As a kid, my favorite comic strip was Chic Young’s “Blondie.” I got to know every member of the Bumstead household, Blondie, son Alexander, daughter Cookie, Daisy the dog, and head of the house, Dagwood. Especially Dagwood.
Every time the strip opened with Dagwood emptying the fridge for one of his impossibly tall sandwiches (now called “Dagwoods” in honor of the man and his creation) my Mom and I paid extra close attention to the ingredients. We’d make a game of trying to discover how many layers there were, and just what each layer of the sandwich was. Mom usually won, though I’d often protest the result.
Later on, I frequently tried to emulate Dagwood’s sandwich construction mastery. I’d succeed every once in a while, though my attempt would have enough structural design flaws to rival those of the Tower of Pisa. Nowadays, the kind folks at Johnson City’s Which Wich are ready to help me emulate my hero, and they’ve got a whole fridge and pantry stocked with enough fresh ingredients to make Mr. Bumstead proud.
The procedure couldn’t be simpler. Walk in Which Wich’s front door and immediately in front of you is the order counter, stuffed with brown paper sandwich bags and Sharpie markers. Choose which meat you want by choosing a bag from that category. Grab the bag and a Sharpie. Which Wich’s menu is printed on the bags, and you check off the ingredients you want on your sandwich. The folks at Which Wich are kind enough to suggest several excellent combinations, from a simple BLT on up.
When my dining partner and I stopped by, we were intrigued with the studied concentration of the prospective diners around the order counter. One group of four appeared to be holding an inquest on the merits of beef over turkey. My partner, being hungry, reached around the discussion group to grab each of us a bag and a marker. With a flourish, she chose a 7-inch long TBR sandwich; turkey, bacon and ranch dressing, on a toasted white bun with spinach, cheddar cheese and extra ranch.
Feeling Dagwood-ish, I opted for the 7-inch Surf ’n’ Turf, crab salad and roast beef on a toasted white bun, dolled up with pepper jack cheese, olive salad, red onions, cucumber slices and black pepper for kick. I then turned in our order to the smiling young lady behind the counter and stepped back, a witness to creation. I didn’t have long to wait.
About five minutes later our order showed up, to which we added a couple of sizable homemade cookies for dessert, and headed home for lunch. Adding a couple of frosty glasses of home-brewed sun tea and some potato chips rounded out our cozy lunch-on-the-patio for two.
My partner’s TBR was properly toasted on both pieces of bread, the cheddar contrasting nicely with the bacon, turkey, and ranch dressing. The kicker was the fresh, leafy spinach adding a subtle but contrasting bitterness to the overall flavor of the sandwich.
The brown bag my Surf ’n’ Turf was in was so tight I had to use scissors to unwrap my Dagwood creation. The crab salad had real crab meat mixed with a firm-fleshed surimi for proper texture, along with chopped celery, pickle and diced green pepper in a light mayonnaise. It tasted great.
The roast beef, hot, moist and medium-well done, made a nice flavor contrast between the crab salad and the pepper jack cheese. I had William, the manager, go easy on the olive salad, seeing as how too many brine-pickled green olives will overwhelm any sandwich in salt. I needn’t have worried; Which Wich’s olive salad was a tasty blend of mild green olives, red pimento, diced onions and black pepper, a good choice to gussy up a Surf ’n’ Turf especially when mixed with sliced red onions and cucumbers. With each bite I could sense an approving nod from Mr. Bumstead.
Dessert found my partner holding a soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie a good six inches across, while I was holding a tasty oatmeal raisin offering. Did I mention William sent them through the sandwich toaster for us? Homemade cookies are good. Hot from the oven, they are great.
All told, our two-sandwich lunch plus cookies was less than $15 tax included.
So what do I think? Which Wich has a unique ordering system that works really well, is truly customizable and gets you fresh, well-prepared food made to order in record time. Stop by and indulge your own Inner Dagwood.