12/12/18 10:30pm

It takes a true charcuterie master to make a masterful sandwich, and Don Rodrigo Duarte is such a master. I first met Don Rodrigo four years ago when I helped to launch Charcuterie Masters.

Today was my second visit to his shop, Caseiro e Bom in Newark’s Ironbound. I’ve tasted his exquisite Portuguese charcuterie several times, but it occurred to me and the New York Epicurean Events crew that none of us had ever had a sandwich made by the master.

“O.K. I’ll make you guys a sandwich,” Don Rodrigo said after giving us a tour of his subterranean curing chambers, which are filled with precious pure breed Alentejano hams. (more…)

03/01/17 3:47pm


You would think after a weekend spent surrounded by smoked and cured meats at Charcuterie Masters, I’d be tired of ham and pâté. Not so. Which is exactly how I found myself at Violet’s Bake Shoppe ordering a Pâté Supreme bánh mì earlier today. My go to order is the house special, which features crumbled roast pork and Vietnamese charcuterie.

In addition to a homemade pork liver pâté, the Supreme ($6.50) features Vietnamese ham and salami with all the standard fixins. The cold cuts and shmear of peppery pâté combined with the veggies and fresh jalapeños made for a satisfying lunch.

In case you’re wondering the Charcuterie Masters 2017 Grand Champion was Mark Elia of Hudson Valley Sausage Company who took home the crown for his liverwurst. I’ll bet it would be just splendid on a Vietnamese sandwich!

Violet’s Bake Shoppe, 72-36 Austin Street, Forest Hills, 718-263-3839 

08/31/16 1:47pm

Mr. Crispy, Astoria’s answer to the croque monsieur.

Culinary hyperbole is as much an occupational hazard as it is a way of life these days. In the race for web traffic, social media likes, and a desire to stand out everything becomes the best. The sense of discovery and wonder that drives me as a food writer is all too often lost in a sea of superlatives. So l when my dear friend and Astoria denizen Connie Murray started raving about a certain grilled cheese being the best, I took it with a grain of gruyere. After all how could good can a grilled cheese be?

I’d been to Astoria Bier & Cheese before. While the grilled cheese I tried was tasty it left my appetite for killer content unsated. “You know I think I’ve had this before,” I said to Connie of the Mr. Crispy ($11) as we munched on some excellent house pickles. (more…)

08/12/15 10:25am

It’s been a while since I’ve had sandwiches de miga, the dainty crustless Argentine triple deckers. Leave it to Youtube to stoke my hunger for them. La Cocina del Sandy makes several, including a lovely looking one with one ham and, hardboiled eggs, and pimento.

Before getting down to sandwich making she goes over miga mise en place—ham, roasted peppers, cheese, eggs, etc.—and then spends a good two minutes describing how to prepare a special mayonnaise in which manteca plays a crucial role. My Spanish is just good enough for me to understand some of what she says, but not good enough to understand the entire recipe.  All of which makes me very glad to live just a short subway ride away from La Nueva Bakery in Jackson Heights.


12/22/14 1:01am

Tu Arepa Pizza Café’s plato navideno.


One of the coolest things about pizzerias in Queens is ethnic hybridization. Sometimes it takes the form of outright fusion—witness the falafel slice—and sometimes a separate cuisine coexists with the pizza. The latter is the case at Tu Arepa Pizza Café a spot that sells slices side by side with such Venezuelan specialties as cachapas and arepas. (more…)

10/08/14 10:13am


La Nueva Bakery is the only hybrid Uruguayan-Colombian bakery I’ve ever encountered. Savory Colombian snack breads like pan de bono and pan de queso sit in the case beside Uruguayan treats like dulce de leche-filled churros and the buttery twists known as hornitos. And there are Uruguayan sandwiches de miga, dainty crustless triple deckers with various fillings sold in packages of six. They line the deli case like so many savory layer cakes. (more…)

12/12/13 10:17am

A Vietnamese pork chop with a fried ham supplement.

The menu at Pho Bac in Elmhurst lists more than 150 items. Yet most diners, myself included, almost always order a bowl of the namesake beef noodle soup. The other night in an effort to expand my knowledge of Vietnamese cuisine I decided to branch out. I ordered something that I have taken to calling the pork chop happy meal. I call it that not because it came with a toy, but rather because eating it made me quite happy.

Com tam suon cha (grilled pork chop and crab meat patty over broken rice) is one of several dishes that star tasty grilled pork. At $7, it’s a steal. In case there’s not enough pig on the plate you can get a supplement of Vietnamese ham for $1.50. Dip the sweet charred pork into the accompanying fish sauce concoction. The crab meat patties are more of an omelet than anything, but are tasty nonetheless. Along with the rice and veggies it makes for a filling and relatively healthful dinner. For another buck, one can get a fried egg on top, making for marginally less healthful repast.

Pho Bac, 82-78 Broadway, Elmhurst,718-639-0000

08/28/13 9:58am

New York only 10-decker Chinese breakfast sandwich will set you back $1.75.

It’s been said that the breakfast sandwich—an egg or two on a roll with cheese and bacon—is a New York City thing. I’m not sure whether that’s entirely true, but I do know that Chinese breakfast sandwiches are fairly uncommon in Flushing’s Chinatown. Sure jiān bĭng, and other wraps use eggs and are eaten for breakfast, but they hardly qualify as sandwiches. So I was quite excited when one morning I spotted the most extreme breakfast sandwich ever at Sun Mary Bakery. Barely visible through the steamy window of the warming box it appeared to consist of multiple layers of bread themselves encased in dough. As I soon found out it is, in fact a 10-decker Chinese breakfast sandwich. Layer number one is a puff pastry that holds the whole crazy thing together. Inside that ring of flaky goodness are five slices of white bread, alternating with ham, cheese, dried pork sung, and a slab of fried egg. It’s a filling, tasty carb bomb that goes great with a cup of coffee milk tea. Best of all at $1.75 it’s roughly half the price of a classic New York City breakfast sandwich.

Sun Mary Bakery, 133-57 41st Rd., 718-460-8800

08/07/13 10:20am
Surf and turf for French philosophers.

Surf and turf for French philosophers.

“Is it a sandwich?” I asked of the jambon Paris ($14) which appeared on the chalkboard menu at M. Wells Dinette beside the word croissant. “It’s a deconstructed sandwich,” the waiter said, explaining that it involved a torn up croissant and mayonnaise made from the fish escolar. As a friend reminded me last night deconstructed is a phrase that was once more commonly used to describe philosophy or fashion, not sandwiches. In any event a croissantwich would be too ordinary for the M. Wells crew. Deconstructed or not the slices of rosy French ham drizzled with escolar mayo and topped with torn up pieces of croissant made for a tasty snack. Each forkful—buttery and sweet croissant, silky ham, and mayo—was like a little sandwich in itself.

M. Wells Dinette, MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave at 46th Ave., Long Island City, 718-786-1800