The Sandwich: Pork and Fries
Where: Earl’s Sandwiches, 2605 Wilson Blvd. and 4215 North Fairfax Dr., Arlington
Bread: Toasted ciabatta
Stuffings: Roasted pork, french fries, roasted red pepper, sweet pickles, chopped onion, and chipotle mayonnaise.
Thickness: 4 inches
Sloppiness level (1–5): 3. With awkwardly angled fries sprouting out the sides like extra appendages, this sandwich may stab your chin when you attempt your first bite. But bite away: The chipotle mayo will help hold the stacked ingredients in place, even if the liberally applied condiment also ends up dotting your face. Grab extra napkins, plus a fork for dipping any extra pieces in the heavenly pork juice that will puddle in the bottom of the basket.
Pros: Forget bacon: The extra-crisp fries add some necessary crunch factor. And sweet pickles, which taste funky on their own but mingle with the pork, remind you of a good Cubano. A healthy slathering of the tart and spicy mayo ties the whole concoction together.
Cons: Too much meat, a lot of which ends up loitering in the basket, not in your belly. Even what remains in the sandwich proper dominates the other ingredients, especially the roasted red peppers, which hardly register. More smoke, less pork, please.
Overall score (1–5): 4. At this point, even Burger King is deploying fries as a sandwich ingredient. If the trend has begun to grate, at least Earl’s contribution benefits from the fries’ satisfying, salty crunch. The Pork and Fries might fall apart mid-meal, but when a sandwich is this delicious, who cares about a little errant mayonnaise?
Photo by Caroline Jones