On one of our nicer winter days this season, I popped into the magnificently fragrant atmosphere of a Parisian-inspired bakery. The Baker, which is nestled next-door to the police station on Pleasant Street, has been creating a lot of buzz for their weekend donut specials. Though if one found him or herself seeking a reasonably priced lunch spot, they might try The Baker during the workweek as well.
At the counter I ordered a cup of coffee, and perused the menu of some pretty decent sandwich choices. They offered turkey, roast beef, grilled cheese, and an enticing vegetarian option in the, ‘Sweet Potato.’ But I decided to go with one of my favorites, an Italian; or in this case, “Italiano 2.0”
Lunch. challenge? accepted!
When the young gentleman who prepared my sandwich brought it out he declared that it was, “A perfect Italian, if I do say so myself.” To which I replied with as little snobbery as I could, “We’ll see about that.”
Now, when one thinks about the perfect Italian sandwich, does that mean perfection is something to strive for every time one is made? Or is it in the creation and execution of the recipe, and then, voilà! The perfect sandwich has manifested.
Perfection is a lengthy conversation, and should not be confused with, “The Best.” For I have walked into countless restaurants with my stomach at the helm claiming, “This is the best damn meal I’ve ever had!”
between two slices
An Italian sandwich has many components working together. For it to be harmonious, there must be balance, but that doesn’t mean everything involved is distributed equally within. My favorite Italian sandwich hails from a certain little market in the North End of Boston. It consists of a dozen or so razor thin slices of Prosciutto Di Parma, some freshly sliced pickled peppers, and a balsamic drizzle on some stale bread. That’s right. I said stale bread, which sometimes is exactly where perfection, best, and favorite take different roads.
One thing many great Italian sandwiches lacks is fresh bread. The Italian meats are fresh, the hots are hot, but the bread is like a rock. At The Baker, this was not a concern. The bread was as fresh as can be. The sandwich was wonderful. It was tasty, and had every component. The ratios, in all of my McSnobbery, are what prevented the sandwich from reaching perfection. Like most Italians, the salami and capicola far outweighed the salty goodness of the soppresata and prosciutto. Plus I’m a little tired of oil and red-wine vinegar. If you’re offering up weekend specials like a passion fruit curd, almond glaze, toasted coconut donut, and you want to talk perfection, you can step up your sandwich game a little too. The coffee I had along with my meal did the trick, but was nothing to write home about.
see for yourself
All in all I have to say there was absolutely nothing wrong with my meal, or anything regarding my visit. I’ll definitely be returning to The Baker, because it is good! The sandwich menu just hasn’t quite reached the same level as their other flakey, doughy treats, which I may never have noticed if someone didn’t mention the ever elusive ‘perfection.’ Check out The Baker’s website and facebook page to get the skinny on what else is cooking!