Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Resurrecting the Sandwich

One of the best things about traveling is its after-effects. For some reason, visiting other places makes me appreciate my hometown of LA even more. After enduring record low temperatures and snow in Shanghai (the worst winter in a hundred years!), it was refreshing to see sunshine and have temps in the 70s.

Last Sunday, Rene and I drove to Malibu to take advantage of this wonderful weather. Not only was the weather nice, but the scenery was fabulous as well – lots of grass and wildflowers flourishing on the side of the road, trees and flowers blooming. You’d think it was already spring by looking at the flora. We decided to stop one of our fave places in Malibu, Malibu Seafood, to have some clam chowder and relax by the ocean. Unfortunately, when we got there the line was already out the door, and it looked like it would take at least 30 minutes just to order. Plus, we had Chuy with us and we didn’t want him trapped inside a hot car for an hour while we ate. Disappointed, we moved on and decided to get a snack at the grocery store down the road called Hows.

You know the saying, “when one door closes, another opens?” It certainly felt that way to us on Sunday, because Hows was offering its famous BBQ sandwiches for sale! For those of you that do not know about these sandwiches, here is our story: about two years ago, Rene and I visited this supermarket looking for something to eat after a long day at the beach. Lured by the smell of barbeque, we made our way to the outdoor patio and Rene placed an order for a tri-tip sandwich. I had already ordered a sandwich inside the store, so I sat down and ate my turkey on white while Rene placed his order. As he sat down I caught a whiff of his sandwich, which smelled and looked so good I had to try it. Biting into that sandwich was like a religious experience – it was the perfect combination of soft meat with savory sauce, placed inside a French roll. I wolfed half of that sandwich down then got up to get another. Again, a masterpiece! We were seriously hooked (but also seriously full), so we made a pact to visit the barbeque stand again the following weekend.

When we showed up the following weekend, there was no barbeque: no grill, no cash register, no condiment stand – just the usual tables and chairs. We thought that maybe that was the barbeque crew’s weekend off, so we came two weekends later, then the next weekend after that, but to no avail. The mysterious barbeque stand left as mysteriously as it came.

Until last Sunday, that is.

When I saw barbeque being grilled in the parking lot I was overjoyed with emotions. It was like having a dear friend come back to life! The joy! We promptly ordered two tri-tip sandwiches and took our time eating them. The flavors were just as I remembered: the same juicy sauce and tender meat, the soft French roll corralling the goodness. I savored every bite, knowing full well that I may not experience this moment for another two years. The feeling was sublime.

After our beautiful lunch, we soldiered on to Charmlee Wilderness Park, located about 10 minutes from Pacific Coast Highway. Charmlee is basically a picnic area with great trails, and we took Chuy out there for his daily walk. The best thing about Charmlee is the spectacular view of Malibu and Point Dume, both of which can be seen while walking along the trail. We stopped at several points to take pictures then walked back to our car after a brief rest.

On days like these you fall in love with California all over again.

More pictures here.


Anonymous said...

Gayle-these sandwiches can also be purchased by the slab (to take home). The HOW'S grocery store on Balboa has the same exact sandwiches!! I love them! I sometimes get a slab and bring it home to make our own sandwiches!...just a quick fyi..so that you, Rene and Chuy don't have to travel as far as Malibu to get them! Ate Sha

Abby said...

Fabulous!! That's the best news I've heard all week!!!