Thursday, July 07, 2005

Taste Unlimited

Taste Unlimited Virginia Beach, Virginia. Tangy, creamy, savory, unctuous, delectable--it's hard to come up with a way to describe the house dressing at Taste Unlimited. It transforms a simple sandwich into an amazing and addictive meal, one whose sum far outweighs its parts. Neither mayo nor mustard, nor most delicatessens' ubiquitous Russian dressing, the Taste Unlimited dressing is unique, one-of-a-kind (although I have sampled a pale imitation at Take It Away in Charlottesville), and memorable. My first sandwich was a gift; my good friend Courtney Allen road her bike over thirty blocks from her parent's beach house to the beach front store and back when we were teenagers just to introduce me to what would become one of my very favorite sandwiches. A small local chain of prepared foods as well as a comprehensive assortment of gourmet items, Taste Unlimited, then and now, offers no lettuce, no tomato for its sandwiches, just a pile of meat and cheese on a variety of freshly baked breads. That day, Courtney brought back French bread sandwiches, layered with thinly sliced, rare roast beef and imported Swiss cheese, smothered in Taste Unlimited's amazing house dressing. As I mentioned before, it is the dressing here that emphatically makes the sandwich. For years this dressing was unavailable beyond a sandwich you purchased at the store, but now, thankfully, you can buy an entire bottle of the stuff to take home with you and enliven even the dullest of home sandwiches. And through stealth and persistence, I, years ago, even got a hold of its proprietary recipe. Unfortunately, one of its key ingredients is no longer available, and I'm not sure what's taken its place--the dressing tastes exactly the same. Previously, the dressing was combination of Hellman's mayonnaise, Kosciusko spicy brown mustard, and imported Sharwood steak sauce. The last ingredient is no longer available (I think they've stopped manufacturing it) so I'd speculate that perhaps HP Sauce replaced it. Unfortunately, not being a fan of steak sauces, I never compared Sharwood's to any other brand and therefore, can't give a definitive answer. Besides, they sell it in their stores now--why make it when an expert will hand you a bottle ready-made? I love to cook but I also love to eat. Somehow, the real Taste Unlimited house dressing always tasted better than mine ever did when I did make it. I just don't have the incentive to experiment like I used to when I had to drive 100 miles to the beach to get a sandwich dripping with the stuff. And, in fact, now that I'm a little older and a little more adept at delaying gratification, a trip to Taste Unlimited becomes an integral part of my trips to the beach; the prior deprivation only enhances my satisfaction once I take that first bite. ,


Blogger Clare Eats said...

That is such an evocative post :)

July 22, 2005 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, you can get lettuce and tomato these days on their sandwiches, as well as onion, pickles, select T.U. cheesespreads, etc.

November 27, 2005 1:13 PM  

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