The feeling is one of sheer triumph. You’ve agonized and hungered and pined, and at long last, your time has come. Sustenance is near! As you close in on that coveted spot at the front of the Blue Room sandwich line, though, the plethora of options strikes you with acute and crippling indecision. There’s always pressure to strike on that perfect configuration of condiments and lunch meats, the one that’ll make the stars line up and your heartstrings play a little concerto. Each question that those winsome BUDS workers asks–bread? sauce? (on one side or two?) etc.–is an opportunity to lead yourself astray. Here’s a guide to the Pandora’s box to keep in your back pocket, a line-up of surefire winners so that no one is ever again faced with a salami-tabbouli-banana pepper-goat cheese travesty.
Power Play: Listen close, friends; this is something of an opus. Start with ciabatta, then ask for goat cheese on one side and balsamic vinaigrette on the other. Next on the hit list is salami, but ask also for prosciutto and mozzarella, which you, sly minx!, will later remove and eat on their own. For greenery, add arugula and basil, plus tomatoes if they aren’t sallow. This is best eaten outside alongside Spindrift lemonade, preferably on the Faunce steps during the next spell of warm weather.
Little Red Dress: This one actually requires a bit of outside sleuthing, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Pick a tortilla, any kind, and get a nice dab of mayo squiggled down the middle. Brandish your glorious bottle of BYOB sriracha, that flaming-hot sauce with the green cap and cult following. Ask for a squiggle to match the mayo, and offer some to the guy behind you for good karma points. Then, nab a pile of turkey, top with cheddar, and finish it off with a giant Romaine leaf.
Closet Vegetarian: This one’s sturdy enough to almost trick you into believing it has no meat at all. Dress a French roll with balsamic vinaigrette, plop on a scoop of tabbouleh, and then go to town with those lovely grilled veggies. Ask for buffalo mozzarella… and kindly ask for a little bit more since the first go-round is rarely enough. Any leafy greens will go swimmingly with this, but I endorse the spinach-arugula-basil triple punch.
Rustic Rake: Wheat bread will be the basis here, spackled with spicy brown mustard and mayo. Toss on a tuft of that lovely rare Boar’s Head roast beef plus two slices of cheddar and a healthy handful of arugula for a peppery kick. Again with the tomatoes: only if they actually look alive (is that so much to ask, Blue Room?). Hearty, humble, spicy, spot-on.