I am a theater fan. I love straight plays, but I adore a good musical. This love was cultivated at an early age by my parents who would borrow movie musicals from the library to watch with N and me. I vividly remember snuggling under a blanket on our brown plaid couch with my mom in hysterics after listening to Eliza Doolittle trying out the new “small talk” at the Ascot races. I recall the look of pure enjoyment on my dad’s face when Captain von Trapp sang Edelweiss. To this day, one of the things that I love about my dad is that he unashamedly enjoys musicals. I don’t recall when it started becoming uncool for guys to like theater or musicals, but the men in my life better be on board with this passion because my love for theater runs deep. Being a huge theater fan, I am lucky to live less than an hour away from “The Great White Way.” Brooooaaaaaaddwaaaayyyyyy! (Imagine me belting that out in an Ethel Merman voice).
My weekday theater routine has been to catch the Metro-North train into Grand Central after work. The challenge then, has been to find a spot for dinner that is conveniently close, tasty, and inexpensive – because honestly, Broadway tickets ain’t cheap. I’ve discovered a place that fits the *ahem* Playbill nicely. (Ok. That was terrible pun. I apologize). Num Pang is a chain of Cambodian sandwich shops in NYC. There are currently 5 locations, and the most convenient one when attending a Broadway show is the one in Times Square. It’s an energetic little place with hip hop music pumping and graffiti-decorated walls. You can grab a stool or stand at the high counters that ring the seating area. The sandwiches they are churning out are DELICIOUS. Bon Appétit, The Village Voice, Zagat and many others happen to agree with me. A fulfilling meal is inexpensive, it’s fast and boy is it tasty. You basically choose your main filling which gets piled onto a toasted semolina baguette, topped with pickled carrots, cucumber, cilantro and homemade chili mayo. There are year-round classics, and seasonal sandwiches. I’ve had the Grilled Khmer Sausage seasonal sandwich twice recently because it was that good. I tried the Blood Orange Lemonade once… but it was a little bitter for my palate. I LOVE that N and I were able to eat here on a Friday in Lent thanks to options like the Roasted Cauliflower sandwich, Peppercorn Catfish sandwich, Coconut Tiger Shrimp sandwich and even a Spicy Organic Tofu sandwich. There are salad options for the carb conscious. A few soups and some sides round out the menu. I read on their website that they’re working on dessert offerings.
No pictures for this post kids. Sorry about that. You can find plenty of pics on Yelp or at http://numpangnyc.com/. Anyway, I’m fairly certain that I’ve started hoovering my sandwich before I’ve thought to pause and snap a pic. The only thing I may have paused for would be to drizzle my sandwich with extra Sriracha – oh yeah, bottles of the stuff dot the counters for your drizzling pleasure. Cash is king at the Times Square location, so stop by the ATM before you go. Then, enjoy the show!
p.s. You know my penchant for a pun by now… so you get the title of this post right? Tee hee!
I was hungry when I came back from the gym the other day and having not been to the grocery store in a while I poked around to see what we had in the fridge. A rotisserie chicken. Some leftover rice from the Indian food I’d had for lunch. I threw them together in a wrap and made:
HERB CHICKEN L.A.M. (leftovers are marvelous)
1 wrap (I used a Roll-Up by Damascus Bakeries. more on this later)
a smear of mayo
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
strips of rotisserie chicken (remove any skin or fat)
a handful of fresh cilantro
a few sprigs of fresh dill
5 T cooked rice (I used leftover rice from Indian takeout and it added great flavor)
dash of vinegar (any will do, but I used red wine vinegar)
pepper to taste
1. Roll all the ingredients up in the wrap and eat!
Holy cow was it good! So good. Really good. Oddly good. I don’t know if it was the combination of herbs, or the brand of wrap, but WOW. It was so good that I made it for N the next day for lunch and she promptly told me to write down the recipe. Et voila!
I haven’t made this wrap with any other kind of bread yet, because it was really perfect the way it was created. I suppose I might try a pita or tortilla some time, but I will certainly be on the lookout for these Damascus Bakeries Roll-Ups. Here’s the link to their site http://www.damascusbakery.com/ N found them at Costco.
This new sandwich reminded me that simple ingredients can taste marvelous when they are fresh and also highlighted the impact of herbs. I, for one, am inspired to grow an herb garden this year… starting with thyme, cilantro and dill.
A long time ago my sister [N] laughingly related an instance when we were both in high school. She and a friend of hers were sitting in the cafeteria at lunch time when the friend pulled a sandwich out from her lunch bag and grimaced. Her mom had packed her a ham and cheese on raisin bread. Raisin bread! The friend rolled her eyes, and my sister chuckled at the ridiculousness of a ham and cheese sandwich on raisin bread. Clearly this mom was out of touch. Who would eat a concoction like that?
Skip ahead *ahem* fifteen some odd years and N was telling me of the delicious grilled cheese sandwich that she ate at ‘wichcraft, Tom Colicchio’s sandwich shop. Cheddar, ham and pear on cranberry pecan bread. I recalled her story from long ago and couldn’t help but think that this friend’s mom had not been crazy, but rather a visionary gourmet! Thus I say: Hail Mrs. Pandya! I salute you, after all these years, as a sandwich pioneer!
Here’s the recipe that N and I recreated from ‘wichcraft.
HCP (Ham, Cheddar and Pear) SANDWICH
4 slices of Cranberry Pecan bread [found at the Corrado Bakery store in Grand Central Market]
5 slices of honey ham
4 slices of Sharp cheddar cheese
Dijon mustard (Pardon me, could you pass the Grey Poupon)
Whole grain mustard (I used Inglhoffer’s original stone ground mustard)
½ a very ripe pear (I had yummy Harry & David Comice pears on hand from a holiday gift basket)
Olive oil or butter
- Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on 2 slices of the bread. (Not too thin. With all the sweetness in this sandwich you definitely want to taste the acidic bite of the mustard)
- Layer 2 slices of cheese and 2 ½ slices of ham on top.
- Slice the half pear into flat pieces and place slices on top of the ham & cheese.
- Spread a thin layer of the whole grain mustard on the other 2 slices of bread and top to assemble the sandwich.
- Gently heat a small amount of olive oil or butter in a pan. I use about a ½ teaspoon of olive oil.
- Place your sandwich in the pan and grill until golden brown, flipping it over once to toast the other side. Press down with a spatula as it toasts – if you have a Panini grill, that would work perfectly, too.
Serve while warm. Makes 2 sandwiches.
N and I tried this sandwich using regular whole wheat bread. We then tried it with the Cranberry Pecan bread. I cannot begin to tell you how amazingly different they are. The sweet cranberries and toasty pecans add so very much more depth to this sandwich that it was astounding. I’m also sure you could use different cheeses, and pears. Ooh, apples would be good too. Enjoy!
layering the sandwich
warm and toasty
Look at all that yummy goodness!