Monday, October 19, 2009

Full of It

Goodness, that is. Full of meaty goodness. With plenty of pork and salt. Heck, even the potato salad has bacon in it. The red beans and dirty rice are the kind you'd find at a roadside stand down south, and I'm not talking K. Falls.

The counter shrine to kitties, lollipops and Woody. (Don't ask me, I have no idea.)

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'd been meaning to go to Bunk Sandwiches since they opened just over a year ago. I'd heard about the fabulous, meaty, working-man sandwiches that Tommy Habetz was putting out of the teeny galley kitchen, packed with his house-made cured meats, pickles and peppers. Equally as promising, "OMFG" was the most common phrase used to describe some of the heftiest old-school sides to be found in town.

What I didn't have with my lunch.

I also heard that hordes were mobbing the place, waiting for hours in line for a seat at the bar and a chance to have one of his hunky creations. So I demurred. Then I kind of forgot. And finally one day my brother suggested meeting for lunch there. When I admitted that I hadn't yet been, he was appropriately aghast and told me my time had come.

The Cuban.

And for that I owe him big-time. This is a true hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon (and I mean that with all the love and admiration in the world) that, far from trying to be the latest boîte to grace our local culinary scene, looks like it's been there gathering grease and smoke at least since the Carter administration.

Grab a seat at the counter, hopefully across from Mr. Habetz, who is calling out orders and putting together sandwiches right in front of you. He may have on a visor, the better to sop up sweat and avoid the prying eyes of customers, but make a joke and he'll grace you with a charming smile and startlingly blue, twinkly eyes.

The Salt Cod sando.

Because you ordered at the counter as you entered, your selection du jour will be presented tout de suite. In my case it was a fabulous Cuban with pork cheeks and ham that spoke my name as soon as I saw it and was a pile of melty goodness. The bread was substantial enough to hold everything (and itself) together, but wasn't so much that there was more of it than of filling. My side of choice was the aforementioned red beans and rice, a smoky, barbecue-y mass of beans on top of a layer of spicy rice.

My brother had the salt cod sandwich special, heaps of that mashed salty fish mixed with oil-cured olives and smoky Spanish chorizo. His go-to side is Bunk's version of potato salad, made oh-so-delicious with lots of hard-boiled eggs, fresh chopped jalapeño and those chunks of over-the-top bacon.

Each of these longshoreman-sized creations is accompanied by a handful of almost-unnecessary Kettle chips, except that they bring the salt quotient of the meal to heart attack level. And at this place, that's right where it should be.

Details: Bunk Sandwiches, 621 SE Morrison. 503-477-9515.


Jim Dixon said...

A minor correction...the Cubano has pork belly, not cheek (which makes it even more delicious).

Next trip try one of my favorites, the grilled cheese with the optional "flavor trifecta" (bacon, anchovies, and Mama Lil's hot peppers).


Kathleen Bauer said...

Actually, my brother said the same thing, but I could swear the menu said cheeks. And it looked like slices of meat, not the bacon-y look of belly.

And I'll definitely try the grilled cheese…mmm…anchovies and bacon!

dds said...

My tongue has shriveled up just imagining the salt, but cheese and pork belly? Salt cod and olives? Yes! Yes! Yes! (The pickles and chips actually do a good job of cutting the salt, dontcha think?)

You are an evil woman, dangling the beauty of Bunk in front of me and my ever expanding waistline.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Ah, yes, I call it The Great Middle…though it helps to have a child at home to bring the other half of the sando to. Thanks, Mr. B!

koprime said...

I work near Bunk, and one day went and met my sister. We shared the Italian Cold Cut and the Meatball (both were fantastic, and I've ordered the Cold Cut one again) and by 2:30, what was left of one of the sandwiches was taunting me from the work refrigerator. Sometimes, there are things that are just too good to eat in small portions.

Kathleen Bauer said...

I know what you mean. If I hadn't had that half sandwich and leftover beans and rice grabbed from my hands by my son as soon as I stepped over the threshold, it would have been a late-afternoon snack.