2319 Fairmount Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19130
I was recently in the Art Museum area, where it's always a challenge to find a good quick-and-dirty place to eat. Up there it's almost always either a spend-a-lot-of-money place or a sit-and-have-a-beer place. This was a workday lunch trip, so neither of those options were appealing. Is it that hard to find a good sandwich? Not anymore.
Enter Rybread. You can read all about the backstory in the 'about' section on their site, but basically, some guy named Ryan used to be an architect, lost his job, went on a road-trip, ate loads of food, and returned with new found inspiration to open up a sandwich shop where the ingredient combinations are rooted in the various US cities he visited. It also doesn't hurt that his family owns/runs a catering business, so I guess it just comes naturally to him.
The menu is extensive, with over 15 sandwiches that are standard, then add on some salads, soup and all of the daily special sandwiches - the variety is astounding for such a small counter-top kitchen. I will say, the orange is a bit overwhelming, and is to be reflected (literally) in some of the images to follow.
Having been out for a night of drinking (and snacking) the previous night, we decided it would be best to "keep it light" on this sunny afternoon. Our first sandwich was the Napa: fresh mozzarella, Roma tomatoes, pesto and balsamic glaze served on a baguette. A twist on your basic Caprese salad, the pesto was a welcome change from the usual basil leaves and added a bit of zip to contrast the semi-sweet balsamic glaze.
The Le Bus bread was just tough enough to hold its own, but not too much so that it challenged my jaw. The out-of-season tomatoes fooled me with their juiciness.
Second up was the (not so light) Buffalo panini: buffalo blazing chicken, gorgonzola OR mozzarella, shredded carrot, chipotle mayo on baguette OR brioche. Of course the only real way to go with this one is the gorgonzola and brioche. Baguette in panini form is okay, but brioche really knows how to take the heat and the pressure.
This thing was oozing with the creamy combination of melted gorgonzola and chipotle mayo spread - both of which were in great abundance. The flavors were spot-on, with the sweet brioche and shredded carrots balancing out the tangy gorgonzola and spicy, tender chicken. Oh, the chicken. It wasn't shredded, it wasn't chunks of knife-sliced breasts, it was lunchmeat - paper thin ripples of layered buffalo chicken that melted deliciously into the rest of the ingredients, and into my mouth.
You'd think this thing would fall to pieces in your hands, but it stayed together quite well - my only suggestion is to hold off a minute or two, to let everything meld before going ravenously all-in on this flavor powerhouse.
Definitely looking forward to another trip up, where the Buffalo will definitely be ordered, and hopefully I'll be feeling like a "heavy lunch" is in order, as so many of these menu options make my mouth water.
-posted by gabulous