Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Double D-A-M-N

Now in my original post here at The Danger Sandwich, I noted that one of my criteria for a "sandwich" was that it was composed of two slices of bread with some sort of filling in between those slices. This is one of those entries in which we have to bend the rules a little bit.

The KFC Double Down. Damn.

You've seen the commercials: A bunch of post-college frat boys talking about how a traditional sandwich is not good enough for them. That they need more "meat" and they just end up buying two sandwiches instead of just cutting back and not being so gluttonous.

So the geniuses at KFC have listened to this core audience and crafted a "sandwich" composed of two boneless fried chicken breasts surrounding two slices of bacon, two slices of pepper jack cheese, and a special sauce that I like to refer to as "Unicorn Blood". Sadly, "unicorn blood" makes me feel more comfortable than saying "special sauce".

Now, onto the taste.

Does it taste bad?

Honestly, no.

I mean, have you ever had the fried crispy strips box meal from KFC? You're eating more chicken than in the Double Down. And really, it's not even that messy for all that's between the chicken.

I think what makes the sandwich seem disgusting is the fact that a bunch of food is assembled in an edible pile.

Remember the KFC Famous Bowls?

Next Thanksgiving, pour all of your food into a bowl, mash it together, microwave it a day later, and then eat it. Same thing.

So in the end, is the Double Down bad?


But it's not good either.

And at 540 calories, 32 grams of fat, 1380mg of sodium and 51 grams of protein, it's not good for you either.

So if you're up for the challenge, or just really curious, go and grab yourself a Double Down.

Before the FDA realizes what's being sold.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cleveland does, in fact, rock.

The life of a Sandwichologist is not an easy one. Sometimes you are required to leave your area of comfort and head off into the great wide open in search of elusive sandwiches that may be ripe with DANGER.

For my first adventure away from Los Angeles, I decided to make a stop at Melt Bar & Grilled in Cleveland, OH (note: technically it's Lakewood).

Now this being my first time to Cleveland, I had no idea what deliciousness lay in hiding from me. Thank you to reader, Melanie for the suggestion.

Upon arriving at Melt, I was greeted by a half hour wait to be seated. But trust me, if you're ever in Cleveland, the wait is worth it, so mark this down on your GPS.

The menus are almost overwhelming at first. Printed on the back of old LPs, there are quite a lot of variations of grilled cheese sandwiches and melts to take in. Thankfully, with the King on the back of my menu, I picked "The Winter Chicken Melt" which contains grilled chicken, honey tomato chipotle sauce, and pepper jack on toasted sourdough bread.

I feel like i should take a moment to explain something about my sandwich preferences.

Sourdough is my absolute favorite type of bread. Nothing tops it. Yes, rye is good in certain situations, and challah has its moments as well, but nothing is as delicious as well made sourdough.

Seriously, if you gave me a sandwich on Sourdough, we could have Northridge (the famed 6.7 magnitude 1994 earthquake) Part 2, and as my apartment collapsed around me i would blissfully munch away on its deliciousness.

That being said, this sandwich had the most perfectly grilled, lightly buttered sourdough. It got your fingers a little greasy when you picked the sandwich up, but not too overpowering to make the taste overpowering.

The chicken has been lightly grilled, and is incredibly tender and very juicy. After it's been cooked, it is bathed in a very light honey tomato chipotle sauce. While chipotle can sometimes be overpowering, and even too spicy for some people, this sauce is a smooth smokey flavor that adds a nice bit of pep to the sandwich. Top it all off with melted pepper jack and you have one delicious melt.

If you get the chance to go to Melt, i also highly recommend the fries (perfectly crisp and lightly seasoned) and the sweet slaw (cole slaw...but sweet).

That's it for this edition of The Danger Sandwich oh faithful followers. Speaking of which, if you're reading this, and haven't clicked the "Follow" Button the left, please do so!

And keep your suggestions coming, I'll be following up with more of them in the coming weeks.

Melt Bar & Grilled
14718 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, OH 44107

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On the hunt...FOR DANGER

For the second sandwich review, I've decided to take the first of many suggestions passed on to me.

The Italian Beef Panini at Masa in Echo Park.


The first thing to note of this sandwich is the bread, which is absolutely amazing. Golden brown on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside. This place is worth visiting just for the bread alone.

But it's not quite a sandwich with only the bread, now is it?

The sandwich consists of thinly sliced delicious roasted Italian beef, Scala's Authentic Hot Giardiniera and melted Swiss cheese. Served with a dill pickle spear and fries. The beef is smooth with a mild flavor that blends well with the mild melted Swiss.

While the sandwich is delicious, most of this DANGEROUS mission can be a bit mild. Thankfully,the Giardiniera add a great kick to the sandwich that contrasts with the tender beef and creamy cheese blend.

Giardiniera, by the way, are a type of Italian or Italian-American relish of pickled vegetables in vinegar or oil. Giardiniera are available as either mild or hot. In this case, pickled serrano peppers are used, which end up having a very similar taste to standard banana peppers.

While I do recommend trying this panini if you enjoy roast beef, the number of other paninis available seem to worth a try. I hear you can't go wrong with any of them.

Looking for fun after you finish at Masa? Catch a show at the Echo, a dance party at the Echoplex, or grab a drink one block down at Taix. Any of these options would be a satisfying way to end your night.

Keep the suggestions and comments coming!

Masa of Echo Park
1800 West Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 989-1558

As a side note, my sister Christine has graduated from college this week, so I wanted to congratulate her publicly for all the excellent work she's done to get this far! Good job Christine!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review #1

The first step into any adventure is always the most difficult.

And so I sat and thought last week, what should be the first sandwich to start my new blog with?

I do know a number of great places in the valley that could keep this blog going for a year without a problem, let alone shops and restaurants in the rest of LA.

No, this first sandwich had to be something that has a place very close to my heart. Something that I know I can easily write about and can promote people to go run out and get themselves this sandwich.

I've decided to write about the cheesesteak.

And not just any old cheesesteak. A sandwich from South Street Steaks in Burbank, CA to be exact.

South Street Steaks in Burbank is owned by two Philadelphia transplant producers who wanted to be able to get a great steak sandwich whenever they wanted, despite being 3000 miles away from home. The inside of the shop is madeup of red brick walls, plasma screens playing any Philadelphia sports on them (or lakers if you feel like asking), and dining tables covered in Inquirer articles of yesteryear.

How can your dining experience get better? Eat a sandwich on an old article about the 1980 Phils defeated the Royals for their first WS title ever, that's how.

The sandwiches are prepared the same way they would be if you had stumbled into Jim's or Geno's or Pat's or Steve's or whatever your neighborhood place is back in Philly. The rolls are 100% true Amoroso, flown out from Philadelphia weekly, lightly baked in an over to give a bit of crisp to the outside while keeping the inside dough warm and fluffy The steaks are chopped finely, and can be fried up alongside green peppers and onions if you choose.

As for cheese. this is where most people separate into two different camps. Wiz or no Wiz?

Personally, I think Cheeze Wiz is the most disgusting thing ever concocted. Even more so than the mankini. You take a packet of "cheese" powder, add water to it, and then you're supposed to top my cheesesteak with it?

Epic Fail.

When I go to South Street Steaks, my typical order is: with cheese (american or provolone), peppers and onions, and to complete the combo, the best fries in the area. I'll sometimes even take a hot pepper mash to top it off instead of ketchup. It's enough to give the sandwich a bit of a spicy kick and add some delicious flavoring to the mix.

For the sandwich itself, I have honestly never tasted a more succulent, and flavorful steak sandwich in my entire existence. Now I know this may seem like a total fabrication for people still living back east, but hear me out. I've tried cheesesteaks in numerous places around the east coast, and all of them were sad knockoffs of the real thing.

But this sandwich is the perfect substitute for being so far from my original neighborhood shop. I've already converted numerous east coast visitors and transplants to the delicious sandwiches here, so they've got to have something going with them.

As for the fries: perfectly golden crispy outsides, with warm fluffy insides, and covered in a spicy seasoning are the perfect match for this delicious sandwich while watching any of the Philadelphia sports teams kick ass on a Sunday afternoon.

As a side note, you can also order tastykakes and water ice here as well.

If you live in Los Angeles, this is seriously a not-to-be-missed stop. You probably know someone from Philadelphia (most likely me), and this person has most likely told you about cheesesteaks ( I have), and if not, you've heard about this marvel of Philadelphian engineering before. This sandwich is definitely worth a shot if you've ever been curious; or if you're a transplant, it's the perfect place to satisfy those cravings for a hot, delicious bit of home.

***** - 5 stars
South Street Steaks
117 North Victory Blvd
Burbank, CA