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Breaking news: The Albuquerque turkey is officially the "best sandwich"

Once upon a time in Puerto Rico, the now-newlyweds at told me about a service called ChaCha. In short, you text a question to 242242, and your phone will magically text you back with the answer. I forget how it works exactly, but I feel it's best to just take it at face value. That means asking ChaCha questions with the assumption you're communing directly with God. This adds weight and significance to what is otherwise a phone-based search engine powered by underpaid and questionably qualified human employees. Not to slam ChaCha -- bear in mind I know very little about them. My technique isn't unique or as crazy as it sounds, either. A brief glance at their recent search history revealed well over 1,000 texts to the service asking "Are you God?"

Wait, isn't this a sandwich blog? What's with all the God talk? Good question, imaginary person. The answer? We try to answer the big questions here at It's What's Between, and speaking of which, an interesting experience with a Mexican BBQ slider today led me to revisit the "is a burger a sandwich?" question and reaffirm my conviction that it is not. But that's a discussion for another post.

I have a lot on my mind, so pardon me for burying the lede. Without further ado, the official best sandwich is the Albuquerque turkey. I asked ChaCha and that's what it said, and for this conceit's sake, I take ChaCha's word as The Word.

This answer raises another question: what is an Albuquerque turkey sandwich? I'm ashamed to admit that I don't know, despite having been to Albuquerque more times than anywhere I've l ived full-time, due to it being an awesome city full of good people, including many of my dear relatives. Knowing the ABQ as I do, I'm willing to venture a guess as to what this sandwich is made of. I'm going to go ahead and present my guess, then Google the thing as a gauge of my knowledge. I swear to you, whoever you people reading this are, that I am going purely on my raw sandwich/Albuquerque-understanding skills on this one, and will accurately relay the actual results of the experiment.

My guess as to what the Albuquerque turkey sandwich is:
  1. A roll, or other breadstuff
  2. Turkey
  3. Swiss cheese
  4. Avocado
  5. A bit of mayo
  6. Fifth, and most importantly: green chile. If this sandy doesn't have it I'm calling shenanigans.
I could see Salsalito turkey or pepper jack cheese being used if they're feeling spicy or trendy, but I feel pretty confident in my prediction, despite never having seen this thing on a menu in my primary haunts of the Southwest or Northeast. I could also see a green chile-smothered mess, which would be truer to the Albuquerque aesthetic (and better tasting), but I'm guessing the above is the real export due to its superior marketability.

And now, let's see what Google says the sandwich is ...

... an invention of Schlotzsky's, which means I have seen it before. To my credit, the closest Schlotzsky's to my current location is in Newport News, Va., which I assure you is a real place. Indeed, Frontier Airlines flies there, and I can vouch for the airline should you want to pay the city a visit.

And their idea of an AB TK is:
  1. Toasted Jalapeño Cheese bread.
  2. Smoked turkey breast
  3. Bacon strips
  4. Cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses
  5. Fire-roasted vegetables
  6. Chipotle mayonnaise
  7. Tomato
  8. Schlotzky's signature dressing
OK. I will say this first. This sounds like a delicious sandwich, and I don't want to take away from that. I want one. That said, this is no Albuquerque sandwich. This appears to be a marketer's guess at what people might want from an authentic sandwich from the ABQ. That marketer may have gotten people's expectations right, but blew the ABQ accuracy part. I could go on and on, but I think I speak for Albuquerque when I say Schlotzky's blew it when they branded a foodstuff as Albuquerque-anything sans green chile, and expected to be on the mark.

Dear marketer: You have a hot sandwich on your hands. As a defender of the New Mexican way of life, I'm a little offended by your co-opting of their culture while failing to include their single-most important foodstuff, which is the green chile (AKA the Anaheim chile).


Angel06 said…
Actually, the Albuquerque Turkey sandwich at NM Schlotzsky's does in fact include green chile, or at least the one at the ABQ Sunport does. It's my "go-to to-go" sandwich for flights. (I didn't realize it was offered at all out of state, and worse, that it is served sans green chile!) This incarnation is better though.
Alex Headrick said…
That’s a relief — thanks for the heads up. I can’t imagine a sandwich shop lasting long in ABQ without having green chile as a topping. The bigger news for me is that there’s a Schlotzsky's at the Sunport! All this time flying out of the other terminal I had no idea there was more food past the little food court with the Comida Buena. I’ll have to go there next time to get a genuine Albuquerque Turkey.

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