I had one of those sad food moments yesterday. After feeling the pressure of the line at a skyway take-out joint, I buckled and ordered a grilled chicken panini. It ended up being a crumbly mess of dry bread, under-melted cheese, and chicken that was cold and questionable in the middle. But I was so hungry and pinched for time that I had to keep eating. It left me sadly unsatisfied and wishing for ruby slippers to Rustica.
At Rustica, the sandwich cases are stacked with dreams in the form of sandwiches crafted by the hands of those at Corner Table. It's a match made in heaven, no? Corner Table inspiration and ingredients paired with artisan Rustica bread? They show up around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday through Saturday and when they're gone, they're gone. These were my top favorites:
Salumi: salumi (pork, garlic, white wine, fennel), arugula, Ames Farm pear, fennel aioli (made with soybean oil). My favorite so far. Simple salumi bit back to the peppery arugula. And the fennel aioli was a soft and smooth undercurrent. Honestly, I could eat this one every day. OK, I could eat salumi every day, and if I had this one, it probably wouldn't be around long enough to get it on a sandwich. Just me and a knife and the couch with The Real Housewives of Atlanta . . . but I digress.
Ham and Cheese and Baguette: Hidden Streams nitrate free ham,
Fenceline Farm "provolone" cheese, smoked paprika aioli, bibb lettuce. I don't even care that the cheese has to "air quote" their provolone, I know it's not from Italy, they should just give it their own name like provOHMYGODYUMolone. No quotes needed. But the star of this sandwich is the generously chunky, salty ham which feels like you stood in front of your fridge and hacked off some bites from the holiday leftovers, only better.
Vegetable on Multigrain: Dragsmith Mississippi greens, grilled summer squash, cucumber, oven-roasted tomato, goat cheese, and basil cream. Truly, I usually shun the veggie sandwich in favor of something laden with protien. But this one was so clean, so unpretentious, without trying to show off with a freaky eggplant addition or something. When I hit the tangy goat cheese with a dusky bite of the grilled squash, I was sold.