Free Foods NYC Review: Duck pastrami and fooding bipartisanship
Our new President, aka Mister Awesome, said something during his prime time press briefing the other day. “I’m happy to get good ideas from across the political spectrum, from Democrats and Republicans.” Now that’s a novel idea. On the food front, I mostly love food that’s cheap. If we’re specifically on the subject of lunch foods, the cheaper, the better. Cheapness resonates with me. At the heart of the matter is the idea of value. Value for someone with a 9-5 is not going to be the same as value to someone who works at a non-profit and certainly different from Donald Trump. It’s not that I cannot see the quality of high priced items, it’s just that I prefer cheap shit. It is said that folks in Japan associate price with quality and cheap stuff doesn’t sell well there. I actually question high priced items and wonder if the intrinsic value is being elevated by a name-brand, or if the product is intrinsically better. Last week I heard about an $11 dollar sandwich on Midtown Lunch and it looked so good I was willing to forgo my cheapness and see what the brouhaha was all about.
My cheapness is well documented at places like Chinatown Brasserie. I’m dubious of so-called ‘quality’ ingredients. People who champion more expensive foods are alien to me. It’s like they’re on the other side of the political aisle and I refuse to reach over. Well, that was until Zach showed me the way to fooding bipartisanship.
Let’s get the details out of the way. This sandwich is a special in February only at FreeFoods NYC. (I would link you to their site, but the sons of bitches play music on their home page. And I’ve said this before, that shit is so tacky there’s no way in hell I’d ever link any page that plays music on their home page. It’s 2009. Stop acting like your using Windows 95 and AOL dial-up). Back to the subject at hand. Zach issued a Midtown Lunch Sandwich Challenge and FreeFoods responded with a $9.99 Duck pastrami sandwich. After tax, this baby is $11.
Paying $11 dollars for a sandwich is… crazy. I never thought it would happen. If I have to pay that kind of coin for a sandwich, it’s important to be full or at least satisfied after the meal. As you can see in the metrocard measurement, this was larger than average deli sandwich. So far, so good.
Onto the tasting… They use a panini press to heat up the sandwich and it gets nice and warm. The middle of the bread gets slightly soggy while the outter crust remains crunchy. Duck pastrami is surprisingly delicious. I pretty much love any kind of pastrami. There was a period in my life where I packed turkey pastrami for lunch three days a week. Pastrami is delicious. This pastrami was no different.
Delicious as it was, the peppery taste of the pastrami can be overwhelming to people who don’t like lots of black pepper. I happen to love it and the heat was really a nice characteristic. There’s no subtlety about the black pepper. There was some Russian dress in the sandwich and it offered a reprieve from the spicy kick. The sweetness was a nice contrast and a very smart addition to the sandwich. Cheese was also included in the sandwich but it played a minor role.
The duck pastrami was also very tender and for $11 dollars it should be. Normal pastrami is usually sliced thinly, and these duck pieces were more like chunks. This worked out really well because if the duck was sliced thinly, I don’t think you would ever get the duck flavor in the midst of the black pepper.
Look, I never thought that I’d enjoy a sandwich made by people who cater to a high rolling clientele. The guy in front of me spent $19 dollars on lunch. If I spend $19 dollars on lunch, I’m expecting that lunch to come with dessert and a back rub. This sandwich from FreeFoods was really enjoyable. I think if the idea of a $11 sandwich bugs you, then you might not be able to look past it. I’m the ultimate cheapskate and this was not enough to make me a regular customer. This did however, show me that expensive food is not just about being expensive, it can be delicious.
You’re not paying for name-brand or organic or free range or whatever. The duck might represent all those things actually, but ask yourself… “When was the last time I had duck in a sandwich? For lunch? Have I even tried duck pastrami before?” I hate to tell you about tasty things that’s not in the realm of cheapness. But like the Prez said, good ideas can come from anywhere, and the duck pastrami sandwich is a good idea. It has the vote of confidence from this cheap mofo.
Free Foods NYC 18 W 45th St.New York, NY 10036212-302-7195