.Surf City Sandwich

Foodie-FilexxPaul Figliomeni on craft sandwiches, craft beer, and something called beer barnacles

Everyone has heard of craft beer at this point. But what about craft sandwiches? Paul Figliomeni, longtime executive chef at De Anza College in Cupertino, wanted to change that. He’d been working on the concept for a craft sandwich spot that also has craft beers, and when he retired last November from De Anza, he got to work on the dream. Opened in April, Surf City Sandwich carries several unique—and revamped—gourmet sandwiches, served up with a characteristic surf theme.

How are you redefining the sandwich experience?

FIGLIOMENI: I’m sick and tired of all the delis in town where all the sandwiches taste the same—the same spread, the same bread, the same ingredients except for the meat. What I created are modern sandwiches and also traditional sandwiches with a modern twist. For instance, I do a traditional Philly cheese steak, but I use ghost jack pepper cheese in addition to American cheese, which is traditional, and I also have chipotle mayo on there.

That P.B.L.T. looks good. What is it?

It’s a play on a traditional BLT, except it’s pork belly, lettuce and tomato. We do it on thick sliced slightly toasted sourdough bread. I take applewood-smoked bacon, render out the fat, and then I make bacon jam, which is pureed bacon with caramelized onions, chipotle powder and it has a splash of chicken stock and also maple syrup. That is the spread. Then I use pork belly, which is unsmoked, uncured bacon, and I slice it thick like bacon, then I render out the fat until it’s slightly crisp. It’s a great sandwich.

What’s this Grom’s Menu?

It’s our kids menu. Grom is a surf term for a kid who’s like a beginner. It’s a term used in surfing and skating.

What are beer barnacles?

They are fresh fried tater tots with a blazing hot habanero cheese sauce. It has roasted habanero peppers, pickled habanero juice and chipotle powder. Then it has cheddar cheese and shredded Parmesan cheese on it, and cilantro. You put warm cheese sauce over the fried tater tots and it has fresh sliced applewood-smoked bacon and scallions. It’s medium hot. I don’t think it’s super hot. I designed it to be spicy because it helps with beer sales. That’s why I called it beer barnacles.

What styles of beer are you focusing on?

We try to mix it up. I have eight taps, and four of my taps are all local breweries, and four of the top California beers. I have everything from double IPA to IPAs to pilsners to porters and pale ales. We’re also trying to do some beer and food pairing. I’m training my staff accordingly.

Open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. 4101 Soquel Drive, Soquel. 346-6952, surfcitysandwich.com. PHOTO: Paul Figliomeni with a Philly cheese steak sandwhich at Surf City Sandwich. CHIP SCHEUER



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