Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I have traveled many miles back east in time for the holidays, and while I enjoy the season here in the freezing cold, I figured I would find some amazing sandwiches on the other side of the country.
The work of a true sandwichologist never ends.
This week, in my trek East, I stopped in State College, PA...home of THE Penn State.
I had to throw a bit of a plug in there, didn't I?
Settling in at local favorite, The Deli Restaurant, I looked through their menu, deciding which would be the first sandwich I reviewed back east. Every option on the menu sounded delicious, but one stood out the most to me: The Pastrami Reuben.
Yes, I know. I review these types of sandwiches a lot. But there's a reason, well two: 1.) they're my favorite and 2.) when made properly, they can be phenomenal.
This was hands down, the best pastrami reuben I have had since beginning this blog. I don't have a single complaint about it.
It's really your standard reuben, with sauerkraut, melted swiss cheese and rye bread, but instead of corned beef, pastrami takes center stage.
The pastrami was was a beautiful color of dark read with black edges. It tasted sweet and savory at the same time. Still warm from the kitchen, it practically fell apart in my mouth.
The sauerkraut had its usual pungent aroma and matched well with the smoky swiss cheese. But one of the most impressive aspects of this sandwich was the bread.
Your typical toasted rye bread for a reuben, except it did something not so typical.
It didn't fall apart.
It was a double decker sandwich, with toasted rye in the middle, and even that bread was able to handle the weight of these three ingredients without disintegrating or even becoming mushy. I was impressed, and this most of all ranks this sandwich near the top. Too many times my Reuben experience leaves me picking up pieces near the end because the bread has moved on to sandwich heaven. But not this time.
It was delicious, plain and simple. The person who made this deserves a hearty handshake.
So the next time you're heading to Penn State, or traveling across the beautiful state of Pennsylvania, make sure you stop in at the Deli Restaurant and order the Pastrami Reuben.
You will not be disappointed.
**** 1/2 Stars
113 Heister Street
State College, PA
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I have been taking a number of sandwich excursions over the past few months, and even with this feat, I am still up to my neck in recommendations. Regardless, please keep the suggestions flowing in!
Out of those suggestions, one of the most highly recommended places has been 8oz Burger Bar in Los Angeles.
With a name like that, how can you turn it down?
For my first visit to 8oz Burger Bar, I had the delicious Short Rib Grilled Cheese, and this time at least real ribs were used to make this sandwich (refer to last week's blog on the McRib). Even though the burger selection seems phenomenal, how could I turn down the promise of short ribs on a sandwich?
The ribs are marinated and then slow roasted until they practically fall of the bone. They are then roughly chopped and piled high upon this sandwich. Tender, fully flavored, and delicious, you'd wish there were more on this sandwich, even though it seems like there is enough rib meat on here to feed a full summer bbq.
Onion marmalade and Bel Paese cheese are mixed nicely together with the ribs. The onion marmalade provides a slight sweet flavor to complement the spice marinated ribs.
The cheese on this sandwich was one I had never tried before. Bel Paese is a semi-soft Italian cheese that has a light buttery flavor. It melts very well and is sometimes used as a substitute for mozzerella. So if you've tried mozzerella you'll have a good ideas as to how this Bel Paese fits with this sandwich. No other cheese really would have worked as well with this sandwich. It had the an excellent light flavor that didn't take away from the delicious short ribs.
After eating, one question popped into my mind: Was this in fact a grilled cheese?
I've discussed this numerous times before with people about whether or not adding ingredients to a grilled cheese will still technically make it a grilled cheese.
So I offer this to you: If the cheese is the main ingredient to the sandwich, then yes it is a grilled cheese (e.g. adding a slice of avocado to the grilled cheese sandwich). In the case of this sandwich though, the short ribs would be the dominant ingredient and hence should be considered a "melt" even though the cheese is plentiful.
Regardless, it is an excellent sandwich and you should either give 8oz Burger Bar a try, or find a similar sandwich in your area to compare.
Lastly, before I head out onto the hunt for next week's sandwich, a note for all of you East Coast Readers! I will be visiting Philadelphia and Washington DC for the holidays and will be looking for numerous places to sample sandwiches there. Please leave a comment with your suggestions so that I have a plethora of options while visiting.
Until next week readers, happy sandwiching!
Short Rib Grilled Cheese
8oz. Burger Bar
7661 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Have you had enough time to digest last week's offering?
Because this week we will tackle a cult favorite sandwich, and a personal favorite of mine: The McRib.
Ah, the McRib.
For the longest time, the mythical sandwich was only offered for short periods of time, and sometimes only in select markets. But after the last appearance, McDonalds has decided to make it a full fledged, official member of its menu.
But, you've seen this before right? A wild and crazy sandwich offered by a fast food chain (The Double D-A-M-N 5/26/2010) that has some sort of cult following, whether real or imaginary. But the question again becomes: is it any good?
I've been one of the people on the McRib sandwich since I first tasted it back in the early 2000s. I'd quickly jump out ot a McDonalds to get one whenever it was released (it was college, okay?). And my love for it, and it's limited availablity led me to giving this pork-hybrid patty the nickname 'Unicorn Meat".
Probably also because I didn't really want to know what it was made of, and Unicorn meat was surprisingly less disgusting than what it was more than likely made of.
But is the McRib something that I would still enjoy?
For those of you who have never seen the actual sandwich, the patty has been molded into a rib rack shape, deep fried, and covered in BBQ sauce.
It honestly looks like something that should not exist.
And yet it does.
I have seen all of the new commercials, advertising a tangy BBQ experience with fresh onions and pickles. It got me excited because the one fast food sandwich I always remember enjoying had returned, and this time for good.
Sadly, the sandwich no longer lived up to my astronomical expectations, for a number of reasons.
One, the patty was bland. One of the most bland things I have ever tasted. No tangy BBQ flavor, no flavor at all actually.
I mean, how do you fry something and not have at least a "fried" flavor?
Secondly, the onions were raw and chopped, as if they should have been grilled, but someone forgot to do that part (which may in fact be the case).
The roll was the only positive thing here, and even that was a stretch. Light and fluffy, it may be the only thing that even offered a semblance of flavor.
So what happened between my last McRib experience and my last one? Had my taste buds changed for the better? Had it never tasted good to begin with? Or had McDonalds simply dropped the ball and offered a less than sub-par experience.
Either way, this is a sandwich you can skip without worry.
If I have to tell you where to get this, there is something wrong.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
This place had the look that said "we make a killer Pastrami" and so my internal Sandwich Radar (...Sandar?) urged me to order it.
When it arrived I was hit in the face with a delicious smelling sandwich. There wasn't much competition for my nasal attention in this place when I was there, but still it was noticeable.
The rye bread was lightly crisped and held up over time with eating. The problem with a properly made Pastrami is that the bread can't always hold everything together until the end. Sometimes, the cheese and sauerkraut can make the bread weak, mushy, and unusable by the end. Not the case here. It held the test of time, and was delicious.
The pastrami was perfectly cooked. It fell apart with every bite, and was full of that spiced flavor. The problem with a pastrami sandwich is the cooking time. Sometimes the meat isn't fully done (or it could be a lower quality) and you're left with meat that is still full of fat, making it too tough or chewy.
The sauerkraut and cheese blended very well together and didn't weaken the bread, much to my relief. For those not keen to sauerkraut though, you may be turned off by this pastrami sandwich specifically because it is absolutely loaded. It seemed to take up more space on the sandwich than the meat. Even with this though, the taste didn't overpower or conceal the pastrami.
My first experience with Art's was definitely a positive one. The atmosphere brought me back to late nights in diners of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, while the sandwich brought me back to the experience of the best pastrami sandwiches I've had in the past.
So that's it for this week, dear readers. But before I go, what bugs you the most about pastrami sandwiches (if you even eat meat)? I'm curious if the downfalls of pastrami sandwiches is universal.
Until we meat again, dear readers!
12224 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
No, today's entry is to announce something very special.
I've been mentioning our new mascot for the last two weeks, and I am very pleased to introduce him to you now.
He's equally delicious and badass. He tastes like harmless Pastrami, but could take you down with Clint Eastwood style fury.
Many thanks to reader Charlene Cowler for her numerous great designs. It was very hard to whittle them down to this one, and I hope you are all pleased with the decision.
Because very soon, I will be having promotional giveaways of buttons, business cards, and even t-shirts. So stay tuned to find out how to earn some DANGERous Swag.
Until next week, Readers, when i'll be back with another exciting Sandwich Review.
Tell your tastebuds I said hello.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
This time, my adventures took me to a corner bakery in Ocean Beach: Charlie's Best Bread. A little shop on a street corner with a very small town square feel. I liked the atmosphere of the neighborhood, but would this highly recommended shop make waves with me this week?
Walking into the shop, I was overwhelmed by the smell of bread. Every bit of bread used in this place was freshly baked that day.
After spending a significant amount of time narrowing down to one sandwich from a seemingly endless list of deliciousness, I settled on the pastrami sandwich.
Ah the pastrami sandwich. My friend, and sometimes my biggest letdown.
For me, when there is a sandwich you revere so much, one that truly possesses the talents to achieve the status of Danger Sandwich, it is all the more disheartening to find one that is a let down.
First and foremost, the positives: The bread really was spectacular. A rye bread that was incredibly fresh, and doughy, with a perfectly even rye flavor It really showed that this had been hand crafted by someone who worked there and not delivered in a bag by some unknown megaconglomerate.
Although, I still feel as though it could have been better for the sandwich overall if it had been toasted.
This sandwich had two types of cheese: swiss and bleu cheese. Both excellent choices. The swiss with its smooth and mild flavor played well with the pungent dry taste of the bleu cheese. I enjoyed these two so much that I didn't even taste the pastrami at all.
No, really, seriously. You couldn't taste the main attraction at all.
I had to tear a piece off of the sandwich just to be able to taste it.
And I should have just left it alone. The meat wasn't bad, but wasn't great either. It lacked a definite taste and I could have been eating plain old ham for all I knew.
Maybe that's why they packed on so much cheese.
So, dear readers, I am asking you now for some recommendations for San Diego.
Have you ever been there? Have you heard of a great sandwich that needs to be tried out? Let me know, I'd like to hold onto hope that my next trip there will be devoid of subpar sandwich tastings.
Until next week!
Charlie's Best Bread
1110 Rosecrans St.
San Diego, CA 92106
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Last weekend I made my way down to San Diego to celebrate the marriage of two friends of mine (congrats Eric and Wendy), and like any true Sandwichologist, i used this excursion to seek our new delicious sandwiches far from my base of operations.
Scouring the internet for the word on the street, I happened to find stellar reviews on a place called the Brown Bag Deli.
The Brown Bag Deli is truly a local hot spot.
Because you seriously need to be a local to even know where this place is.
After driving back and forth a few times, it was finally spotted, tucked into a corner of a strip mall on an major street in Ocean Beach. The inside of the deli lacked windows and any flair. Obviously it needed no pizazz to attract locals.
A promising sign, indeed.
I ordered the Turkey Bacon Avocado Sandwich with the works on Foccacia bread. This sandwich was piled high with the fixings and was quite a challenge to even take the first bite.
Seems to be a pretty great sandwich already, right?
Well, let's discuss what went wrong.
The bread is really the main culprit here.
Focaccia should be a golden colored bread. Maybe even a slight crisp on the outside with a nice soft interior. It should be able to support a decent sandwich without being too tough.
The focaccia at Brown bad was still doughy. It's as if someone took it out of the oven ten minutes early. No golden color, no flavor, and practically raw. Disappointing at best.
The turkey was bland, a bit too moist, and too thickly cut for being deli meat.
The "works" were the only bright spot in this sandwich. Lettuce, onion, banana peppers, avocado, jalapenos, mustard, and mayo worked for this sandwich and really gave it the only life that the sandwich had.
If the turkey and bread had been better, this may have been a delicious sandwich, but sadly, it was not meant to be.
Next week though, I tackle another sandwich from my time in San Diego, so be sure to return for more DANGER!
Until next time...Dia De Los DANGER!
* 1/2 Stars
Brown Bag Deli
1912 Rosecrans Street
San Diego, CA 92106
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
** 1/2 Stars
Philly Cheesesteak Burger
and for your enjoyment...
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
In order to further my quest towards the elusive Danger Sandwich, this past weekend I decided to throw a dinner party where every guest would bring their own special sandwich to share with the group.
And I was lucky enough to be the judge.
The sandwiches ranged from Savory to Sweet, but everyone of them was delicious.
But since you were all not able to attend this delicious expedition into the soul of a good sandwich, I will provide you with a quick guide to our entrants and their sandwiches:
1.) Strawberry Morning (May Wong) - delightfully sweet, and refreshing. Perfect for breakfast. Whipped cream cheese, strawberry preserves and diced organic strawberries on a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel.
3.) Peanut Butter and Jelly Cooked (Mischelle Vreeman) - Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches pressed into hot pockets in a sandwich press. The Peanut butter and jelly mix so well together when warm.
4.) Bet On Black Turkey Sandwich (Nate Anderson) - Black Pepper Turkey, Pepper mayo spread, munster cheese, and alfalfa sprouts on toasted sourdough. An excellent blend of ingredients, and the sprouts add a nice contrast in flavor.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
There is something you should know:
Sometimes in life, when we are not even in search of the Danger Sandwich, a potential candidate will find you. Sometimes those instances can lead you to greatness, even when you don’t expect it.
Could this be ones of those surprises?
Recently while on a trip to
While not particularly special looking, I did enjoy the idea of some microbrews with great pub foods. I also needed a sandwich that would help me back into a state in which I could drive again.
And boy did I find a great pub sandwich. A wonderful BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich.
The BBQ pork had been cooked to perfection. The pork easily fell apart in my mouth and almost melted away.
The only detraction from the pork was the sauce. While it was delicious, smoky, a bit spicy and really an excellent pairing with the pork, there was just a little too much BBQ sauce added to the pork and the sandwich. Some bites were almost overpowering because of the strong flavor. A little less sauce would have been spot on.
The roll was very well prepared. Lightly grilled on the inside, It added quite a bit of support without being too tough. The problem that you can have with sandwiches like this is usually one of two things: 1.) the bread is too soft, and it falls apart because of the sauce and heavy filling; or 2.) the bread is too tough or thick and detracts from the tender insides.
This roll managed to walk the line between the two.
The side of garlic fries were an excellent addition to the sandwich as well. Crispy, golden brown on the outside with a soft and warm inside, these fries would be delicious on their own, but when you add a ton of grilled garlic on top, it can’t be beat.
Overall, the sandwich was delicious and was a nice reminder of the summer months on a cool autumn day. Is it worth driving the 40 minutes from
Until next time, FOLLOWERS OF DANGER!
*** ½ Stars
Red Car Brewery
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
This week's blog is the first of a DANGERous two part story.
As you may know, I've started to compare different cheesesteak restaurants as I discover more and more in my sandwich journeys. Inspired by this, I wanted to take on a rivalry that is very well known in Los Angeles: Which is the better french dip place? Philippe's or Cole's?
French dip sandwiches are incredibly popular in Los Angeles, and there is a restaurant serving them in every neighborhood in the LA Metro area, but these two downtown LA locations are the most popular, and for good reason.
Both Phillipe's and Cole's argue back and forth as to which was the first french dip place in Los Angeles. Whether or not you have proof to either side of the story, or even care which is the original, each place has their own diehard fans.
Before tackling the French Dip in Los Angeles, I had only eaten at Cole's.
So to see what the other side is talking about, I decided to take on a French Dip sandwich at Phillipe's and compare the two sandwiches. Phillipe's this week, Cole's next week.
Showing up at 6pm on a Saturday night, I was greeted with 4 lines to the front counter, each one stretched to the back wall. A cafeteria style setting with wood chips on the floor, this place looked like it hadn't been updated in 80 years.
But the decor is not the sandwich, and for this sandwich I ordered the Lamb French Dip with bleu cheese.
The lamb was delicious. Roughly chopped into delicious, flavorful, and moist chunks, this sandwich is packed with meat, and definitely will fill you up.
The bleu cheese isn't used sparingly either. My first bite filled my mouth with about half of a block of cheese. They top the meat with two thick slices of bleu cheese. As I've mentioned before, Bleu ranks highly with me just like feta and goat because of the texture and taste. It was an excellent choice for this sandwich. Pungent, dry, and creamy, it is the perfect choice for the succulent chunks of lamb.
The home-made mustard is an excellent condiment to use with this sandwich. Prepared in-house, it is blended with horseradish and is quite a kick if you use too much.
The roll was light, flaky on the outside, and doughy on the inside, a great combination for a french dip sandwich.
And speaking of which, here comes my one complaint.
Phillipe's dips the sandwich for you.
Yeah, that's right.
You don't get a separate cup of au jus to dip your sandwich in, and decide how much should be dipped, or not dipped.
A few problems arise from this.
1.) it could be dipped more than you want, creating too soggy of bread.
2.) it could be dry by the time you sit down if it's not dipped enough
3.) you can't choose how much you'd like to dip it.
Is this really a huge problem with the sandwich? Not entirely. I feel like I would enjoy the sandwich even if it wasn't French Dip, as the meat and cheese paired perfectly. But I do enjoy a French dip sandwich now and then, and I do like to dip and then not dip, depending on my mood.
Overall, this is truly a DANGERously delicious sandwich that should be on the list of any sandwich fans checklist.
But the eternal question: Is it better than Cole's?
Well dear reader, for that answer, you'll have to check back here next week.
Phillipe The Original Restaurant
1001 N Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
While combing through the Mummies exhibit with an oncoming sickness this weekend, I found a new oasis of Sandwichery on the USC Campus.
Following the directions to Sandwich Island, I must admit, I was lost for some time.
I stood outside of the address listed for Sandwich Island, but could only see an Asian Food stand. After pacing back and forth, and becoming increasingly worried that this highly recommended shop was no longer here, I looked inside and realized that Sandwich Island was truly an island: A small stand inside of a large cafeteria.
I am not one to make snap judgments, but I have to admit that at first I was a bit skeptical as to how DANGERous a sandwich in a campus cafeteria could be.
But how soon I was proven wrong.
My first sign that this was truly an amazing find? The Sandwichologist who worked here was incredible.
Without even thinking when asked which sandwich I should try, she sold me on the Turkey Avocado Sandwich, and watching her make it was quite fun. You could tell that not only had she been making sandwiches for awhile, but she enjoyed it and took pride in her creations.
Before she had even put the top half of the roll onto the sandwich, the contents stacked about 4 inches high, and were then beautifully pressed together into a nicely compact sandwich.
The sandwich is really dependent on what you want inside of it, since the only basics are turkey and avocado. I decided to go all out though and had pickles, onions, lettuce, and sprouts with spicy mustard.
I don't normally like tomatoes on my sandwich. I'm not sure how you feel dear readers, but I find that a lot of sandwich places tend to offer very mealy tomatoes of low quality. So I tend to pass on these.
The turkey was very fresh and full of flavor that is still very noticeable even with all of the extras on the sandwich.
The salad on top of the meat was also very fresh, especially the sprouts. I am a fan of earthy tasting raw vegetables in general, but specifically like them very much in a sandwich where they can add a nice contrast. If you've never had sprouts on a sandwich, you should consider adding them.
The avocado was also very fresh, creamy, and buttery. It actually might be one of the best avocados I've ever had, and there was plenty of it in the sandwich. The problem with an avocado is that with even the slightest period of exposure to air, it begins to oxidize and turn brown, making even the freshest avocado lose some of its subtle flavor in a short period of time. Not the case here though.
Before I could fully stand up from the table, my Sandwichologist asked me numerous questions about the taste of the sandwich, told me what she made daily, and what sides she handmade (the potato salad is made daily and is delicious). Truly a respectable lover of the Sandwich.
In conclusion, if you can make it down to the USC campus and find this hidden gem, you absolutely should. Reader beware though! During normal school hours, Sandwich Island, is packed more than a Sandwich Continent.
3333 S Hoover St # B,
Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The wraps combined all of the above ingredients, plus your choice of mild or hot pepper mash, and I have to say that either mash was an excellent addition to an already amazing offering from the Middle East by way of Berlin.
The meat is delicious and succulent. It falls apart in your mouth, is cooked evenly and not burnt, and is just a powerhouse of lamb-y goodness.
371 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Banh Mi My-Tho