Mike and Patty’s - Boston, MA
Mike and Patty’s is a little hole in the wall sandwich place in Bay Village. Unless you’re a resident or know where you’re going, it’s very easy to miss it. This is yet another sandwich place that you have to take away your meal, as what little space that is available is usually filled by the patrons. I have seen port-a-pottys that had more space than Mike and Patty’s, and at least you can relieve yourself in a port-a-potty. While this is a detraction, it is perhaps a miniscule defect on an otherwise outstanding establishment. The centerpiece of Mike and Patty’s would have to be the 500 sq. inch griddle (it sounds big, but it’s not really). On this griddle, there are a wide variety of vegetarian sandwiches available - the torta, fried green tomato and grilled cheese all make outstanding lunch options, although the price is friendlier to the Bay Village residents rather than those of more plebeian neighborhoods (such as myself).
I decided to go to Mike and Patty’s for their Breakfast Torta ($8), which was touted to me by my friend Rashad as being the best thing since sliced bread. If you’re a vegetarian that doesn’t eat eggs (i.e. a real vegetarian), then the Breakfast Torta could probably work on its own without the egg. While it may look in the picture like a disgusting Big Mac, it actually is quite tasty. Inside of a freshly baked roll is fried potatoes and poblano peppers, a fried egg, salsa, cheese, avocado and refritos. The refritos are fried black beans and are also vegetarian. There is a lot of effort put out in the menu to emphasize vegetarian options, so for that I will have to give them brownie points (or I guess for this blog it’d have to be cheezie points).
The breakfast torta is a pleasant change of pace from my usual Dunkin Donuts breakfast egg and cheese sandwich. First of all, having an egg that I’m pretty sure came from a chicken was a pleasant surprise, if not slightly offputting. I feel by eating artificial eggs from Dunkin Donuts makes me more vegetarian, as I can imagine that the “eggs” were generated in a chemistry lab, rather than a terrible industrial henhouse. Moving away from the egg portion of the torta is an outstanding blend of flavors. The poblano peppers, potatoes, and refritoes are filling and work as a solid base to which the avocado and cheese and salsa flavors are interwoven. The roll is a bit chewy, but it remains to be seen if that is because of the long haul from Mike and Patty’s to my work, or if the bread is naturally chewy. Despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed this breakfast sandwich, so much so that I decided not to work the rest of the morning to savor that meal (yeah, that’s the reason…).
Many vegetarians may be put off by the griddle, as one would imagine the possibility of meat contamination would be very high if meat and vegetables are all cooked on the same hotplate. Well, while cooking my sandwich, there were several strips of bacon on the left side of the griddle. I was informed that they cook the meat and non-meat items on different sides of the griddle, which in theory should minimize meat contamination, but who knows how grease diffuses? Again, if you are a strict vegetarian/vegan the griddle sandwiches are probably not a good choice for you, but I would still consider supporting this place, primarily because of their considerations towards vegetarians. All sandwiches can be made without meat, and probably without cooking anything on the griddle. From the sampling that I have had, I would imagine all sandwiches from here would be delicious. I highly recommend the fried green tomato sandwich on pain de mie. Besides this, it’s definitely worth coming just to see 15 people trying to squirm around in a room suited for 7 (no backpacks please!). It’s eerily reminiscent of an industrial henhouse, except no beaks are melted. While the price is a little steep for a sandwich, the friendly service, outstanding quality of food, and wide range of vegetarian options forces me to give out the first 5 cheese sandwich rating!