Attentive (read: obsessive) viewers of the first season of Top Chef will recall that one of the early challenges was to make a sandwich that Colicchio promised to put on the menu of the newest outpost of his sandwich shop chain ‘wichcraft. Many months later, the San Francisco ‘wichcraft is finally open, and “The Harold” is now eatable by the general public.
Of course, it’s not called “The Harold” (although ‘wichcraft HQ does confirm that people ask for the Top Chef or “Harold Sandwich”); it’s called “the Mortadella,” named (as are all of ‘wichcraft’s sandwiches) for the main ingredient. The Mortadella comes with sautéed black trumpet royale mushrooms and black olive tapenade on San Francisco sourdough bread. The grapes, which Harold originally served on the side of the plate, are now halved and stuck inside the sandwich, as per Colicchio’s episode-expressed desire.
The sandwich was plenty tasty, but it wasn’t my favorite. According to the voluble ‘wichcraft HQ, Harold’s Mortadella is “selling reasonably well” and is “in the middle of the mix” in terms of popularity. Additionally, while I personally adored the fried egg, vinegar-y frisée, gorgonzola, and bacon sandwich on ciabatta, the slow-roasted pork with red cabbage, jalapenos, and mustard on ciabatta is the most popular sandwich in the San Francisco location. To give some perspective, the roasted turkey, balsamic onion relish, bacon, and avocado with aioli on ciabatta is the most popular New York ‘wich.
After summing up some ‘wichcraft complaints he’d heard from his cronies, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer added:
The roast pork ($8.50) was cold in the center and tasted like it had languished in the refrigerator for four days. And the hot pastrami’s ($9.50) meat was so tough I couldn’t bite through it. I decided that when you pay $10 after tax, it’s a little too expensive for a quick eat-at-my-desk lunch.
Sandwiches are my favorite food, so it’s never going to be a “quick eat-at-my-desk lunch” for me. They are to be savored slowly, and I determined that the four sandwiches I sampled at ‘wichcraft were mouth-stretchingly good.