Dear Tom Colicchio
Re: The News of 'Wichcraft opening in San Francisco
If I had last week heard the official news about the possible opening of a branch of your 'Wichcraft here in San Francisco, I would have been totally ecstatic. In fact, one of my very favourite foodie people in the world hinted it might happen and only because I know her, and her tastes, so well because I read her confessions so avidly, did I guess that she was referring to you. You put a spell on her.
I will never forget the first time she described you. I was hooked on her words and left daydreaming about the taste of your sarnies. Like every good foodblogger, it goes without saying that I absolutely love sandwiches and I am not too proud to admit it. But the news came too late for me. So taken was I, already, with the promise of something truly astounding in between two slices of bread, I was already booked on a flight to Vegas, to try out your crafty goodies for myself.
For a mile I schlepped up the strip in the sweltering sun, encumbered by my San Francisco rain-protection gear and a boyfriend wearing a new pair of shoes. The MGM looked so close, but like many things in Vegas, looks are just for show, and at some point it seemed like lunch would never be in reach. Even when we made it to the interior of the ugly aqua-green MGM monolith, respite was still a long way away. We navigated slot machines, Wolfgang Pucks roulette tables and Joël Robuchons before eventually finding you tucked away in the nether reaches of the complex.
The look on Fred's face was a picture. "You bought me all the way here for a sandwich bar?" he bemoaned. Relax, I told him, I have it on good authority, this place serves some of the best sandwiches in the world. You won't believe how ecstatic I was when I saw you sold Fizzy Lizzy sodas. When a place sells the best soda in the world, there is the promise of great things to come.
We put in our orders, bussed our own table and waited for the goods to arrive. Oh dear. The Grilled gruyère and caramelized onions on rye bread that my boy chose was a thin little offering that didn't impress him too much. You have to understand, he is French, he knows what Gruyere should taste like. But in this particular panini, so melted into oblivion was le fromage, he complained that all he could taste, other than the onion, was "zose leetle zeeds". (I think he meant caraway.)
My own Fried egg, bacon, blue cheese and greens on a roll was fresh and hot. But the combination didn't do it for me, the balance of the sandwich was all wrong. The blue cheese (what kind of blue cheese - there are so many - it would have been cool to have given more exacting information) overpowered the other ingredients and was slightly bitter where tangy would have done a far more delicious job. The egg was perfectly cooked with the oozing kind of yolk I am crazy for, but its flavour was dampened by the cheese. The bacon injected relief and a crunch factor, but was so sparsely populated that its favourable impact was almost negligible. On the whole, this sandwich needed salt and the flavours improved once I had located a little packet of the stuff from the serving station.
Whilst we found your sandwiches so-so, your salads were the real shame. Ok - so maybe we shouldn't expect a salad simply entitled 'cucumber' to be anything more or less than a container full of sliced cucumber in its own watery juice. It was cucumber. I can't get you for false advertising on that one. But you should be embarassed of your pasta salad. It was a slimy mush of slimy over-cooked macaroni with slimy peppers, slimy mozzarella some accents of pesto. Yuk. Unedible. This needs some work.
I think the 'wichcraft concept has a huge potential, and maybe if I'd ordered what she had, I would be far more excited about today's news. But please, please, please, Tom, if you do come to San Francisco, make sure you get a little understanding of us and our quirky foodie ways first. Here, we like to know the cheese is a Point Reyes blue. We like our eggs to be local, farm fresh and organic. We love our bacon to be made by local artisans. We like our salads to be grown at local sustainable farms. We like artisnal breads too. And Fizzy Lizzy soda. We love the kind of sandwiches they used to to serve at Desiree when it was still open, those are the kind of sandwiches we still dream about. And, remember, some of us don't even mind paying a bit more to see local sustainable and organic endeavours being supported. All that - and it still needs to taste really good. Please will you incorporate some of that way of thinking into your San Francisco store? Pretty please?
Tom, I don't want you to think I am picking on you, I just had to tell it how it was. We'd been a little hyped up about it in advance so maybe our expectations were just too high. I wish you every success, and I want to love you as much as Joy does, so we can hang out for lunch at 'Wichcraft-SF' together from time to time if you eventually do decide to open here.
PS. I was hoping to visit the Gramercy Tavern when I come to New York for my 40th birthday in June. I hope you will still let me through the door.
[This review was a First Impression]
|Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Happy memories of lunch with my mother at The Riverstation in my hometown of Bristol, England|
Food | Las Vegas | Sandwiches | San Francisco | Bay+Area Dear Tom Colicchio