The Endless Road Trip: Salt and Straw

We’re no strangers to crazy ice cream flavors here at ES, and let’s be real—in this brave new dessert world where salted caramel sundaes and olive oil ice cream have become the norm, a chef putting something insane inside your cone is not really newsworthy. HOWEVER, when I heard there is an ice cream shop in meat-mad Portland serving bone marrow ice cream, clearly I was there in a New York minute.

The bad news: Salt and Straw did not have the bone marrow flavor in stock on the day I visited, but really for the very best reason possible: they were waiting for cherry season to start, so that they could make a bone marrow-black cherry ice cream. Obvi.

The good news: I had enough friends with me to order up a smorgasbord of outrageous flavors: honey balsamic strawberry with cracked pepper, sea salt with caramel ribbons, coffee-bourbon, blue cheese and pear (!), honey-lavender, blood orange, and blueberry with key lime marmalade. All head-over-heels amazing. the sweet-and-savory balsamic-strawberry-pepper took top honors for me.

The better news:

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America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches

Forget who piles pastrami highest or fits the most varieties of cold cuts onto one hero roll. A great sandwich has come to mean more than just bigger, better and meatier. Across the country, a new breed of sandwich artisans are taking lunchtime to a whole ‘nother level. From California to New England, here are Endless Simmer’s top ten favorite new sandwiches.

10. The Spuckie — Cutty’s, Boston

spuckie sandwich cuttys

Spuckie is a term used by old-school Bostonians to identify any sub sandwich, but it’s increasingly associated with this year-old Brookline shop. It’s also probably the one sandwich that most successfully merges the old-school method of overdoing it on Italian meats with the new world of artisan, veggie-centric goodness. Super-thin slices of fennel salami, hot capicola and mortadella are layered on an oversize ciabatta, then topped with gooey, hand-pulled mozzarella and a fresh olive-carrot salad. For even less traditional sandwich-lovers, there’s also an eggplant spuckie available.

9. Bulgogi Steak Sandwich — Koja, Philadelphia

bulgogi steak sandwich

At the risk of outraging an entire city, we’re going to say it: the Philly cheesesteak is boring. With no disrespect meant to the age-old art of slathering fake cheese on top of a mound of meat, we just think this is one classic sandwich that is ready for a creative update. Enter University City sandwich truck Koja, where the chewy cheesesteak meat is replaced with bulgogi, Korea’s signature thinly-sliced, spicy BBQ beef. It’s served on a hoagie roll that’s coated in sweet chili oil and accented by sauteed peppers and onions. Koja also offers bulgogi pork and bulgogi chicken variations, but the best part is the unbelievable price — $3. Read more about this amazing sandwich at My Inner Fatty.

8.Crispy Drunken Sandwich — Baguette Box, Seattle

crispy drunken chicken baguette

Have you ever dug into a steamy styrofoam container of General Tso’s chicken and thought, “this is delicious, but it would be even tastier on a bun?” Of course you haven’t, that’s the most insane thing we’ve ever heard. But crazy is sometimes genius, as is proven at this tiny Seattle sandwich shop, where hunks of tender chicken are deep-fried and glazed in a tangy brown sauce, then served on a crispy baguette with caramelized onions and cilantro. The result is a supremely sticky, but utterly satisfying sandwich. (Photo: Sevius)

7. Cheesy Mac and Rib — The Grilled Cheese Truck, Los Angeles

cheesy mac and rib

Another new West Coast outpost that achieves genius results by thinking outside the bun, LA’s great cheese-on-wheels purveyor offers several list-worthy grilled sandwiches, but none is more awe-inspiring than this. Sharp cheddar mac-and-cheese, strands of sweet BBQ pork and caramelized onions are all stuffed into two perfectly buttered-and-fried slices of white bread. Yes, it sounds like the horrifying 3 a.m. creation of a stoned college student. Yes, it actually works. 
Grilled Cheese Truck)

6. Pibil Torta — Xoco, Chicago

XOCO Pibil

Upgrading Mexican street food has suddenly become a hot task of haute chefs around the nation, although the results often have us pining for the real thing. Not so at Rick Bayless’ Chicago sandwich shop, where tortas baked in the wood-burning oven take Mexican to levels we didn’t know existed. In this sandwich, silky strands of roasted suckling pig are served on crusty bread spread with black beans and achiote paste, then finished with a layer of pickled onions and habanero salsa. The Pibil may be one extra ingredient away from being a Top Chef disaster story, but as is, it’s perfection on bread.

Next: The top 5

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