“I believe that
all anyone really
wants in this life is
to sit in peace and
eat a sandwich.”
- Liz Lemon, writer/poet
The premise is simple, or at least it seems so: some bread, some kind of topping on the bread, some kind of condiment to enhance the marriage of the two. Similarly, the premise of discovering the perfect sandwich seems simple: a good ratio of meat to toppings, not overdressed and not too big to shove in my stupid face. Beyond that, though, and you get into paraphrased Potter Stewart territory—I can’t define a “perfect sandwich” but I know it when I eat it. Finally, I’ve eaten it.
Well, technically, I’ve eaten it many times. But today is the first official day of my helming NUVO’s food section, so I’m kicking it off with a bold declaration rife with culinary controversy: The best damn sandwich in town, according to me, is Goose the Market’s Batali.
The Batali is the aging, thick-necked boxer who levels the quick-shuffling featherweight in two hits. The Batali is sexy-as-hell septuagenarian Dame Helen Mirren in a bikini. The Batali walks in the party wearing a Cosby sweater and tassle loafers and still steals your girl.
Why? Because it’s a mash-up of the most goddamned delicious things those clever Italians ever slapped on bread in a millenia, with coppa, soppressata and capocollo, provolone, hot giardiniera and pickled onion, tomato preserves, aioli, and some fresh arugula. It’s an oily (but not greasy—more on that in a second), old school Italian sub served on a perfectly-baked baguette. It’s rich and it crunches between your molars and you have to tear the chewy bread up and rip through the thick swaddle of perfectly-aged meats. You could hold it in one hand but you don’t want to. (Would you give Kate Upton a side-hug? Fuck no you wouldn’t, male or female, gay or straight.) The oil from the peppers will begin to drip out of the bread and between your fingers, and you’ll throw your head back and laugh imagining the look on Dr. Mehmet “Payola” Oz’s stupid, sad face as he watches and shovels plain oatmeal into his mouth.
The Batali is proof that, in the paraphrased misused words of Ben Franklin, God exists and wants us to be happy: seven small dollars’ worth of perfectly-cured meats, cheese, citrusy brightness and acid bite to cut through the fat. It doesn’t slide apart as you tear it to pieces and commit it to your body. Though the oiliness of the sandwich can be a little messy, it’s a different taste and mouthfeel than that sluggish, what’s-on-my-tongue, “greasy” taste and texture you get from some fried monstrosity. No, this kind of oil is of the olive variety, and even if you smash the whole thing in one sitting, you won’t want to crawl under your desk for an afternoon nap. This is the “working man’s sandwich” for the working man or woman who’s booked solid on the half-hour until 7 and has the shock-absorbing insoles to prove it.
So that’s my bold sandwich statement: that there’s no better sandwich in Indianapolis than the Batali in all of its chewy, salty, oil-slicked glory. If I wore a hat, I would remove it every time I passed Goose the Market, where there be wizards
. I’m sure many will disagree with me on this. Many of you will say, “FUCK YOUR SANDWICH OPINION!” Many of you will want me to come taste your sandwich or favorite sandwich, and I will do that. And with each bite, I’ll stare deeply into myself and my truth and ask myself, “Is it better than the Batali?”
I promise you nothing but journalistic honesty; in food, as in life and love, I am always willing to have my heart broken if it means forming a stronger love later with the right sandwich.
So what do you think? Is there a better sandwich in Indy than Goose the Market’s Batali? Let me know in the comments or on twitter: @likesquirrel317