But I just don't make it back much these days. And I have no good reason why.
I've written of the place four times: In December of 2008 when I had take-and-bake pizza; in September of 2009 when I took Elizabeth's sisters there for lunch; in November of 2009 when Elizabeth had a pancetta BLT ("The best BLT I have ever had") and I had meatballs; and this past June, when I had an amazing turkey dip.
Yesterday I was picking up lunch for my mom and myself and I suggested sandwiches. It just so happened that I was only two blocks from Porta Via, so I decided to head there. It was noon - and it was packed. (But, I'm happy to report, their system of taking and filling orders is much improved from those early days, when a good-sized crowd meant throwing a couple elbows at those who were attempting to cut in front of you.) In less than five minutes I was able to place my order: a rosemary ham panini and a Kobe roast beef sandwich.
I stood off to the side for perhaps ten minutes - probably a little longer, actually - before I received my to-go bag. In the five minutes it took me to drive to my mom's work, my car was perfumed with an amazing aroma of rosemary ham and roasted peppers. That was the sandwich I got for my mom, but I won't lie: I considered taking it and telling her I bought her the roast beef sandwich instead.
The bread was crusty on the outside and soft inside. It could have been softer, but that's a minor quibble. The Kobe roast beef was melt-on-the-tongue soft, the red onions were a nice, crunchy touch, and the pesto aioli tied it all together. At $8.95, this was only one dollar more than a similar sandwich I had earlier in the week from a more famous place, and this was much better.
The next time I'm helping my mom with something and it's lunch time, I will make sure I suggest Porta Via. I have to get back to going there more than once or twice per year.
My mom sent me an email this morning that she had read my blog and the sandwiches looked so good that she wanted more. I said okay. I didn't have my camera with me so I used my phone camera, which is why the pics aren't very good.
I thought for sure my mom would get the panini again, but she asked for the Italian BLT - featuring pancetta. She loved it, especially the bread. "The only thing that would make this better would be if it had avocado on it," she said. I almost threw up.
We both loved our sandwiches... but I think we liked yesterday's lunch more.