Friday, October 23, 2009

Sandwich Slugfest

Two newcomers are slugging it out for Portland's sandwich crown on the city's east side. In one corner, the rightfully raved Bunk, Tommy Habetz's ode to lunch counters of yore where you wouldn't be surprised to see Herb Caen sitting at the counter guzzling a Miller next to Studs Terkel (look that up, kids).

In the opposite corner is Ben Dyer's Laurelhurst Market, a throwback to the neighborhood butcher shops that used to dot the city like flea bites, where the man in white behind the counter knew just what cut you liked for your Friday supper and how much fat grandma would tolerate on her roast before screaming about highway robbery.

Crunchy, fried porky perfection: Laurelhurst's pork rinds.

I'd been wanting to grill up one of Laurelhurst's Piedmontese bavette steaks, a Manhattan-sized filamented cut similar to a flank, and since it was noon and I was, as usual, ravenous, I decided to order a sandwich as well. It's a to-go kind of set-up, though there are a couple of tables outside for malingerers, and one of the offerings on the list of six or so was calling my name big-time.

Now, I've had duck and chicken confit, and my friend Jim shared his recipe for turkey leg confit. But never ever had I run across pork shoulder confit. So when I saw that they were offering a pork shoulder confit panini with Gruyère and caramelized onions, the decision was made for me.

With the fall-apart tender pork, cheese and onions spilling out from between crisp, perfectly grilled slices of rye, this was as close to sandwich heaven as I'm likely to get in this life. And when I spied little bags of house-fried pork rinds sitting innocuously on a nearby tray for just a buck, I had to take one of those, too.

The winner in this sandwich slug-out between the brawler with the cauliflower ear that is Bunk and the slightly prettier Laurelhurst Market with its fancy footwork and deadly right hook? Me, of course.

Details: Laurelhurst Market, 3155 E Burnside. Butcher shop hours 10 am-7 pm. Phone 503-206-3099.


Giovanna said...

Isn't it so nice that we don't actually have to pick a winner, and that there's plenty of room in Portland--and our stomachs--for both Bunk and Laurelhurst Market?

Boy do I love living here.

Ivy said...

here here! They are both good for different reasons: 1.) one of them is cuter and does meaty things really well 2.) One of them makes the best meatball sub and bahn mi ever.

Kathleen Bauer said...

I know, it was kind of a cheap tease, but really…are we lucky or what? I had both this week, and was knocked out (forgive the pun) by how amazing (and different) they both were. Woo hoo for us!

patrick barber said...

that's funny, i was thinking "who cares, I love them both!" Last weekend we got a cuban panini from Laurelhurst and remarked as to how it seemed very Bunk-like, but not as good. We saved half for later, I doctored it with some pickled chiles and mayo, and the sandwich was complete.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Sorry to lead you on, Patrick…couldn't help myself!