I remember the first time that I watched Top Chef. I was sick in bed at a hotel with nothing to do but watch television and I stumbled upon this cooking competition that looked interesting. Within minutes I was hooked. It was the very first season of the show and there was Tom Colicchio. I was familiar with his well known restaurants and had a few of his cookbooks. What I didn’t realize at the time was that in addition to his skills as a chef, he also had a personality that was perfect for TV. From that moment on, I was a fan of the show and of Tom’s too.
Later that year we were in NYC for the holidays and wandered into Bryant Park and came upon “Wichcraft”– a kiosk selling sandwiches. I had heard of this small eatery and being that we were there and it was lunch time, we decided to place an order. I was as fascinated with the set up, as I was with the menu. It was a very small free standing building with this very efficient kitchen inside. You could tell that the layout had been very well thought out and the crew was able to operate efficiently in a small space. I was happy to stand and peer through the window and watch the sandwiches being made.
The menu consists of hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, salads and soup. Of course I knew I had to get something made with a panini grill and so I ordered the meatloaf sandwich- a warm sandwich for a cold day. It was topped with cheddar and a tomato relish and served on ciabatta bread. We sat and watched the skaters in the park and devoured this delicious sandwich. Before leaving I had to go back and look in the window one more time just to watch the staff work!
Today the Wichcraft cookbook was released and I can’t wait to take a look. I’ve already tried a recipe from the book over the weekend that was featured in the April issue of Gourmet. It was for a red wine braised flank steak sandwich with roasted peppers, onions and gruyere-fabulous! Of course, even though I really don’t need one more cookbook, this is one that I can’t pass up. I do have the name Panini Girl to love up to!