In this great country of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
The flavor combos at Friendly Toast may seem a little bonkers upon first read of the menu, and they are, but just have faith. A mojito milkshake? Falafel burrito? A grilled cheese made with both cheddar and American on cayenne-cheddar bread (cheese on cheese!) with an olive-garlic spread and strawberry-habanero dipping sauce? Wait, come again?
The DGGC, which acronymizes Damn Good Grilled Cheese, lives up to its name. It starts with two thick-cut slices of buttered and grilled cayenne-cheddar bread. All of the breads at the Friendly Toast—there's another outpost in Cambridge—are house-baked, and this one, unlike other "spicy" or "cheesy"-claiming breads, actually has discernible flavors of both. You taste the sharp cheddar in the bread, then the layer of it in melty form, but it's the curious bits of juicy, salty olives in the middle that make each bite more exciting.
I'm not always a sucker for fancified grilled cheeses, but this one works. It makes you wonder, why haven't I been adding olives to grilled cheeses my whole life?
When you're ready for it, the small ramekin of strawberry-habanero sauce is sitting on the edge, waiting for a sandwich end to be dunked. It's something of a spicy, thinned-out jam that doesn't seem necessary at first, but then you can't imagine the DGGC without it. Not all bites require a dunk; pace yourself. You also have fries (opt for the sweet potato) that will end up getting some time in there too.
Berry-sweet, spicy, cheesy, bready, and salty—the DGGC is busy but well-executed, and exactly the sustenance we needed after our six-hour drive (grr, Friday traffic) from NYC.
The Friendly Toast
121 Congress Street, Portsmouth NH 03801 (map) 603-430-2154