When you’re low, sometimes it’s all about returning to the familiar. A favorite movie, a worn out pair of pants, copious amounts of booze, an ex-lover’s bed. Or all of the above?
But when you’re at work and that beaten-down mood settles around you like the thick atmosphere during a smog warning in late July, well, what are you going to do. Propose a quick sexual encounter during lunch break with your co-worker to boost your spirits? Having lost my employee handbook, I’m not sure what the rule is on that.
Oh, but no. You want the familiar, dummy. That’s the theme, here. Save those propositions for when you’re feeling adventurous and less prone to any criticism of your abilities.
Nah, you just don’t want to think too hard. And then Harold began complaining of hunger pangs loudly from his cube, and lobbing heavy objects at him wouldn’t shut him up. Yeah, productivity levels were at an all time low, and it being Friday, things weren’t going to get any better. “What’s the point getting anything started now,” Harold cried. “It’s like trying to start a cold diesel engine; you’re only gonna shut it off in a couple hours anyway. Start fresh next week.”
Oh, I’ve heard his justifications before. And dang gummit, they always make sense. A true sage for slackers, Harold is. So, feeling low, squashed and mildly suicidal, well, neither of us wanted to go anywhere offering a pureed winter squash potato leek soup garnished with powdered broccoli and chilé pepper strands coupled with a baby arugula salad with balsamic lemonade dressing, caramelized walnuts and sun-dried snow-peas. Yeah, Harold and I write about restaurants and food for the day job. But we’re human beings, for chrissakes. And that namby-pamby foo-foo shit, well, y’know, it’s pretty on the plate but sometimes you just want to take a sledgehammer to all of it. You want to read about food at the pricey joints all the time, well, head on over to chez pim right now. ‘Cause we’re going decidedly low-brow.
So gimme a good sandwich already. I can’t remember the last time I’ve just had a good sandwich. A pile of meat and some good bread—the basics, y’know? Something you remember from when you were a kid, back when it wasn’t child abuse when your pops took you, as a young child, into the local pub to have one of those fresh, hot sandwiches where the meat wasn’t a prepackaged wad from a national supplier. No, the kind where the guy carved it off the roast, slapped it on a good bun and, and the barkeep mighta slipped you a shot glass of beer…
Well, maybe y’all didn’t have that luxury. But the next time someone tells me they think Jimmy John’s is the best, well, they’re due for a fractured skull.
Where was I? Oh. Lunch. Maverick’s. Kick ass place for a sandwich. We’d tried to find it a couple weeks earlier, but Harold had the intersection wrong and we nearly came to blows as our appetites soared and we wound up eating at a Baja Sol.
Now, with the correct directions in hand (Maverick’s is in strip mall on the east side of Lexington, at the intersection of Lexington and Larpenteur Avenues, the Larpenteur being the border between Roseville and St. Paul.
We got all whipped up over this place because Jane and Michael Stern (who write the “Two for the Road” column for “Gourmet” magazine) supposedly chatted about the place on Lynne Rosetto Caspar’s "The Splendid Table" on NPR. We couldn’t find that, but Harold stumbled across this review from Michael Stern. Sounded like good stuff. And the place is exactly how he described it. A workman’s (or woman’s) lunch joint, a cafeteria style eatery, where they’re slicing the tender meat and piling it onto a soft bun.
The only thing wrong about the place is not that it’s in a strip mall (although I hate strip malls) but that there’s a Subway RIGHT NEXT DOOR. And people are walking into that Subway, and eating that crap when there’s Maverick’s, a bona-fide sandwich joint RIGHT NEXT DOOR. If I had a grenade to toss, I would chuck it underhand right into that damn Subway shop. Stupid, stupid people.
Anyway, in we go, and we order up large sandwiches for six bucks. Pulled pork for me, beef brisket for Harold—and the delightful older woman manning the register (I assume one of the owners) gave us quarter-sandwich samples of their famed roast beef to try, “for our next visit,” she said. Oh, yes, we’ll be back. But I dunno. The sandwiches we ordered were also excellent, and when I poured a little bit of the “tangy” barbeque sauce on mine from condiment bar, well, I had a pretty fuckin’ nice little meal with my side o’ fries.
Also sampled a bit of Harold’s beef brisket on a dark pumpernickel bun, and that might be my hit list next time. Just solid delicious food.
So, we stuffed it down, forgetting for a while that we had jobs to return to. Another “accidental” long lunch.
1746 N. Lexington Ave.
Roseville, MN 55113