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“It glows,” says the woman at Gilly’s Craft Beer & Fine Wine in Rockville, placing my Timmy G’s Ham Cruncher in front of me. And she’s right. The sandwich, about four inches high, sits in a paper basket emitting an eerie fluorescent visual hum: ham and cheddar on white bread, slathered with a nice spicy mustard and stuffed with almost a Grab Bag’s worth of Cheetos. Mercifully, I didn’t request a side, since my order is already a sandwich and a side in one.
“That looks disgusting, dude,” says Sami Cardak, a friend joining me for lunch. Sami opts for the Roast Beef Sammy (“Because my name is Sami,” he reasons), while I go for the creation I invented about three decades ago.
I still remember my thinking process as a kid: Why not put chips on a sandwich? When you got two slices of bread with stuff in between, it can only get better if you add other things you like. Ham and cheese? Better with the additional crunch of Fritos or Lay’s. Gilly’s seems to understand the beauty of this approach to sandwich making. It also sells the “Joey H,” which is bologna, cheddar cheese, and potato chips all between two slices of bread.
Eating the Timmy G. is like eating spaghetti and meat sauce with your fingers. Getting it out of the basket is a mess—-half the Cheetos fall out—-and yet, like a messy hamburger, you can’t put the thing down. To eat the beast, you must turn yourself into a fine Swiss engineered instrument used for performing remote neurosurgery on infants still in the womb. Or something like that. One hand must keep track of the Cheetos that drop from your sandwich as the other shoves the monstrous thing into your mouth.
“Why would you eat such a thing. How old are you?” Sami says, shaking his head.
“Younger than you and always will be. You’re just jealous. How’s yours?”
Sami likes the Sammy. It comes on a nice looking French baguette and is loaded with roast beef (not as rare as I would like) and crunchy lettuce. For a guy who weighs about 40 pound more than I, he has a hard time finishing it.
The bonus? An employee comes around and puts out a small platter with four apple slices and some chunks of not-too-salty white cheddar. “What’s that for?” Sami asks. “It’s dessert, you idiot,” I retort. The employee smiles as he walks away. Sami digs in, and I urge him to wait, reminding him it’s dessert. I get the look that conveys he’ll do whatever he damn well wants.
It has always been tough to find a good sandwich in Rockville since Celebrity Deli moved from the area. With Gilly’s here, and with Coaches Hoagies Steaks & Pizza offering a good Philly cheesesteak with real Cheese Whiz, things are a changin’. I’ll definitely go back to Rockville.