Last month, I came across an article in the New York Times about people who live alone titled, “The Freedom, and Perils, of Living Alone” which really resonated with me. As a single gal, I have often contemplated finding a little one bedroom or studio apartment in which I can have all to myself. Yet for various reasons I have always opted to live with a roommate (or three) ever since moving to D.C. in 2004. When it comes down to it, I am a bit of a head case and if I was not forced to socialize via a roommate, I would likely live the life of a hermit. And of course, I have the irrational fear that I might go missing one day and no one would notice until weeks later. So when I read the New York Times article, I contemplated what weird habits I would form if I lived alone (hint: they are not pleasant ones), and immediately e-mailed roommate Alex to thank her for keeping me a bit normal.
When my old roommate Mike moved out of our cozy two bedroom apartment for a job in Santa Monica, CA last fall, I took to the internets, and through the magic of Craigslist, found Alex. I am sure everyone loves food in their own way but I was thrilled to find out that Alex and I both shared a great love of good drink and even better food. Alex wholly embraced Sunday dinners, eats some of my mid-week meals so I don’t end up eating the same meal for days, and even shares her meals with me so I don’t have to go hungry on those days when I work super late and am left without any food. We also have made the habit of including each other when ordering takeout or picking up food at one of the local sandwich shops.
Several Saturdays ago, I had plans with Alex to grab lunch at a really small but fantastic sandwich shop in our neighborhood, Sundevich. Sadly, after getting back from the usual long run I saw I had received a series of semi-urgent e-mails on the blackberry and had to cancel our lunch plans in order to head into the office. Alex graciously offered to pick up a sandwich for me and I gratefully accepted. After a few hours at the office, the after effects of the long run started hitting me…hard, and I could feel my body start to shut down. I quickly wrapped up at the office and headed back to the apartment where Alex had a “Saigon” sandwich waiting for me.
Upon arriving home, I quickly unwrapped the sandwich, poured myself a glass of bourbon on the rocks, and sat down to refuel. As someone who grew up eating Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, I have tried many wanna-be banh mi-s since moving to DC and have often been left dissapointed. Now, instead of expecting sandwiches like the Saigon at Sundevich to be like the OG banh mi sandwiches I get at places such as A Chau in San Diego and Nhu Lan at the Eden Center in Virginia, I view them as spin-offs on the Vietnamese banh mi or banh mi inspired sandwiches, which make them more palatable and not so bad. As a sandwich in the vein of the banh mi, the Saigon was actually very good. The fillings were similar to, though not exactly like what I would find in a banh mi: chicken liver mousse, pork terrine, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, and fresh herbs. I found the flavors to be clean and fresh, but could be improved with a little dallop of kewpie mayo and some jalapeno.
I have had three sandwiches from Sundevich so far and the Saigon falls right in the middle between the Kingston (jerk chicken, pineapple salsa, greens, slaw, and garlic mayo) and the Buenos Aires (steak, chimichuri, and sauteed onions). I’ll definitely be back for more sandwiches at Sundevich but am looking forward to sampling their other offerings before ordering another Saigon.