Tuesday, April 7, 2009


As I gleefully settle into my new apartment in Soho, I was shockingly up and at 'em early this past Saturday morning. As I strolled down Spring Street towards Broadway, I popped my head into Dean and Deluca for a much needed large iced coffee. Perusing through the stores, icy caffeinated beverage in hand, I couldn't help but feel transported. I felt like I was living abroad again, unknown and free in a city with infinite possibilities. Oh, and H&M, Zara, and Mango.

Anyhow, after my morning of indulgent retail therapy, I had rightfully so built up quite an appetite. And before I allowed myself to order the mixed baby greens with avocado from Cubana Cafe for the fourth time in one week, I decided to walk one block over to Sullivan St. for a taste of something I'd been waiting for. An Alidoro sandwich.
Alidoro is a tiny, little famed Italian sandwich shop with a big, huge following. As I naively entered on Saturday afternoon, I was somewhat prepared for the "Sandwich Nazi." I had been forewarned that there was no funny business to be had here. Read the menu, know your order, no questions, no add-on's, no substitutions. Signs everywhere to remind you of what you can and cannot do (which teeters towards obnoxious if you ask me). Additionally, this one man show means you will wait and you will not complain about said wait. With about three or four people ahead of me in line, I patiently waited (meaning played Brickbreaker by my lonesome) for a good 20 minutes before facing the scary man (I kid. Sort of). The two older men in front of me, clearly Italian, got the sandwich man jovially speaking Italian, cracking jokes, laughing, smiling.
"Hey," I thought, "he might not be so bad."
Kiira's up.
His face turns stone cold. Eyes look at me with an impatient, "Yes?" No more Mr. Nice Italian Guy.
I immediately spit out my order making sure to pronounce everyword impeccably, even adding in the type of bread I wanted without him having to ask.
The Alidoro. The sandwich shop's namesake.
"Ha. There." I thought.
As soon as I got over copping a 'tude just to prove no point whatsoever, I watched the master at work. Paper-thin slices of smoked chicken breast were meticulously sliced and gingerly laid on the long, crusty Italian baguette. Next came thick, hand cut pieces of Buffalo Mozzerella and a generous pile of fresh baby arugula. Spoonfulls of his spectacular and famous dressing were drizzled over the bread and the arugula, then topped, wrapped up in aluminum foil and tossed into a paperbag, waiting on the sidelines, ready, attentive.
One diet coke and I was on my way, back to my new home to dig in to this massive sandwich. And after the four flights of stairs, I had earned it. Simple but fantastic. Clean flavors that matched up perfectly together: the smoky chicken with the creamy mozzerella, punched up with the peppery arugula and the bright vinaigrette. One half for lunch and the other for dinner. It was a whole day's worth of delicious food that I could not conjure up one bad thing to say about. Except of course for the attitude-inducing mastermind.
But I can get over that. Because I'm pretty sure, in some ways, we were one and the same.
105 Sullivan St. (nr. Spring St.)

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