I am a full-blown brown bag lunch box kind of girl, minus the brown bag. I like to carry my daily culinary bounty in a fancy insulted bag with cute circles on it. I bring my lunch to work for several reasons: 1: I like to eat healthy 2: I like to eat at my desk so I can enjoy an hour of quiet time while I blog stalk and 3: I like to always have food ready at my fingertips because when I get hungry, I need food right that instant. My husband sometimes gives me a hard time for leaving the house with ten pounds worth of food that consists of a light lunch and a couple healthy snacks… It really is a little ridiculous but I’m a foodie at heart and sometimes I can’t help myself!
I have to admit though. Bringing a lunch to work everyday can get boring. It’s easy to get burned out on Kashi Bars, string cheese and PB&J’s so I am constantly looking for opportunities to spruce up my lunch. I will often bring leftovers or soup/salad/sandwich combos but even those get boring after a while. Sometimes inspiration reaches you when you least expect it though – i.e. the veggie sandwich from Zinc Cafe in San Diego. Steve ran into the cafe to get my favorite egg salad sandwich (it’s so good I think we’ve had a few spiritual moments together), which is probably why they were out by the time we got there. Steve settled for the veggie sandwich on focaccia bread. I was a little bummed until I unraveled the paper to find a beautifully put together masterpiece. There was an olive tapenade smothered on one side, pesto on the other and nuzzled in between was a rainbow of fresh, crunchy peppers, radishes, celery and hard-boiled egg. It was that fresh, vibrant, try not to eat it too fast, savor every bite kind of good.
The celery gave it a hearty crunch, the peppers gave it a little sweetness, the radishes a bit of peppery heat, the egg added smoothness, the tapenade threw in some tang and the pesto gave it some richness. We made it over the weekend with some left over toasted Italian Bread we had on the counter and I included a couple of thin slices of mozzarella. I also recommend serving this with a coke slurpee and bbq potato chips that you impulse buy because you are starving and can’t wait to get home to make your veggie sandwich from heaven.
Feel free to use whatever bread you have handy but if it’s available to you, focaccia really is wonderful. For perfect hard-boiled eggs, put the eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat off and let the eggs sit for 10-12 minutes. Cool down with cold water before peeling. This is also a great way to use any leftover Collard Green Olive pesto.
San Diego Veggie Sandwich
1 stalk of celery, sliced
1/4 each of red and green bell pepper cut into strips
1 hard-boiled egg sliced
Smear of pesto
Smear of olive tapenade (I buy mine at Trader Joe’s)
2 radishes sliced
Toast the bread and layer all your goodies and try not to devour it too quickly!