Tri-Tip Sandwich – Happy Hollow Market, Senter Rd, San Jose, CA


When you see Happy Hollow Market from the road you are presented with some information and invited to make assumptions. A hand-painted sign on the slanted roof informs of the name of the establishment and some of the things they sell. There are things you expect from a market, such as beer, snacks and cigarettes at state minimum. The sign also informs you that they sell BBQ and Ribs. This is where you make your assumptions. The assumption I chose to make was that any BBQ sold from the inside of a mini mart was either very, very good, or very very bad. Figuring that most BBQ joints sell some manner of sandwich I decided to try my luck.

The market portion of Happy Hollow Market is exactly what you would expect. Tucked into the corner is a separate counter, behind which sit two men and a large oven. I ordered the tri-tip sandwich, one of the men took my money and the other took a large bun and piled on meat from a warming tray. It was wrapped in foil and I took it outside to one of the small tables.

Luck was not on my side. “Leathery” is not generally a quality I seek out in food and it was by far the dominant quality of this sandwich. Good BBQ has ‘bark,’ a flavorful crust that perfectly compliments the tender meat. The bark in this sandwich was comparable to beef jerky, though the comparison would be less than favorable. The meat itself was tough and dry. The best that could be said about the sauce was that it was not bland, but it was nearly all pepper and no smoke. I have a fondness for dives and holes-in-the-wall, but each one is a gamble. I am sad to say, dear reader, that this time I lost.


3 thoughts on “Tri-Tip Sandwich – Happy Hollow Market, Senter Rd, San Jose, CA

  1. That is too bad it turned out disgusting. I know of one mini mart that has the best potato wedges I’ve ever had and another way out in the middle-of-nowhere Redding California has the best egg salad sandwiches ever. I don’t even like egg salad that much but they’re perfect. I think it is worth to try it.
    So what kind of drink is that in the picture? It looks like a gigantic bottle of vodka? Or is the sandwich really small?

  2. The background is a large Corona ad wrapped around the center post of the table/umbrella combination. The sandwich was a rather substantial portion. I would have lauded this but as you know the sandwich was just terrible.

  3. ….middle-of-nowhere Redding California has the best egg salad sandwiches ever…

    why do I suddenly hear my mother SHRIEKING about the dangers of strange egg salad…. out in the DESERT!?!!!

    Personally, I swear by tuna sandwiches you find in chain convenience stores, the ones that used to come in saran wrap but are now in that crinkly stuff you can’t use to re-wrap uneaten portions. Something about convenience store tuna salad…

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