|The Peoples’ Sandwich of Portland Brief Review|
|Overall||Service||Food Quality||Atmosphere||Vegan Options|
|Location: 53 NW First Ave. Portland, OR 503.222.0525|
|Hours: M-Sat 10am-6pm; Sun 12pm-4pm;
|Times Visited: 3|
In Portland, you get a sandwich.
At The Peoples’ Sandwich of Portland, the sandwich gets you.*
The Peoples’ Sandwich of Portland opened its doors in July serving the people of Portland great sandwiches. The space is sparse with a few steel tables and chairs in their medium sized restaurant, so it seems larger when not fully occupied. Bar seating is available that provides a great view into their kitchen. The only seemly intended decoration is the mural on their wall with communistic style avant-garde art seen in the early 20th century in Russia. This simple style is carried through their overall image and their good humor of communism never ends, as the shop name implies. The menu is written on a brown craft paper and held up with painter’s tape, but don’t let that throw you off to the complexity of their sandwiches.
The menu only offers one vegan sandwich, appropriately named The Peoples’ Sandwich ($8), and one vegan salad, ‘Merican ($5). Don’t ignore the rest of the menu because it is fun to read about sandwiches like The Hammer and Pickle. The handcut fries and potato chips are other vegan options. I look forward to the addition of soups to their menu. When I first read about this place I heard someone said their life turned to gold after eating here. I thought it was a bold claim, but I now believe it was possible.
While their other sandwiches may be adaptable, there’s no need to even bother because The Peoples’ Sandwich has two pan fried tofu slabs amidst the best combination of condiments I’ve had in a while – a housemade hazelnut pesto, which they call soylent green, and marinated sweet peppadew peppers, all on a white wheat hoagie. The shop prides itself by providing local, organic, and housemade ingredients, which it should – because they are great. The tofu is pan fried with little seasoning. On my various visits the tofu has been cooked inconsistently, which I do not mind but it has been barely golden brown and a deep brown with a greasy crust. The winning ingredient here is the peppadew pepper which, unfortunately, are not house marinated, but canned. I will see past this one packaged item because of the way the sweet, balsamic heat of the pepper brings out the perfect pesto for a little dance, but not while Big Brother is watching. The flavors are great and will stay on your tongue for a while, which is good because of the $8 price tag. That is, unless you follow it with the side of house made chips. These potato chips have just the right amount of crunch and salt to round out the sweet, spicy, and acidity from the sandwich.
The only flaw of the sandwich is in the bread itself. It is a little too soft so the juices are absorbed quickly. I tried to save one half of my craft paper wrapped sandwich for later only to find a soggy mess of deliciousness. However, no matter how many times I go there’s nothing else I’d rather eat or even ask them to sub it for Dave’s Hoagie which they have for other sandwiches.
Since living in Portland I’ve had a hard time finding French fries I love. The $3 Curly fries served here may be the best I’ve found. They cut fresh and include the skins when fried to perfection, then sprinkled with a bit of all-purpose seasoning. The Peoples’ Ketchup provided is a special blend of tomatoes and spices, including a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg. Unless you have a very healthy appetite I do not recommend ordering both the sandwich and a side of fries. First, the sandwich could be too much food and you won’t be able to fully enjoy the fresh fries and ketchup. And second, it may be too greasy, depending on just how pan-fried your tofu is that day. Try the sandwich and fries separately to ensure full enjoyment of all the care and attention paid to each item. Or split the three items with a friend for a nice priced meal.
Another great thing about The Peoples’ Sandwich is that it’s open until 3am on the weekends. I encourage you to stay and enjoy your food, assuming you can grab one of the few tables or bar seats. If not, spread out on the ample floor space and see if the Department of Sandwich kicks you out. Because, despite their tough appearance, they are really nice people. Besides, you’re paying $8 for a great sandwich, stay and enjoy The Department selected music and steel chairs, it’s probably raining outside anyway.
The Peoples’ Sandwich:
*If Yakov Smirnoff had eaten here, I am sure he would have said this.