I was on Granby St. yesterday chatting with the owner of Brink Anchor (where Jack Quinn's used to be) and realized I was super hungry. Sometimes I get wrapped up in the idea of what it is I want to do and forget to do things like, say, eat. So I was starving after my visit with Phil and was trying to decide where to eat lunch. It's been a while since I've had a lunch option in Norfolk since I live in Virginia Beach and I'm at my regular job during the day (no, I don't blog for a living.) The decision wasn't hard to reach after remembering a photo I saw online this week. The image depicted a mountain of a sandwich - no more like a volcano with lava of peach chutney tumbling down stacked, curry braised pork. It was called the Shah Raan and I was going to rise to the challenge issued by Field Guide to "conquer" it.
I mentally prepared myself, image Sir Edmund Hillary getting that high knowing he was going to climb Mt. Everest. I was right down the street from this monster, all I had to do was find a parking spot. The Fates were with me because a car pulled out of a spot right in front of Field Guide and I quickly slid in and paid the meter. It was a beautiful day, overcast and cool, I love how it feels when it's like that.
I walked into Field Guide and was greeted by Jeremy behind the counter and saw an acquaintance Chris Revels seated at the bar. He was taking a break from mural painting a few blocks away. Jeremy mentioned it had been a while since I've been there, which is true, but I knew exactly what I wanted. I asked for the "big ass sandwich". He smiled knowingly and shouted to the kitchen, "Big Ass Sandwich!" I waved to Cristina and crew in the back and headed back to say hi.
My sandwich was being made as I stepped into the doorway to the kitchen. I watched from afar, a little giddy with the idea that I was going to eat it. I know it sounds cheesy, but I get excited about eating - especially good food and Field Guide is on point. Always. I chatted a little bit about the Shah Raan and Cristina (Waffletina)told me about some of her other projects she's working on. By the way, if anyone wants to rent a great space next to Toast in Norfolk, get in touch with her. The space could be used for about anything and the rent would be a great deal.
The Shah Raan sandwich was created by one of the line cooks in Field Guide's kitchen. I love the fact that the people in the back have the opportunity to put something together and then have it featured in the shop. David Hausmann, the creative mind behind Field Guide and several other projects in Norfolk, has been spot on when introducing new concepts to the area. Especially those dealing with food, I mean who doesn't like Handsome Biscuit? Back to the sandwich - the Shah Raan is made up of curry braised pork shoulder, sunflower pecan raita, and peach chutney. I'll be honest and say I have no idea what the name means, I think it was just something the guy came up with when they made it. It sounds exotic and the sandwich itself reflects that with Indian-style curry infused in the pork, just enough so you know it's there. The raita is lightly tossed with red cabbage and the peach chutney rounds out everything with a slightly pungent sweetness. What's really neat about this is the flavor profile is usually seen used with chicken or lamb, I think it pairs perfectly with pork though.
Please don't judge me, but I didn't even try to pick up my sandwich. I mentioned that I would probably use a fork and knife and Jeremy laughed and grabbed me my flatware and a bunch of napkins. I was going to need them. They call mustaches "flavor savers" for a reason!
I was working on my sandwich when Dave walked in. The guy is busy and was hitting his spots tying up loose ends. We chatted for a bit about some ideas he had about expansion, new shops and things he'd like to introduce to the area. Exciting stuff. I have to mention that Cristina put together a great dessert for me made with a almond shortbread recipe she loves. The recipe is actually from one of Dave's old restaurants The Boot, I'm sure a lot of you remember that place. 80/20 Burger Bar is in the old location now. The dessert was made with charred peaches, a delicious homemade cream that reminded me of Shelby's Dirty Cake, and a little bit of mint leaf. So good!
I was able to finish my whole sandwich. That thing was huge, so unlike Hillary who did manage to reach the summit of Mt. Everest I made it about halfway. I bowed out gracefully asking for a container to package my unfinished portions so I could share them with Shelby later at home. I was very satisfied with the whole experience and told myself to not wait so long before visiting Field Guide again. Oh, and thanks for the beer Jeremy.
Additionally, here are a few shots of the mural Chris was working on.