Some time ago I updated this blog with a bit of a complaint about repeatedly being served things that were not sandwiches. I realize that this is no great affliction in life, but all the same I am afraid it tempered my enthusiasm for a fine sandwich. Too many times sitting down for a treat and finding a split roll, I suppose. That said I am not posting today to detail the cooling of my passions, but the opposite. I am posting today to describe how my love for sandwiches was restored.
Phillipe’s is a Los Angeles institution, and the sandwich that they present is one of simple perfection. It is roast meat dipped in juice and served on a french roll. Cheese is available but is not a standard part of the sandwich and mustard is provided at each table but obviously is also optional. Phillipe’s is one of two places laying claim to inventing the French Dip sandwich and you could not ask for a better example of the type. The meat is hot, tender and flavorful, roasted until it sings. It comes dipped in hot drippings and if one so desires the sandwich can be “twice dipped” for maximum effect. Though I have heard tale of sandwiches so juicy that they had to be eaten over a bowl it was my experience that the french roll held together just until it was devoured. The mustard provided is heavy on the horseradish but I found it to be a wonderful compliment to the sandwich.
I cannot imagine anything more simple than the French Dip. Upon taking a bite I was instantly angry I had not ordered two. It was the very essence of the sandwich and exactly what I needed.