I don’t like to rub it in too much to our less lucky friends, but here in Seaside, we live in a great neighborhood for good eats. We don’t have to get in the car to find a superlative breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and that’s not even counting the Hamilton Market, which just opened — I’ve been popping in to the new market most every day. Their produce is fresh and delicious, and, slowly but surely, they’ve been restocking the shelves with the high grade items I might find, say, at Natural Grocer or Whole Foods. I love how responsive they are to requests. For example, after acknowledging my preference for Brown Cow yogurt, it miraculously appeared in the refrigerated case. My husband loves their ever growing inventory of enticing, healthy snacks.
As a lifelong fan of British novels, in particular the works of Iris Murdoch, Ruth Rendell, and P.D. James, I’ve always enjoyed pub scenes. The corner pub is a British tradition. Pubs, as any reader of Brit novels knows, are where life happens, The U Street Pub is very like a traditional British corner pub, where regulars can tuck in to a bowl of chili, have a hearty sandwich, or a dinner of fish and chips. Beer must flow. The U Street Pub has great beers on tap. What I love about The U Street Pub is that it’s a place where even if no one knows your name, the staff knows your face, and quite often your drink preference.
When we first started being Pub regulars, I went for the shrimp po’ boy. Next I moved on to wings and a Caesar salad. After that I became enamored of the steamed clams “Harbor Style” which comes with a generous hunk of garlic bread.
Then I discovered the patty melt.
A patty melt is the British answer to the American cheeseburger. It’s a hot beef sandwich consisting of a well done hamburger patty, melted Swiss cheese, topped with caramelized onion slipped between two slices of bread, never a bun. The whole shebang is then slapped on a hot griddle and pressed down slightly with a spatula.
If you’re inclined to heartburn, you’ll be sorry, but you’ll still eat it.
Should you be a whiz in the kitchen or merely disinclined to dine out, you can purchase the ingredients to make an authentic patty melt at home from the Hamilton Market. They have beautiful organic grass-fed ground beef that makes a wonderful burger. They have sliced bread of the hearty sort. They have sliced Swiss cheese. They have onion.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ground beef with Worcestershire sauce and a dash of salt and pepper. Form into patties. Melt a little butter in a skillet and cook patties over medium heat on both sides until totally done in the middle. Can’t be rare! Assemble the cooked patties on slices of bread adding a slice of Swiss cheese and cooked onions. Top with another slice of bread and return to a medium hot skillet, which has been prepped with butter. Press the sandwich down with a spatula; after a minute, flip and cook on the other side. Slide on to a plate and serve immediately. Don’t spare the napkins.