Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eating My Way Through Portland, OR (Part 1 of 5)

The coolest logo ever.
Hello, Readers!

This past weekend, I made a trip up to the northwest for the first time since my 2009 trip to Seattle. This time I stopped in the city of Portland, Oregon, which is a city I've always wanted to visit since I fell in love with the northwest on my last trip. Coincidentally, this trip was also my last state on the West Coast to visit (and 31st overall).

But what is one to do in the city of Portland? Besides visiting a few historical and sightseeing spots, Portland is well known for its food and beer. Breweries and restaurants are on every corner, and it made the selection of sandwiches for this blog so difficult.

This may be why it'll be a five part series.

Prior to my trip, I had planned out a few spots that I wanted to visit and review for the blog, but today's entry came from a chance wandering through the north part of the downtown area. Passing by an awesome sign with a sickle and a hand holding a sandwich (akin to the former USSR logo), I decided I had to stop into The People's Sandwich of Portland.

Being drawn in by the awesome logo and posters outside, the first challenge of the weekend came in choosing which sandwich to eat. Each with its own cool name, I decided to go with the Hammer & Pickle.

Why you ask? The Hammer & Pickle is a cubano sandwich, and we all know how I feel about cubanos.

I frequently reference the cubano at Porto's in Burbank as being the top sandwich I have eaten since starting this blog, so this sandwich from TPSP had a lot to live up to.

The sliced ham and pork loin were grilled and joined with melted Swiss cheese, crisp pickles, homemade mustard (all condiments are made in house) and mayo (made with organic eggs) and pressed in a french roll on the grill.

The ham and pork loin were tender and delicious. The Swiss was melted throughout the sandwich lending a delicious smoky/savory flavor. I think one of the best surpsises in the sandwich came from the homemade mustard which reminded me a bit of horseradish with that slight burning feeling at the back of your nose.

Note: I love the taste and feeling of horseradish. It is always a good compliment, and that mustard-y feeling is present here in all its delicious glory.

So you stack all of these delicious ingredients into a french roll that's pressed on a grill with a crispy, flaky and golden outside with soft and fresh insides and you have...

The best cubano I have ever eaten. Hands down. All of the flavors blended together incredibly well and were each prominent on their own, contributing their portion of deliciousness.

Oh yeah, and they even threw in a tiny tootsie roll for after your sandwich.

Sorry Porto's of Burbank, you had an excellent run as the top sandwich of the blog, but I will now find other reasons to visit Portland, just to have this sandwich again.

Part 1 of my trip to Portland ended on an incredibly high note, could my other stops live up to the hype?

Until next week...

Hammer & Pickle
***** Stars
The People's Sandwich of Portland
53 NW 1st Street
Portland, OR

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Farewell Coffee Table, Farewell

Hey Readers.

I come to you this week to talk about the closing of a great local restaurant.

The Coffee Table in Silverlake closed its doors last week and the neighborhood will really miss this great little place that offered not only great breakfast foods, but coffee and of course, sandwiches.

Now, way back before my first post here on The Danger Sandwich, I visited The Coffee Table and ordered a Portobello Mushroom Burger that was supposed to be my first sandwich review. And it turns out I never used that sandwich for any review because I had started to visit so many other great places that I kept pushing The Coffee Table back into my "To Use If Necessary" file. Well now with the recent events, I figured why not use it?

I even scribbled down notes of the sandwich afterwards, just do I wouldn't forget when I finally got around to it.

For my first foray into the world of sandwich reviewing I decided to take the Portobello Mushroom sandwich for a ride and was pleasantly surprised. As I've noted in the past about the problems of cooking mushrooms, you can easily turn a delicious and perfectly ripe mushroom into mush with just a second too long on the grill, but this managed to do it just right.

Ah heck, enough about the sandwich.

The best part about this place is that it was an excellent local place to gather and enjoy the scenery and chat with friends. With a covered outdoor patio and a very cool indoor coffee shop vibe, this place had it all, and was in a very cool neighborhood.

It's always a shame to see a place like this go, and especially what it was going for.

Apparently the developers that will be working with the property plan to turn the area into a building of condos and a small retail area to accompany it.

What an odd addition to a neighborhood that is anything but condos and high profile retail centers.

Until next week, Readers! Leave me a comment telling me about your favorite local place to eat, drink or catch up with friends.

Portabella Mushroom Sandwich
*** Stars
The Coffee Table
2930 Rowena Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90039

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fair Food Is Fun Food

Hello Readers!

This past weekend, I ended up visiting one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon at the end of summer: The LA County Fair.

Besides walking around and enjoying my time at the fair, my favorite part  is the food. I will eat anything that a fair provides as long as it's fried or covered in some sort of chocolate or barbecue sauce. Which is practically everything.

So of course, after hearing about an incredible new treat making the rounds at SoCal fairs, the first thing that I ate was not a sandwich. It was Deep Fried Kool Aid.

I know what you're thinking: How do you deep fry a liquid? The Kool Aid powder is mixed with water and flour to make a thick pancake-like substance which is then scooped out and dropped into the deep fryer. The finished product is a slightly cherry flavored cake donut hole topped with powdered sugar. Delicious.

Now like I said, with so many different types of food available at the fair, it was hard to finally settle on a sandwich to eat, but eventually I decided on a BBQ beef sandwich from one of the wood fire grills located across from the race track.

The sandwich was delicious. The beef was roughly chopped and had an incredibly smoky flavor and had been smoked for so long that it just fell apart in my mouth.

The barbecue sauce that was layered on top of it was tangy, peppery and full of smoky barbecue flavor and was almost overwhelming, but paired with a cool refreshing coke, it was downright enjoyable.

Now the bread was just a standard roll, but let's give it a round of applause, because despite the pound of barbecued meat and gallon of sauces piled on top of it, this thing held together until the end without so much as threatening to fall apart.

All in all, I'd rule this fair visit a true success, and the real winner here is, well...not my stomach or cholesterol levels, but hey, that's why we can't go the fair every weekend.

Or can we....

BBQ Beef Sandwich
*** 1/2 Stars
LA County Fair

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Challenge To The Throne

deliciousness in a red basket

Welcome back this week Dear Readers!

This week I was back on the hunt for the best cheesesteak in Los Angeles and this time I was taken to the top competitor of my favorite cheesesteak in the city.

Heading towards Burbank one evening, I stopped in at Philly's Best on Olive Ave. The inside of the shop is plastered with photos of Philadelphia and plenty of sports paraphernalia including pennants for each of the four major sports teams in town.

But with all of the mementos of my home town, could the sandwich live up to the praise I've heard? Even more, could it live up to the standards I have set from eating at South Street Steaks (only a half mile away) so often?

I ordered the Philly's Best sandwich since that had cheese, mushrooms and sweet peppers piled high on top of the sandwich. My first concern hit me fairly quickly as when I received my sandwich and saw that the cheese was on the bottom.

Not again. Really? Here's another sandwich with a cold hunk of cheese in my mouth on top of hot steak.

But oddly enough, they fully melted the cheese before adding it to the sandwich. They must have cooked the cheese on top of the steak instead of simply adding cold sliced cheese to the roll before steak (looking right at you South Street Experience truck.)

With the cheese melted and the deliciously fresh, flaky and soft inside of a true Amoroso roll, It was time to critique the rest of the sandwich.

The mushrooms were perfectly cooked and popped in my mouth. Mushrooms can be truly difficult to cook right. One second too long and they're soft, mushy waste. But if you get it right, they're firm, juicy and pop when you bite into them. The sweet peppers were good, but didn't add as much flavor as the mushrooms.

Now the steak....the steak was delicious. Full of flavor, not dry, tender, and absolutely delicious.

This sandwich is a close runner to South Street, and truthfully may top that sandwich as the King of LA cheesesteaks for the moment. There is a big difference though between the two shops in that South Street has a lot more tvs for viewing Philly sports games, and tends to play all Phillies and Eagles game, while when I was at Philly's Best, the two tvs were playing Tim Burton's 'Batman' and a college football game.

An easily remedied problem.

If you hit up Philly's Best in Burbank one time, which I highly suggest, also make sure to look for my photo on their wall of Philly friends. I'm sure I'll be up there soon enough with how much I'll be frequenting this spot.

Until next week Readers....

Philly's Best Cheesesteak
**** 1/2 Stars
Philly's Best
1419 W. Olive Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91506