One Great Sandwich: Hopleaf's CB&J
By Karl Klockars in Food on Feb 6, 2008 5:50PM
Love for the Hopleaf is easy to generate, despite it being one of those Yogi Berra joints - so crowded, no one goes there. This is especially true in this post-smoking ban era, now that people can actually (gasp) eat in the front section without getting choked out by massive clouds of carcinogens. It's been years since we started going to Hopleaf for Kwak and mussels, but only recently discovered the massive amounts of awesome that constitutes an order of CB&J.
We have a few rules when dining out, especially at Hopleaf. We call them Karl's Guidelines to Dining: Don't eat anything you can make at home (especially at breakfast), and no one at the table can duplicate anyone else's order, except in extreme circumstances. On our first take, the Montreal Brisket sandwich got snatched out from under us, leaving us the presumably pseudo-cafeteria, trade-it-for-your-ding-dongs sandwich mom used to pack in our lunch bucket every day. Hopes were not high. Ten bucks for what's basically a PBJ? C'mon.
However, the CB&J more than stood out, eventually being claimed as the Smartest Order at the Table. The mix of smooth creaminess of the house-made cashew butter, the sweet zing of the fig jam (more a preserve than a jam) and the mildness of the Morbier cheese would be just fine slapped together. But when it's pan-fried (in what? Butter? Don't know. Wouldn't put lard past 'em.) all the flavors and scents marry together in a semi-soft, aromatic, deeply rich and fatty sandwich of awesomeness.
The CB&J comes with a small side of Stilton Mac & Cheese. Having never had the fabled smelly cheese, we were eagerly anticipating a table-clearing reek of "only you would eat that," but we were surprised at how well the Stilton and pasta married with the sharper flavors of the sandwich. The house made potato chips are good enough when they're not overdone, but after the mouth orgy that goes on with the sammich & mac, they're just kinda there for plate filler. How do you think Hopleaf would do with a house-made tater tot? We should ask.
You'd best believe that Hopleaf's CB&J is One Great Sandwich.
We reserve the right to replace our CB&J love for the Duck Reuben soon as we get a chance to go back.