In late March, my brother Dan was visiting from England. Like most of his visits, he had a rather lengthy list of food items that he was craving that are difficult or impossible to find in London. These include the obvious, like a good old-fashioned American cheeseburger, and quite a few things from the Italian-American playbook, including pizza, meatballs, and a good Italian-American style sub sandwich. Well, the last of these is a little difficult to find around here as well. Sure, there are more Subways than you can shake a stick at. And most any decent gas station around here will make you up a grinder… but Dan was looking for a good, solid sub on crusty Italian bread, with some good meats and cheeses. And that’s a little harder to find, but after thinking a bit on the issue, I remembered one Italian deli we’ve got in the greater area: Marzelli’s in Newbury.
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
A few years ago, my coworker Nick invited us to his house in Lebanon for a summer party, and in addition to coworkers, a lot of his neighbors were in attendance, and there was a pretty good spread of food. One thing that everyone was commenting on was that someone had brought two giants trays of food: one was fried spring rolls, and the other was beef skewers, and both were really good. Talking to Nick, he said that was his neighbor Sarin, who was a Hypertherm worker who did some catering on the side, and he was looking to start up a food truck. Well, a few months later he pulled it off, and a “Phnom Penh Sandwich Station” food truck started showing up at different spots around the Upper Valley, usually at the Lebanon green around noon, and the Hanover green for the late evening crowd. The food was quite good, mostly involving either rice dished or banh mi sandwiches served up out of the truck, often as a lunch special with some minted tea. The service wasn’t always fast, but that was for a good reason: for the main dishes Sarin doesn’t cook anything ahead of time: order a pork sandwich, and the marinated pork goes onto the grill right as you order, and it takes a few minutes to cook. Well, people didn’t mind the wait, and business was brisk. Enough so that, last Fall, Phnom Penh Sandwich Station opened their brick-and-mortar location.