Nichole Petterson looks tired. She was up until 2:30 am roasting beef in a local commissary kitchen this morning, prepping for her cart's third day on the lot at the Refuel North Station pod. But her face breaks into a big smile when I order a French dip au jus ($5)—the lone offering on her tiny menu besides Tim's chips and sodas. "Tell me if you like the jus. I don't know about it yet," she says. "Somebody said it wasn't salty enough." They were wrong. The jus is great, an herbaceous pan-drippings broth that sings with unexpected little notes of rosemary and thyme (and it's just salty enough). The meat is equally good, a generous mound of juicy, mild beef she dunks in the jus before plopping it inside a crusty, buttered French roll. It's nothing fancy, but it's an excellent, messy stomach-warmer on a cold day and one of the few dips in town that won't put you into a food coma. Petterson, who spent her days looking after her three kids (ages 1, 2 and 15 years old) before opening her cart, is the kind of cook who wants your help in the kitchen. On my visit she was tinkering with a recipe for pretty tasty "baked" potato salad laden with bacon and scallions. Undoubtedly she'll want your opinion on it, too.
- Best deal: French dip with gooey Swiss cheese and grilled onions ($7), plus a sample of whatever sheâs working on.
- Cheap deal: French dip sans la toppings ($5).
GO: The Rolling Stoves Gimmie Sandwich is located at Refuel North Station pod at the corner of North Killingsworth Street and Greeley Avenue, twitter.com/gimmesandwich. Open for lunch and early dinner 11 am-7 pm Tuesday-Sunday. $ Inexpensive.