Sherwood Gourmet

Wed, Jul 27 • 0

There’s a little sandwich shop named Sherwood Gourmet, not too far from where I live, that I’ve been trying to help stay in business all summer long, even though they managed just fine without me for over 2 decades. My wife suggested we try it one day, and I’ve been going once or twice a week, feeding myself, my wife, and any number of my nephews, who have been working to help get my back yard into some kind of shape. Their prices there are only slightly more expensive than those at the Subway chain, so we’re trying to work our way through their extensive menu of sandwiches. Mind you, there are about 2 dozen different choices from their list of standards and all have been very good, but here are some stand outs worth recommending.

#1 — Little Italy :  Mortadella, capicolla, salami, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, oil & vinegar, hot peppers, on a kaiser roll.  This is a popular sandwich among my small circle of taste-testers. One nephew has ordered it twice, though he’s decided it needs extra hot peppers. I think the amount they put on is fine. $6.99

#2 — Suzanne’s Favorite (aka The Suzy) : Smoked turkey, black forest ham, havarti cheese, lettuce, honey mustard, on rye. This is my wife’s sandwich of choice. $6.50

#3 — The Hawaiian : Sweet challah bread, avocado, chicken tarragon salad. I have no idea why this is even remotely related to Hawaii. Maybe it used to use hawaiian sweet bread at some point. The chicken salad has a noticable and pleasant tarragon flavor. I think I prefer this on whole wheat, though. $5.99

#4 — Sherwood Egg Salad : Egg salad on toasted pumpernickle with lettuce. As simple and basic as it gets but very satisfying. $4.50

#5 — Bumble Bee: Black forest ham, smoked turkey, swiss, onions, honey mustard, on challah. The onions provide a nice bite. We prefer it on something other than the challah, though. $5.99

Honorable mentions :

FCPD (presumably “Fairfax County Police Department”) : Hot pastrami, provolone, on a baguette toasted with onions, yellow mustard, a little mayo, and pickles. This is a pretty huge sandwich. One nephew managed to finish it, but decided he’d eaten too much. It’s a hot sandwich. I’ve yet to order it and taste it for myself. $6.50

South of France : Pate de Champagne, brie, dijon mustard, lettuce on a baguette. This is a rich sandwich. You have to really like pate to enjoy it. We’ve ordered it a couple of times. I found the pate to be a little much, but one nephew calls this sandwich his favorite. It’s also the most expensive sandwich on the menu. $7.50

The staff that works there is incredibly friendly, and if you can’t find something that appeals on their regular menu, they’ll happily make substitutions, or help you come up with something that suits you exactly. I still have a bunch more sandwiches to try. In the meantime, you should go visit them at 7900 Andrus Road, in Alexandria, VA, two blocks south of the Sherwood Hall Library.

Sherwood Gourmet
703-799-4041
M-F 7a-7p Sat 9a-6p Sun 10a-4p


Smoked Eel

Sun, Aug 17 • 0

“Out in the wild, they are slippery slimy creatures… On the plate, though, it’s a different story.”

On my recent trip to visit family, we had lunch at a german restaurant called the Hofbrauhaus — as close to an authentic german beer garden as I’ve seen since my summer in Europe, 20 years ago. Over a lunch of grilled sausage, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut, my father-in-law described a vivid memory from his youth, where his German grandfather would keep a piece of smoked eel wrapped in wax paper on the window sill. He told me that he hadn’t had it in years, but had scoured the authentic delicatessens in Cincinnati to no avail. He did say that he had managed to find some at a delicatessen here in Northern Virginia, upwards of 30 years ago, and he wondered if the place was still in business. I told him that I knew of one in the area that he was talking about, but wasn’t sure if it was the exact same place. I promised that I would stop in the next time I was in the neighborhood and see if they had any eel for sale.

Well, I sort of forgot about it. Then I called him to talk about something else, and he said “you found it!” After I got over my confusion, he said he was sure I was calling him to tell him I had found some smoked eel for him. I decided that my priority project for the next day was to make a trip out to the German deli and confirm if it was even available. Sure enough, they had some — though it was from a Canadian company, in a vacuum sealed package, and frozen. I bought the two larger of the four pieced they had, put it all in an insulated envelope, picked up a slab of dry ice, and headed off to Fedex.

Admitting that I was shipping something with dry ice was probably my first mistake. I couldn’t use their white overnight boxes, but had to purchase a box, and I paid a small fortune in shipping fees. It arrived the next day, and my father-in-law was thrilled.

I sent him an email to find out how it was, and if it was everything he remembered. He reported that he recalled being able to flake it off to eat on a cracker, and what I sent was much firmer than he remembered, but that the smell, and the flavor was perfect. And now, he’s looking for more. So I did a little google searching to see what’s out there. Most companies that sell it are in the UK.

Globe and Mail : “Serving up a slithery, dwindling delicacy,” a news story (6/17/07) about how the Canadian eel population is in decline, down 90% from 30 years ago.

Brown & Forrest, U.K. Purveyors of the smoked eel, salmon and other smoked foods.

Medallion Smoked Salmon, based in Prince Edward Isle, Canada, 1 888 448-3001

Ummera (Ireland) offers smoked silver eel and will lets you subscribe to a mailing list that will alert you when they have product to ship.

Blog : confessions of a food nazi : smoked eel recipes “I don’t know what the prejudice is about eels. Sure out in the wild they are slippery slimy creatures, things you wouldn’t want to feel brush your leg while swimming in a lake. On the plate, though, is a different story.”

I decided to do a search for the german name (Aal Filet geräuchert), and came up with a german company that appears to be willing to ship it. The site is in German, and the prices are given in euros.

 


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