On a whim, on this lazy summer Seattle Sunday, I decided to take the bus to Ballard to try out Un Bien. The story began with a legendary sandwich shop in Fremont, Paseo. People, seriously, described the sandwiches with words typically reserved for deity or unadulterated teenage love. For the years I lived here, I have not once gave Paseo a try. There was always the next weekend. Then it closed!
The scandalous closure of Paseo sent shockwaves across its huge fan base. It also saddened me for missing the chance to experience the legend. Of course, capitalism prevailed. The former employees re-opened Paseo and the original owner opened Un Bien in Ballard. Both offered pretty much the same Caribbean sandwiches.
They are both too far away for me to bother. Really how amazing can sandwiches be? Well, today, I found out. As sandwiches go, it is near perfect.
The #1 on the menu and best seller — Caribbean Roast (Pork shoulder coated in marinade and slow-roasted until it falls into succulent morsels) — was indeed delicious. The meat was tender and flavorful. The baguette bread toasted lightly to provide the texture, structure, and the absorption for the juice, the sauces intense and flowing, the condiments (onion, veggie) added the extra dimension. It was an elbow-dripping messy and oh-so satisfying sandwich experienced.
The also famous Fire-Roasted Corn featured small-kerneled corn that really served as the vehicle for the insanely unhealthy and delicious aioli. I finished it pretty much in 1 minute.
Was it worth the trip? The answer is really the same as Ding Tai Feng. There is an art-level of comfort foods whose craving is hard to quench once it hit you. At that moment — like Harry and Kumar go to White Castle — a great level of effort seemed well justified.