Friday, December 4, 2009

The Sandwich Times - Volume 3

First off, I must apologize to my faithful readership for a lack of updates in the last little while.

Rest assured, I have many interesting sandwiches to review for all of you, but unfortunately I must-ard commit to my studies at this point in time. Lettuce all hope that upon completion of my exams, that I will be able to club this sandwich blog back into its feet.


To begin a quick 'best-off collage' of procrastination-induced google image sandwich searching:


Camden Yards: Baltimore


Jeff's Tateleh (Yiddish for father) from Carnegie Deli for a measly $21.95:
aka A Reuben designed by the manufacturers of Lipitor, consists 3 Lbs. of turkey & corned beef, Russian dressing + 8 slices of Swiss served on pumpernickel with cole slaw






Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop in L.E.S. - The most delicious oxymoron I've ever eaten:




Other tidbits:


1. Scholarly consensus seems to have emerged on the best way to cut a sandwich... Triangle> rectangle




2. Sandwich to be tried as accessory to vehicular homicide . In other Legal Sandwich developments, this cop tried to use his authority to secure sandwich discounts


3. The first and only location of Miami Subs closed after two short months. Fans of deep-fried brown food and tacky 1980's Florida souvenir shirts mourn the city over.


4. Here's some automative/sandwich nostalgia

I wish my non-existant car could make that sandwich.


Be on the look out for lots of blogging from Canwiches 1st ever Corporate retreat in the Turks & Caicos - where the results of the much lauded Peameal on Kaiser survey will be released, as well as a Veal sandwich guide and what has been deemed the Chinese Democracy of Sandwich Blog posts, Jesse's Authoritative guide to Deli.




Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Sandwich Times - Volume 2

1. Toronto Life's interesting piece on how Toronto's nascent sandwich industry has been reinvigorated by the depression.

2. As promotion for Windows new Operating system 7, the company devised a celebratory sandwich of quintuble-bypass inducing proportions with the local Burger King.

While Japan has been known to take fast food sandwiches to the extreme i.e. the Mega Mac - A 3 patty, bacon and fried egg burger - this one takes the novelty sandwich to its logical extreme then adds a few sevens on the way - This 7 patty MONSTROSITY cost 777 yen (roughly $4.98) for a limited number of lucky/about to die customers


3. A different and more seasonal variation of the coffin sandwich featured by our foremost Formosan Guest Writer c/o Insanewiches.





4. Finally, Some classic Onion Sandwich Schticks:

New Prescription-Only Sandwich Extra Delicious

Report: Turkey Sandwiches An Excellent Source Of Turkey Sandwiches

Don King Enjoys Grandilomentitudinous Sandwich

Friday, September 11, 2009

"I Wouldn't Steak my Life on it" OR "The bank denied me for a Provolone."

From a lowly sandwich with disputed origins to becoming the single greatest political king-maker of all local sandwiches, the Cheesesteak has truly lived the "American Sandwich Dream".



It's disputed origins have contributed to vociferous debate akin to: Ali v Frazier, Rutherford Hayes v Samuel Tilden and Dr. Phil v Jeffrey Tambor and by that I refer to Pat v Geno's for the original best cheesesteak.

Since this as of now remains the Great Canadian Sandwich blog I will limit this entry to a review both a D.I.Y attempt (a first here at TGCSB) as well as a review of Reggie's Old Fashioned Sandwiches

D.I.Y Attempt

The logic behind the DIY challenge here was that general conensus there was little to nothing in terms of Cheesesteaks in Toronto. The old king, Chubby Subby across the street from the Masonic Temple on Yonge used to serve up a very tasty variation but since it closed there seems to have been a dearth in Toronto:

We started with a 2 lb Prime Rib Roast. We left the roast partially frozen as the goal is to cut the steak as thinly as possible. The big guys in Philly allegedely use Meat Slicers and semi-frozen slabs. We clearly lack the resources and werewithall of the cheesesteak wunderkinds.

For condiments we went traditional: Wit (carmelized onions) / Provolone.

While Cheese Wiz is considered the textbook cheese, I like the bite of Provolone and the non-petroleum based nature of it helps too.


One of the items where the DIY attempt really took a potential nose-dive was the bread. Virutally all Philly and even New Jersey Hoagie Shops, serve it on a nice fluffy Amoroso Roll. Since we are far outside the geographic area for Amoroso, we decided to go with what the big smoke has and decided on a portugese roll from a local hole-in-the-wall bakery.




Overall for a first attempt, the sandwich turned out great. Unfortunately the portugese bun contributed to a dissapointing bun:content ratio (for those keep track anything more than 60:40 is problematic), Good grease level (but did not completely soak bread as in most authentic Philly's). Next time, I'll try to get the meat even thinner and a softer roll (Current candidate's include Italian Roll from N'ino D'aversa)


Reggie's:

Reggie's is the kind of sandwich shop that I started this blog to write about.

With its downtown location, (King St. W & Portland) its 24 hour accessbility and with its extremely lenghty sandwich (a roster including the classic [corned beef, tuna melt], the californian [avocado & egg],) and it's commitment to fresh agreements, this restaurant is in general a great sandwich destination. On my first visit, I decided a great way to gauge their sandwich chops would be to evaluate their cheesesteak as it opened about 3 months after the Great Canadian Cheeseteak Challenge. Had a legitimate cheesesteak truly come to hogtown????




At Reggie's, the Cheesesteak comes with: Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Rowe Farms Sirloin & mozzarella. While I feel a little peeved with the inclusion of mozzarella, the sandwich, simply put, was awesome:



Soft, chewy tender, dripping with cheese and covered with enough au jus to allow a 90 year old durain eater. Steak was cooked perfectly at medium and the onions were deliciously opaque. The bun was soft yet chewy with a bite and definetly featured a much better ratio then my DIY attempt.




All in all Reggie's Merits a 9.5/10

Pros:
Properly cook steaked
Great condiment,meat ratio
Good Bun
24 hrs

Cons:
Mozzarella instead of more traditional provolone.


Tables of Cheesesteak References:
Reggie's
The Philadelphia Inquirer Cheesesteak Hub
Chowhound Toronto Discussion

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Guest Post - LIVE FROM TAIWAN


Upon entering the Liohe night market in Kaohsiung city I was instantly hit with the many different smells and noises that originate from the outdoor food stands that line either side of the streets. In Taiwan eating out is a social event that if done correctly can be cheap and rewarding. However, my main purpose for being in the night market was not to wander from stall to stall sampling various chicken parts or snake parts. I was there to review a traditional Taiwanese dish called coffin toast.

Coffin toast originated in Tainan; the old capital of Taiwan. Simply put it is almost identical to chicken pot pie. The only thing that separates it from chicken pot pie is that it is nestled into a perfectly cooked, golden brown piece of toast. The name coffin toast describes how the toast is cut and filled and made to look like a coffin. Many different varieties of coffin toast seem to exist, some are a little more risky than others. However, the most popular form comes with your basic chicken, carrot, corn, and white goo filling and your oil fried toast exterior.


My first impression of this sandwich/pot pie is that the toast and filling compliment each other very well. Although both are savory, there is a slight sweetness that comes from the carrots. The chicken has been cooked well and the shop owner is not shy about giving you a good portion. The 50 nt (roughly $2 Canadian) price is also reasonable. For another few dollars you can get some fish ball soup to help wash it down, although I would avoid this.

Overall, my experience with coffin toast has been a good one and it is a sandwich that I would seriously recommend to anyone. If you like toast and chicken pot pie and have always fantasized about the two coming together in your mouth... I would definitely say that this is the sandwich for you.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Eating through a Bay of Pigs

(Caption - 2009 Re-Re-enactment of the Bay of Pigs invasion) While the title of this blog-entry migh tseem like a cop-out non-obscure historical reference, as I've been known to make on occasion, I ask you faithful denizens of planet Sandwich to bear with me. For you sea (ba dum dum), Cuban-American relations have birthed a great sandwich. As readers by know, sandwiches are oft a microcosm of broader sociological and historical mic circumstances.

The progenitor of the Cubano existed simply as a default sandwich in 19th century Cuba that existed for hundreds of years": Cuba, a land fused with Spanish, Indigenous and African cultural influnce, existed in Colonial times eating a byproduct of colonialism:

"Cubans the ham which was brought by the Spaniards, and the cheese that was also brought by the Spaniards. Also at the time of the discovery, the original inhabitants of Cuba, the Taino/Arakaks, were making cheese. The traditional Cuban sandwich had evolved into the delicacy we know today, however not in Tampa, but to the Cubans in the island who took better than 400 years to make this delicacy perfect and allow all of us to enjoy the fruit of their expertise in sandwich making."

-excerpted from the history of the cuban sandwich

When Cubans started widespread immigration to Tampa in the post Castro days, kitchens catering to Cuban factory workers took a variation of the queso blanco, and added Genoa Ham (likely from the influence of nearby Italian Americans) Pickles (from their Jewish neighbours) and Swiss Cheese (presumably from the seldom-herd of Swiss-Floridian Diaspora).

I had the opportunity to sample a variation of the the Sandwich at the Freshwood Grill in Kensington Market.

Freshwood is small chain, with locations in Roncesvalles, North York and Kensington that has a solid menu of burgers, sandwiches and the like.

The cuban, which is sold 2-4-1 on Tuesdays is served with roast pork, bacon, swiss cheese, pickle on a delicious tortilla and will run you under 10 with sweet potato fries and chipotle mayo.

The flavors of swiss cheese, roast pork and the smokiness of the bacon gave a beautifully layered taste. However this particular pork roast seems to have overcooked aaThe flavors of swiss cheese, roast pork and the smokiness of the bacon gave a beautifully layered taste. However this particular pork roast seems to have overcooked and left an unncessarily gritty aftetaste. The balance was definetly there on this sandwich,

I should also note that I was originally given a steak and cheese wrap by accident, which was delicous if somewhat less conducive to a rich historical narrative.




Final Verdict:

Cubano @ Freshwood

Highs:
  • Balance
  • perfectly toasted tortilla
  • resisted temptation to become mushy
Lows:
  • overcooked pork roast
Overall this sandwich gets 7 opas... Largely because I have had it several times and usually performs better than this. Still very much a worthwhile sandwich as is its steak sister.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We are still living or "You better wrap that gavel up b"

So my fellow sandwich-ites, like the Phoenix this blog will rise again, stronger from the ashes of death. Deal with it


This entry's featured sandwich is a wrap from Urbana, a pretty decent coffee shop on 1030 Bay St, across the street from Bistro 990 (insert nauseating TIFF reference because its topical)


Now if this were the Great Canadian Coffee blog (idea anyone) I might well be raving about this place. I love their espresso, the free wi-fi, availiability of power cords (as my laptop's battery life is only slightly longer than a gastrostich's with a debiltating virus) and even their goods are serviceable. Unfortunately that's not my M.O.

Due to work-related concerns, I only had 10 minutes to grab lunch and this was the closest non Pizza option.

Of all the items on the menu, I was most inspired by the Chicken Salad Wrap.

Now, I understand the need to streamline sandwich production as well as any other sandwich supply chain enthusiast, however this CAN be problematic in wrap construction.

It seems that the master assembler of the Urbana wraps (likely an offsite supplier) decided it was crucially important to seperate the ingredients to avoid mushiness:


Now can one guess the problem with this construction? Yes Bite of only carrot, followed by bite of lettuce, followed by chicken salad. Ladies and Gentlemen, I hold that the carrots and lettuce role in said wrap is to provide an essnetial cruchiness to the wrap. An additional two points got lost for a tiny bone in my chicken salad.

By bite number 5 it devolved into just the kind of mushy mess that the Sandwich M.C. (get it wrap/wrapper/rapper ) tried to avoid:



While I still recommend this place for a damn good cup o joe, it is the recipient of the lowest OPA rating yet recorded; a paltry 3 / 10 Opas

Highs:
  • ummm- NFL Season starts soon... that's a positive.
Lows:
  • aformentioned spatial problems
  • bone
  • chicken salad itself was under-seasoned.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Sandwich Times - Volume 1

In addition to reviews, I have promised by faithful Sandwich-ites all the latest sandwich gossip that is fit to print and here it goes:





1. For those of us who like to combine their sandwiches with 80's kitsch toys I present this monstrosity (shout out to Nat for the link)




2. New Grilled Cheese only restaurant poppin off at the old Good Eten location in Kensington Market. YESSSS!





3. Neo-Sandwich Patrimonalism or How I performed a good Samaritan act, got rewarded with a free sandwich and was subsequently fired for receiving said sandwich



I bet the sandwich was pretty tasty though.

4. British Airways has killed the short-haul sandwich

5. This is an old one but a classic nonetheless. The genesis of this blog came about when classmates noted my excessive googling of GIANT sandwiches during classtime. In rebuttal, I offer this ESSENTIAL how-to-guide on how to create your own non-edible bromdignagian sized sandwich




Take that snooty law schoolers and all those who question the value of internet sandwich googling.



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Volcanoed at Slice of New York






Every time I go to visit NYC, I am struck by many of the delicious offerings that cannot be acquired in Toronto the Good. Whether it be Korean-Fried Chicken, a readily available breakfast sandwich, Brian Schwartz, Baked Ziti, or Gourmet Doughnuts . Suffice it say, NYC has things TO lacks (many of which will be featured in future entries)

Many Toronto chains try to claim some sort of connection, whether it be mere rhetorical flourish or an earnest attempt at authenticity: (i.e. New York Subway, New York Fries, New Yorker Deli, Harlem Restaurant, New York Fried Chicken etc etc etc).

One such joint claiming linkages is “A Slice of New York”: A Pakistani Run fast food joint that has all delicious N.Y. staples such as Good looking slices, Chicken Rolls, Hoagies, and the centrepiece of this review, the Stromboli.

The Stromboli is the Calzone and Panzerroti’s “special” but loveable cousin. According to my personal sandwich mecca W. I. Pedia, the Stromboli, appears to have been birthed in Philly by Nazzareno Romano who named it after the contemporaneous Ingrid Bergman flick.

The shape of a Stromboli can be best described as an Oblong loaf, halfway between a Burrito and a wrap.

The Stromboli I ordered was the Manhattan, which was stuffed with Gyro Meat, Pepperoni, Green Peppers, Mushrooms and Mozzarella Cheese. The Stromboli was perfectly cooked: crusty on the outside, gooey on the inside with perfectly distributed goodies inside. The meats inside were well cooked and not stringy or overdone.




The Stromboli cost 4.99 and came with a container of Marinara sauce

Based on the ability of the guys running counter @ Slice of N.Y, I will very rapidly be back to taste one of their hoagies.

8.5/10 OPA’s

Pros:
- Once again delciously greasy
- Good distribution of meat, veg and cheese
- Fast service
- Halal, a bonus for TGCSB's Islamic readership
- Wide menu of sandwich variation goodies (hoagies, schwarma, hoagies with schwarma, etc)
Cons:
- Marinara sauce lacked the Zip I was looking for
- Was left a bit hungry but that is pretty reasonable for the price.

I shall exuent once again, pursued by bear and with one of my favorite Mitch Hedburg sandwich related jokes:

“I order the club sandwich all the time, but I'm not even a member, man. I don't know how I get away with it”


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Pittsburghian Experience @ Sandwiched

I have oft been told that Pittsburgh, more than any other American City, embraces artery clogging like true Steelheads.

(While I feel weird writing about a city's culinary chops without ever having been there, I feel that my parent's degrees at UPITT as well as a lifetime of Steeler's supporting gives me at least partial street-cred)

While Pittsburgh has no one genre-defining sandwich like its' Pennyslvania brother Philly (pun count #1... think about it) , Steeltown has produced several important innovations to the sandwich game:


The Big Mac was invented in Pittsburgh by an early enterprising McDonald's franchisee by the name of Jim Delligatti.




More relevant to this actual blog entry , was the great innovation started at Primanti Brothers. A quick google search of "Pittsburgh Sandwiches" turns up a number of hits for this storied restaurant, whose defining feature is having fries INSIDE the sandwich.



Watching a Food network special on must-eat sandwiches, I got curious about this bust-gusting addition to the sandwich, and decided to scour the streets of Toronto to find a fries-inclusive sandwich of my own.

Luckily, my search took me only a few blocks away from work - to Sandwiched at Church and Gerrard (377 Church St).

The joint offers essentially two items: crepes and fry-stuffed sandwiches.

After much sandwich consternation, i decided on the roast beef. In front of the Panini press, deep fryer and crepe maker, there was an impressive array of condiments, sauces (I counted 5 variations of hot sauce) with a Subway-like assembly line.



I fabu-sized my roast beef with lettuce, pickles , banana peppers, mozzarella cheese, pickles, hot sauce and mayo


Despite the calorically-dubious innovation of adding fries to the sandwich, I must say that it is a spot-on taste-wise. The fries added a delightfuly salty and crispy texture to each bite which was intensified by the crispy baguette after it had been pressed. In terms of aesthetics, the fries gave the sandwich a Dagwood-esuqe, towering appreance.



The biggest problem with the meal was that when I showed up with 5 work chums, it seems to have over-stripped their sandwich capacity. They only have one person one in the line, and over the course of our order, the man behind the counter had to: assemble sandwiches, put fries into fryer, carefully watch two crepes, and take our payements. So if you are planning on having a Sandwich themed Box-Social at ye olde local sandwich shoppe, i'd probably recommend taking it elsewhere (perhaps to the relatively nearby Mutual Street deli which will be reviewed shortly, though based on theme name alone the Sandwich Box seems more apropo).

Sandwiched features daily specials for something like 5.99 with a pop (Tuesday is Roast beef day), and they offered many other seemingly delicious offerings like the Super BLT (back bacon AND side bacon) as well as some veggie options.

All in all, I truly felt that Fries-in-Sandwich, invented by those wacky Pittsburgher's, is alive, well, artery-clogging AND delicious in Toronto.

9/10 OPA's

Pros:

  • Fries in Sammich!
  • Reviewing of Sandwich allowed me to use appropriatly use the term Gestalt Effect (defn: fries in sandwich = better than fries + sandwich)
  • Great condiment choice
  • Attractive price point

Cons:

  • Can be very slow if there is a crowd.
  • A little bit grimey inside.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fusion food and Storefront Con-fusion @ New York Subway


Fusion, whether it be a theoretical concept of energy creation, a women's football team http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Fusion, or a process of accultaration and bilateral cultural exchange, is usually seen as a positive (but don't get me started on the Cleveland Fusions' weak secondary and non-existent d-line).

For my first real, authentic, no-filler sammich blog, I decided to rate the Indian inspired Burritos at New York Subway.




The Restaurant name is fitting for a Linda Richmond-esque rant: New York Subway, neither located in New York nor an underground mass transit system... discuss. Despite the somewhat confusion name, New York Subway have long been an O.G. in the Toronto Burrito game (The Ice-T of stuffed tortillas).



It is, pleasentries aside, a bit of a dump, located in the heart of Queen West.




NOW TO THE MAIN EVENT: THE SAMMICH




The burrito they serve are more oblong shaped then the goliath-shaped offerings of ball'o'torilla'and'stuffing that Burrito Bandidos and Big Fat are known to serve .



I decided on the regular Lamb Satay burrito, which was about 4.99 plus tax. I wholeheartedly endorse this burrito. The lamb was equal parts crunchy, sweet and greasy, the tomatoes were fresh and I left feeling only partial meat comatosed.







Fusing interesting flavors with sammich templates is something I have been interested in since my former roomate Oscar's mother described her attempts for the the elusive Kazakh-Salvadorian (can you say pupusa with yak milk cheese and horse meat!?!?!?)


On the modified J Karantonis Opa scale, I would give this fused burrito a 7.5/10


Pros:

- Delicous lamb meat

- good balance of sweet and spicy

- inexplicable name had me starring off to the stars

- No horses or yaks were harmed in the making of said burrito


Cons:

- Some of the meat was over cooked

- slightly too much satay sauce


Next up, a cheezboiger cheezboiger-esque experience with the wacky Greek line-cooks at the Mutual Street Deli, me continuing to 'celebrate my Jewiness' at the Corned Beef House AND our very installment of the don't knock it till you've tried it section @ Annex Submarine.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sandwich History



Sandwiches, as Roland Barthes once said, are a "delicious treat yearning for latent mythologization".

Many people tend to attribute the creation of sandwiches to that feisty English Noble "lil'' John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich, who was too damn busy ballin/opressing serfs to actually cut his meat and bread separately . I challenge one of my readers to dispute his claim that "getting my greasy mutton hands on my playing cards is elephant-pooping on my cribbage game" (note photo evidence is required)



I however feel that sandwich invention vis-a-vis bread must be seen as a Chicken and Egg scenario (Chicken, Egg and Vis-a-Vis Sandwich review to follow). I imagine the first bakers', when taking their yeasty treats out of the oven for the first time said something like this: "Man I can't wait until someone invents Miracle Whip so I can fux with a Ham and Cheese".

IMO the sandwich represents one of the truly comprehensible things in our world. Bread + Filling + Condiment= perfection!

Later this week, TGCSB (not an erotic sounding yogurt spin off company but rather the anagram of this blog) will be reviewing: lamb satay burritos, a french fry stuffed roast beef sammie and a spattering of pastrami, smoked chicken and pulled pork.