I have this ongoing day-dream of running my own sandwich cafe. Whenever I find something inspiring I bundle it up, flit off to my fantasy, and continue building my small world. I imagine whole days there. Baking my own fresh breads: having a different “feature” bread of the week. Ciabata, baguette, rye. Getting up early to start the soups which are all my own original recipes: roasted tomato and red pepper, sweet-n-spicy butternut squash, savory fish stew. We’d roast chickens whole with glistening, crispy skin marinated, brined, or rubbed with seasonal seasonings! Slab bacon, prime rib, pork shoulder, rabbit, house-made pastrami and corned beef for Saint Patty’s Day.
You’d walk into a faded red brick building. The light would twinkle in behind you through the picture window beside the door. The dining area is comfortable with intimate square and tall, round tables. As you walk up to the counter to place your order you’ll notice one wall cut with large, plain windows peering into the restaurant greenhouse where all the vegetables are grown. The menu isn’t hanging from the ceiling or all that huge. We keep so it’s easier to change with the seasons, aside from a few items that stick it out during hot summers and lonely winters. Occasionally the chef might be inclined to offer a special entrée or new side but this is a place where the trinity is soup, salad, and Sandwich.
As our babies grow up they’ll do their school work at the tables, weed the garden for allowance money, and work summers in the kitchens. It’s all ours so we can serve and make and do whatever, whenever we want.
I’m always eating when I take a trip to my cafe. Usually when I’ve found something that will make a good sandwich. I grew up in South Jersey and my family ate Italian subs and chips at least every other week growing up. Sometimes we ordered and sometimes we built our own. When we visit my parent’s now there is almost always lunch meat and cheese in the fridge and chips hiding in the Lazy Suzanne. Almost every student going on a field trip with school brought a hoagie for lunch and sold Wawa hoagie coupons once a year. That guy, Jared(?), who got skinny eating sandwiches from subway was not doing it right! An Italian sub requires lettuce, tomato, onion, hot (banana) peppers, sweet peppers, salt, pepper, oregano, oil, and vinegar (balsamic!!). Sometimes it might even be necessary to throw on a few black olives, sour (dill) pickles, and some Parmesan cheese. Plus chips!
There was also no nonsense about small, medium, or large. I went into a Quiznos a few days ago for the first time and felt really silly when the girl making my sandwich asked if I wanted it small or large and I asked how big that was. A sub is either whole, 12 (sometimes 10) inches, or half, 6 inches. Unless you know what a Wawa is and then it is… ok, let’s see if I can do this from memory… a junior, 4 inches, shorti, 6 inches, or a classic 10 inches. (The Quiznos sub was delicious by the way – way better than Subway and it didn’t even have any condiments on it)
So that’s my little day-dream. I’d like to own a breakfast and lunch cafe… and have no college debt while we’re on the subjects of wishes and pipe dreams. Just thought I’d share that with you.