American Sandwich Project: French Dips, Drips, and Glops

Kristin Devine

Kristin has humbly retired as Ordinary Times' friendly neighborhood political whipping girl to focus on culture and gender issues. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of

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19 Responses

  1. Have you heard of Italian Beef sandwiches? I grew up in Cherryplatte (maybe the largest city in the Mountain West?….even so, not large by others’ standards), and I had never heard of them until I moved to Big City. But they’re great (in my opinion). They come on a hoagie, the beef (probably it’s roast beef?) is braised (or somehow cooked) in sauce, and you can usually get hot peppers. Some places will give you a side of the juice, if you want. I don’t know if they call it au jus, but it reminds me of it. The sandwiches you can get “dry” or you can get “dipped,” where they dip the entire sandwich in the juice. (I prefer mine dry.)

    Anyway, it reminds me a lot of French dips, which I loved as a kid. But it also has hot peppers, which I also love. Unfortunately, it has a lot of fat and red meat badness, which I have to eat only “in moderation” now.

    For au jus sauce: I’ve never made it, but in a pinch, could you use the canned onion soup you find in the aisle at the grocery store? I probably won’t try it, but I wonder if it would work.

    Strangely enough, I’ve never thought of using horseradish. I don’t know why. I love horseradish, both the mayonnaise-y kind you can get at places like Arby’s, and the really hot kind you can find in stores and the Polish deli near where I live.

    Anyway, thanks for writing this post.Report

    • Slade the Leveller in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      Though I love a good French dip sandwich (which is really good with some provolone, BTW), a good Italian beef beats it every time. I get mine juicy and sometimes sweet.Report

    • atomickristin in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      I absolutely have and I plan to cover those in another article. I’m finding that both for my own sanity making the sandwiches/writing about them and for readers, staying focused on a smaller number of sammies per article is best.

      I suspect you could use onion soup, especially the concentrated kind, but I’d make it strong and then dilute it to taste. Wouldn’t want to add too much water as I’ve done that before and the au jus was too weak.

      Thanks for reading!Report

  2. A few years ago, when I was visiting LA, Burt took me to Phillipe’s, It was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had.

    (By the way, similarly to the French Dip dispute, there are several places in San Francisco that claim to have invented the burrito.)Report

  3. Burt Likko says:

    I write to confirm @_mike_schilling’s report upon the astonishing festival of flavor that is a Phillipe’s double-dipped French beef dip (you can get it with other meats there too, but unless you have a religious or ethical restriction on eating beef, you want the beef dip). When I still lived in LA I’d frequently stop at Phillipe’s for an affordable, fast lunch. (Breakfast there is good too.)

    Also to point out that if we’re doing Los Angeles songs, this one begs for addition.

  4. DW Dalrymple says:

    In my mind’s eye, The Doors’ L.A. Woman is what I’ve always pictured California to be like from back when I’d be sneaking, sitting at the bottom step leading up to my brother’s room listening to him play his albums. Mr Mojo Risin’s homage to L.A. is always on my road trip playlists.

    Oh, and yeah, French Dip Sammies are AWESOME-especially with some horseradish!

    Great piece KDReport

  5. Chip Daniels says:

    The Pacific Electric Building above Cole’s by the way, has been lovingly rehabilitated into beautiful loft apartments.
    Cole’s was where I discovered an Old Fashioned cocktail, and they have an authentic speakeasy room in back where if you knock, and they are not filled, you can enjoy music.Report

  6. J_A says:

    As the (or as the most vocal of) OT resident Spaniard, I need to push back in oh, so many things.

    First, and most important, it is El PueblO de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles de los Porciuncula”, not La Puebla. Angels might be sexless or genderless (not the same thing) or both, but Los Angeles identifies as male, and has chosen his pronouns as He, Him, His. This is California, pronouns are not joking matter, so Rod Dreher tells me several times a day (*)

    (I’ll let Senora go for now, but let the record show the lack of the tilde is a microagression towards Our Lady. Actually, apparently, I’m not letting this go)

    Second, you cannot bullfight on a vessel. Vessels are not round, they are oblong. And you need a round space for bullfighting. I agree bullfighting would make a long ocean crossing more fun, but the oblong shape makes sailing vessels easy to steer towards the other end of the sea. We all need to compromise.

    On a more à propos point, I love this kind of sandwich. Can I suggest a change and a variation.

    The change, instead of a hoagie, use a small crusty French bread style roll. The hard crust will help contain the jus, keeping the hands mostly dry, and make it easier, and cleaner to eat. I buy mine prebaked, in the frozen food section, and just needing 10 minutes in the oven before serving. Plus, the warm, fresh bread will elevate the sandwich to a different level. French bread, yummy.

    The variation, is a steak sandwich. We call it many names, but in my part of the world it is called a Pepito. It requires a very thin strip of steak (I use skirt) quickly (about 3-4 minutes total) cooked on a pan with just (this is me) salt and pepper, and a dash of cooking oil. You put it, with or without fried onions, or fried mushrooms, on a French baguette style crusty bread, 4 inches or so long. Again, use prebaked bread that you finish in the oven. You can add au jus if you want to, or just let the bread soak in the steak’s natural juices. Do not, repeat, do not, overcook the steak, it must be juicy. It should be thin enough and tender enough than you can break it with your teeth, but you can always cut it into one inch wide or so pieces if you think it’s too hard to tear apart.

    This is not party food, but it is a great, really fast (15 minutes from fridge to table) family meal that you can share on a weekend evening while watching the game or playing Trivia Pursuit (or looking for bullfighting videos in YouTube )

    Thanks again for this series, I love it.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to J_A says:

      “you need a round space for bullfighting”

      I believe there is historical evidence for a sport similar to bullfighting but played on a linear court, with about the same relationship to traditional bullfighting as drag-racing has to course-racing, and cultural memories of this practice are how shuffleboard became associated with cruise ships…

      “The variation, is a steak sandwich. We call it many names, but in my part of the world it is called a Pepito. It requires a very thin strip of steak (I use skirt) quickly (about 3-4 minutes total) cooked on a pan with just (this is me) salt and pepper, and a dash of cooking oil.”

      Ah, the true steak sandwich; as opposed to the Philly Steak, where you dice the steak while cooking, sweat it instead of adding oil, and finish on the grill (pile the meat up, lay cheese and a not-toasted not-buttered split long roll on top, and after about a minute use the spatula to lift the whole thing and flip it onto a plate.)Report

    • atomickristin in reply to J_A says:

      Agh, I lament my terrible typo(s) which I should have caught.

      Thanks so much!Report

  1. March 15, 2020

    […] do is allow you to cook foods that would otherwise take a long time in the oven like pulled pork , roast beef, and dry […]Report