Frontier Psychiatrist

The Sandwich of Champions

Posted on: June 20, 2012


The San Diego, with Ithaca’s famous (maybe) raspberry jalapeno spread

Last weekend I went to my college reunion.  This experience was mostly eye-opening to me about how the last 5 years have negatively impacted my tolerance for alcohol, crowded bars, and greasy food at 2 am (can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing).  However, it also served as a first class reminder of how wonderful the food is in my college town of Ithaca, NY.  Go ahead, laugh.  Yes, I live in New York City, home of all great food of every kind.  I recognize this.  But there’s something special about the food in Ithaca.

It might have to do with being in the Finger Lakes region, near a whole lot of farm land.  There are dairy farms, where Cornell gets the milk for its homemade ice cream.  There are apple orchards in the surrounding towns, which contribute to the annual apple festival.  And their farmer’s market is more like a food truck festival, with tons of prepared food, like breakfast burritos and homemade oatmeal.  There is so much wonderful local produce, meat, and dairy, and the city embraces it.  So before you go assuming that good food only exists in major metropolitan areas, consider the advantages of the boonies.  In my case, nostalgia probably also has something to do with how good everything tastes, but regardless, it’s a highly respectable food scene, all the way out in the middle of nowhere, NY.

My absolute favorite place, if pressed to choose one, would have to be Collegetown Bagels.  Not for the bagels—yes, I am still a true New Yorker and no upstate bagel will do—but rather for the incredible variety of sandwiches they have.  For all the supposedly great New York delis, I have been able to find no fair substitute in all the city.  These sandwiches are served on thick, hand-sliced hearty breads, and have ingredients like brie, muenster, spinach, apple chutney, and the most amazing honey mustard that stings all the way up into your sinuses.  There’s just nothing like it anywhere else I’ve looked.

While I wish I knew enough to share with you all of Collegetown Bagels’ secrets, I can at least share one recipe: my winning submission to their alumni sandwich contest!  Yes, of course, I entered a sandwich contest in Ithaca.  And I am honored to have won.  My sandwich, affectionately dubbed the My Fair Freya, was inspired by the restaurant’s raspberry jalapeño spread, which is gooey, sticky, sweet, and spicy.  If you have never had spicy jelly, go find some right now.  It’s amazing on a bagel with cream cheese, or as a spread for savory biscotti.  It’s also amazing on my sandwich.  Here it goes:

Toasted multigrain bread with a nice shmear of goat cheese, alfalfa sprouts, red onion…

…thinly sliced granny smith apples, fresh baby spinach…

…and the secret ingredient, of course.

Any sweet-spicy jelly will do.  Pictured here, because those rascals at Collegetown Bagels didn’t have enough raspberry jalapeño spread for me to buy to take home, is a “berry hot” strawberry jam.  It worked just fine.  So if you’re craving an update to your typical turkey on wheat, check this guy out.  I think you’ll agree it was award-winning.  Or at least contest-winning.

This week I continue my foodie adventures in Austin, TX, for work, and I am pretty excited.  If you were keeping tabs on the trip to SXSW that Keith, Leo, and Pete made last March, then you know that Austin has an excellent reputation for its music scene.  What you may not know is that Austin also has a great culinary reputation.  Since no one invited me to SXSW (sniffle), I was delighted to find this opportunity to check out the city.  I have not been disappointed.  Granted, the only two places I’ve eaten at are the Whole Foods flagship store (mecca) and Stubb’s BBQ, but already I’ve had fresh and herby Texas caviar and luscious, fork-tender brisket.  Tomorrow I move on to Mexican food.  Then I go home and begin my diet.

Freya Bellin writes alternate Wednesdays for Frontier Psychiatrist. Her recent FP recipes include Perhaps It Won’t Be a Pie, Ethnic Excursion: Kalustyan’s in NYC, and Cook it, Don’t Buy It.


4 Responses to "The Sandwich of Champions"

Reblogged this on The Storyteller's Vault and commented:

[…] Bellin writes alternate Wednesdays for Frontier Psychiatrist. Her recent FP recipes include The Sandwich of Champions, Perhaps It Won’t Be a Pie, and Ethnic Excursion: Kalustyan’s in NYC. Share […]

[…] Wednesdays for Frontier Psychiatrist. Her recent FP recipes include Red, White, and Tipsy, The Sandwich of Champions, and Perhaps It Won’t Be a Pie. Share this:ShareEmailTwitterFacebookRedditStumbleUponYahoo […]

[…] Psychiatrist. Her recent FP recipes include Presto! It’s Pesto,  Red, White, and Tipsy, and The Sandwich of Champions. Share this:ShareEmailTwitterFacebookRedditStumbleUponYahoo BuzzDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to […]

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