About every other Wednesday, Meg van Huygen's "Sub Missives" column writes love letters to the Seattle area's best sandwiches. Know a hot sub? Write to us about it @ email@example.com.
All right, we're going back to Sub Missives' roots this time, which is to say my original love: supermarket sandwiches. The greatest and best fast food. The original point.
For half my week, I live in the forest on south Whidbey Island, where you cannot get any good cheese. There are four grocery stores down in the area, and I am constantly drooling for some good, stanky imports. The best you can get out there is a mesh sack of Babybels. So when I'm in Seattle on the weekends, I load up.
I usually end up at Central Market in Shoreline, which has a huge, stanky cheese department, but last weekend, I ended up at its petite cousin, Ballard Market. While balancing an armload of Saint Albray and Basque Ossau-Iraty and 12-month gouda with the little crystals in it, I realized I was right next to the deli sandwiches too. "Babe," I said to my boyfriend, "grab me that meatloaf thing and put it on top of the cheese."
He flipped it over a few times like it was a fake ID. "You're gonna wanna warm this up. They'll do it for you." He pointed at the sign on the deli case saying they'll warm sandwiches up for me. "We can do it at your place," I said, and he pointed out that they have an industrial panini press at Ballard Market, and he does not.
"Noooo, that's gonna take forever," I protested, and he gave me the look that means I am being wrong. I looked at the line, all cheesed off. Two people! Plus panini press time! It's going to be at least five extra minutes!!
He was right, as he usually is, and especially in food matters. I waited the agonizing five minutes. This goddamn sandwich better be good, I thought, and I didn't even look at what was on it, other than meatloaf.
After dropping a C-note on fucking cheese, we ducked through the parking lot as the sky opened up and started pissing rain. The second our asses hit the seats, all hell broke loose, the rain slamming the windshield like gunfire. I was born and raised in this shit, and it's still thrilling.
Last time, I wrote about a messy, oily sardine sandwich from Mean Sandwich and said, do not eat it in your car. It turns out… the meatloaf bruschetta sandwich from Ballard Market is what you eat in your car. It was designed for this.
First of all, it's built on half of a big round olivetta loaf from Macrina Bakery, which is then split lengthwise, so it's a semi-circular sandwich cut into two triangles, like pie-quarters. Don't pick at the edge of the bread and try to figure out what the lumps are, because they're green olives and you will drop one in your boyfriend's car and he'll frown at you. They're very good olives. This whole bread is a top-shelf work of art, like everything Macrina makes. They give you a decent slab of meatloaf in there; it's nice and herby and a little tomatoey and has that sproingy consistency like you want, like a British banger. It stays together and doesn't crumble all over the place. They broil the edges just a little, a lovely bit of texture. I guess there's "tomato bruschetta" spread on the meatloaf slab, which is chopped up tomato and spinach.
I didn't detect cheese, per the word bruschetta. I considered donating some from my goblin's hoard, but it didn't need it.
There's mayo in there, and I know people have negative feelings about warm mayo, but it worked well as a binder here. The whole thing sticks together tidily, and, with the absence of cheese, I think it wouldn't if there were no mayo. It's not like mayo that's warm from sitting in a hot car all day; it's like mayo on your burger, warmed by the burger's warmth. You want it.
This sandwich would probably be good if it weren't warmed up, honestly. But it was so, so good when it was all toasty, and especially when it was machine-gunning rain outside. The coziest.
A note: This sando was almost not enough for two hungry people to share. After my first bite, I briefly regretted saying my boyfriend could have half. Shoulda gotten your own, duuude! Although where do you draw the line on that, when something is delicious? When it comes to delicion, I could eat to my stomach's absolute cubic maximum fill and then someone could be like "Can I have some?" and I'd be like "NO. >:("
Next time, I will probably get my own personal meatloaf bruschetta sandwich.
Anyway, we sat in our grubby little Nissan in the parking lot of Ballard Market and wolfed down this soul-warming Comfort Sandwich while Seattle did its melodramatic sky tantrum, and we've been thinking about that all week. Remember that time? With the rainstorm and the warm meatloaf sandwich? And then we went home and ate fancy cheese and got the quilts out and watched South Park? That was so nice.