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Resurrected, improved version, see 5/25/11 update below

For you who aren’t familiar with my love affair with this sandwich, here is the gist: When it’s made properly, the bread crusty and toothy, the meat proportional; the flavor complex. For $5, it was the best tasting, best value sandwich in the south bay, IMHO.

Then one day, the health department dropped by. To make a long story short, the sandwich cannot be sold fresh and cut to order anymore. It must be refrigerated, for health reason (my foot.)

For anyone who knows anything about bread, cold kills it. So my workaround was to come home and re-toast in the oven to revive the bread and the flavor. But there goes my lunch-on-the-go while running between errands.

Then Whole Foods just completely killed it, the whole thing. No more.

Now they are offering it again every Wednesday. Still refrigerated and not made by Greg, but apparently he shared his secret and recipe.

Still $5, and it’s humongous. I bought it at lunch, then carefully pressed it down with a gallon of milk in the frig. I wanted to share it with William for dinner. After 6 months, 7 more hours is nothing.

Resurrected Best Darn Sandwich, initial version

It is still very tasty. I don’t want to complain about meat since I love meat and who doesn‘t like a good bargain. But they added probably 50% more meat than what it used to be. The flip side of extra meat is, it makes the whole sandwich saltier. I like the extra meat but maybe tone down the salt in the dressing will balance out the sodium.

What makes me really miss ‘the way it was’ is the bread. Never mind that it is just not the same, but that the bottom crust is soaked. Either there’s too much dressing or the peppers weren’t drained, it was completely soggy. No amount of toasting could restore mush to springy bread. If I had eaten it for lunch, it’s probably OK. The 7-hour-press-down probably did it in. But I always ate Greg’s sandwich a day or two old this way, and it was always as if it’s just made.

Verdict: It is a still the best value in town and a solid, good sandwich. Just not a great one anymore.

This begs the question: How hard is it to bring back Greg for one lunch a week? And have him prepare it two way. One side reads: “Refrigerated. You will live.”

The other side reads: “Made fresh. Never seen the cooler. If you have ever been hit by a meteor rock, there’s a slight chance you might get sick eating this. DO NOT SUE US. For everyone else, enjoy.”

5/25/2011 Update: Went to Whole Foods 9:30am in the morning and ran into Greg. He proudly informed me that he tried a sample of today’s sandwich and it was ‘darn good’. Because it was so early, they hadn’t had the chance to send my babies to the Refrigerator of Death. There was less meat now and the flavor was more balanced. The bread was a big improvement: crackly, wheaty, resilient, almost like it before.

OK, that’s not fair to Larbi who is the sandwich man now. I should move on: Greg is not gonna make this sandwich anymore but in all pratical sense, this resurrected version is just like it before.

The challenge now is to show up at the right time before they are sent to the cooler …

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