Monday, December 26, 2011

A Somewhat Brief History of the Absolute Best Sandwich in the World (and eventually a recipe)

During our whirlwind trip to Memphis, we decided to go downtown to ride the trolley, mostly for the experience of riding the trolley, but also to get to the Peabody Hotel to see their world-famous ducks without having to find a place to park or needing to walk a long distance.  It was really important to me that we get to the Peabody in time for the ducks' waddle along the red carpet to their fountain in the lobby.  Even though birds in captivity don't count on one's life list, imho, avid birders should see the world's most famous ducks at least once, particularly birders who were born in the city where said ducks reside.

Well, the trolley, which was supposed to be a quick, direct way to get from a parking area on the north end of downtown to the Peabody, turned into nothing short of a fiasco.  After moving one block, we were stopped and unable to move further because fire trucks, parked in front of the convention center, were blocking the tracks.  Hundreds of people were exiting the building, so there was no way we were going to exit the trolley and fight that crowd.  We sat there for what seemed like an eternity (it was probably about 5 mins, but we were running late and tensions were mounting).  Eventually, our trolley was redirected and, instead of moving south on Main, as planned, it had to travel north, then turn west and loop around to go south on Riverside Dr.  We followed Riverside as far south as the trolley can travel and then turned east to rejoin the Main St. tracks and head north again. 

Orville enjoyed the detour
since it allowed him to see the Pyramid,
where I graduated,
up-close and personal.

Wilbur was less interested in the sights
but he thought the strapy things
on the trolley were pretty cool.

We were back in the right part of downtown but were totally turned around mentally and could not getting our bearings long enough to find the Peabody.  We hadn't been downtown Memphis in over twelve years and were experiencing that I-should-know-where-I-am-but-don't-and-feel-totally-disoriented-and-a-bit-foolish phenomenon.  So we rode the trolley around the loop once more...and again...and AGAIN!

Michael wondered if we would be stuck
on Riverside Dr. for the rest of our lives.

We had missed seeing the ducks march and were getting really hungry and wanted to get off the trolley- just about the time it broke down in front of ...

The Arcade Restaurant!

It is the oldest cafe in Memphis, founded about 100 years ago.  So, yes, it was in Memphis when we lived there, but neither Michael nor I had even HEARD OF IT!  Granted, he rarely went downtown, and I only went there when on a teaching assignment.  Whatever the case, it was new-to-us and, more importantly, right there in front of us (and that trolley wasn't going anywhere any time soon), so we stopped in for lunch.

Now, we're not Elvis fans.  In fact, the boys had no idea who he was before our Memphis trip.  But we sat at the Elvis table...

He's not mad, y'all.
That's how he normally looks
when his wife is snapping his picture over and over again
while saying (in her best Elvis voice) 
Thank ya, thank ya very much
after each click.

...because it was the only table available.  HA!

Hey!  I know who Elvis is now...
sort of.

But also because this school...

...the one where I taught before the boys were born, served the housing project where Elvis had lived before stardom.  In fact, after completing 6th grade, my students went to Humes Middle School, which used to be Humes High School, which was where Elvis attended high school. 

This was my classroom the last year I taught.
My first room no longer exists
because the building was remodeled
and the 3rd floor was removed
during the years I taught there.

So Elvis's history has intersected with our family's history and since our family history was the whole point of the trip we told the boys the story I just told you as we sat at Elvis's table and ate THE ABSOLUTE BEST SANDWICH IN THE WORLD!

No joke.

It was so good that I had to recreate it at home. 

The World's Best Sandwich (Absolutely)

1.  Spread about 1 tsp each of pesto and Dijon mustard on freshly baked rolls.
2.  Add ham- real, home-baked, glazed, yummy-rific, ham.  Add as much as you want.  I won't tell.
3.  Thinly slice a pear and layer 2-4 slices over the ham.  They used Bartlets at The Arcade, I think.  I used Asian pears at home- mmm, yummy, nummy.
4.  Spread cream cheese on the other half of the roll.  The Arcade used melted Brie, which was divine.  However, I planned to use cream cheese since Brie is pricey.  Instead, I spread on some of this cheese ball.

My family referred to this as the cheese BOULDER
when I placed it on our Christmas table.
It is a cross between spinach dip
and a traditional cheese ball.
There's at least 50 servings of veggies in there,
so go ahead and spread away!

I guess it goes without saying there was A LOT of cheese leftover and I had to use it on my sandwich!

5.  When everything is on, close the sandwich and eat up.

Sorry Elvis fans, but it totally beats fried PB and Banana hands down.

In fact, it's so yummy that I totally forgot to take a picture of the sandwich before scarfing it down enjoying it.  (I was hungry, people!)  To make up for my faux pas, please let me end with a picture of the World's Best Ducks instead.  After lunch that day, we finally made our way to the Peabody, and birders met birdies.

We didn't get to see them march
but did get to see them swim!

Happy Eating (sandwiches, y'all, not world-famous ducks)!

1 comment:

Kellie said...

What a fun story! We have some leftover ham, so I might have to try your recipe tomorrow -- sounds yummy.