Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Most Awesome Pimento Cheese Sandwich, Ever

Greg and I spent most of yesterday moving my office, which included lots of computer equipment, a bunch of heavy file boxes, a couple of filing cabinets and a variety of other bulky, unwieldy items. We took a break around 2 pm for a late lunch and decided to go to our local Irish pub, not just because they have excellent beers on tap (and we could both use a cold brew) but also because their food is actually quite good (they have a talented Irish chef who can whip up hearty pub fare as well as delicious "gastropub" dishes featuring fresh local ingredients). Greg ordered his usual, the classic fish & chips, while I decided to try one of their daily specials: a pimento-cheese sandwich. Yes, I know the correct spelling is "pimiento" but down here you're just as likely to see "pimento"--and honestly, I can't recall which one was written on the blackboard at the pub, and frankly, it doesn't really matter when talking about a down-home country diner favorite.

You might be asking: Who in their right mind orders a pimento-cheese sandwich at an Irish pub?? Well, this was not your ordinary pimiento cheese sandwich. As described on the daily-specials chalkboard, this sandwich included two other staples of Southern cooking, fried green tomato AND bacon, came on whole wheat bread rather than the ubiquitous white bread, and the pimiento cheese was made on-site by the chef. The description intrigued me and the ingredients appealed to me, so I decided to give it a try.

When the waitress placed the sandwich in front of me, my mouth began to water. The wheat bread clearly was not the mass-produced flavorless stuff of supermarkets and instead had a toothsome texture and taste that one usually experiences from home-made or artisan breads. The generous serving of chunky pimento cheese sported plenty of red pimiento pieces and was rich in flavor and mouthfeel. In the middle of the sandwich were two slices of crispy bacon and one thick slice of fried green tomato that had been breaded with seasoned cornmeal and was still piping hot from the fryer. After admiring this enticing sandwich, I took a bite.... and it was blissfully good. The interplay of contrasting flavors, textures and temperatures was heavenly--cold velvety/chunky pimiento cheese with hot crispy salty bacon & fried tangy green tomato that melted in your mouth--and paired quite nicely with the cold pint of NC-brewed pilsner. I let Greg have a bite, and he agreed that this was most definitely the Most. Awesome. Pimiento. Cheese. Sandwich. Ever.

Alas, our break from the hard work of moving had to come to an end once we finished our substantial lunch, but we returned to the task at hand with pleasantly full bellies and happy taste buds. I'll have to try my hand at making a pimiento-cheese, fried green tomato and bacon sandwich one of these days before the summer ends...

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

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