Sunday, October 15, 2006

Eating my way through Europe, part 1

On the last leg of my trip through Europe I tried to be more of an observer than just a connoisseur of the gastronomic treats I had sampled over the last two weeks. Pictured above is the ham and cheese baguette sandwich I ate just before boarding my flight home. After being thoroughly searched for weapons and water, they let me and my lunch go. Sitting on the terminal floor, I spent 30 minutes savoring every bite, hoping somehow that it'd regenerate for me to take it back to L.A. But sadly, it didn't.

So instead, I studied the in's and out's of my sandwich. I'd bought it at a terminal kiosk, which would hardly be considered a culinary hotspot, but that's what I found out in France... sandwiches are excellent even at the airport!

Here are my sandwich notes:

1. Each component is low in moisture (not dry). And less water means that you can taste even the most subtle flavors.

2. Baguettes are far softer, smaller and flavorful than what is typically known stateside as a baguette. I was surprised when I found my first sandwich infused with masala. The one above had sunflower seeds scattered on the inside with poppy seeds outside. It really opened my eyes to the possibilities of bread.

3. French sandwiches abide by the KISS rule-of-thumb. Keep It Simple, Stupid! A slather of Dijon mustard, a few sprigs of fresh spinach and that's it. The provolone cheese and ham were amazingly tasty alone.

So now the question is, where do I find meat and cheese so good that you don't need the aid condiments to kick up the flavor?? A friend who'd lived in France told me that French Market Cafe on Abbott Kinney has the answer, so I'll be heading there soon.

I have more to write on my travel through France, Switzerland and Italy. Strangely, I'm getting hungry for a sandwich now, so I best start searching for one.
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rameniac said...

one of the best place to get french-style baguettes are vietnamese sandwich shops in the SGV. makes sense if you think about it. you can even buy them by the bag for super cheap!

Anonymous said...

Hey pirikara

can't wait to read your de/con-structive comments about the European cuisine?

Daily Gluttony said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you about European sammiches and the KISS concept. Don't know how many times I sat by some random fountain in different parts of Europe eating a simple sammich of crusty baguette, some kinda meat, cheese & a light slather of butter and was in heaven. And you're right--good ones can even be found at the most generic places--bus terminals, train stations, airports. Yum!