When I'm in the mood for an unconventional sandwich, I hit Open Face in the South Wedge. I always end up with something I've never eaten before, and I always leave sated. I figured I'd better take my neighbor Johanna out to lunch before she gives birth in a few weeks and can't pop out (so to speak) on the spur of the moment as often.
Kind of a "back-to-the-future" vibe, with modern accents in an old-fashioned sandwich shop. Brick walls, wooden floors, chocolate brown and celery green walls, soothing music. A playful sticker requests: "Please do not lick the pastry case."
My Corn Mash sandwich ($6.95), despite the unappetizing name, was a cheery mix of spring and summer tastes, perfect for a blustery winter afternoon. The roasted corn came seasoned, mashed and mixed with red bell pepper, served hot and open with melted Cheddar, apricot barbecue glaze (this stepped it up a notch) and french fried onions on toasted sourdough.
We likened Johanna's Toasted Olive sandwich ($6.50) - havarti cheese with an olive spread and melted over wheat (double the cheese for a buck) - to party appetizers that we end up pigging out on. She appreciated that it was "completely different" than any other sandwich she's had, but she couldn't finish it. Too much of a good thing.
Sandwiches, including vegetarian and vegan selections, come with a choice of ginger carrots, baguette chips or simple salad.
"Tonics," "phytotherapy tea" and "bottled refreshments" are in the apothecary, and there are dozens of selections in the "tea pharmacy." Prices start at 65 cents for something like the Tonic 5: Stomach Soother (with extracts of calendula, fennel seed, peppermint, ginger, slippery elm and goldenseal to calm digestive stress) and go to $3.65. I opened my bottle of Moxie ($1.75), America's oldest soda, with a wall-mounted bottle cap remover. Johanna got the House Green Tea ($1.95); it required that she pour loose tea from a plastic capsule into a tea bag, then steep it herself. "This is cool," Johanna said. "I'm like an alchemist."
(I left a $3 tip at the counter because they do deliver your food and check back to make sure everything's OK.)
I'm trying the Black Bean sandwich ($6.95), crushed beans mixed with a chipotle pesto, topped with Cheddar, chunky salsa and mixed greens, and served on wheat, sourdough, rye or mixed greens.