It may be said that Malcolm’s motivation for moving back to the United States has to do entirely with lunch, and more specifically, sandwiches. One of the first things that you should know about us is that we are not snobs. We appreciate, no, we relish, the art of sandwich at every socio-economic level. We’ve deconstructed Subway and ravished Quiznos on many occasions. On our first day in the new apartment, when we needed a break from arranging paintings of ships and ducks and hauling all our clothes and photos and Oriental rugs up to the second floor, we went right down Clark Street to Vespucci’s, a neighborhood deli and market in the Italian style, and floor-feasted back here on very respectable cold cut grinders, to which we gave appropriate thanks and praise. But we have also, and I don’t mean to intimidate you with my cosmopolitanity, lived in Brooklyn, a borough that of late has flexed its ability to engorge your mouth with salami combination, herbed cheeses and artisanal breads. We used to get down on some fancy sandwiches from Naidre’s and Sweet Melissa as a matter of course on any weekday. That is, in a nutshell, how we roll.
A neighborhood sandwich shop is a very good thing. You take a little walk and notice events that aren’t on the internet, perhaps you interact with a full-sized dog or baby, you fill your lungs with fresh air and develop an appetite for meat, cheese, vegetables and condiments nestled between carbohydrates. It was such a confluence of hunger and desire for human contact that led me to Aurora Provisions earlier today.
Aurora Provisions sells wine, beer and other beverages, premade takeway dishes like quiche and shepherd’s pie, baked goods and breads (people, I saw red velvet cake bars. drink in those four words: red. velvet. cake. bars.) fancy shelf staples, e.g. good olive oil, as well as soups and sandwiches at lunchtime. It’s tagline tells me it has “beautiful food for busy people”, and I like that. The soups today were not to my liking, as it is drizzly and chilly and on offer was a gazpacho and a carrot ginger something. I sidled up to the counter. Malcolm requested Southwestern Turkey and I chose the Parisienne Baguette. I grabbed two bags of chips: Covered Bridge brand Creamy Dill Pickle (outstanding!) and Kettle Fully Loaded Baked Potato (just okay) and Liv Organic sports drink, lemon flavor, which is essentially Gatorade made with agave necatar, and was thirst-quenching indeed. Back at the ranch, we unwrapped the deli paper and stood and stared with admiration at the fine craftsmanship of our selections. Malcolm photographed. His bread was soft but toothsome, surrounding fresh turkey breast and mild cheese, but what I noticed most was the sauce; the sweet, smoky and spicy Chipotle set off the flavors and made my taste buds do a little horizontal mambo.
I think I won today’s lunchoff. You simply cannot win against ham and brie. The combination of these two lusty elements is earthy and sublime, neither overwhelming the other, complementing and completing like perfect paramours. Adding interest and tang, therein lied a whiff of dijon mustard and adorable slices of cornichon, all resting within the crusty shards of real french bread. I have not had such spoils since I ate near the fountain of the Place de Voges.
I paid a little over twenty dollars for all that I entailed, which is high when you are just bringing it home. I would absolutely go again for lunch, but I think for us it will become a weeknight stop for foccaccia and a bottle of Albarino, or a morning place for chocolate croissants and a Turtle Latte. As far as fancy sandwiches go, I think they are doing solid B work. Pretty good stuff for a plain old Tuesday.
You can read another great writeup of Aurora Provisions here.