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Tue May 1, 2012
Sandwich Monday: Portland's Big Ass Sandwich
Originally published on Sat May 5, 2012 12:56 am
I happened to visit Portland, OR and somebody on Twitter told me I needed to go get a sandwich at Big Ass Sandwiches, a new foodcart in the Foodcart Archipelago of downtown Portland. Since (A) I do everything I'm told to do by Twitter, and (B) I was hungry, off I went.
I was greeted and, somewhat strangely, instantly recognized by Lisa Wood, co-proprietor with her husband Brian. This was somewhat strange because I am in radio, and thus my face is not well know, and hadn't even really said anything other than "Hello." So be assured: your Big Ass Sandwich will come dripping with extra NPR-geekery.
Per Lisa's instructions, I ordered the Big Ass Sandwich with Roast Beef with spicy sauce, and then – again per her instructions – I walked around the corner to some picnic tables to attempt to eat it. Lisa said: "Unwrap it from one end, like a burrito." She did not say, "Cradle the thing like a baby, because that's about how big it is," but I did that anyway. Sometimes my spirit of humble obedience is anticipatory.
Big Ass sandwiches are indeed, as advertised big, although since both ends look the same, it's hard to identify its ass. I apologized to one end for possibly getting it wrong, and started on the other.
The roast beef – made in-house – is tender and moist, and came dressed in home made bechamel sauce, grilled onions, spicy sauce... and french fries. Like the notorious and beloved Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh, Big Ass doesn't believe in French Fries on the side. They don't want to make you choose between a bite of sandwich and a bite of french fries, they want you to have it all, right now.
But, also unlike Primanti Brothers, this is a high end sandwich, and you're not expected to be drunk when you eat it. That's a delicious fresh ciabatta roll, excellent roast beef, and a superb creamy bechamel. Putting all those yummy things into one package, and smushing it together is just a step shy of ordering a five course meal at some high end bistro and throwing it all in a blender.
[The Verdict: There are a lot of great food trucks in downtown Portland, but for sandwich lovers, these are big and delicious in the classic style. Ask, though, for your french fries on the side.]