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For gas-station fare, it’s tough to beat the chivito at Fast Gourmet, the fancy sandwich shop at Lowest Best Price Gas on 14th Street NW. The cost of regular unleaded now exceeds $4 per gallon, but the South American-style grinder, which earned City Paper‘s pick for “Best Uruguayan Sandwich” in 2011, is still a flat $13 (plus tax). It’s worth the three-gallon-plus price tag. What makes it so tasty? Well, a lot of things. Herewith, a diagrammed peek under the savory sammy’s bready hood:

1. Three strips of bacon add a layer of crunch and salt.

2. Melted mozzarella is the glue.

3. Dripping mayo is the creamy lube for a gout-rageous onslaught of meat.

4. Lettuce lends more crunch, tomato injects some juice.

5. Black Forest ham for smokiness.

6. Green olives for added tang.

7. Peppery beef tenderloin forms a sturdy core. The slender steak actually starts out as a six-ounce filet medallion. “We tenderize it with a hammer, so it’s flat,” says co-owner Manuel Olivera.

8. Grilled six-inch soft roll provides a spongy grip.

9. Escabeche (vinegar-marinated mushrooms and peppers) brings acidity. “It cuts the greasiness of the meats,” Olivera notes.

Also buried in there somewhere: Thin slices of hard-boiled egg, adding even more protein. Olivera notes that you can also request a fried egg instead.

Look for the Fast Gourmet guys’ next spot, TakEatEasy, featuring non-traditional homemade pastas, among other things, to open along M Street NW in Dupont Circle in the next month or so.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Design by Brooke Hatfield