Who doesn't love a good sandwich? Anyone? Didn't think so, which is one reason there's a rush of new sandwich places in town, including the "Which Wich" sandwich shop that is starting to open locations in Tampa. Slogan: Superior Sandwiches. There are locations in Alabama, Arizona and California, and the first will open here in mid-April at 5002 E. Fowler Ave., near the University of South Florida. The company plans 25 or more locations in the Tampa Bay region in five years.
Like many sandwich joints, you order up front. But here, expect more options: toasted buns, caramelized onions, pesto sauce, sauerkraut, as well as hummus bowls and "Thank You" turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce.
So add Which Wich to the slew of sandwich joints being opened by Jimmy John's, Jersey Mike's and others. It's the glorious Italian Sub parallel to the Better Burger rush. WhichWich.com.
While researching an important article on yoga, we visited the serene Bella Prana Yoga and Meditation studio in Tampa to ask a burning question: Do women wear Lululemon yoga attire to actually, you know, do yoga?
This may seem a silly question, but several friends and sources of mine spend hundreds of dollars on Lululemon pants, shirts, sports bras, mats, bags and so on, and they wear Lululemon clothing all day because it's ridiculously comfortable.
Women tell me their Lululemon looks fantastic while pushing a stroller through Hyde Park or for Casual Fridays at work. Lululemon is the Mercedes of yoga, and entry-level yoga pants can cost $70, and a full yoga kit can cost $200 to $300, a sign you take your Namaste seriously. But, some say, the yoga gear is far too nice to get sweaty doing yoga. Instead, they switch to gear from Target.
Roni Sloman, an instructor at Bella Prana, sees plenty of Lululemon gear in her studio, and she has lots of Lululemon mats for novices like me to borrow for an intermediate yoga meditation class. (Does yoga "work?" After Roni's class, I left so relaxed I forgot my shoes in the studio and drove home barefoot.) She's seen that too-good-to-wear dynamic, too.
After marveling at the self-contradictions of the American consumer, I remembered guys who will line up before dawn at Foot Locker to spend $200 or more on Air Jordans and stride around the mall enjoying the reflected glory of His Airness. The last thing they would do is wear them to, you know, play basketball.
Other retail, restaurant and consumer news around town:
It's almost the rainy season, so Ikea is offering free umbrellas as part of their weekly deal/giveaways: Friday, part of Ikea Random Acts of Life Improvement.
This colorful, light-weight umbrella is an ideal companion to keep people dry during the rainy season. Not raining? Umbrellas are also commonly used as shade against the sun's harsh rays. Ikea.com.
For anyone a bit fed up with the "artisanal" genre, embrace the absurdity through devastating self-mockery with the new hardback book "How to Sharpen Pencils," by David Rees, subtitled "A practical and theoretical treatise on the artisanal craft of pencil sharpening" with illustrations showing current practice. Therein, he considers the pros and cons of using pocket knives, Chapter 4, versus "Double-Burr, Hand-Crank" sharpeners; how to compost shavings, Chapter 10; and Mechanical Pencils, Chapter 11. "Mechanical pencils are [Expletive]." To quote John Hodgman's introduction, "I simply believe in artisanal products. Whenever possible, I only buy meat that has been raised locally, murdered humanely, and sold in packages that have cool, contemporary, internet-style fonts on them. " You may think that sharpening a pencil is easy, but David Rees makes it look hard, and that makes all the difference. Intrigued? Rees will custom-sharpen your pencils for $12.50 each. Send them to P.O. Box 109, Beacon NY 12508. ArtisanalPencilSharpening.com.
Burger King is introducing a turkey burger. That is all that needs to be said about that. BurgerKing.com.
A serious note. If you have any Publix bleach or ammonia at home, read this carefully: The manufacturer that makes the products accidentally switched some labels between the two. This is especially dangerous because mixing chlorine-based bleach and ammonia can immediately create a toxic gas. Publix issued a recall on the ammonia, but you might not know the liquid is ammonia because the bottle says bleach. Publix.com.