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Showing posts from July, 2008

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…