Full frontal: the RoliRoti porchetta sandwich
It's painful to write this knowing that it will probably be a year until I'm again face-to-face with this sandwich.
This stack of slow-cooked love is, as any pork-loving, Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market-going San Franciscan knows, Thomas Odermatt's epic porchetta sandwich, served at farmer's markets in various locations around the Bay Area from a mini fleet of awesome rotisserie-equipped trucks.
Rotisserie master Thomas Odermatt serves up the goods
We first posted on Thomas' porchetta two and a half years ago. His business has grown since then, but we're so happy to report that quality has most certainly not suffered as a result. Eating something you love just once a year can be risky; so often reality doesn't live up to memory. Not so in this case.
It's all about attention to detail. When Thomas builds sandwiches he makes sure that every single one gets a share of the burnished crackling that encases each pork roast.
He slices the seasoned, opulently marbled meat thickly -- just fine, because it's so tender you could cut it with a spoon. Then, wasting not an ounce of porky essence, he sops up the meat juices that have bled onto his wooden cutting board with the soft inside of the bun. (It's an excellent mini white loaf, by the way: lots of wheaty flavor, a crackly crust, and sturdy enough to stand up to a hefty pile of protein.)
He smears a generous blob of the housemade condiment on hand -- fennel jam this day, I think -- onto the meat, and then adds a handful of shrubbery, which also varies by the day.
I once relished a RoliRoti porchetta sandwich garnished with delicate chervil; on this occasion it was arugula, a perfect peppery counterpoint to the almost obscenely -- but never, ever regretfully -- fatty meat and sweetish jam.
Do I even need to add that this is one insanely delicious mouthful?
We visited Thomas' truck, appropriately, on the way to Napa to attend CIA's Street Food Conference and arrived -- foolishly -- close to lunch hour. The queue was much too long, and we had to hit the road in order to make it up there in time for the conference's opening.
We reconciled ourselves to forgoing the sandwich, but not a 'hello' to Thomas -- who wouldn't hear of us leaving empty-handed. We stood to the side of the truck as he prepared a sandwich for us then and there.
I'm sure a few folks in line were casting the evil eye our way, and if you were one of them and are reading this I do apologize (and I empathize; I hate line jumpers). But to be honest my guilt pangs disappeared at first bite.
Another satisfied RoliRoti customer
After finishing we stopped back at the truck to say 'good-bye'. In lieu of a handshake Thomas offered a piece of crackling. But only one.
I don't hold that against Thomas. Because I'm pretty sure that piece of crackling was meant to be shared, Dave.
RoliRoti also serves rotisserie chicken and potatoes basted in the chicken's dripping fat, as well as -- be still my beating heart - lamb. But we haven't tried either. That darned porchetta won't let us. All week, all over the Bay Area -- contact them to find out what's on the menu when and where.