Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Little Bit of Italy in a Town Called Burbank

Welcome back DANGERites, for another informative and provocative edition of The Danger Sandwich...

Just kidding! This blog is beyond DANGERous!

I know you were all a bit nervous that this search for the elusive Danger Sandwich had driven me mad, but fear not, as I have made it through another week of grueling taste testing, just for your benefit!

This week, on a recommendation, I headed out to Burbank to visit The Monte Carlo Deli and Pinocchio's Restaurant to taste a selection of fine Italian paninis and sandwiches.

I was recommended a few sandwiches to try, but something in my gut told me to take a more DANGERous route and try one of the daily specials: Capicola, Mozzarella, and Assorted Greens.

Let me interject here before giving my full review: Normally when experiencing a place that has been recommended to me, I like to try out that person's recommendation, because the sandwich is obviously noteworthy at said establishment. Sometimes though, I will buck the trend and go for something that has not been tried or tested. This is where true DANGER may lurk.

Well, not this time.

When I ordered, I should have known something was about to go wrong when I saw that the sandwich I had been given looked as if it had been sitting out for awhile.

The small Italian roll was excellent. Rich, thick, and a little tough, it definitely made the sandwich and contrasted well with the very soft insides.

The mozzarella was thickly cut, easy to chew, and despite being a little cool it still melted in my mouth. An excellent sign for such a thick cheese.

The capicola was the big let down of the afternoon. So much of it was packed into this sandwich, and yet so little taste or enjoyment followed. It seemed to lack all of the spices and subtle smoked flavor that it is known for, and I was left with bland deli meat.

Also, capicola is an incredibly thinly sliced type of meat from the shoulder or neck of a pig, and very similar to prosciutto. The problem when you have so much thinly sliced meat crammed together is that it comes off as mushy.

The fact that capicola can also be a very fatty meat didn't help either.

Even with the toughness of the bread and the greens adding some crispness, it's not enough to save the capicola from being a bit of a let down. I am curious to know if this could be remedied if it had been kept in the fridge while waiting for a seeker of DANGER, or if the sandwich had instead been made fresh for me.

High marks do go to the two side salads I had with the sandwich. Both the bean salad and pasta salad were excellent, and would normally be a good companion to any type of Italian deli meat sandwich.

Now don't let my review of this one sandwich deter you from Monte Carlo. It seems as if the Meatball subs or Sausage and Peppers sandwiches have a number of fans. Just make sure that whatever you get is freshly made.

Until next week! More DANGER awaits!

*** Stars
Monte Carlo Deli and Pinocchio's Restaurant
3103 W. Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91505

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Too Much Danger...Something Something...

Hello again dear seekers of DANGER!

I tried very hard for you to review a sandwich of delicious levels never experienced before by many humans, but sadly fate had other plans for me this weekend when my car died, unexpectedly cutting a road trip, in your honor, short.

To make up for this though, I decided to return to a place I had recently visited to have another of their highly recommended sandwiches.

With my previous experience at Porto's (Havana Sandwich, 2 weeks ago), I decided to try their steak sandwich, the Pan Con Bistec.

Marinated steak, grilled onions, potato sticks, tomatoes and garlic sauce on Cuban bread.

Sound DANGERous to you, dear readers?

Yeah, I thought so too. So let's get into why this sandwich was a complete letdown, especially compared to their superior Cubano sandwich.

First off, if the steak was marinated, I'm not quite sure it was marinated in because while the texture was good, the taste was almost non-existent. A very bland steak that had me thinking back to the deliciously full flavored Cubano.

It doesn't get much better after the steak either. The onions and tomatoes were cooked a little too long and their flavors had almost completely disappeared.

The garlic sauce had a smooth taste, not too strong, but just enough for a kick. Unfortunately, it was really the only flavor in this sandwich.

I think the best part of the sandwich was the potato sticks. They were a nice touch that added a great contrast in texture with a hearty crunch.

Lastly, the Cuban bread. I highly rated this bread while securing together the Cubano sandwich, but even with it being perfectly flaky and soft, it can't help the DANGERously un-delicious inside it cradles.

All in all, quite a letdown and something that should be avoided at Porto's.

I had real high expectations though after trying the Cubano, so maybe I was a bit biased. Still, if it's your first (or 10th) time to Porto's, I recommend hitting up the Cubano, and completely looking over the Pan Con Bistec.

You'll be thanking me...FOR DANGER!

* 1/2 Stars
Porto's Bakery
3614 Magnolia Blvd
Burbank, CA 91505

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Challenge To The Throne


We have a challenger stepping into the ring this week.

A sandwich that looks to topple one of the top rated sandwiches here at The Danger Sandwich.

Recently, I had a run in with the South Philly Experience, a food truck that stocks up on Herr's chips, Hank's colas, Tastykakes, and of course a variety of styles of cheesesteaks. But would this mecca of food from my home city be DANGERous enough to top the sandwich styling of South Street Steaks in Burbank?

Continue reading...IF YOU DARE!

To start, the roll is a true, flown in from philadelphia, Amoroso roll. But i have to admit, that something got lost at customs, because these rolls were a bit too doughy, heavy, and a little too chewy.

Definitely not fresh enough for my liking.

The steak is chopped up rib-eye, and it was amazing. I've never had a cheesesteak where the meat itself was so full of flavor. It's just a shame this was the only highpoint of the sandwich.
And that brings me to the cheese.

So i chose the provolone, since cheez wiz is an abomination to man, and boy did they get this essential part of the sandwich so wrong.

Instead of placing the cheese on top, and allowing it to melt down into the sandwich, effectively mixing it, the cheese was placed first on the roll.

Underneath the meat.

And so I was left with delicious steak on top of four slightly warm, but not melted, slices of cheese.

Also, the truck was out of tastykakes too. How'd anyone let that happen?

Overall, the excellently seasoned grilled steak was not enough to make up for the serious shortcomings of the rest of the sandwich. You tried South Philly Experience, you really tried, but it wasn't enough to become top cheesesteak in LA.

Until next time, DANGERites...

** 1/2 Stars
South Philly Experience

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Havana Sandwich

Good Morning, DANGERites.

You are in store for quite a delicious surprise this morning.

Something that even caught I, the great Sandwichologist, off guard.

I have always heard wonderful reviews of a place in Burbank called Porto's (also with a location in Glendale). And despite passing it numerous times on my way to downtown Burbank, I never stopped in to try it.

Well this time was different. I had a date with one of LA Magazine's top 17 sandwiches of Los Angeles: The Cubano.

When I first walked into the shop I must admit I was slightly stunned at the interior. This place is huge, bright, and very fancy looking. After taking the atmosphere of the place in, I ordered and took a seat by the window.

My waiter brought my sandwich, and for a moment, I stared at my next challenge: The Cubano. Made up of slow roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, butter, mayo/mustard, and pickles on Cuban bread. This is what people have raved about.

I took my first bite and I felt as if my tastebuds started a cha-cha-cha in my mouth.

It was a flavor explosion, and I loved it.

The slow roasted pork is of excellent quality. It's tender, juicy, and full of flavor. It had definitely been stewing for quite some time before being added to the sandwich.

Normally, I'm not much of a fan of ham (although bring on a number of other pork products), but I definitely enjoyed it on this sandwich. Working together with the full flavored pork, the ham added a nice, more subtler secondary flavor.

The bread was flaky and soft and complimented the contents very well. I feel if the bread had been thicker or heavier, a lot of the taste of the sandwich would have been lost. This bread allows the flavors to fully attack your tastebuds.

Now normally, I'm not much of a fan of Swiss cheese, but it really did add an excellent taste to the mix. Smooth, with a strong flavor, and perfectly melted on top of the meat, this was an excellent choice.

Top all of that off with a little mayo, a little mustard, and some dill pickle chips and you have the Cubano.

In place of fries, which would have weighed down this sandwich and not have been as enjoyable, Porto's added lightly fried banana slices. Thinner than normal banana chips, and sliced lengthwise, they were light, airy, and crispy. A perfect addition.

Danger fans, I know you trust me to be completely honest with you in my opinion.

You trust me to lead you in the direction of delicious sandwiches, and eventually to the sandwich which will be so DANGERous, as to take my own life away.

So believe me when I say that so far, this is one of the best sandwiches I've had for this blog. If you're in Los Angeles, you really need to try this. I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Until next time...DANGER!

**** 1/2 Stars
Porto's Bakery and Cafe
3614 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91505