Comments Come True: Tempeh Panini at Busboys and Poets
When I asked where to find a proper veggie sandwich many of you not only understood my dilemma, but offered heart-felt suggestions. The last veggie sandwich I ordered (and wrote about) tasted, "meh." Although maybe I should clarify, since my dad made a point over Thanksgiving to ask me what the word "meh" meant. Please raise your shoulders, tilt your head and say "meh" as a question. Think: bland, bored, uninspired.
I plan to tackle my way through your advice, an ambitious list of 24 establishments (see below), and decided to start by proximity and free Internet usage, and apparently, at a place with an affinity for late '90s rap—Busboys and Poets' location at 14th & V streets NW.
My head is nodding up and down, a full inch too wildly for a workday afternoon, especially in a public place. But when you get advice, follow it and it proves true, a showy head bob is in order. Especially to Q-Tip. Especially to tempeh.
Alan presented this vegetarian sandwich recommendation:
"Tempeh sandwich at Busboys and Poets – minus sprouts, plus avocado. Absolute delicious, and vegan too!"
I sat down with purpose at Busboys, eager to try the recommended tempeh sandwich. Alan, I have to tell you, I swooned at first bite.
Breathe and stop. For real. And give it what you got.
How did Q-Tip manage to so appropriately rap my thoughts?
Meaty, smoky, and pleasantly chewy, the tempeh tricked my mind. Although it didn't resemble the exact texture of meat, the flavor felt familiar. I also added on avocado, like Alan said, but someone at Busboys must be reading Young & Hungry comments because the sandwich no longer sported sprouts. Still-crunchy sauteed onions, roasted red peppers, arugula and a vegan mayo filled out the sandwich without overpowering the soy plank.
Impressed, I asked manger Che McKissic how the kitchen prepares its tempeh. I learned it didn't. Busboys uses Lightlife brand tempeh (which you can buy in the District, Maryland and Virginia according to its website) and McKissic admitted the chefs "Cook it as is. It comes that good."
And I have to say, Che, I think you're right.
Comments Come True: Veggie Sandwich Checklist
(In order of appearance in the comments)
- Cork Market
- Cowgirl Creamery
- Busboys and Poets
- Taylor Gourmet
- Pret a Manger
- California Tortilla
- Highland Cafe
- Jimmy John's
- Greek Spot
- Sticky Fingers
- Super Taco
- Luna Grill
- Five Guys
- Everlasting Life
- Au Bon Pain
- Devon and Blakely
- Corner Bakery
- Black Squirrel