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LuannePerry's Profile

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Natural Foods in Towson on Susquehanna Av, behind the Courthouse?

I believe that I can clear this up and I believe that I would be a viable source since I was the "chef" of the Juice Bar (the little eating spot) in The Health Concern on Susquehanna Avenue in Towson from (I believe) 1992/93 (almost a year). I've made literally hundreds of these sandwiches and so has my husband, who was my "prep cook" at the time! If my memory serves me correctly, I was in Towson about a year ago and the place was still open, but the original owner (Paul) passed away many years ago and I know the business was sold, but I don't know who bought it. Before he died, Paul had also bought The Golden Temple on Charles Street (between 23rd and 24th) and I DO know that place is gone and has been for some time.

OK - first, regarding the Power House Sandwich, it is my understanding (and I've been researching it just today - that's how I found this post btw) the sandwich was invented in Los Angeles, Cali sometime in the late 1960s, The Manager of The Health Concern when I was there (and he had been there for many years) was a man called "Bob", who CLAIMED to be the inventor of the Power House Sandwich, but he's mistaken. I know this because I lived in LA for a year in 1987 and the REAL ORIGINAL health food store where the sandwich was invented was still in operation in Venice, Cali - but I cannot recall the name (I THINK it was called The Powerhouse - like the little place in Towson you all are talking about, but I'm not certain). I will find out and post it here when I do. ALL of the recipes of the sandwiches, salads and so forth at The Health Concern were created by the owner, Paul. There was a woman named Lee who was the Juice Bar chef for 17 years (when I got there) and SHE was the REAL MAGICIAN behind those recipes. She also was the one who created all the soups and main dishes for the juice bar. The reason they hired me was to eventually fire Lee - because Bob the Manager didn't like her. VERY UNFAIR because the customers LOVED her, she was a fantastic employee and person in general - PLUS the food creations were HERS. In my year spent there, I DID create a few things on my own, but when I TRIED to change ANY of the salad or sandwich recipes in ANY way, Paul NIXED it. He said the customers were used to these current recipes and why fix it if it isn't broken??? At any rate, I left and Lee stayed on for many more years, even after they closed the Juice Bar. She still worked in the kitchen and cooked for them!

OK - back to the sandwich. The "spread" you are referring to may have been The Health Concern's Chick Pea Spread. Our two (actually 3) big sellers were The Power House, The Power House with Red Onion and The Power House with Chick Pea Spread. Don't confuse the chick pea spread with hummus, cuz it's a little different, but it is LOVELY on it's OWN on a sandwich with a slice of cheese and some sprouts, a dash of tamari and SPIKE (more on this later - yes scone (post below) you are right about the Spike seasoning!!! A lot of people really loved the spread on the Power House, so we made it a regular sandwich on the menu - they were always available (fresh) in the refrigerator case along with several other items. The chick pea spread was canned, organic garbanzo beans with a bit of the juice, processed with shredded carrots, fresh garlic, fresh minced organic parsley, fresh squeezed organic lemon juice, tahini (sesame butter), a bit of tamari (organic soy sauce), a bit of toasted sesame oil and a small amount of ground cayenne pepper. Like I said, it was wonderful on it's own, but added to a Power House it was fantastic!!!

OK - the recipe for the sandwich - and some of you really have it right - especially scone (below). Start with one slice of 12 grain bread from Shiloh Farms (still available), a large crisp piece of deveined organic romaine lettuce, one thick slice of organic muenster cheese, a thick slice of organic tomato, a large dollop of HAIN safflower mayo (I actually prefer Hellmans', but that's me), a sprinkle of Spike (a gourmet blend of 30-odd herbs and spices that comes in a shaker jar but you can also buy it in bulk and it's available in the spice jar at most grocery stores. It contains a LOT of sodium, but they DO make a sodium-free version and they also have another blend called Veg-It that's very nice too. Spike has a red lid, Veg-It has a yellow lid, so you don't mistake them - they look A LOT ALIKE). Then, another slice of muenster, a handful of organic alfalfa sprouts, another sprinkle of Spike and the other slice of bread. That's it!

It's my understanding that the ORIGINAL POWER HOUSE SANDWICH from Los Angeles also included a slice of red onion and slices of avocado. I DO love avocado on mine, but I don't care for the onion. A lot of people DO like the onion, that's why The Health Concern offered the sandwich with onion.

It's funny because we are having Power House Sandwiches and mushroom/cheese melts for dinner tonight!!! I got my bread and I always get my Spike in bulk from Nature's Pantry on Harford Road in Parkville. She has such a nice little shop and the biggest gluten-free selection I have ever seen anywhere!!! Anyway...that's how this whole thing got started. I was looking again to see who invented the sandwich and saw Guido's post. Hope you have luck with your sandwiches!!!!! Peace.

Nov 04, 2012
LuannePerry in Home Cooking