Perhaps because of Madison Kitchen's proximity to the beach, or because they serve ants on a log, on a Thursday morning, most of the Madison Park sandwich shop's clientele are under 7. Owner Jim Goodall says Madison Kitchen has been a hit with neighborhood families. Some come in several times a day. There is now a "krautwich" button on the cash register for one regular who always gets a Reuben with no pastrami and double sauerkraut.

As tempting as ants on a log may be, I recommend the roasted eggplant sandwich. Don't be daunted by its messiness—its structural problems are caused by a basil aioli that I'd have spread all over myself if I'd been there after-hours. Pureed carrots gave the tomato soup that accompanied the half-sandwich a pleasantly earthy flavor. And Madison Kitchen's quinoa tabbouleh was appealing even to me, to whom quinoa normally tastes like shredded newspaper.

For beach picnics, Jim suggests the turkey, cheddar, and cranberry "Madison Street Special." There are a variety of equally portable pastries, like macaroons and almond apricot scones. In addition to being an expert sandwich-maker, Jim is a social worker, specializing in organ transplants. His favorite lunch is currently Madison Kitchen's salad trio, but he admits he's been known to eat Domino's pizza. recommended