Consider the Sandwich
“All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.” These are the words of “30 Rock”’s Liz Lemon. Though Tina Fey’s character is, at times, a gross caricature of the woman who eats her emotions, there’s something deliciously honest about her outlook on food. In a city where tacos come covered in tangy kimchi and Kobe beef burgers are magnificent enough to be served without fries, sandwiches have faded into obscurity. It seems the foodie craze has tightened the relationship between our brains and stomachs. Why else would people spend $3.00 on a macaroon? While kimchi tacos and French macaroons are only mildly tasty, they’re more cosmopolitan than your average turkey club or chocolate chip cookie and therefore more impressive. This shouldn’t be the case.
At this point, dodging fancy taco trucks in Manhattan has turned into a game of Whac-A-Mole. There’s no escaping trendy food. That’s why it’s crucial that we adjust our appetites in favor of the meal that once got us through lousy days at middle school — the meal that reveals our identities based on which ingredients we request or forgo and fuels us for hours at a time. Sandwiches see us through it all.
Behold, my list of three great sandwiches to eat when there’s time to spare on campus. If eaten correctly, they’ll remind you of how much better food tastes after you’ve handled it. Each goes for under $8.00 and is every bit as scrumptious as a black truffle cream sauce, mozzarella, crimini, prosciutto cotto, truffle oil pizza.
The Philly Cheesesteak: Wogies, 39 Greenwich Ave., $7.50
You know a place is serious about their sandwiches when they serve their main dish in a wooden sandwich box. Wogies is dim, quiet, and not especially enchanting inside, but the cheesesteak warrants a visit. Topped with sweet-and-sour banana peppers and sauteed onions, the crunchy yet gooey sandwich fuses the food groups together nicely without trickling grease down your sleeves.
The Veggie Sandwich: San Panino, 494 Hudson St., $7.50
Crispy, lightly salted foccacia bread is a great nosh on its own, but when you throw grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers, plum tomatoes, and olive tapenade into the mix, you’ve got yourself a Vegetariano. The beauty of San Panino is in its commitment to freshness. The vegetables, which you can see in the store’s assembly line, are ripe and vibrant enough to seem freshly picked each day. Nowhere in the shop or on the menu do they allude to the freshness; it’s there in the food. There’s not much in the way of seating, but it’s the ideal sandwich to pick up and eat alongside the Hudson river.
The Classic Deli Sandwich: Murray’s Cheese Shop, 254 Bleecker St., $7.00
A trip to Murray’s Cheese Shop requires discipline. If you’re strong enough to resist the mounds of imported cheeses, artisan jams and neatly-packaged chocolates, then the only thing you should walk out with is a turkey club. This sandwich is often a dry, stodgy mess-maker, but they’ve ironed out the kinks. Three layers of golden, grilled sourdough bread, a thin splotch of mayo, moist turkey and smoky bacon create a sandwich that’s best washed down with a midday nap. That’s to say, in the best possible way, it’ll leave you sluggish enough to want to end your day then and there.