Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Curing a Sandwich Hangover With PB&J

Stopping at Stachowski’s for something delicious to eat on my way back to Georgetown from Dupont Circle has become a small tradition for me. If you’ve read my previous columns, you’ve heard about the epic Four-Meat Grinder. (I won’t go into the details again.) Last week, after a quick trip to the Dupont Circle area, I stopped by the P Street delicatessen for another sandwich — this time, one with pastrami.

Stachowski’s is, above all, a butcher shop. I am consistently impressed that every smoky, sweet or spicy flavor in each sandwich is carefully engineered behind the store’s classic butcher shop counter. Smells of pastrami wafted from the open kitchen, and my heart rate sped when the sandwich-maker handed me the signature white paper-wrapped bundle of flavor and deliciousness. I brought it home, excited to write about what I imagined would be a phenomenal sandwich.

I hit a brick wall. Weighing in at about two pounds, Stachowski’s pastrami sandwich was — and I can’t believe I’m even writing this — too much. It was piled so high with pastrami that taking each bite was almost painful. As my stomach filled, my pace slowed, and after a few minutes, the mustard began to seep into the pumpernickel bread, making the sandwich soggy and difficult to eat. I was only halfway through it when I grew so fatigued that I collapsed on my bed in a food coma.

I woke up four hours later. The mustard from my face had rubbed off onto my pillow, my contacts felt dislodged and uncomfortable in my eyes, the taste of pastrami lingered in my mouth and the scent of Stachowski’s seemed embedded onto my skin. I was nauseated, my head throbbed and my knees trembled.

It was pretty much a sandwich hangover.

If Stachowski’s could start my fascination with Washington, D.C. sandwiches, this experience proved that Stachowski’s certainly had the power to take it away — or at least to deter it for a day or two. I, of course, was not hungry for another day, but when I was ready to eat again, I wanted to go to a place where I could eat in a comfortable setting, at a reasonable price and where the food was made from decent, quality ingredients. In short, I needed the least abrasive eating experience possible. I could not tell you why that place was Leo’s.

Leo’s surprised me that day. When I walked downstairs, I was expecting the worst. After two years at boarding school and now one year at Georgetown, I have learned this universal rule to institutional dining halls: the simpler, the better. The best Leo’s experiences of my time here have been the simplest. Think Chicken Finger Thursdays, pepperoni pizzas or what I propose to be the newest addition to the list: peanut butter, jelly and Rice Krispies sandwiches.

The beauty of a PB&J is the flavor — pure, unadulterated and classic in every way. The dense, oily peanut butter contrasts with a thin, sweet layer of jelly so that the flavors harmonize and complement each other perfectly. Decades of experimentation have resulted in a truly timeless sandwich. Leo’s — an institution usually associated with culinary shenanigans as opposed to innovations — left me pleasantly surprised.

The addition of Rice Krispies cereal added just the right amount of texture. As a sandwich whose ingredients are best described as creamy and mushy, adding something crunchy was a nice change of pace. Chewing the sandwich was so much more palatable, as the sensory combination of chewing the individual Rice Krispies was a pleasant addition to the gooey sea of peanut butter. To boot, the intense (and classic) flavors of the peanut butter and jelly were not even slightly adulterated by the mild taste of the cereal.

Somehow, the folks at Leo’s have made an ageless sandwich even more delicious and fun to eat but without adding any burdensome complications. I’m jealous I didn’t come up with the idea myself.

David Chardack is a freshman in the College. D.C. on Rye appears every other Friday in the guide.

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