bone by day, planning a move cross country by night. And now (hopefully) you understand the title of this post.
Through the madness, eating, and unfortunately not exercise, has been my stress relief (thank goodness this all coincides with bikini season!) Lunch is not just a time to refuel the tank - it's ten minutes of silence and bliss. So you see, I must make a good choice, and it's one I ponder over for much of my morning. Thank goodness NYMAG came out with it's list of the top 101 sandwiches in NYC - making my lunchtime decision that much easier. If I actually DO succeed in eating all of these sandwiches in the next 30 days, it might be time to break out my dear, old friend Mr. Tankini. God help us.

The Heat's Must Munch List:

  • Red Hook Lobster Pound: Connecticut Lobster Roll - say goodbye to mayo and hello to double popped collars.
  • Fatty Crab's Tea Sandwiches - I'll admit, it IS pretty nice when someone cuts your crusts off. Though Mom never served pork belly.
  • Prune: Bacon and Marmalade on Pumpernickle - wins my to-be-replicated-at-home award, where I can avoid judgemental stares.
  • Russ & Daughters: Super Heebster - to relive my days at UPenn
  • Sullivan Street Bakery: PMB - pancetta, mango, basil. One question: WHAT TOOK US SO LONG?!
  • Blue Ribbon Bakery Market: Egg Toast - sounds all innocent and cute - and then in walks the pickled peppers.
  • Le Bernadin: Smoked Salmon and Caviar Croque Monsiuer - what? This is a dream list.
  • Resto: Tete de Cochon Sandwich - a condiment competition - pickles, curry braise, aioli - the way I eat when no one's looking.
  • Terroir Tribeca: Meatball Sandwich - because they didn't mess with a good thing.
  • Vanessa's Dumplings: Sesame Pancake with Beef - wrapping meat in pancakes has been around long before Vanessa's (I made a mean sausage sammy at Ihop) but Vanessa's does me proud.
  • Sunny and Annie Deli: the 'PHO Real' - do you really need another reason to order it?
  • Barros Luco: Chacarero Competo - thinly sliced beef, mild melted cheese, avocado, tomato, mayo, chiles, and stringbeans? I love the replacement of drab lettuce with veggies that crunch.
  • Patacon Pisao #2: Llanero Patacon - have fun with your food and convince a carb-a-phob that fried plantains are better than bread.
  • Sukhadia's: Bombay Pav Vada - 'deep-fried-potato-and-chickpea croquette, painted with chutneys and smushed inside your choice of a burger bun or what looks like a KFC dinner roll'. The closest I'll ever come to the chain. 
  • The Smile: Harissa Honey Smoked Chicken - 'with a ensemble cast of sweet roasted peppers, melted manchego, and preserved-lemon mayo'. I'm in for anything with preserved Meyer lemons.
  • No.7 Sub: Eggplant Parm - 'deep-fried, true, but the sauce is puréed squash and the cheese is Fontina. And, of course, tucked-inside, potato chips'. Who doesn't love a good potato chip sammy?
  • Caselulla Wine and Cheese Bar: Pig's Ass Sandwich - just because I'll giggle when I order it.
  • Tulcingo del Valle: Cemita Al Pastor - 'commingling of seasoned pork, pineapple, chipotles, avocado, Oaxaca cheese, and refried beans that makes this one so delicious'. A step up from my beans-on-toast routine.

And when I need to ease myself off all the bread, I'll puree it and add it to this soup:

Gazpacho Soup:
(from a class I assisted at called Portuguese Food and Wine at The Astor Center)
  • 1/2 pound rustic bread, stale or lightly toasted
  • 6 tablespoons (divided) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, passed through a garlic press
  • 1 1/2 pound (divided) ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 small green pepper, diced small
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • salt
  • red wine vinegar
  1. Cut off the crust from the bread and break up into large crumbs (a little like poultry stuffing). Divide in half. Toss half the crumbs with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and toast in a 350°F oven until lightly toasted. Set aside.
  2. Combine half the tomatoes, the garlic and vegetable broth in a blender.
  3. Gradually add the bread that has not been toasted until the soup is moderately thick.
  4. With the blender running add the remaining olive oil, oregano and salt and vinegar to taste. Depending on the tomatoes you may need to add more or less of the vinegar. Start with a tablespoon. If the tomatoes aren’t very good a pinch of sugar may be needed as well.
  5. Dice the remaining tomatoes and stir into the soup along with the peppers. The soup may be made ahead to this point.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the toasted crumbs. Serve at room temperature

"The coldest summer I ever spent, was a summer in San Francisco."
Mark Twain a la, The Heat