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Coffee-rubbed beef?

Sure, if you’re Michael Karijanian. I’m looking at a menu in his eatery (Sweet & Savory Café, 4614 Mission Boulevard, Pacific Beach, 858-490-9140).


A sandwich place, basically. But what sandwiches. The guy’s an inventor. A food-combo inventor.


Michael Karijanian


This is what I’m looking at: “The Tri-Tip. Coffee spice rubbed tri-tip [beef] topped with juicy roma tomatoes, mixed greens, smoked gouda cheese, and our roasted garlic mayo, $7.”


The tri-tip sandwich


*Packed with chocolate chip cookie: savory and sweet...

For 2-1/2 years Karijanian has been trying out sandwich combos on his customers here. The Tri-Tip has been his Tri-Umph.

“I played around with rubbing the tri-tip with spices and coffee. Dry rub instead of marinating,” he says. “I thought it was pretty interesting. So we tried it as a special. Then people kept asking for it. Now it’s our most popular sandwich.”

Karijanian claims he has “hands down, the best tri-tip in San Diego.” And the meat certainly looks beautiful. He slices it then heats it then adds it to the rest of the focaccia combo.


Inside the cafe


Surfer watercolors by Jesse Miller

For me, it took a little extra sprinkle of salt and pepper to wake it up, but once you did — oh, man, the pink meat, the coffee notes playing deep like a cello, the smoky gouda, the crispy focaccia. This was a sandwich made in sandwich heaven.

He has others, like The Brie, a turkey sandwich with Granny Smith apple slices, brie cheese, and cranberry sauce ($7). Or the variation, The Thanksgiving. It’s also turkey but with veggie stuffing, mixed greens, muenster cheese, and cranberry, $6.50. Each time, sweet and savory.

“That was a great thing with my grandmother, who taught me so much,” says Karijanian. “She was Armenian, and that combination is what it’s all about.”

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