Sometimes, a sandwich is just a sandwich — a haphazard assemblage of sliced meats and mustard thrown together in a home kitchen and eaten hours later at a desk with the enthusiasm of a Monday morning.
Sure, homemade sandwiches are made with love, but they’re also sometimes made with limp lettuce, questionable mayonnaise and some deli turkey your significant other recently “rediscovered” in the back of the veggie drawer.
Such sandwiches make for a joyless lunch hour.
On the other hand, sometimes a sandwich can be a source of repast pride. Sometimes, the best cheese and greens are stacked on fresh meats and ciabatta bread, and lunch hour magic happens.
Market Day in Lower Village, Kennebunk, makes the sort of sandwich you linger over. You eat it slowly, regardless of the brevity of your lunch hour, because you understand at first bite that a sandwich like this blows your homemade ham and cheese out of the kitchen.
Cold sandwiches, wraps and hot paninis are made fresh behind the counter of the well-stocked gourmet shop on Route 35. Sandwiches range from $6.99 to $7.99 and include classics such as the roast beef with sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo on a mini baguette, and a BLT amped up with avocado, citrus mayo and focaccia.
Other sandwiches include turkey with cranberry horseradish sauce on a mini baguette and a Boursin veggie piled with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion, avocado and sprouts with Boursin cheese spread on ciabatta.
For something warmer, the hot panini options include a black bean and pepperjack burrito ($6.99), Parma prosciutto with fresh basil, olive oil, fresh mozzarella and roasted red pepper on ciabatta ($7.99), or tuna on a French peasant roll ($7.25).
Wraps and side salads are also available, as well as a “kiddo” menu with PB&J and grilled American among the options.
My lunching cohort and I placed an order for cold smoked turkey and pesto mozzarella sandwiches, although my friend asked if it was possible to get her pesto mozzarella toasted. Not a problem, according to the woman behind the counter.
While we waited, we perused the shop shelves chock-full of pastas and sauces, dips and dressings, and plenty of wine. (Can’t forget the wine!) A couple of freezers were filled with Market Day-made meals for later, including pot pies, veggie pizzas, macaroni and cheese, and enough soup to warm a hungry eater all winter.
Market Day is also a place to tempt the cheese lover, with offerings such as Gruy?, Morbier, Manchengo and Saint Agur.
Within a few minutes, our sandwiches were ready. I grabbed some water and a bag of pita chips to round out the meal, and we took over one of the two small tables by the windows.
Being sharing sort of people, my friend and I swapped sandwich halves. I went for her pesto mozzarella first ($6.99, made with basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, lettuce and tomato on a mini baquette), which was warm from the panini press and wonderfully crisp. Two bites in, I knew: My friend across the table was going to kick herself for letting me have a whole half of that sandwich.
My smoked turkey wasn’t too shabby either ($6.99, made with lettuce, tomato, red onion and ranch dressing on focaccia), with no skimping on the sliced meat.
It’s true, just about anyone can make a sandwich. But the folks at Market Day know how to make a sandwich gourmet.
The Features staff of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram anonymously samples meals for about $7.