• Image about Shahin Takes Off 06-15-2007

Jessica and I have finally returned to the White House. It's been a few years, but the place is pretty much the same as we remember it. Lines of people outside. A purposeful bustle inside. And, of course, the gigantic sandwiches.

"The Italian, the cheesesteak, the meatball," I say. "I can't decide. Let's get one of each."

"You think we need all that?" Jessica asks.

"It's the White House," I reply. "When are we going to be back?"

Our sandwiches come. Each one is the length of my arm. I plunge in, taking a deep bite of the cheesesteak. Between my hands, the crusty, chewy sub roll mooshes the thinly sliced beef, all gooey with melted provolone, and yields a bite at once exquisite and powerful.

I look over at Jessica, who has just bitten into the other half. She looks content - not quite like she does when she's doing yoga, but close.

"I am so glad," she says, "we decided to come to New Jersey."

What? You thought I was talking about the White House in Washington, D.C.?

No, no, no, no, no. My guess is that you can't even get a decent tuna-fish sandwich there, let alone a full-scale, world-class sub.

What I'm talking about is the White House Sub Shop in Atlantic City.

Fate brought us here. Fate, and a little planning.

On our drive north from Cape May, a snow globe of Victoriana on the New Jersey shore, our car's dashboard lit up like a pinball machine. We rolled into the nearest dealership, which, as luck would have it, was just a few blocks from the White House.

"This," I said to Jessica, "is like a sign. We're lucky is all I can say."