As a former sandwich reviewer, when someone tells me about their favorite sandwich, I still make a mental note to check the place out in the future if it happens to be convenient. And when someone who has lived in this city for ten years lends a recommendation, I skip the note taking and take my next batch of out-of-town visitors there for dinner. I'm happy to report that we were not disappointed.
694 Wine & Spirits (formerly Juicy Wine Co) is the kind of place that is so sure of the high quality of what it offers that it doesn't offer much: four panini, a couple of bar snacks, cheese, and cured meat. I tried two of the panini, and both featured that most prized of all panini characteristics: the perfect crispy, buttery crunch. Though all of them could win a beauty pageant (who wants to judge?), the Black & Blue ($10) came out ahead because of its strong bleu cheese platform.
The Black & Blue features bread slathered with sweet quince spread and thick slabs of funky bleu cheese, along with with Mole Salumi, a unique cured meat spiced with chocolate, cinnamon, ancho and chipotle peppers. All of these ingredients contribute to a wonderfully unusual and complex flavor profile for a sandwich. What takes this from a good sandwich to a great sandwich, though, are the sides of honey and mustard. As one of the owners said as he set it down, "We encourage double-dipping." I have never gotten more valuable instructions for eating a sandwich.