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Posts Tagged ‘whole grain mustard’

After enjoying the flat-iron steak sandwich at the Culinard Cafe in Birmingham two times within two weeks, I knew I had to start experimenting. The combination of creamy goat cheese and whole-grain mustard was simply magical, so I decided to start with condiments.

The first sandwich I had to work with this week involved ham, however, and I couldn’t envision goat cheese complementing ham all that well (I may be wrong about that). But thanks to a trip to Trader Joe’s in Atlanta on Tuesday, I had a fresh jar of whole-grain mustard ready to go. (I don’t know what other people do on vacation, but we go to grocery stores.)

It’s like I’ve been making sandwiches wrong for YEARS. The whole-grain mustard simply transformed the ham and provolone cheese; lightly toasted on the Foreman Grill, the sandwich was melty, spicy perfection.

Never doubt the power of new and exciting condiments.

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The husband and I stumbled on a culinary treasure in Birmingham last week, a restaurant that made the trip to drop off his mother at the Amtrak station more than worthwhile.

I spotted the Culinard Cafe between the interstate and the station and looked up the menu on the iPhone. It was a nice distraction as I hunkered down to wait for the 12:05 to arrive while trying to avoid the headache-inducing flicker of the overhead light. The restaurant is associated with the Culinary Institute of Virginia College in Birmingham and provides a working and learning environment for students.

The husband’s only concern was whether the menu held a ham sandwich. It did.

The lunch menu boasted a wide variety of sandwiches and salads, including some pretty fancy combinations (salmon & brie salad, anyone?).

My first choice was the Southwestern chicken wrap (it had me at “chili spiked mayonnaise”), but when I turned the menu over I spotted the flat-iron steak sandwich. Its menu description was pure culinary seduction: “Sweet chili roasted flat iron steak with grilled onions, Alabama Belle Chevre Goat Cheese, lettuce, tomato, and whole grain mustard and spicy aioli on Ciabatta.”

Goat cheese, whole grain mustard AND spicy aioli? You have GOT to be kidding me.

I chose the black bean salad for my side so I could compare it to my recipe. (Their version was more complicated, but I like mine better.)

The sandwich was simply divine. I actually put it down after the first bite and said, “I need to contemplate this sandwich for a minute.” The steak was cooked to tender perfection, and the goat cheese and whole-grain mustard added an unexpectedly creamy and tangy element (admittedly, the aioli seems to have gotten lost among the rest of the flavors).

Walkout price for this thing of delicious beauty? $7.95 before tax.

Oh, and the husband enjoyed his ham & Swiss sandwich with fries.

We are SO going back to this restaurant for lunch if we find ourselves in Birmingham on a weekday. You should, too.

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