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Showing posts from 2008

Lost winter wear leads to disappointing sandwich experience

I'm finding that weather affects my sandwich choices more than any other factor.

How else to explain my having eaten the majority of my lunches at the diner next door for the last month? Rather than bundling up for the long trek across the street, I've instead opted for the grilled cheese or BLT at Friends at nearly every opportunity. My thought process is this: I am cold. Where is the closest place to get warm food? The vending machine? No. Friends? Yes, sold.

Being scarfless, that changed today. Somewhere amid the weekend's holiday shop-a-thon, my scarf disappeared. Too much putting it on and taking it off transitioning from chilly streets to crowded hell-box stores, it seems. So, when it came time for lunch, I agreed to make the trek to Subway since the sidewalk-based low quality goods dealer was on the way. I think of him like if Walmart was just one guy with a table's worth of merchandise. His wears span all manner of assorted Chinese-exported what-have-you.

The side…

Free sandwiches: Do they taste better?

Yes. Yes they do. As the Internets' toppest sandwich bloggist, I am ready to make the call.

Many years ago, I began a study wherein I would eat the unwanted sandwiches of other people's catered lunches. If you work in an office, which I highly recommend as it is awesome, you will find that people frequently gather together in rooms to talk about things relevant to the business. These gatherings are called "meetings," and they vary in length. Occasionally, these meetings last so long as to necessitate a catered lunch. In such cases, the person ordering the catering must order at least as many sandwiches as there are meeting attendees, as it's always better to have too many sandwiches than not enough. Indeed, the sandwich-orderer is expected to request far more sandies than will be needed, just in case a bunch of extra people unexpectedly show up at the meeting.

Here's where I come in. At some point, all the meeting's attendees will have been fed, leaving the…

Food delievery vehicles, and some more bacon talk

Yesterday, I worked from home, which afforded me ample time to cook a proper breakfast. Never do I allow myself to both eat and commute, so this was a rare treat.

I decided on a bacon sandwich. My tastes run in phases, where I'll crave something specific for about six weeks, then move to another food item. Common phases include hot dogs and waffles. Currently, I crave bacon.

A bacon sandwich is essentially buttered, toasted bread as a bacon delivery vehicle (BDV). If you're not familiar with the delivery vehicle food system, let me explain. A DV is a foodstuff that exists to carry an especially delicious foodstuff that's not traditionally eaten alone into your gullet. The perfect example is celery. Alone, celery is crap. It supposedly has negative calories, which in my mind disqualifies it as a legitimate food. But when filled with cream cheese and amply salted, a half-stalk of celery becomes a wonderful thing: a salty cream cheese delivery vehicle.

Some of you may be of the …

The BLT: What's not to like?

What a sandwich. Every component is crunchy, assuming the bacon was cooked enough and the tomatoes aren't too ripe. It's only one of two sandwiches where bacon is the star, the other being the bacon sandwich (A breakfast sandwich, popular in the Headrick household during the 80s and 90s, comprised of bacon and hot buttered toast. Apparently, Brits call this a "bacon butty.").

It's the only sandwich I can think of that's an acronym, and allows for fun variations, such as the BLAT, which adds avocado, from New Mexico's Owl Cafe. If I could think of appetizing ingredients starting with U and R, I would invent a BLURT sandwich.

The inclusion of lettuce and tomato in the title is an anomaly that I've given some thought to. Perhaps it's a way of showing some love to a pair of sandy fillings that are too-often taken for granted. I mean, there's a ham and cheese, but no HCLT, even though a ham and cheese often includes lettuce and tomato.

I think the nam…

Nine. Nine dollar. Nine dollar footlooooong.

This post was going to be about the $5 footlong song, and how it's the best jingle to come along in years. That's still true. How many jingles get stuck in your head like this? Not since "maybe it's Maybelline." This shit's diabolically catchy. People sing it on the streets. This doesn't happen with other commercials. What is it about this one? I think it's the Flaming Lips-style harmonies. The easy-to-remember dance moves help, too.

But no, now this post is about how the $5 footlong is merely a pipe dream to trick innocents into emptying their wallet on some crazy-expensive non-$5 footlong. Yes, this happened to me today. At least in my head, I saw a commercial where Subway announced all of their footlongs were now $5. Apparently, this never actually took place.



I ordered a footlong, reasoning it was worth the extra 60 cents to upgrade from the $4.40 6-inch. The sandwich artist unsuccessfully tried to upsell me on double meat, which I found a mite gree…

Subway Kids: Turkey Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Part One of a four part series of Subway-inspired short stories of 500 or fewer words.

Turkey Doesn't Live Here Anymore

There was a loud knock on the door, but when Salami Sam opened it, he only saw the empty woods. The turkey ghosts were at it again.

“Turkey doesn’t live here anymore!” Sam desperately yelled into the night. “Enough! Why won’t you leave me alone?”

Sam heard murmured gobbles, haunting the air. He thought he saw a flash of red turkey neck in his peripheral, but it was hard to know what was real any more. Sam thought back to the first time he saw the house. He wept with his head in his hands as the gobbling intensified.

“The House of Turkey, huh?” Salami Sam asked the realtor, laughing.

Having made his fortune in the deli trade, Sam was ready for a quieter life of perfecting recipes and curing Italian meats. The isolated cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota seemed the ideal spot to settle down.

“Yessir, this used to be the most popular turkey shop in the Dakotas,” the r…

Subway Kids sandwich stories

Amid tales of murder and sandwich crime in their stores, Subway has launched a feel-good contest for U.S. grade schoolers. In the Every Sandwich Tells a Story Contest, Subway urges our nation's children to write a short story "that is as delicious to read as a Subway sandwich is to eat." Appropriately, the story must include not only a beginning, but a middle and end, too.

Due to the United States' inconvenient child labor laws, It's What's between doesn't have any K-6 staffers. Nonetheless, we are entering this contest. The winner gets $5,500 worth of prizes! For writing about sandwiches! So keep watching for our Subway Kids entries on the following themes: The Mysterious Meatball, Turkey Doesn't Live Here Anymore, The Race to Red Onion Ranch, and Crunch, Crunch!

Let's go kids, it's time to get writing!

911 is a joke

Exhibiting a heroically low standard for what constitutes an emergency, last week, a man named Reginald Peterson called 911 to complain about a poorly prepared Subway sandwich.

According to Reginald, he paid almost $12 for two sandwiches, which upon his inspection weren't what he'd asked for. Conflicting reports say his Spicy Italian might have been missing mustard and mayo, or perhaps some kind of sauce. Either way, the sandies weren't right, and Reginald went back to the counter to get them fixed. Here's where the mainstream media claims Reginald freaked out, forcing the employees to lock him out of the store for fear of their safety. Reginald says he just explained that he wanted his sauce or whatever, and that the sandwich artist refused, stole his sandwich and locked him outside. There may be some truth to both sides' stories, but so far, I'm with Reginald.

Once outside, Reginald called 911 to complain that his sandwiches weren't only made wrong, but, ad…

OMGWTFBBQ!?!?! (The Carolina)

Before there was the sandwich blog, there was The Carolina — Denver's top sandwich.

Once upon a time, there was a man named Jabo, who fed the DTC masses from his barbecue cart. So delicious were his smoked meats that the crowds soon overwhelmed Jabo, and forced him into a strip mall on Arapahoe Road, by the motorcycle dealership. Jabo remains there today, serving up his varied meats along with such delicacies as honey-buttered scones (donuts), sweet potato fries and an unmatched variety of exotic sauces.

While I quickly acknowledged Jabo's place in the Denver BBQ scene, it took me a while to realize The Carolina's importance. I'd always considered coleslaw to be a side dish — never a topping. Jabo introduced me to slaw's potential and I've never looked back. Coupled with one of Jabo's signature sauces, such as the ever reliable hot mango, or hot mustard, The Carolina is unstoppable. It is THE five-sandy champion to which all sandies, Denver-based or not, asp…

César Chávez was right: boycott lettuce

Lettuce is without a doubt the most pointless vegetable on God's Green Earth, and yet it's omnipresent on sandwiches. Why? Who put the sandwich artists up to this? Does anyone actually like lettuce? No, it's there as a filler, and everyone knows it.

I'm not anti-lettuce in every context. In salad, it's perfectly fine, some might argue essential, even. A crisp, curled leaf of Iceberg is welcome on a cheeseburger — it serves as a refreshing contrast to the hot drippiness of the thing. But a pile of shredded lettuce thrown onto my egg salad hero? No, it's unwelcome, as it is on any cold deli sandwich. Regardless, lettuce is assumed to be part of any default sandy, along with tomatoes and mayo.

When I order my standard "whatever sandwich with tomatoes and mustard," half the delicatessens question me. "You want lettuce?" they ask. No. A thousand times no. They never ask why not, and sometimes they add it anyway, as a certain Greenpoint sandwich art…

Highbrow sandwichdom

Today I stumbled on an NPR story on sandwich-making during my non-sandwich-related professional endeavors. The discovery gave me some hope that my sandwich blog, the existence of which I've a hard time justifying, has some credence in these troubled times.
It seems public radio, one of the final U.S. hold-outs of reasoned discussion, has weighed in on the sandwich. So what does Kevin Weeks of NPR credibility say? According to Weeks, a sandwich is "a filling enclosed in bread or pastry that can be eaten by hand," which excludes open-faced sandwiches and humongous burgers but includes "wraps, tacos, Cornish pasties, empanadas and stuffed pitas." I disagree even though Weeks' definition would be politically expedient to me. Tonight, for dinner I ate some stir-fry in a pita with my hands that Weeks would call a sandwich, but I would not. As much as I'd like to review my own sandwich creation, I cannot, as it's outside of my bounds. My definition is: if y…

Ice cream sandwich: not a sandwich

There seems to be a rising sentiment to define the limits of sandwichdom before delving deep into sandwichcentric debate. Fair enough.

Here's a start: ice cream sandwiches are not sandwiches. They are sandwich-like, in that they are ice cream sandwiched between two cookies, but that doesn't make them a sandwich.

I've struggled in the past to decide what the boundaries are. Once, I called snack crackers a sandwich and for that, I apologize — I was wrong.

But I think I've stumbled on the truth today. The truth-test is simple. If you declare "I'm going to eat a sandwich," might your audience potentially expect you to be referring to the sandwich in question? If so, it's a sandwich. If not, it's not.

Example:

You're doing it wrong
Guy about to eat some ice cream: I'm about to eat a sandwich!
Random bro: Cool.
GATESIC: (Pulls out an ice cream sandwich and takes a bite.)
RB: Wtf.

You're on the level, bro
Guy about to eat a chicken sandwich: I'm abo…

Bennigan's RIP (1976-2008)

It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of Bennigan’s, who went bankrupt today at the age of 32. Bennigan’s is survived by Chili’s, Applebee’s, T. G. I. Friday’s and several other casual, family-friendly dining establishments with identical menus and apostrophes in their names.

The shuttering of Bennigan’s locations nationwide means the death of several sandwiches, some of which will be remembered if not missed, others, not so much. I would like to share some memories of my favorite Bennigan’s sandwich creations and encourage you to do the same.

Turkey O’Toole
Bennigan’s best sandwich, and the only one I can say I’ll legitimately miss. The Turkey O’Toole was ahead of its time with its revolutionary soft pretzel bun. Mark my words: within the next 20 years, pretzel buns will join white, wheat and rye bread at our nation’s deli counters. Between the buns were a pile of turkey, some Swiss and a generous amount of honey mustard. Biting into it was a joy — pliant but substantial. A…

Clam sandy: FAIL

So I was excited to order something new and different from Greenpoint's Park Luncheonette, but they were apparently out of clams, or sandwiches, or something. In any case, I didn't get my clam sandy and I settled for an admittedly good Tex-Mex burger loaded with jalapeños and guac.

But besides not getting what I wanted, which I should be used to by now, I was upset again by the burger vs. sandwich controversy. What is a sandwich? A piece of meat between two pieces of bread. What is a burger? A piece of meat between two pieces of bread. Talk about specifics all you want, but break it down to the basics, and that's the truth you're left with.

It's impossible quandaries like this that led me to existentialism, and ultimately, hopelessness. Where is the meaning in these stupid sandwiches!? Is salami just salami, or is it something more? Is pastrami more valuable somehow? I'm inclined to think so, but who's to say? Jesus? He's dead! He's dead.

Just kidding.…

The elusive perfect sandwich Cubano

It's the crystal skull of the sandwich world. The perfect Cuban sandwich. One assumes it might exist in Cuba, or maybe Miami or Tampa, but one hasn't been to those places, so one keeps looking.

I've been searching for about four years now. I've consistently run into a problem of balance. Cuban sandwiches are almost always authentic but lacking, or delicious but not a true Cuban sandwich. Still, I'm convinced an authentic, delicious Cuban Sandwich is out there somewhere.

My notes over the years are mostly incomplete, and those that exist are largely unreadable, having been made opaque by mustard or invisible by grease. As follows is a list of some memorable Cuban Sandwiches I've had, and what was wrong with them:

- Country Flame (French Quarter, New Orleans): My first. I remember it being really good, but the details are hazy owing to red wine, humidity, and a lack of other sandwiches to compare it to. I do recall that their dinnertime drink special was $1 peppermi…

Supermercado Sandy Spectacular: New York

Back in the day, I took Colorado-area supermarkets to the test, twice, in the grand Supermercado Sandy Spectacular, wherein I compared the Big Three Denver deli offerings: King Soopers, Safeway and Albertsons.

As it turns out, New York City has supermarkets too, and they, too, house deli counters. As logic dictates, they PWN. Here's why:
Quality: Two words: Boar's Head. The meat 'n' cheese gold standard, sold at a premium in Colorado, is simply the standard in NY. This means you know what you're getting, and the getting's good.
Variety: We're not talking turkey, ham, roast beef and salami. We're talking turkey, cracked pepper turkey, mesquite turkey, pastrami turkey and Salsalito turkey. Bread, too — think Kaiser rolls, heroes, crusty, soft, big, small, etc.
Freshness: Like sushi, good deli is fresh deli. If you get a sandy in a New York supermarket, they carve the fillings up thin off the slab. Say no to pre-sliced, pre-weighed plastic-and-wax-paper-packag…

[censored] sandwich: a sandwich conspiracy

At what point does a sandwich become dangerous?

That's the question I'm faced with as I consider a disturbing, recently unveiled plot to silence sandwich speakers at my workplace. This week, I learned from a pair of respected colleagues that the phrase "turkey sandwich" is not allowed on our network's chat client.

Previously, I was baffled by Messenger's rejection of the word "jerk." "You're a jerk," I said, and it told me the message couldn't be delivered. I was forced to say, "You're a j-erk," which wasn't nearly as satisfying.

Now, I find out that I can't even say "I want a turkey sandwich." I can say "I want turkey, in sandwich form," or "I want a turkey-filled sandwich," though. Why? What's so wrong about the words turkey and sandwich joining together?

The same intrepid friends who broke the case dug deeper, checking Urban Dictionary for a hidden, sexy meaning behind the sand…

Editorial: Let's call a sub a sub and move on

Being that the mainstream sandwich press refuses to air my opinions, I have decided to take my fight here, to the Internet. My rejection letters all tell the same story. Sandwich Monthly claims my writing is too “disjointed and unfocused” for their stodgy rag while Bread ’n’ Meat magazine tosses around big words like “nonsensical.” But let’s read between the lines: I’m just too real for them. I’m speaking the truth about sandwiches and these suits in their Wonder Bread towers are feeling the heat. Too toasty for you boys? Well tough, because I’m here to tell the world what the people in the streets are saying about sandwiches and I’m not going away.

So what are these street-folk saying? For one thing, they tell me sandwich naming conventions should be standardized, and I tend to agree. Most people agree that a long, skinny sandwich — that is a sandwich that’s oblong rather than square or round — is called a sub. But somewhere along the way, some troublemakers decided to start calling t…

God bless God Bless Deli

We’ve relocated to the Sandwich Capital of the World™. Unfortunately, It’s What’s Between’s entire staff quit or died en route, so now it’s just me running things again, Alex the editor.

So no more using the editorialI’ve relocated to NYC (yes, Brooklyn and Queens are part of New York City; as for Staten Island and the Bronx, I’ll let the Wu-Tang Clan and KRS-One explain) and am eating lots of unreviewed sandies. You surely don’t have lots of questions, but I’ll go ahead and answer the ones I expect you’d be asking if you were to ask questions.
Q: Are the sandies really better out East?
A: Yes. Boar’s Head meat is readily available, and a sandy fan needn’t to walk far to find a bodega slinging quality sandies at a reasonable price, regardless of the hour.

Q: But what about the pizza?
A: What about it? This is a sandwich blog, twit. But yes, the pizza is incredible, and a welcome diversion within a nearly all-sandwich diet.

Q: …OK, I’m sick of answering your inane questions, so I’ll get t…

A review: Starbucks’ Black Forest and Ham Breakfast Sandwich

Come this fall, Starbucks will no longer offer breakfast sandwiches. Apparently, people care. I’m reassured that others feel as passionately about sandwiches as I do.

Due to a glut of Starbucks gift cards, I’ve been forced to spend unprecedented amounts of time in the venerable Seattle-based coffee chain’s many locations, a slave to plastic-enabled freeness.

These were the circumstances as I opted to eat at Starbucks instead of Queens’ famed Redwood Deli, which was next door. Making the incorrect but affordable choice, I decided to make the best of things by trying a soon-to-be-extinct Starbucks breakfast sandwich. Eying the pastry case offerings, I opted for the “oven toasted and delicious” Black Forest and Ham Breakfast Sandwich for $2.95 plus tax (more importantly, free with gift card).

Overall, the sandwich disappointed me, but it wasn’t without its positive points. To wit:
The barista/sandwich artist was polite and and served the thing on a proper white plate — two things I haven’t e…

Grinders and grinders, grinders and grinders

It’s What’s Between has finally arrived in the vaunted East, only to discover a dearth of well-paying sandwich review jobs. Therefore, we've set up in delightfully affordable Plainville, Conn. while we continue our hunt for blog funding.

Although far from the sandytopia that is our eventual destination — New York City — central Connecticut has no shortage of sandwiches. The sandies are different here. Gone are the Quiznos of our former Colorado HQ. In their place are D’Angelos, which we remember fondly from our year of sandwich-eating in Boston following the turn of the century. D’Angelo is best known, to us anyway, for their reliable hot pastrami subs (grinders) and wildly short-sighted production of zillions of plastic Drew Bledsoe promotional giveaways a few months before the Patriots' first of many Super Bowl victories. Readers may recall it was not Drew Bledsoe, but rather TV's Tom Brady who would lead the Pats to NFL dominance, this year's humiliating failure exce…

… like a phoenix, only to fly away

We’re back, briefly, after a few months away from the sandwich world.

As with our previous absences, we suspect you’re demanding an apology, and again, you’ll probably feel bad about that when you read why we’ve been away.

You see, late last November, we were excited to bring in a new batch of interns. Our summer interns were a distastefully rowdy bunch, all of them lazy and prone to no-call, no-shows. A new batch of collegians inexplicably looking to work for free was on its way to our office.

They seemed a bright bunch, but their flame was far from eternal. On their ill fated Mindy-led office tour, one of the interns fell out of step. He was yellow or green ... kind of a “citrusy” color, Mindy said.

Dying, the intern, whose name I can’t recall, hacked out his final words: an unintelligible series of guttural noises.

It wasn’t long after the other interns fell ill. The sick calls increased exponentially, and we began to consider calling the back-up interns from Colorado State. We tal…