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The All-American panini from Country Corner Cafe (credit: Felicia LaLomia).

A few people had recommended that I check out this little place called Country Corner Café since moving to the North Fork. I remember thinking the outside looked cute when I went and explored its neighbor, North Fork Roasting Company.

But that was months ago, and now we live in different times. Once a week, I try my best to order takeout from somewhere on the North Fork. It’s been a good way for me to try restaurants and support businesses. Tony’s Asian Fusion (twice!), Main Road Biscuit Co., Barrow Food House and Lucharitos have all been spots I’ve tried and loved. 

But I was in the mood for a sandwich. Nothing weak or wimpy with mediocre bread and sad cold cuts. I wanted a Sandwich with a capital S. One that fills me up and makes a whole meal out of a few ingredients. A sandwich that when cut in half, all the individual layers can be observed and identified, like a figure drawing out of a science textbook. Well, now was the time to try Country Corner Café. They have myriad sandwiches to choose from, so I knew I was going to the right place. 

I browsed their menu online and realized I would be a happy camper eating breakfast, lunch or dinner there. But it was noon, and I was hungry for a Sandwich. The paninis caught my eye, as all good paninis do. What’s better than a sandwich? Well, a sandwich smooshed and heated between two grill pads. 

I went with the All-American. Why? Because it has all my favorite sandwich elements. Cold-cut turkey (wildly underrated), bacon (need I say more?), swiss cheese (sharp, and it has holes!), honey mustard (my condiment of choice), and ciabatta (my preferred sandwich vessel). With it, I ordered the New England clam chowder (MILES better than its Manhattan cousin, no arguments) and a scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, because sugar brings me much joy these days. 

The ordering process was easy. Call. Pay. Pickup in 10 minutes. Eat.

I drove my bag of goodies up to the nearby Horton Point Lighthouse for lunch with a view. The smell of the warm turkey filled my car and I almost reached my hand in the bag and started eating the sandwich while driving. Once there, I set up my little picnic on a bench and began. Unwrapping the sandwich from its paper just added that extra special element. There is something about blanketing all the layers in that waxy material that makes the whole eating experience even better. 

When I saw the cut half, I was pleased. A solid 75 percent turkey, 25 percent accents — a ratio to strive for. The turkey was delicious. Smoky, shreddy, and strong. I almost didn’t want to bite into its beautiful fingerprint design (don’t worry, I did). Then came in the accents, perfectly playing their supporting role. The bacon gave some added texture and crunchy sounds. The honey mustard came in right after with a soft punch of sweetness followed by a slight zesty spice. And the melty swiss was all I could ask for — sharp, warm, and a little tangy.

I was in such bliss, I completely forgot about the other things I had ordered. The clam chowder! How could I be more joyful. Now, the true test of a good clam chowder is getting clams on the first bite. That tells you the whole chowder is packed with ‘em. And as a New Hampshire native, I take my New England clam chowder very seriously. And — no shocker here — they passed with flying colors. Plenty of clams and soft potato chunks, blanketed by a creamy chowder. 

And the ice cream was amazing. 

At the end of all that, and believe me, it was a lot of food, I felt full and happy, like Goldilocks after eating all that porridge. The sandwich alone could’ve done it for me. And it was definitely a Sandwich, capital S. And while we are at it, the Clam Chowder deserves some capital letters too.