Pop Up Puffery

Aside from endless hours spent playing Minecraft with my boyfriend and cooking up a storm, one of the main things that kept me sane over the past year were watching a slew of Emmymade videos on YouTube. Not only do I adore watching her attempt truly absurd recipes (ahem . . . White Castle Burger pΓ’tΓ©?), watching her eat and listening to her voice has an almost-ASMR quality to it. After only one 10 minute video, I feel soothed, calm, relaxed . . . and hungry!

One food item she brought to my attention was the “sando” or Japanese-style sandwich. Unlike many unwieldy, two-meal-yielding American sandwiches, the sando feels more like something a child would imagine. I can visualize my younger self made ecstatic by an egg salad sando with its cheery, bright yellow-hued filling in between two pieces of super-soft, slightly-sweet white bread with the crusts cut off.

Just recently, a Texas-based pop-up dubbed Sandoitchi announced it was coming to New Orleans. Excited to taste what had Emmy (and so many others) so damn excited about sando, I decided to jump on the hype express. I ordered my sandos on Sunday through a site that didn’t go live until 6pm, and scheduled a pick-up, in the French Quarter of all places, for today.

When I got the email, John and I jumped in the car and headed to 606 Iberville Street, a nothing building right behind The Jimani. John circled the block while I waited for 30 minutes to get my sandos. As anyone who lives here knows, it’s a chilly, rainy, drab day today in New Orleans, but at least there were a couple of tents erected to shelter under, as there were approximately 20 other people waiting for the same thing. Also, there just happened to be massive crane on Canal Street which re-routed traffic (badly, I might add), so just getting into the Quarter was, pardon my vernacular, a total bitch.

As soon as we returned home, we dove into the sandos headfirst. Sandoitchi’s menu offered five sandos; hot truffle chicken katsu, pork katsu, wagyu katsu, egg salad, and fruit and cream. I got all of them except the wagyu katsu which was a staggering $75. As it is, I spent $40 (not including tip) on those four sandwiches. What was I thinking?

They were all good. Not life-altering or mind-numbing good, but good. Though I was totally excited to eat the pork katsu (or tonkatsu), the meat was a bit dry and sadly lacking sauce. The egg salad was surprisingly non-descript and the joy I encountered while eating it was more about its oddly-comforting, soft, creamy texture than its flavor which was simply mayo and egg. The best two were easily the spicy chicken katsu with sweet coleslaw and lots of vinegary heat, and the fruit and cream sando. Other than the obvious ice cream, that was the first dessert I’d ever had in sandwich form . . . and it was lovely. Beautifully ripe strawberry, grape, pineapple and mandarin were pillowed in a fluffy, and delicately sweet cream. As a kid I would’ve taken that over a PB&J any day.

All in all, it was an experience, but not a great one, and it only re-enforced my instinctual aversion to pop-ups. I’ve had other pop-up adventures that involved almost dying of heat stroke and waiting in the rain, and I’m telling you, it just wasn’t worth it.

Though, through it all, I would definitely like to enjoy a sando again. Thankfully, Yakuza House is opening a brick and mortar sometime this year that’ll have sando on the menu. Otherwise I’ll just take a tip from Emmy and make it at home.

Is that crust I see on my sando? Tsk, tsk, tsk.

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