For me, February is the most brutal month on the calendar. The fresh air smell and early morning chills from an October tailgate are now just a distant memory. The time spent with family and friends away from the (home) office in November and December have come and gone. The magic of the first January snow — that seemed to be so light, powdery and perfect — has all but faded; in February, you’re gifted with a sheet of ice and sub-freezing windchills to make you question why you’d ever leave the house again.
Yup, that’s February alright.
Although, February has some nice stuff. This weekend, for example, hosts the annual Mardi Gras celebration in St. Louis. Thousands of people will pack the streets of Soulard to mark the occasion with beer booths, beads, and, you guessed it, DJ Diesel aka Shaquille O’Neal. But seriously though, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the end of the year’s most miserable month. Mardi Gras warns of the arrival of the Lent season, but it also signals better days ahead. Warmer weather, longer days and (maybe) baseball are coming. And St. Patrick’s Day is also just around the corner.
With the Feast of St. Patrick of Ireland quickly approaching, it seems fitting that this sandwich review hails from the Clayton-Tamm neighborhood of St. Louis – or better known as Dogtown. Nestled just south of Highway 40 and inside of the city limits, Dogtown is known for once being a hub to many immigrants, including Irish. The Irish influence is visible still today as you walk up Tamm Avenue – from the towering steeple of St. James the Greater Church to the windows of stores, bars and other businesses donned with shamrocks. Dogtown is home to the annual Ancient Order of Hibernians St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade route spans almost the entirety of Tamm Avenue, and right at its center is where you can find Nomad Sandwiches and Fine Eats.
Nomad is located inside of Tamm Ave Bar, a spot that is usually bustling, especially in the summer months with its large outdoor patio. Nomad offers dine-in and carryout for all of their offerings, as well as mobile ordering for Tamm Ave customers. I myself have had their Double Deuce while at Tamm Ave – a gargantuan burger topped with their House Pastrami, Swiss and Special Sauce on a brioche bun – so I already knew what greatness was in store for me.
Bread: Marble Rye
- House Pastrami
- Swiss Cheese
- Special Sauce
- Marble Rye Bread
As I made the ten-minute drive home, the smokey and spicy aromas of the Pastrami sandwich were all I could think about. I couldn’t wait to dive into this beauty. As advertised, the sandwich itself was impressive in size; layered in rows and rows of pastrami smashed between the rye bread. Just as I had hoped, the pastrami flavor was unmistakeable upon the first bite. The taste of smoked beef attacked my taste buds, and I couldn’t get enough of it. While the beef was certainly smokey in taste, it also was a tad spicy, all while not being too overwhelming. I definitely could taste a little pepper in-between each bite. Along with perhaps some oregano and other tastes I couldn’t identify.
The pastrami had a little crunch to it, though overall it was softer than I expected. Still, it maintained that crunchiness that sets pastrami apart from other meats you might find behind a deli counter. I opted to get my “special sauce” on the side so I could layer it on myself. The sauce, I learned, is made of ketchup, mayo and other secret spices. The sauce gave it a little bit of that mayo flavor that complimented the kick from the pastrami really well. The Swiss cheese gave the sandwich just a slight bit of tanginess that it should when paired with pastrami. Overall it came together so well just as I hoped it would. If I had to find an area of criticism, I may have to turn to the bread. Maybe it was just the pastrami being so damn strong and good, but I hardly noticed the bread at all. I also would have rather had the crust just a little more toasty and crunchy. But nonetheless, this signature item gave me everything I could have wanted and more.