1. Merkato Porchetta Sandwich (51 Orange Street, New Haven, CT)
Made to order sandwich–at a Slow Food pace–of warm porchetta, mozzarella and fennel on crusty Italian bread. No detail missed, no ingredient less than superlative. May not be Caseus, but it’s a great snack spot before walking to the train station.
2. Hilltop Brain Sandwich (1100 Harmony Way, Evansville, IN)
Just as creamy, warm and delicious as I remember. As comforting as French fries, but so much deeper in flavor. Would be a favorite of teenagers if not for the namesake ingredient.
3. Shake Shack Shroom Burger (86th btw. 3rd and Lex., NYC)
This is meat-free like cocaine is non-alcoholic. One vice’s absence does not indicate another virtue’s presence. That said, a delicious, deep fried, greasy bar bite on a bun. Perfect when combined with a real beef patty in the Shack Stack.
4. Egg on Fries at Terrace View Café (800 Chestnut Street, St. Louis, MO)
Well cut, fried and seasoned potatoes with an exuberant herb sprinkle–not quite a salad’s worth of late season parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, but close–topped by the easiest and most delicious highlowbrow luxury of all, a yolky farm egg. Works well as a sandwich substitute. Nice color on the potatoes, nice flavor throughout, especially with a bit of parm reg to bind the elements together.
5. White Manhattan at Dovetail (77th and Columbus, NYC)
Corn whiskey, white vermouth and lemon bitters make for the most delicious variant on the Manhattan that I’ve tasted recently. For a more standard version, I’ll always have a soft spot for Esca’s Amarena cherry topped number. N.B. If ordered upon arrival, it will do wonders for relieving new babysitter high expectations first visit to a restaurant meal anxiety, like the Dukes Hotel martini at Eleven Madison Park.