Friday, September 23, 2016

Sandwiches of Westchester County - The Tammy Special

Today I'm debuting a new segment on this blog called the Sandwiches of Westchester County, inspired by the cover story in the May 2016 issue of Westchester Magazine featuring, well, notable sandwiches in Westchester County. In that article, 23 different local sandwiches are highlighted and, while I don't expect to try all of them, I'd at least like to make a reasonable attempt to do so over the coming months.

My first excuse to start this quest came in the form of several returns that Mrs. H. needed to be made at department stores in White Plains, a small city not unlike Aurora or Joliet near Chicago; that is, a stand-alone, once-thriving entity of its own that was eventually swamped by a much-larger, encroaching metropolitan area (NYC in this instance). Since I planned to be there around lunchtime, I made a quick scan of the list in the article and found two entries for White Plains, selecting the "Tammy Special" at the Royal Scarlet Deli as my quarry.

All cities need a good family-run, classic corner grocery store and the Royal Scarlet is that classic store for White Plains.  Opened by Irish immigrant Michael Doherty in 1938, the deli is named after a now long-departed line of canned and dried food products called Royal Scarlet, sold and distributed by the defunct R.C. Williams Company of New York City (the historic company warehouse building still exists today at 259-273 10th Ave. in Manhattan).

The descendants of Michael Doherty remain in charge of the operation today, which consists of a small market, a deli counter offering a dizzying array of sandwiches on the menu board (had I not already known what I was coming for, I would have been completely overwhelmed), and a few drink coolers.  There is no seating and parking (as is the case with most places in and around the NYC area, I'm discovering) is limited to whatever open meters you can find on the street.  With no park in sight, I retreated back to my family truckster with paper bag in hand and unwrapped my sandwich on the console.

I opted for the smaller of the two sandwich sizes on offer, which is on a Kaiser roll instead of on the larger "wedge", a term that appears to be unique to the collar counties immediately north of New York City (Westchester, Putnam, and Fairfield in Connecticut) and essentially just means sub sandwich as far as I can tell (I'm on the lookout for more of these wedges around town).  Even so, my Tammy was plenty large enough, offering two nicely breaded and fried chicken cutlets topped with slices of fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and a slathering of honey mustard sauce, yielding a great combination of rich, chewy, sweet, and tangy ingredients (basically everything one could hope for in a sandwich).  I wouldn't designated it as the best lunch ever, but I enjoyed it enough to contemplate a return trip the next time I happen to be in White Plains...

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