5 Simple Things: Happy National Cheeseburger Day

While my wild and wacky coworkers are stealing off to Smashburger to celebrate, I started thinking about all the bread-something delicious- followed by more bread combinations that exist out there.

Today I thought I’d bring you a few of my favorites.

1. Banh Mi

I grew up around a strong Vietnamese community in Houston, TX. My friends introduced me to this wonderful cuisine, and more so, to this sandwich. Despite me having a recipe from Williams – Sonoma, which obviously doesn’t have a native feel, I’ve found it’s the closest thing I can get to what I was eating growing up. The flavors in this sandwich launched me outside of the foods that my parents had grown me up with. Once I tripped the light fandango (what does that mean anyway?) to the other side of their culinary teachings, I was amazed by the complexity – sweetly acidic carrots, peppery and spicy cilantro, pork glistening from the grill enrobed in a wonderful buttery spread all tied together by a crunchy perfection of a baguette – I found myself wanting to know, what else is out there!?

2 .Primantis

The statement, “My family is from Pittsburgh” should be enough for me to like this sandwich. The statement, “this sandwich has coleslaw and FRENCH FRIES ON IT” should be enough for you to like this sandwich. Primanti’s rings in as one of Pittsburgh’s oldest must-have’s starting back in 1933, providing truckers with meals they could carry with them on the road – smashing the perfect potatoes and cabbage mix into fantastic sandwiches. I don’t think anything will truly match the entire experience of going to Pittsburgh’s famous area , The Strip, and trying one of these mammoth stacks of goodness, but I did find this recipe, which is pretty durn close to what I dream of. The idea is genius, the place and it’s people are legendary- make it a must on your bucket list.

3. Central Grocery Muffaletta

The first thing I ever sunk my chompers into when I went to New Orleans was this spicy, pickle-y mountain of lunch meat. A little larger than a personal pizza, the muffaletta is already one of NOLA’s trademark eats . When you walk into Central Grocery and enter the ever present queue of folks waiting for this masterpiece, you’re reminded of eras gone by with their perfectly mish mashed assortment of deli groceries to take with you. Grab a soda, pack a picnic, pick up this sandwich – the peppery, olive bursting flavor filled with rich meats and cheese make this a memorable sandwich and a must on any trip. Not going to NOLA any time soon? (WHY!?) Try this recipe, it’ll suffice for now.

4. BLT

When we’d have Sunday breakfasts as a kid, I could always tell it was BLT’s for lunch if we didn’t scarf down all of everyone’s favorite meat candy. The BLT has the best mix of summery tomatoes, buttery lettuce and smoky bacon – nowadays I’m seeing fantastic morphs of it adding over easy eggs, avocado, goat cheese. What mattered most to me was that the bread was toasted perfectly. I wanted little crumbs to end up on the paper towel I was usually eating over top of looking out my mom’s kitchen window at the birds in the bird house we used to have. Childhood memories set aside, this sandwich continues to be a stepping stone to finding the fantastic – make it a salad, make it a soup, add caramelized onion even…it’s a classic that should continue showing up – even if reinvented.

5. Oh. And then there’s my favorite sandwich.

While fancy sandwiches come and go, and new trends take over what lunch time favorites I take to work. There’s always a go to that I could eat until I’m blue. Any day of the week I’ll take a couple of slices of Sunbeam’s soft, chewy, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth bread and slather it with the original French’s yellow mustard, a few well-placed slices of greasy hard salami and 2 lengthwise green onions and I’m a happy girl. Sure, it’ll absolutely require a mint afterwards, and it’s a taste pungent and filled of nostalgia – is it perfectly paired for most palettes? Probably not – but it’s my favorite.

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