Carlos Takes on Sandwich Week 2018

Hi, my name is Carlos and I love food and sharing with friends.

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What is Sandwich Week?

Sandwich Week is the week sandwiched between the Christmas and New Years holidays where you eat a sandwich every day!

The origins of sandwich week: Back in my 9 to 5 days, during the week at work where no one is doing much of anything, we would take an exaggeratedly long lunch break to go get a sandwich at places we had only been hearing about.

This holiday has evolved into so many friends hopping in cars and taking an adventure to grab a bite together. As much as it’s about the food, it’s also about the fun we can all have together over a shared meal. This is the root of my love for food. The connection we have in the quests for new tastes, the bites we share, the fun stories we exchange, and the over all love that you feel while enjoying something together.

This year, not only have friends participated in eating, but restaurant friends have made special sandwiches for us, and we even had a bicycle race with all the sandwich spots we visited involved!

This year, I chose 5 sandwich places to visit over 5 days for 5 sandwiches.


Day 1 (Dec. 26th): Nosh Pit

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Starting as a Food Truck, this 100% vegan sandwich, soup and snack spot now has a brick and mortar in Hamtramck.

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Joined by friend Sonali (@Veggie_Vixen on Instagram), local Veggie/Vegan fan of food, photography, and great conversations. Neither of us had been here before, and we were both taken aback at how welcoming, relaxed and warm this place was. Long tables, chill music, and amazing aromas make this a BYOB spot that I will be absolutely coming back for just about any occasion.

Items ordered:

-       Larry (reuben, with sauerkraut, house-made corned beets, and house-made thousand island dressing with vegan cheese)

-       Jonah (Smoky marinated mushrooms, banana jam with vegan cheese).

-       We were also told about the wings that we had to try.

Not only was all of the food delicious and very well seasoned, but (as a meat eater) the food all had an extremely surprising meaty bite. I WAS VERY HAPPY AND FULL.

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My tip: Get the wings, bring a bottle or two of something to sip on, and 1 sandwich WILL fill you up.

Day 2 (Dec 27th): Hygrade Deli

Old School Deli on Michigan Ave in Southwest Detroit run by the traditional sandwich artist Stuart Litt and his awesome Wife and staff. Everything here is classic, fresh, and put together with monsterous precision.

We had a CREW show up here, ate so much, laughed a lot, got dessert, and shared bites of everything.

Hygrade Deli reuben

Hygrade Deli reuben

Items ordered:

-       Reuben

-       About 5 other sandwiches

-       A reuben on an onion roll (whoa)

-       Pie (duh)

My tip: If you haven’t had the Reuben here, go now, unless they’re closed. In that case, go tomorrow.

Day 3 (Dec. 28th): Mudgie’s Deli & Wine Shop

 Since it was first a humble spot with a few tables and a staff of about 4, Mudgie’s has been one of my favorite overall restaurants in Detroit. They have something like a billion sandwich combinations (maybe an exaggeration). No matter what you like, you’ll be able to find something that you’ll love here. They now have an expanded restaurant and were able to accommodate a big group of sandwich lovers for an early dinner.

 Greg Mudge, founder and friend made me a special sandwich this year and put it on the menu!

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The Uncle Carlos is a torta with ham, avocado, chipotle mayo, black bean, tomato, cilantro, cotija cheese, lettuce, yellow mustard, fire roasted tomatillo spicy salsa.

This violently delicious sandwich was very well dressed and each house made ingredient created layers of flavor discovery (including the green tomatillo salsa made with Aunt Nee’s Tortilla chips).

Items ordered:

-       Uncle Carlos Torta

-       4 items off the new bar snacks/appetizers menu

-       Plenty of happy hour beverages

My tip: Make sure your napkin is handy. It will get messy.

LATER THAT NIGHT…

a group of us raced the 1st Annual Sandwich Week Alley Cat Bike Race.

What is an alley cat? An unsanctioned bicycle race where the informality of the organization is matched by the emphasis on taking part in challenges or checkpoints, rather than simple competition.

 Partnering with Sandwich lovers Bikes and Coffee (@bikes.and.coffee on Instagram) in Woodbridge, we asked the following of the racers:

Must Have:
- Ridden to All 5 Sandwich Shops
- A Selfie At Each Location
- One Sandwich From One Shop

The first person back with all 5 selfies and a Sandwich won

-       A $30 Gift Card to Stache International

-       A $25 Dollar Gift Card to Mudgie’s

-       An Antique Trophy made by Greg Mudge and the team at Bikes and Coffee

-       A T-Shirt and Water Bottle

 My sandwich was grabbed from Nosh Pit. I got the Iris. Here’s a sandwich that blew me away. It was a latke made with beets and carrots on a bun with thousand island, mustard and pickles. I thought they accidentally gave me corned beef. It was amazing!

This race was much needed for me as I had been eating almost nothing but carbs for the last 3 days, but eating Mudgie’s right before the race kept me from winning overall. All riders and the winner Alex P. all made it back to the shop to eat their collected sandwiches together. We did it! Now to eat more!

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Day 4 (Dec 29th): Rocco’s Italian Deli

A bright and warm Sandwich Shop opened just last year has been years in the making, and I was very happy to not only support these really great people, but also to eat their most recent evolution of Traditional Italian flavors.

Walking in, THE SMELL HITS YOU HARD! You know you’re in a good place when you’ve got the smell of the grandmother from down the block’s cooking dragging you to the counter to order. A larger group met up and shared all the bites. It was Saturday lunch bliss.

Items ordered:

-       All the sandwiches (Ill Rocco, Chicken Parm, and Prosciutto topping my list)

-       Alcoholic beverages

-       Unique Non-alcoholic Italian beverages 

My tip: You’ll want to try at least 3 of these sandwiches. I was stunned at every bite by the strong differences in taste, and the depth of flavor in every ingredient.

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Day 5 (Dec. 30th):

 This was the last day, and I was pretty full still, but it’s the holidays, so……..

Stache International

This unique Sandwich shop and Bar is so much fun! They have a list of very uniquely constructed flavor combinations, a full bar, Nintendo 64, and other beastly snacks all with a bonkers but welcoming ambiance.

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They made me a special sandwich as well!

Kibbe Meatloaf Sandwich: beef and lamb kibbeh spiced meatloaf, apricot & onion jam & spring mix on Avalon olive bread.

You know when you don’t want something to end? That was me and this sandwich. I wanted so much more based on flavor alone.

 Items Ordered:

-       Kibbe Meatloaf Sandwich

-       Brooklyn Bites

-       A variety of their Kooky beverages

My tip: Come Hungry, and be prepared to sit for a bit. This is not a take a bite and go for a run kind of place.


What I learned from Sandwich Week

Bringing people together to enjoy meals, converse, and laugh is the reason why I love food. The fact that every culture has a form of sandwich makes it even more about discovery and gives us the chance to munch the way we all feel comfortable. I’m happy to share meals with friends forever, and the fact that this holiday exists during an already existing Holiday Season adds even more joy and spirit. Happy Sandwich, Friends!

-Carlos Parisi

Partner: Aunt Nee’s Chips and Salsa (@Aunt_nees on Instagram)

Partner in several Detroit-based Food Pop-ups such as Khana (@Khanadetroit on Instagram)

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