Washington City Paper: Local Sandwich Guide

Monday July 26, 2021

From Washington City Paper:

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Over the past year we’ve been rounding up memorable sandwiches that are worth seeking out in the D.C. area. Now you can read about each season’s sandwiches all in one place with the Washington City Paper sandwich guide. Bookmark this page so you always have about 40 sandwich options to turn to when hunger strikes.

The National at Mélange ($13)
449 K St. NW, (202) 289-5471,

Chef Elias Taddesse once led Michelin-starred kitchens in New York, including Caviar Russe and Corton. Now he’s serving up casual sandwiches out of his developing Mount Vernon Triangle restaurant Mélange.

He calls his signature sandwich “The National” because it’s inspired by what many consider to be Ethiopia’s national dish—doro wat. The crimson chicken stew is flavored with berbere spice and served with hard-boiled eggs. Taddesse makes a doro wat from scratch as prep for the fried chicken sandwich, complete with the chicken legs, so that when he coats the bird in the stew it has that unctuous chicken fat flavor.

Taddesse, who grew up in Addis Ababa, also infuses both the flour and buttermilk used for battering the fried chicken with Ethiopian spices. Then he piles the sandwich with niter kibbeh (spiced clarified butter) aioli, turmeric slaw, and either a fried or hard-boiled egg.

Order one for pick-up or secure an outdoor tables so you can eat it straight away without worrying about the yolk popping in your passenger seat.

Mélange is open Sundays through Tuesdays from noon to 7 p.m., Wednesdays from noon to 8 p.m., Thursdays from noon to 10 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 11 p.m.

Meatloaf Sandwich at A Baked Joint ($11.50)
430 K St. NW, (202) 408-6985,

The slice of meatloaf that headlines one of A Baked Joint’s most craved sandwiches is a little like the one your mom might make. The matriarch of the family that owns the Mount Vernon Triangle restaurant, Teresa Velazquez, retooled the recipe she grew up on and later fed her own children and co-owners, Tessa and Zak.

“I’m from a big family,” says Teresa, who’s from Ohio. “There were six of us kids. I took my mom’s cheap version and changed it up a bit. It was originally made with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and a packet of Lipton Onion Soup.”

The spiffy model doesn’t take any shortcuts and is made from a blend of 80 percent lean, 20 percent fatty beef to ensure it stays juicy. Adding minuscule house-made breadcrumbs also means the meat isn’t too dense. A Baked Joint tops it with bourbon ketchup, crispy onions, mayonnaise, and bibb lettuce and serves it on buttered and griddled pain de mie.

Tessa says the sandwich has been on the menu since day one. “It’s very homey,” she says. “We’re seeing more of an appreciation for simple food. Simple food is our bread and butter, literally.”

A Baked Joint is open for take-out and delivery Mondays and Tuesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesdays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.