Monday, May 20th, 2013
My lunchtime routine has become somewhat redundant, eating the same salads and wraps at the same places, over and over. Boring! Today, as I contemplated my options, I suddenly had the craving for a nice sandwich….perhaps a simple mozzarella, tomato and basil on a baguette like the one’s I used to buy at Dean and Deluca’s in New York.
So I stopped by Alon’s. There was a time when the only thing I purchased at Alon’s was their white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, an ironic choice given that I’m not fond of any of those ingredients. However, when put together, the textures and flavors were phenomenal. After many years, they finally pulled the plug on that cake, and I subsequently fell in love with their chocolate chunk cookies, chewy little buttons of love that beckoned me inside each time I attempted to drive by the Virginia Highlands bakery.
That was a few years ago. Since then, owner Alon Balshan has taken over the space next door, formerly Rocky’s Brick Oven Pizza, and converted it to a market featuring specialty products like local dairy goods, prepared salads, meats, and side dishes ready to take home and enjoy. Alon’s also boasts one of Atlanta’s best selections of imported and artisan cheeses and a well-edited selection of wines to pair with them. As I perused the cases, the chocolate croissants called my name, but I was there on a mission….to get a real sandwich.
Their menu of sandwiches and salads includes some terrific choices like roasted chicken with pesto on country French bread and a smoked mozzarella panino, both of which tempted. Then I spotted the cooler with a basket of pre-made sandwiches including the Caprese I was craving, here served on freshly baked ciabatta.
The secret to a really great sandwich is the quality of the ingredients, especially when so few are involved. Each must stand alone….imported Italian bufala mozzarella, fresh basil and heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market, and of course, artisan bread. I picked up a bag of kettle-cooked barbecue chips and a slightly sweetened grapefruit soda to complete my upscale lunch. It was a truly great sandwich.
Food, like so many things in life, runs in cycles. I think I’ll add Alon’s to my luncheon repetoire and who knows, I’ll probably leave with a bag full of those cookies the next time.
1394 N. Highland Avenue 404-872-6000