Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Rally to Restore Sandwiches

In October of this year, Jon Stewart, for whatever reason (satire, politics, his profound sense of Enochlophilia?) decided to hold a Rally to Restore Sanity. 

This guy clearly supports my Sandwich/Quasi-Sandwich division 

Eventually after a few discussion amongst friends, the idea of driving to Washington to attend the rally starting picking up steam. The drive through  three states would no doubt give me an opportunity to examine a small piece of Sandwich Americana. 

Stop #1:  Williamsport Pennsylvania, Joey's Place

Williamsport is the home of Little League Baseball and a town with a profound love of the Hoagie Sandwich. The Hoagie Sandwich is but one of many names for that loveable submarine Sandwich concept (others include:  grinder (New England), hero (NY), filled roll (NZ),  a Wedge (Yonkers). 

I ordered a Cheesesteak and an Italian Hoagie to split with my enthusiastic Sandwich pal Steve: 

The Cheesesteak was pretty good. I got it with provolone (once again trying to save my first Whiz-Wit until I make cheesesteak Alliyah to Philly) 

The steak was finely chopped and had the commensurate levels of beefiness that one should expect from Ribeye. The bun was nice and fluffy, almost to a wonder-bread level, and was served warm but not toasted. 
The meat was not overstuffed, and each bite had a nice inter-mixture of Steak, Provolone and onions. 

The real start of the day though was the Hoagie. When Steve ordered his Assorted Hoagie (salami and ham)  he was asked if he "wanted it in the garden?"   (Pennsylvania Sandwich talk for tomatoes, onions and lettuce)... naturally Steve went for it. 

The bread had  a good exterior crunch while maintaining form. The onions and fresh peppery tomatoes gave a very nice offset to the meats. While the meats felt like they were of the processed kind, I certainly still enjoyed them. I feel like there is a time for artesian gooseberry-fed hams and salamis and there is a time for Boar's Head meats.. this was the latter. 
My half of this Hoagie was scarfed down at a alarmingly quick rate. 

Another Sandwich Biographical ("ASB") note is that in this part of Pennsylvania, Ranch Dressing is seemingly king and is an accompaniment for most everything. 

Another satisfied customer

Overall Judgment: 8/10 Pennsylvania Ranch Opas. 

Stop #2: Chat-A-Whyle, Bath NY 

After spending roughly 20 hours in the car over 72 hours, we are ill in need of a freshening up, so we decided to stop in Bath NY (I can hear your groans over the internet)

This place felt like the quintessential American diner. The restaurant features home-style foods like Country Fried Steak, Pot Roast meatloaf and a generous dollop of good old-fashioned hospitality. 

Since we were in upstate NY, I figured I'd order another Beef on Weck (for more info on the Beef on Weck click here).

Unfortunately the Kummelweck bun was far inferior to the ones at Schwabl's. At Schwabl's I got hit with by a fantastic kind of saltiness.  This just seemed like a Kaiser with a few caraway seeds. 

The roast beef felt tepid and uninspired. I had to pour almost the entire container of Au Jus to get something sufficiently moist.  

While I definitely enjoyed the experience at Chat A Wyle, on my next visit I am much more likely to check myself as opposed to wecking myself. 

Overall Judgment:
5.5/10 Opas