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Thursday
Mar102011

ItaLisboNyorker - City Sandwich



"Have a sangwich!"

This is a line my family uses, in jest, usually after a particularly large meal. We say it for a few reasons:

1. It's funny.

2. No one in my family ever needs a "sangwich" or a saaaaandwich (if you must). There is always so much food around that the idea of more in whatever form, sandwich or otherwise, would be pushing the limits of space, time and elastic waistbands.

(For those of you out of the loop, "sangwich" is sort of Italian-American/New Jersey/New York dialect/accent-weirdness for "sandwich").

But sometimes you need a sandwich, as they are surprisingly handy. And last week I was in Midtown (really) and there were sandwiches to be had. Specifically, the well-crafted Portuguese sandwiches at City Sandwich.

City Sandwich chef and owner Michael Guerrieri was born in Naples, raised in New York, and cooked in Lisbon. And now he's back in New York bringing Midtown a selection of golden-toasted sandwiches with fusion fillings. He calls this blend of flavors "ItaLisboNyorker" which is kind of a mouthful. Sandwich pun intended.

Something I REALLY like about this place is that there is no mayo in the sandwiches. Guerrieri instead uses yogurt with olive oil (I'll get back to this in a bit).

The Scene:
The interior is unassuming. It looks like the sandwich version of a Pinkberry with less bubble-style graphics. The menu options are posted on the walls of the long, narrow space. Tables line either side, and the counter is at the back, complemented by a beverage fridge (stocking GUS natural sodas) and a basket of Gourmet Basic's Smart Fries.

The Grub:
We selected the following sandwiches from the wall-posted offerings:

The Todd (pictured above): A harmonious blend of smoked Portugese pancetta, seasonal lettuce (nice and dark green, none of that wilty iceburg stuff), and a tomato with actual flavor. The whole thing was accented by a healthy but not goopy drizzle of honey dijon yogurt sauce. A honey dijon yogurt sauce that I liked so much I replicated at home. There's a (bonus) recipe below!

Next up was the Henrique. Sporting Portugese Alheira-Vinegar sausage, steamed collard greens, grilled onions, melted mozzarella, this sandwich is definitely a heavy weight. But not in a way that often induces regret in an "I just ate a brick" way. It is surprisingly light – perhaps because the bread is so delicate and crispy it could float away if it wasn't weighted down by meaty accoutrements. I loved the combination of tangy vinegar sausage, sweet grilled onion and savory collard greens. The mozzarella could have been a touch saltier (yes, even with sausage).

The Experience: The Big Lebowski

While the atmosphere doesn't count for much, the sandwiches are innovative, fresh and feature well-thought-out and balanced taste combinations. I enjoyed the fusion of Italian, Portuguese and New York styles and tastes. And I loved that Honey Dijon Yogurt Dressing. So much so that I recreated it and mixed it up with some Persian cucumbers and avocados for a tangy salad.



Here's how to do it yourself:

What You Need:

For the Dressing:
makes 1/2 cup
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (NOT honey-dijon mustard)
2 teaspoons honey (I used a Acacia variety from Murray's Cheese, but any honey that tastes good to you works)
A drizzle of olive oil

For the Salad:
1 ripe avocado, cut into cubes
2 Persian cucumbers, diced

What To Do:
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and mix. Be sure to give it a taste and see if you would like more of any of the three main ingredients.

Place your chopped cucumber and avocado in a larger bowl. Add as much dressing as you would like (I added about 2 tablespoons of it) and mix until well coated. Serve with toasted bread or pita chips.

Note: This dressing is also good for dipping aforementioned bread/pita chips. This would be why I don't have any dressing leftover.

And finally, say it with me now: SANGWICH! Have one.

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If God had intended us to follow recipes,
He wouldn't have given us grandmothers.
~Linda Henley

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