Bear Bites: Proper Sandwiches at Proper Food

3 mins read

Walking along the Springline development on El Camino, an orange awning stands out against the beige wall. Looking closer, the awning reveals dark gray lettering with the words “Proper Food” hanging above. After you enter through the doors, to the left is a wood-patterned wall with rows of pre-made meals. The words surrounding them assure you of their quality. 

There are some empty spots on the food shelves––meals gone too soon, too good to last until closing time. Not that the rest would remain uneaten, as seen in other text informing you that charities receive any stragglers they don’t sell on the same day. The cycle ensures that customers get their food the day it is made, and the surrounding community’s most needy can still eat. Eat good food, you can tell with the first bite.

Proper Food serves delicious, fast, and fresh sandwiches, boasting 17 storefronts in the Bay Area and beyond. Dana Bloom, co-founder and co-CEO with her husband, Howard Bloom, explained, “We both worked in corporate jobs in downtown San Francisco. We’d always been passionate about food, but when having lunch at work, we found ourselves either waiting in line for a half hour for a good salad or—if we didn’t have time—grabbing food that wasn’t high quality. We created Proper Food because we didn’t want to have to make a tradeoff between quality and convenience.”

Because the food is prepared in advance, the wait time is nonexistent, but despite this, the food is still of great quality. Proper Food’s key to freshness is simple: “We prepare the food at our central kitchen in South San Francisco and distribute it to our stores already all-packed up and ready to go. We deliver to our stores each morning,” Bloom said. 

Of course, not all of the food is sold. In the interest of getting food to each customer made on the day, environmental consciousness, and giving back to their communities, they donate any food that isn’t sold each day. Bloom says, “We feel strongly about minimizing food waste. We are thoughtful about food waste throughout our operation. We take care in our kitchen to use every ingredient to its fullest—using the leftover bits of vegetables to make vegetable stock, composting any actual waste, and donating all leftover meals, for example.”

To test out the quality for myself, I bought the Breakfast Sandwich with Turkey Sausage (Gluten Free), Buffalo Cauliflower Wrap (Vegetarian), and Farmhouse Breakfast Wrap (Vegetarian) to test their claims.

Breakfast Sandwich with Turkey Sausage $7.95

9/10 – This was amazing to eat. The egg and English muffin bun were perfect bases and the turkey sausage, sharp cheddar, and sauces created an explosion of flavor in my mouth. The tomato was not for me, but removing it was no trouble. Proper Foods advises you to microwave the sandwich on high for 1:35. To me, you can eat it either way, but, when heated, the cheese is less noticeable and the sausage is stronger, and it tastes better overall. I would suggest you try it, but I don’t want them to run out of it when I get there! For the vegetarian folk reading this, there is another breakfast sandwich option without the turkey sausage. (Sorry vegans, the egg and cheese make up the rest of the sandwich.) 

Buffalo Cauliflower Wrap $12.50

6.5/10 – For the people like me who aren’t food-savvy and don’t read the full ingredients label at the bottom of the box, this dish contains cayenne pepper, a moderately spicy pepper. Spice-lovers, eat your heart out, but the sensation is just not for me. I hope it is understood, then, that the 6.5 is a great compliment to the wrap from me. The yellow cheddar gave it the tang it needed. The cauliflower and lettuce had a nice feel on the mouth, and the lavash bread was amazing and really wrapped the whole dish up. It is a bit on the pricier end, but that could be worth it to some.

Farmhouse Breakfast Wrap $7.95

7.5/10 – In my opinion, this was a better wrap. The potatoes were a great choice for the proverbial meat of the sandwich, the lavash bread was more pronounced (a good thing, to be sure). As for the egg and cheese––though I would have liked more of both––they tasted as good as they did in the sandwich. The onion and tomato aioli gave the dish a nice kick, but the overall experience was only dulled by eating two sandwiches before it. The Breakfast Wrap is also a nice option that comes in a bag and not a package, so it’s better on the go.

If you’re ever hungry after school and could use a nice sandwich on your way home, head down Oak Grove until you hit El Camino and turn right. It’s not too far from campus, and there’s a good chance that Proper Food has the right sandwich for you.

Brian is a senior at M-A with a storied history of journalism. His favorite stories to write are about school, local and state policies, and politics. He enjoys creative writing, and plays chess in his free time.

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