When I was about 8 years old, I invented a snack that consisted of peanut butter and mozzarella cheese on a Triscuit cracker. People thought I was “nuts”, but I loved it anyway. Still do, actually — the cheese is relatively bland, so it pairs very nicely with the bold flavor of peanut butter. They don’t serve PB & Motz at PB&U, the new peanut butter-focused cafe in the center of Wayne, but they do serve PB with cheddar or cream cheese, not to mention, um, pickles. Of course, they offer more traditional pairings like jelly and bananas as well.
PB & U offers some suggestions for sandwich pairings but also gives customers the option to mix and match anything from their list of ingredients. We had to try the classic PB&J on Wonder Bread, and although (sadly) it wasn’t smooshed by the apple in my lunchbox, it did certainly transport me back to grade school. We also tried PB&U’s slightly healthier take on the Elvis – PB, Banana, Honey & Bacon on Multi-grain (seemed like Le Bus), which was quite good, but I’d order it without the bacon next time, as the other flavors were much stronger, and really, why eat bacon if it isn’t the star of the dish?
Something slightly unique on the PB&U menu is what they call PB pizza – peanut butter and various toppings on round flatbread. We tried two, both of which were dessert style: a chocolate chip and honey and a cinnamon raisin. Both were tasty treats, but the addition of cinnamon to the latter really took it over the top.
In addition to sandwiches & pizza, PB&U also offers “Fondue”, which is just their homemade peanut butter alongside dippers like apples & celery, and the classic after-school snack “ants on a log”.
The thing that’s a bit unclear is who the targeted audience for PB & U really is. Surely the bright, airy and minimalist space will draw a nice weekday-afternoon crowd from Radnor Middle School, and they’re also aiming for the college set with the “4 PB&Js for $10 college pack” and the fact that they’re open until 1am on Friday & Saturday. (It should be an interesting scene at 12:30am on good bar nights!).
There’s also a playroom in back, and we all know that PB&J is big with the under-6 set. In fact, the toddler next to me chowed down an full-size sandwich like it was going out of style. Just the same, however, if PB&U wants to attract that toddler’s parents, they should consider adding some artisanal sandwiches to match up with the kid-friendly options. As an adult, it might be fun to eat Wonder Bread nostalgically, but it also doesn’t take long to realize why it’s not in the kitchen anymore: it sucks. Great Harvest Bread Company is right across the street –why not partner with them to offer high-end bread choices?
Along the same lines, calling bacon a “crazy” pairing with PB is like saying “white” pizza is crazy. 20 years ago, perhaps, but not today. Pickles are an odd choice, yes, but I don’t want them anywhere near my PB sandwich. Instead, how about some unique, upscale ingredient pairings to attract the adult palate? Peanut Butter & Co, a similarly-themed restaurant in NYC, for example, offers a sandwich called “The Heat is On” — spicy peanut butter, chilled grilled chicken and pineapple jam — that’s marketed as “Like a Thai satay – only better”. Is it good? I have no idea, but I’d be far more likely to order it than a sandwich I could make at home in less than 5 minutes.
What are your favorite off-the-wall PB pairings? Post ‘em below and maybe one day we’ll see them on the menu at PB & U!
163 East Lancaster Ave. Wayne, PA 19087