Nothing like a calamari sandwich to jog the memory

I couldn’t tell you what shirt I wore two days ago and I can’t remember the title of the book I’m reading at the moment, but today, a sandwich I had for lunch triggered a happy memory of something I ate FIFTEEN whole years ago.

Several lifetimes ago (or so it feels like), when I was in college and studying abroad, I went to Spain for spring break, and during a short stay in Madrid, I met up with an old friend from home who lived there at the time. I don’t remember much about that whirlwind trip or my brief visit to the Spanish capital— many a braincell have been killed since then and especially back then— but I do remember a few things.

The Golden Rings from Foxface in the East Village

Art history nerds still to this day, we went to The Prado and took one of only two photos from that day in front of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. (How else do you commemorate such an occasion than with an awkward photo in front of a trippy, surrealist painting from the northern renaissance?) After, we went to what I vaguely remember was a bar (Or maybe a restaurant? Again, it’s all very fuzzy, but I feel like we ate standing up at a counter, and there were old men sitting nearby.) and he ordered us two bocadillos de calamares, or the local specialty of calamari sandwiches.

It was a simple thing: a sandwich roll sliced open, smeared in aioli and stuffed with fried calamari. I don’t remember how much they cost but I remember they were pretty cheap (and in line with my college-student-abroad budget) and also, that it was one of the best things I’d ever eaten in my whole life. Hence the memory was tucked away into the things-that-must-never-be-forgotten part of my brain and still lives on today.

It was probably peeking out from the recesses of my mind when I saw the Golden Rings sandwich listed on the menu at Foxface but it wasn’t until I bit into the warm, soft bread filled with hot, fried calamari, smoked paprika sauce and lemon aioli, that I was truly transported to that day and that sandwich all those years ago. While I sadly wasn’t on vacation and instead was sitting at my desk in a windowless part of the office, sweating my brains out after taking the train down to the East Village and power-walking down St Mark’s on a 90 degree August day, I still thoroughly enjoyed my lunch. The sandwich itself was good, toasty bread and not-too-chewy calamari with a subtly spicy, bright zing from the sauces, but I’m pretty sure it was that memory of a sandwich 15 years ago that made it really great.

Either way, as is usually the case these days when I have to be in the office, the Golden Rings from Foxface was the highlight of my day. Maybe fifteen years from now (when I’m hopefully rich and retired… don’t ask me how I’m gonna make that happen), I’ll look back on today and not remember much about it other than how much I really love fried calamari sandwiches.

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