Like the baked potato, the bowl of chili, and the banana split, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich boasts a seemingly endless array of ways it can be creatively composed, topped, and re-imagined.
The sweet and standard strawberry jelly can be quickly swapped for a thick, figgy jam. Cashew butter can take the place of peanut butter. And the bread? It might contain a spicy chili element, or raisins, or be the plainest, softest, chewiest bread you can buy.
With, of course, the crusts cut off.
PBJ.LA, the new restaurant at Grand Central Market, understands this classic sandwich's chameleonic ability to easily rock a plethora of nut butters, sweet jammy spreads, and breads, too, as well as the sorts of ingredients you might not expect in a traditional peanut butter and jelly.
On the eatery's recently debuted menu? There's The Red Eye, a sandwich slathered with organic espresso peanut butter and organic dark raspberry jam. Or you might choose to go for The Moroccan, which tempts the taste buds with organic spiced pistachio butter, organic fig rosewater jam, and organic mint.
"Organic" is a theme at PBJ.LA, as are high quality, offbeat, try-it-like-it additions and ingredients. Moreover, milk is available for order, too, as you'd expect and hope, but think "almond-coconut milk beverages," the kind of flavorful libations that complement a nut-buttery, jam-yummy sandwich.
The sandwich-focused stand hails from Adam Fleischman of Umami Burger. It debuted in the middle of August, which, of course, is back-to-school time, which, of course, is officially the PB&J-iest moment on the annual calendar.
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Do you still dig this childhood delight as an adult, but you find that you're eager to try some quirky and numsome flavor combinations? Grab your seat, your almond-coconut sip, and your The Italian at the Grand Central Market newcomer.
Oh, what's in The Italian? Check out and dream: Toasted pine nut butter, cherry tomato jam, and, if you'd like it, fresh mozzarella.
Call it next level PB&Jing, with a splash of stylish lunchbox whimsy.