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Diet Gourmet on Sandwich Row

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The 3800 to 4000 blocks of Richmond are something of a sandwich row. You have Which 'Wich (3815 Richmond), Quizno's (3837 Richmond) and Schlotsky's (4001 Richmond), but my hands-down favorite is one you might actually miss. I know I did until recently, thinking that it was only for take-out and delivery.

But Diet Gourmet (3917 Richmond, 713-850-8299), a.k.a. Freshworks, a.k.a. The Lunch Spot, serves up a delicious panini. The secret: The bread comes from Kraftsmen Bakery (4100 Montrose).

My favorite sandwich is The Italian, supplemented with lettuce, tomato, Dijon mustard and chiles Jalapenos. However, making your own is the default here. Pick a bread, a meat, some toppings and get it toasted. Bonus: There’s always a copy of The Wall Street Journal to read while you're having lunch.

Food geek trivia: Bread flour is about 80 percent starch, and some of this will revert to sugar chains during fermentation of the dough. Toasting the bread causes a caramelization of the sugars (and starches), resulting in a tasty crunch and slightly smoky flavor. – Jay Francis

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