Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One Year of Sandwiches

Greetings readers!

There is much to celebrate this week because it is one year since my journery to find THE DANGER SANDWICH has begun.

It's amazing that something that combined my desire to jumpstart writing again and my intense love for sandwiches, has lasted a year.

I have to thank all of you readers, because without you, this would not be possible.

And so to celebrate this achievement, I headed down to San Diego to watch my favorite baseball team dismantle the Padres.

Oh, and I ate a lot of ballpark food.

The hot dogs, chicken wings, fries, and beer were all excellent, but the true winner came after the Phillies had finished their sweep, and the Flyers sent it to game seven. The true winner was the Hopping Pig Burger at The Hopping Pig in the Gaslamp District.

The burger patty is a mix of ground beef and pork and was stacked with cognac mushrooms, pepper jack cheese, caramelized mushrooms, and roasted bell pepper aioli.

For the patty, all I have to say is wow. I mean seriously. The meat was juicy (I ordered it medium rare), full of flavor, and It truly was an amazing burger patty, and the ground pork adds a great bit of flavor to compliment the beef.

The mushrooms were a bit of a concern going into this sandwich, but I have to say they ended up being amazing. They were cooked perfectly, popping in my mouth when I bit down on them, and with a slightly sweet flavor from the cognac they were cooked in. Definitely a treat. The caramelized onions worked well with the mushrooms and both added a great contrast in flavor to the intense flavor of the burger patties.

The pepper jack cheese was melted thoroughly, and thoroughly delicious on top of the patty, and the roasted bell pepper aioli was another excellent choice in flavor contrast.

All told, the burger patty combined for a delicious experience, and one I would love to partake in again on my next trip to San Diego, and should definitely be on your radar if you ever head there for a nice weekend vacation.

Until next time readers, have a piece of cake and help me celebrate one year of THE DANGER SANDWICH!

The Hopping Pig Burger
**** 1/2 Stars
The Hopping Pig
734 5th Avenue
Sand Diego, CA 92101

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Delicious Revelations

Welcome back Dear Readers!

A lot has happened over the past week, and most notable of the bunch is that the look of this blog has changed. I thought adding a delicious looking burger to the background here would drive home the idea of the ever-present, yet still elusive, DANGER SANDWICH so much better.

Also, The Danger Sandwich Twitter account is growing. If you haven't started to follow me yet, you should get on that train right over here.

Now, onto the sandwich...

Prior to my sandwich expedition this week, I was on a hike through the old LA Zoo ruins. It's pretty amazing to see the fixtures and cages still up (sans bars) and you're able to check out their interiors. It's amazing how small some of the cages actually were.

Following this adventure, I made my way to Burbank and was looking for someplace to eat, and lo and behold, I stumbled upon the Corner Bakery.

Yes, I went to a chain restaurant, and originally, I didn't think I would even review this sandwich.

So why am I?

Because this sandwich actually got me really thinking about this blog as a whole, and put these sandwiches into perspective.

With next week's blog marking one year since I began this little adventure I've been thinking about what I've learned about my desire for sandwiching., and I've mentioned before that part of the fun in doing it is the experience of the atmosphere and the company with which I sandwich (say that five times fast).

But I also think it's something more, and this relates to the reason why my chain restaurant sandwiches have been somewhat...lacking.

And as I took another bite into my Grilled Reuben Panini from Corner Bakery, I realized that it's not just the sandwich, not just the atmosphere, not just the experience. It's also the little glimpse of local culture that you get with each bite.

Whether it's the Philly Cheesesteak or the French Dip or the Cubano, each one of these sandwiches is an enlightening experience that shows you a glimpse of local culture.

And that is fascinating to me.

Just like exploring a bit of lost local culture in your own backyard, a sandwich can enlighten you to a part of your own city that you never knew about.

Oh and this sandwich in particular? Grilled caraway rye bread, with lean corned beef, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing.

The sandwich was good, but it was missing that little extra something.

Until next week, Readers...

*** Stars
Grilled Reuben Panini
Corner Bakery Cafe

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You Say Panini, I Say...Panini.

Greetings Dear Readers!

There is much to talk about before I even delve into this week's delicious sandwich.

First of all, I am now on Twitter, so if you haven't already started following me, you definitely should, as I'll be updating quite often. You can add me here.

Secondly, I will soon have t-shirts available for sale, as well as giveaways as prizes for helping to promote the website. So keep your eyes peeled for those to start showing up.

And thirdly, this blog is quickly approaching its 1 year anniversary, and to celebrate that, I will be updating the look of the blog, so don't be surprised if you sign on one week to see everything's changed up a bit. Don't worry, it'll still be the same ol' delicious blog.

Now, onto this week's sandwich...

I had always passed Crave Cafe at the corner of Ventura and Van Nuys, as I usually pass there on my way home, or if I'm heading to this excellent record shop in Sherman Oaks. Despite this, I never stopped in to try it.

I decided this week would be different. Stepping into this dimly lit valley cafe, I took my time examining the menu until I found something that really caught my eye. The Pastrami panini sounded amazing, but I went for the Turkey Panini instead.

I ordered the Turkey Panini and it was absolutely delicious. Packed between golden toasted ciabatta bread, the turkey panini is packed full of sliced turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, olive, and for my cheese, I chose mozzarella.

There was a wide selection of cheese to be had, but mozzarella seemed to be the best sounding choice for this sandwich. Although, now looking back on it, provolone could have worked as well. Regardless, there was just the right amount on this sandwich, adding to the sandwich without being too gooey or overflowing with melted cheese.

The sprouts gave this sandwich an excellent interior crunch. They were very fresh and gave the sandwich a delicious earthy flavor to this savory sandwich.

The turkey was packed high in the sandwich and it was absolutely delicious. A little thicker cut than I am used to in a panini, this smoked turkey was a standout flavor amongst all the competing deliciousness throughout.

The bread was also a clear winner here. the ciabatta was grilled to perfection, leaving dark brown grill marks with golden baked bread on the side. The sandwich perfectly sealed, and stayed together all the way until the last bite. I really couldn't ask for anything more from bread.

Overall readers, this was a delicious investigation gone right. I highly suggest a stop at Crave Cafe if you're in the Sherman Oaks area. It's also open 24 hours every day except for Sunday, so there's no excuse to miss out on this sandwich.

Until next week...

**** Stars
Turkey Panini
Crave Cafe
14504 Ventura Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91403

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hometown Hero

Greeting Dear Readers!

It's baseball season, if you hadn't heard yet, and because of that I've decided to celebrate the return of one of my favorite pitchers to my home town team with a delicious sandwich of my own.

So in order to celebrate Cliff Lee's return to the Philadelphia Phillies, I decided to throw a party where we would watch the game, and I would be the sandwich maker under scrutiny.

For this party, I made my own cheesesteaks.

Now I've reviewed a few cheesesteaks from around Los Angeles, from the great to the abysmal. I've also eaten enough in my life that I know what I like and dislike on a sandwich.

So for starters, this sandwich will not include cheez-wiz

For the steaks, I grabbed up a bunch of Steak-umms from Ralph's and gave each sandwich 3 slices.

Off to the side of the cooking steaks, I had two different pans running: one with onions and peppers grilling in a little bit of olive oil, and the second with chopped baby bella mushrooms also in a drop of olive oil.

The problem really becomes co-ordinating the three pans at first. Mushrooms cook very fast and have a very small window of being perfect. A second too long and they're overdone.

When the steaks were just about done cooking, I added the mushrooms, onions, and peppers on top, and the laid down three slices of provolone cheese (i.e. not wiz) and let it melt for a few seconds before stacking it in the roll.

As a surprise ingredient, I had fries cooking in the oven which I then generously added to my sandwich. Taking cues from Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh, I thought I'd take a shot at this, and it turned out to be welcome addition. Try it next time you make your own at home.

My only regret with the sandwich was the bread. I searched around for good steak rolls, and then even good sourdough rolls but could not find any last minute as I prepared for the game. The rolls I had were somewhat fluffy on the inside, with poppy seeds on the outside. They weren't bad, but could have been a lot better had I time to look at another store.

So, whether you enjoy baseball or not, I highly suggest you try your hand at creating this sandwich in your own home. For me, it reminds me of growing up in a wonderful town that loves its people, its teams, and its history.

Until next time, Dear Readers...