Sometimes The Rules Just Need to Be Broken

For those more cynical readers, prepare for an eye roll, but here’s the thing. Spring is probably my favorite time of the year, because it’s all about love and happiness, blossoming flowers and lush green grass. Spring is also synonymous with rebirth, especially cute bunnies, adorable ducklings and just baby animals in general. After the brutal winter we all just had, it was an especially happy time.

Which is why when I hit G by Mike Isabella to continue the self-appointed challenge to try every sandwich on Zagat’s “9 DC Sandwiches You Need to Try Right Now” I broke the only rule I made, which was trying every sandwich just it was written up by Zagat’s. You see, goat and particularly spiced baby goat, was just too..well. too much to stomach. So, technically this whole 9-DC sandwiches challenge has come to an end.

In the spirit of the challenge, and writing a blog post, it seemed silly NOT to get a sandwich. The sandwich part is really an overlay to get out and try new things. So with that in mind, I opted for the “fan favorite” falafel sandwich. This ridiculously large sandwich features falafel, sumac, hummus and pickled cabbage wrapped up tightly in a gyro. The result… to quote Mr Os, “you should not be a food critic.” I didn’t love it and am super thankful I have no real ambition of becoming a food critic. Because he’s right, I suck at expanding my food horizons. 

Stamps on my Passport
The “fan favorite” falafel sandwich at G by Mike Isabella

I give myself props for trying but unless someone beats me to the punch, I will openly admit that I’ve got food issues. My biggest one is texture. I literally cannot swallow certain textured food, like grilled eggplant or soggy eggs. After texture, my next big challenge is odor. If I happen to love a certain food and catch of whiff of something that smells “off,” forget it.

Since I was breaking (bending?) the rule, I figured I’d still try and expand my horizon a little bit. I knew the falafel and hummus were in my safe zone but the sumac and pickled cabbage were a stretch. Ok, a HUGE stretch. I used to work with someone who now handles Mr Isabella’s public relations. She swears the guy knows his stuff she certainly knows food. I don’t think she’s wrong, I think pickled cabbage is just not my thing.

The vibe at G was very laid back, more welcoming than SunDeVich. The walls were decorated with graffiti of vegetables which says to me they are focused on the food rather than trying to take themselves too seriously. It’s worth a visit and if you eat half the sandwich (which is really a whole sandwich) then you have dinner or lunch for the next day.

Masks on these veggies give G a “we don’t take ourselves too seriously” vibe.

As for the “challenge,” yeah, I will continue. I’m certainly not the best food critic but that’s not what I’m about. I’m about getting out, exploring new things and making every day an adventure. Sometimes the adventure looks like a sandwich and sometimes it looks like a new stamp in your passport.

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D.C. Sandwiches You Need to Try (or Not): Sandwich One


Zagats, the gold standard of all things foodie, recently published it’s list of “DC Sandwiches You Need to Try Right Now.” DC is not exactly a food mecca, so anytime a restaurant other than Potbelly’s opens, we celebrate. The District is improving, and we have national caliber chef’s whose names are recognized outside the beltway. So, being an aspiring foodie, as I read the Zagats list I instantly decided THIS was blog fodder.

My plan: eat all nine sandwiches by Labor Day (hopefully sooner, but I’m balancing that with trying not to eat too many carbs, so I’m pacing). Readers and friends are welcome to join me. My only rule is that I have to order the sandwich noted on Zagat’s list, and take at least one full bite.

First up? The Kingston at SUNdeVich in the Shaw Neighborhood. Zagat’s describes the sandwich as, “the Jamaican-inspired flavors of jerk chicken, pineapple salsa, greens, spicy slaw and garlic mayo are the type of thing that transport you to a warmer happier place with each bit. Of all the sandwiches here named after cities around the world, this is consistently our favorite trip to take.”

The Kingston sandwich available at Sundevich
The Kingston sandwich available at SUNdeVICH

Now, let me preface the summary of my SUNdeVich experience by saying that Mr. Os., in his infinite wisdom, knew where this was going as soon as he read the description of the sandwich I ordered. In a preemptive move, he decided on “The Havana” (roasted pork, Gruyère, pickles and dijonnaise), since he knew there was no way I’d like my Kingston.

As soon as I opened my sandwich wrapper, I was overwhelmed with the smell of garlic. That was pretty much strike one, two and three. I’m not technically one of those super smellers, but when I catch a whiff of something like that, its instant dislike. But in the spirit of this challenge, I picked up the monstrous sandwich and took a massive bit. And then it was over for real.

The sandwich was advertised as spicy, I mistakenly thought it would be something I would enjoy (or at least tolerate). Not so much. If you are spice averse, skip this one. You’ll thank me later. Since I fulfilled my challenge rules, I happily swapped sandwiches, and enjoyed the Havana. Mr. Os., by the way, gave both sandwiches high marks, along with the restaurant.

Shaw is a neighborhood in transition, but I think it’s worth a visit. Especially if you happen to be in town for a conference since it’s just up from the Washington Convention Center. That said, at $24 for two sandwiches and one soda, it isn’t cheap. Also, the vibe is very “neighborhood.” While our money was politely accepted, we were clearly not considered locals, based on the reaction of the staff.

Sundevich is technically off 9th Street, so keep an eye out for this wall sign.
SUNdeVICH is technically off 9th Street, so keep an eye out for this wall sign.

My overall verdict: definitely an instance where Zagat’s suggested sandwich was not in line with my tastes. But these sandwiches are absolutely worth seeking out if you’re interested in trying something new and different.


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