Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Twelve Days of Sandwiching

Greetings, Readers!

I hope that the holiday season has left you in high spirits without completely bankrupting your wallet.

Because otherwise, how would you afford even the most inexpensive sandwich?

Having finished my holiday shopping early (actually in record time this year) Charlene and I decided to stop in for a sandwich on Saturday afternoon to enjoy our relaxing weekend before Christmas.

Again, this is a record first for me.

Spending time in downtown Burbank we decide to stop into the Market City Caffe at the Corner of Palm and San Fernando. This spacious Italian bistro was surprisingly empty for a Saturday at lunch, but all the better for us as we were seated and enjoying their delicious breadsticks in no time.

Looking at the menu, my eyes went directly to the Panini section and stopped at the Panini Salami: goat cheese, imported salami, arugula, olive oil, baby lettuce and tomato on a French roll.

Hearing the word "panini" though I half expected this sandwich to be grilled or warm, but it was not. This was not a disappointment, but actually came as a pleasant surprise. The sandwich tasted fresher than it would have been after being grilled with butter or oil on the bread.

There was a nice amount of salami on the sandwich without being too overpowering for the other ingredients.  The arugula and lettuce added a little bit of crunch as well as fresh green flavors. The goat cheese was a great complement of strong flavor to the salami but was also not overpowering of the greens.

The French roll it was served on was lightly toasted on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and as delicious as the amazing breadsticks the Market City Caffe serves as an appetizer.

I can also guarantee that the sandwich is still delicious as leftovers hours later.

So what about you, Readers? Have you enjoyed any sandwiches over the holiday season? Is there one in particular you are looking to try before 2012 comes to a close?

Until next year, Dear Readers...

Panini Salami
**** Stars
Market City Caffe
164 E. Palm Avenue
Burbank, CA 91502

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Meals on Wheels

Greetings, Readers!

As you know from reading this blog, I love sandwiches.

What I love even more is when a sandwich is delivered to me at my doorstep.

Enter, The Melt.

The other week here at my day job, we were given lunch from The Melt truck, which just so happens to be a tech-lover's dream as well.

In the front door of the truck sits a screen showing you the process of each sandwich ordered. It's a fun thing to watch, but also hard to tell which sandwich is yours as they weren't taking names on the day that we had our lunch.

Which lead to confusion later as sandwiches were being handed out to the wrong people.

Ah well, but was the sandwich delicious?

I ordered the Italian Job combo which included a Fontina and Provolone grilled cheese with a side of chips, a pickle and Italian sausage soup.

Oh, and of course I added bacon to the sandwich. Like that wasn't going to happen.

The sandwich itself had the perfect amount of cheese. Very melty, with the complementary flavors of Provolone and Fontina, but not too much that that I was choking on the sandwich with each bite.

The bacon added a bit of crispness along with the grilled bread to complement the softer insides.

Also, the sandwich was grilled after being covered in garlic and red pepper flakes giving it a nice dose of spice to the mix.

Overall, the sandwich was delicious and well made without overdoing any of its ingredients. My main complaint is just the process of getting sandwiches to customers, which in a large group it became quickly apparent that without taking names the order delivery became a bit confusing.

Not something that should keep you away, but one of the very few ways in which the truck service could improve.

Until next week, Dear Readers!

The Italian Job Combo
**** Stars
The Melt Truck

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Straight From the Kitchen

Greetings, Dear Readers!

Recently I sat down for dinner at a local Italian restaurant, Maria's Italian Kitchen.

Now, the funny thing about this restaurant is that I have been here, or ordered food from here numerous times in the past, but having arrived for dinner I realized I had never written a review for any of their sandwiches before.

Which made me think I should change that this time around.

Of course, I usually show up and order some pasta dish, because well, that's what this place is exceptionally good at making.

So having decided to go with a sandwich this time, I picked the Hand Rolled Meatball sandwich. Made with their own house-ground pork and beef meatball, this sandwich is compact, but stuffed with the generously portioned meatballs and topped with a healthy dose of marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.

The meatballs were absolutely delicious. Tender and filled with flavor, I could easily eat an entire plate of these alone if I was so inclined (there's an appetizer of just that, BTW).

The marinara sauce is a bit tangy and thoroughly covers the meatballs, without being overpowering or turning the crisply toasted Italian roll into mush.

The mozzarella cheese is something that could have severely affected this sandwich negatively. When you have a lot of cheese that is melted on top of a sandwich, you can easily make it too chewy, becoming a severe choking hazard.

Despite the amount of cheese topping off this sandwich though, it's easy to bite through and adds its nice baked cheese flavor to finish off the sandwich.

Even though the meatball sandwich is something that has been done at almost every Italian restaurant or shop, the one made at Maria's Italian Kitchen has a slight edge over previous ones I've tasted (even this one from Little Toni's).

Until next week, Dear Readers...

Hand Rolled Meatball Sandwich
**** Stars
Maria's Italian Kitchen
13353 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bird Is The Word

Greetings, Readers!

If there's one thing I've come to realize since I started this blog, it's that sometimes some of the best sandwiches you have just reveal themselves to you.

For example, this past week I was researching sandwich shops in North Hollywood when I came across a place called the Cahuenga General Store.

No one had ever recommended this place to me. I wouldn't have just found it by driving my usual routes. Heck, I wouldn't even have known it existed had I not done my research.

But there it was, a little general store in a somewhat industrial part of town, hidden in a quiet neighborhood. Even the inside looks like this shop came straight from the wild west in the mid-1800s.

Originally opened in 1995 as a place for film productions to rent props for period pieces, the General Store has moved on to sell delicious sandwiches, coffee, and baked goods to the locals.

After salivating over their menu while researching, when I arrived I decided I would choose the Bleu Bird.

This sandwich is packed with grilled chicken, bacon, bleu cheese, fresh slices of Red Delicious apples and glazed onions on a toasted French roll.

I'm going to make a bold statement here, but this sandwich is absolutely, and easily, in my top 3 favorite sandwiches on this blog.

With the first bite I was blown away by the flavor. The chicken was tender, juicy and delicious. The onions added a little bit of tang to the sandwich, while the combination of bleu cheese and thick apple slices was absolutely mind-blowing.

The cheese and apples flavors complemented each other so well with the cheese added it's characteristic flavor and the apples added a sweet, but complementary flavor.

Combining all of these ingredients on a perfectly toasted French roll, it is like the Sandwich god himself came down from the baked bread heavens and handed this sandwich to man.

Oh, and did I mention bacon? Yes, bacon.

This sandwich is amazing, and is absolutely worth checking out if you are in the North Hollywood area.

Well, now that I've had time to recover from this sandwich, it is time to move on and see what other sandwich surprises may come my way.

What sandwiches have you had lately, Dear Readers, that have blown your mind?

Until next week...

Bleu Bird
***** Stars
5510 Cahuenga Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

School Is In Session

Greetings, Readers!

How are your sandwiching lives post-Thanksgiving? Did you eat your fill of turkey on the big day and in leftover sandwiches the days after?

I did my own leftover sandwiches throughout the rest of the extended weekend too (more on that towards the end of this entry).

In a break from the holiday sandwiching and relaxing, I joined up with some friends in downtown Los Angeles at Public School 612.

The dimly lit pub is a great place to pull up a chair, enjoy some quality craft beers and still be able to chat with friends without having to scream at each other.

I decided that after a holiday that essentially promotes gluttony, that the best thing I could order would be a thick, juice burger. Scanning the menu I settled on the Colorado Lamb Burger.

This thick lamb patty is stopped with cranberry jam (appropriate for the holiday time period), a handful of fresh arugula and a thick slab of brie.

Wow. Seriously, this was an amazing burger. Cooked to medium, this burger was filled with flavor and was so juicy, it dripped with every bite. Despite the juiciness of the burger, the bun also held together incredibly well until the end, even though it didn't add much in way of flavor.

 The fresh arugula changed up the texture of the sandwich and added a little peppery flavor while the cranberry jam added some contrasting sweet and bitter flavors. Top that off with the pungent cheese flavor of brie and you have an amazing burger. Seriously excellent.

As for my own sandwich creation post-Thanksgiving, I buttered two slices of wheat bread, and filled the space between them with white and dark meat turkey pieces, mashed potatoes and stuffing and then set it in the over at 350 until the bread had become nicely crisp toast. The only thing that was missing was a bit of cranberry sauce (but we had run out from the holiday).

What creations did you make for leftover weekend?

Until next week, Readers...

Colorado Lamb Burger
**** 1/2 Stars
Public School 612
The Corner of 6th and Flower Streets
Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pre-Thanksgiving Ponderings

Greetings, Readers!

Your faithful Sandwich Man has been sidelined the past few days with a heavy cold that is just now heading out the door, so sadly I have not been sandwiching this past week.

But thankfully I am recovering right before the best sandwich holiday of the year: Thanksgiving.

Yes of course, the holiday meal itself is excellent, but the best food comes the day after, when creating a sandwich during a fridge raid.

My choice for a delicious Thanksgiving sandwich consists of a thickly sliced rustic bread, hearty chunks of dark turkey meat, a layer of stuffing, a layer of cheese mashed potatoes, and then spread on whole berry cranberry sauce as a spread on both slices of bread.

So what's your go to homemade creation for Friday after shopping in the morning?

Until next week, Readers...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Chevre Challenge

Greetings, Readers!

This past week I decided to finally do something that I haven't done in awhile.

Eat a meatless sandwich.

I know, I know, with the sandwiches I review, you're probably thinking that you've ended up at the wrong blog this morning, but fear not.

Looking to make a quick stop after work one day, I did a bit of research on Toluca Lake on Yelp.

The search results for that are becoming slimmer as I have hit up so many of the restaurants in that area already. This time though, Studio Cafe Magazzino popped out to me. The only problem was that I would have to rush there after work as it closed at 4pm and was not open on weekends.

Studio City Magazzino sits right across from Warner Bros. Studios on Pass Avenue (which is why this place is really only open during normal office hours). A small cafe with a rustic Italian feel, this place offers a wide variety of sandwiches, soups and salads.

The one sandwich to catch my eye though was the Chevre sandwich. A fancy name for goat cheese, Chevre may be one of my favorite cheeses and is joined in this sandwich by sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, house vinaigrette and lettuce on a ciabatta roll.

The sandwich is simple, and the Chevre provides a solid punch of smooth, yet pungent, flavor. I also thoroughly enjoyed the ciabatta, which was a bit thick and rustic, providing a tougher texture than the ingredients inside of the sandwich. If you're looking for a simple, fresh and easy sandwich to enjoy, this should definitely be your go to lunch time destination.

My only disappointment with the sandwich is not that there was no meat to be found, but that the other ingredients didn't add much to the sandwich. I didn't even realize there were roasted red peppers until the end of the sandwich, and of course lettuce doesn't add much in terms of flavor. The sun dried tomatoes were present, but it's hard to keep up with as powerful a flavor as goat cheese.

Regardless, still an enjoyable journey into a less heart attack inducing sandwich realm.

Until next week, readers!

Chevre Sandwich
*** 1/2 Stars
Studio Cafe Magazzino
109 N. Pass Avenue
Burbank, CA 91505

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Hills Are Alive...With Deliciousness

Greetings, Readers!

How are you faring now that the election season is finally over?

Did you have a sandwich to celebrate the fact that it will be at least a week without political ads before the next election season begins?

This past weekend, wear of the draining political ads on TV, I made my way out to Agoura Hills to visit a place I had only recently heard about: Ladyface Ale Companie.

Besides the sandwiches, the other draw to Ladyface for me was their in-house beer menu. Starting with a pumpkin pie spice flavored bock and moving to the Belgian tripel, I was thoroughly convinced that their beer was equally well crafted and delicious (especially the tripel).

My sandwich decision was not as easy to decide on. I had looked at their menu a few times the entire week before I had even gone, and was still undecided as to which sandwich I would pick. Finally though I had settled on the croque-monsieur, mainly because of my intrigue with the sandwich ever since watching Gordon Ramsay make one on the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares. 

Between the lightly grilled pieces of bread of this croque-monsieur rests two thick slices of Niman Ranch ham, Gruyere cheese and bechamel sauce. The Gruyere cheese was thoroughly melted proving a slightly smoky, slightly salty flavor. The two slices of ham provided a slightly sweet flavor to the mix as well as having its definitive ham flavor.

For a person who is not a huge fan of this particular pork product, this ham was delicious and some of the best I've ever had, outside of Porto's cubano.

The grilled bread was lightly buttered, lightly toasted, and highly delicious, keeping the sandwich together until the end.

Overall, my experience at Ladyface was highly positive and delicious. Their beer paired with their delicious food offerings (also tried the mac and cheese and house pretzel: both top notch!) make for an excellent meal away from the city on a Sunday afternoon.

Definitely worth a trip to Agoura Hills.

Until next week, Readers...

**** 1/2 Stars
Ladyface Ale Companie
29281 Agoura Road
Agoura HIlls, CA 91301

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sandwich Tricks or Treats?

Greetings, Dear Readers!

And a Happy Halloween to you all!

As a child, I had wondered what it would have been like for people to give out sandwiches while I would Trick-or-Treat in the neighborhoods. Thinking back on it, I believe this would have been a terrible, and notably heavy, bad idea.

This past week though I decided to visit a local chain shop that a lot of people have been telling me about: Which Wich.

I don't normally review chains. I would never review a subway sandwich, but I was curious about this place because of all of the recommendations. Could it offer decent sandwiches?

This sandwich shop allows for a lot of customer customization.  Each type of sandwich filling has five different premade sandwiches listed for you. The rest of the sandwich is left up to your customization. You can even do away with the bread and get the ingredients in a bowl.

But who would want that?

To order at Which Wich, you pick up a long brown sandwich bag and check off the options that you would like. I started with the Italian Grinder, made up of salami, pepperoni and capicola. On top of that I added spinach, banana peppers, pickles, deli mustard and pepper jack cheese all toasted inside of a wheat roll.

Now with a chain, I don't usually expect much. If I order from one, it's usually because of convenience, but Which Wich's sandwich was actually pretty decent.

I would never rank it above the quality crafted sandwiches I've mostly reviewed here, but if I was in a hurry to grab a quick lunch, like I did yesterday, this would be an absolutely suitable place to go.

But that brings up the question of whether they actually provided me a sandwich on their own. Sure they gave the basic ingredients, but everything else on my sandwich was my own choosing. This is a fundamental problem/benefit of customizable sandwich shops (The Counter included): Yes, you can get the exact sandwich you want, but the restaurant doesn't really offer a signature sandwich, and hence never really gains a defining characteristic of small local shops.

So, with this review in the books, here's hoping you don't have a terrible trick of a sandwich before you this week, and have an excellent Halloween.

Until next week, Readers...

Grinder Sandwich (customized)
*** Stars
Which Wich?
12048 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Burger and Broadway

Greetings, Readers!

Hopefully the cooling temperatures have treated you right this past week. I was lucky enough to be taken out by Charlene to see The Book of Mormon at the Pantages Theater last Wednesday.

It's hilarious. Really it's an amazing show, and if it's playing in your town you need to check it out.

But prior to our evening's entertainment, she suggested visiting the Blue Palms Brewhouse, a place I had visited before but never ended up reviewing their sandwiches.

Settling down with a snifter of the excellent special edition Deschutes Brewery's Black Butte XXIV, I decided to get the Truffle Burger.

The burger is topped with black truffles, Maytag blue cheese, P&W peppers, crimini onions, all of which are cooked in duck fat piled upon a white truffle glazed bun.

Delicious? Oh my, yes. The blue cheese seems a bit more muted on this sandwich than on others ones because of the contributions from the onions, truffles and truffle oil which all have a say in the flavor of this sandwich.

The full flavors in this sandwich will make you want to keep taking more and more bites before you even put the sandwich down, and that's a good thing because if you put the burger down, the bun falls apart too quickly.

I mean, there are so many things packed onto this burger, the first bite I took, half of its contents got pushed out of the bottom. By the fourth bite, the bun was disintegrating and disappointing.

I really had high hopes for this burger, and the ingredients between the bun definitely were living up to the hype until the bun failed. It was a real disappointment, but from what did taste well, I was curious in trying some of their other sandwiches.

If nothing else, their beer selection is absolutely worth the visit.

Until next week, Readers...

P.S. - Have you bought your tickets for The Book of Mormon yet?

Truffle Burger
*** 1/2 Stars
Blue Palms Brewhouse
6124 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Short Rib, Shorter Days

Greetings, Readers!

Is it Autumn in your town yet? Because here in Los Angeles it's still in the mid 90s, which is definitely making it hard to enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches and thick tomato soups.

So instead this week I headed over to a fancy little shop in Toluca Lake called Olive & Thyme which had just popped up on my radar.

I had wanted to try their Middle Eastern Chicken sandwich, but was sad to find out that this sandwich is only served during lunch hours. Not to fear though as their menu also had a Braised Short Rib sandwich that also sounded incredibly delicious.

I'll be sure to report back to you on the Middle Eastern Chicken sandwich if I try it out in the future.

The Braised Short Rib sandwich is stacked high with succulent shredded short rib, horseradish creme fraiche and caramelized onions between two slices of grilled country sourdough bread.

The short rib had been cooked just right, so that it just melted away in your mouth with every bite. Combining that with the caramelized onions gave the sandwich a faintly sweet taste.  The horseradish creme fraiche provided a flavor contrast with the occasional burst of heat.

The grilled sourdough bread stayed together until the end, despite being under pressure from the heavily stacked short rib. It also added its characteristic suor flavor, providing a third flavor contribution to the mix.

Overall, this was an excellent braised short rib, though the trip was still a disappointment as I missed out on the Middle Eastern Chicken sandwich. Ah, next time!

Until next week, Readers...

Braised Short Rib Sandwiches
**** Stars
Olive &Thyme
4013 Riverside Drive,
Toluca Lake, CA

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Burger Paradise

Greetings, Readers!

The temperatures have finally started to drop in Los Angeles, and it's actually beginning to feel quite a bit like fall here.

Granted, "fall" in Los Angeles really just means that it won't be 90 degrees every day now.

Craving a delicious burger recently, I was surprised to find in my sandwich research that a Studio City branch of Stout Burgers and Beers had opened a short walk from my apartment.

Sitting down in the restaurant and perusing the menu with New Belgium's Peach Porch Lounger (a delicious peach flavored saison), I knew I had picked a great spot to dine with a friend. The menu is short and sweet, but this did not make choosing a burger any easier. It was even more difficult to decide on what to order when we were informed of the special: a burger with truffle aioli.

I decided to go with the Stout Burger though (maybe it was because it had bacon), which came out in a delicious medium rare (it's the standard by the way make sure to ask for it to be cooked longer if this isn't your thing).

The Stout Burger, a delicious beef patty topped with blue cheese, Gruyere, rosemary bacon, caramelized onions, horseradish cream and roasted tomatoes, is an excellent combination of elements for a burger.

According to Stout's website, the burger meat is ground daily, in house.

According to this website, the beef is delicious.

The blue cheese, along with the Gruyere, adds a smooth dry flavor with a mild tanginess that complements the savory meat. The cheeses, especially the blue cheese, were also a bit more muted than usual, but this wasn't a bad thing.

The rosemary bacon was delicious. Not only was it crisp (adding a different texture to the sandwich) but it also added a smoky flavor which was an excellent contrast to the savory meat flavor and smooth cheeses. Add to this the slightly sweet caramelized onions and roasted tomatoes, along with the garlic flavor from the aioli and you have a delicious, savory burger.

Add to the delicious food the fact that we had excellent service, and that the low light atmosphere is relaxing and enjoyable, and you have an excellent experience out for burgers.

You know, for all the praise of Umami Burger here in Los Angeles, I have to step out of the typical LA thought here and say that Stout Burgers and Beers is leaps and bounds better than Umami. It is a hands down, knockout decision for Stout Burgers and Beers.

There, I said it. I don't think I'm the only one in the entire city who thinks this, but let's start this conversation for those that have tried both: Stout is better than Umami.

Argue for or against in the comments below.

Until next week, Readers...

The Stout Burger
Stout Burgers & Beer
11262 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Big Flavor, Little Bear

Greetings, Readers!

Wow, here we are. The first full week of the Fall, and it's still over 90 degrees in Los Angeles. But do not let that deter you from enjoying the flavors of the season, as I have not.

I've had pumpkin everything so far, especially a number of pumpkins beers, but one of the best sandwiches for the season for me tends to be grilled cheese sandwiches. Paired with a delicious tomato or pumpkin soup and you have a definitive taste for Fall.

Keeping this in mind, I headed to a place I've been wanting to visit for quite some time: Little Bear. Located in the Arts District downtown, this restaurant has some amazing atmosphere. Dim lighting, with exposed steel and wood interior, this place is a perfect example of dining architecture in the downtown area (which just so happens to be spreading outward into the city).

Two problems here though.  1.) the beer menu. It is huge and very difficult to determine what I wanted to drink. Should I start off slow or go for one of those beers that those Belgian monks are famous for with 9% and above ABV? 2.) Which of these delicious sandwiches will I end up eating as there are five different grilled cheese melts available.

After settling on a Rochefort 8 Belgian amber tripel, I settled on the sandwich decision: Grilled Cheese Meat Loaf. A half inch thick slice of meat loaf topped with Vermont cheddar, housemade pickles and crispy onions of lightly buttered and grilled bread.

This melt was amazing. Like hands down one of the best sandwiches I've had in quite some time. Point, Fall.

The meatloaf is thoroughly seasoned, but not too overpowering.  Savory beef flavor with Italian spices added into it will honestly make your taste buds dance. The melty Vermont cheddar adds a smoky and smooth flavor to contrast the high points of the meatloaf. The crispy pickles are there to add some contrasting tang and the crispy onions join the grilled bread in adding some crunch.

Oh, and the bread? Lightly buttered, lightly grilled and held on until the end. Excellently done.

This sandwich is one of the most flavorful and well-made sandwiches I have had not only in the past few months, but overall since I've begun this blog. Toss in a few Belgian beers, and this sandwich is an excellent choice for dinner and unwinding on a Friday night.

Despite being a little out of the way for some Angelenos, Little Bear is definitely worth the trip.

What an excellent way to ring in the first blog entry of Fall with an excellent grilled cheese melt and some delicious beer to accompany it. Now the only problem becomes living up to the first week of the cooler seasons.

Until next week...

Grilled Cheese Meat Loaf
***** Stars
Little Bear
1855 Industrial Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Autumn, Here We Come

Greetings Dear Readers!

Can you feel it yet? Can you feel the cool Fall weather?

If you live in Los Angeles, the answer is probably "no" but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the flavors of fall.

What I'd really like to do in this week's blog is really discuss some of your favorite fall flavors and establish what types of sandwiches I will be looking for as the weather cools down on our road to Winter (aka 70 degrees and still barbecue weather in LA).

This is the season in which hearty soups become increasingly more acceptable as a pairing with your favorite sandwich.

No more cool avocado and green onion cold soups to pair anymore. Now the ones you should start considering are the gourd soups: pumpkin and butternut squash. Both are a bit thicker, with smooth flavors that in their own right can be a standalone meal.

But what could be better than pairing one of those hearty soups with a sandwich to dip into it.

Which leads me to one of my favorite sandwiches, and one that I will be on the lookout for in the coming months to review.

Grilled Cheese.

Such a simple sandwich whose first enjoyment goes back to my childhood, but one that can be made even better by upgrading your ingredients and adding some extras (which typically will then qualify it as a melt).

Some of my inspirations have come from the excellent food magazine Bon Appetit (if you haven't checked them out before, you absolutely should). They have an amazing article on how to make the perfect grilled cheese (here) and some recipes for taking your grilled cheese game up a level (here).

And of course, while you're sitting down, enjoying the cool fall air while you eat your grilled cheese sandwich and butternut squash soup, make sure you finish it off with some pumpkin beer. Shipyard's Smashing Pumpkin (which I've added cinnamon to in the past) is a great pairing as is Dogfish Head's Punkin' Ale. If you want something to warm your insides more with a higher alcohol content, The Bruery's Autumn Maple Ale substitutes yams for pumpkin (and kicks it up to 10% ABV).

So what about you, Readers? What are some of your favorite fall sandwiches and flavors? Leave a comment  and let's explore some fall flavors together.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

So long Summer, So long Ohio

Greetings, Readers!

This post is a little bit bittersweet, as it contains the review for the last sandwich I had on my Ohio trip this time around.

Like I had mentioned in the first post of this trip, I was in Ohio for a wedding which took place at Mapleside Farms in Brunswick, OH.

If there's something I miss with living in Los Angeles, it's living closer to apple orchards (the closest ones are more than an hour and a half east of here), so it was great to not only visit one, but to witness a wedding there. I can only imagine how gorgeous the trees would look in late October, but for today is was sticky, hot and humid.

But luckily, no rain.

Sitting down in the cool air conditioning at Melrose Grille after the ceremony I was looking for a good summertime sandwich. The Beef brisket sandwich stood out to me immediately.

I figured with the summertime coming to a close, this might be the best way to end my summer sandwiching adventures.

The thick sliced brisket starts off by being smoked by applewood from the orchard's trees. After being slow cooked in the house barbecue sauce, the brisket is piled onto a bun and topped with cheddar cheese and cole slaw.

The brisket was excellent. The apple smoke gave the brisket a nice smooth smoky flavor, while the barbecue sauce gave a strongly tangy flavor to the sandwich creating an excellent contrast. The cheese also played into the smoke flavor with its own mild and smooth contribution while the cole slaw added a slightly sweet flavor to the mix. All of this contrasting and complementary flavors played off of each other to create an amazingly delicious summer sandwich.

The bun could have been a bit better as it tended to be soggy towards the end, but it did its job for the most part thought it had nothing spectacular in the way of flavor.

It's just a shame that this place is so far removed from Cleveland that it's not actually easy to get to, unless you happen to be in the area.

Ah well.

On our last night in Cleveland we stopped at a highly recommended bar called The Beer Engine in Lakewood. This place is a beer lovers heaven. The menu is thick both with beers on tap as well as bottles/cans. The first one to stand out to me was a beer that I had been wanting to try forever, Southern Tier Brewing Co.'s Pumking Pumpkin Ale.

This beer smelled like warm pumpkin pie and tasted like it too, with just a hint of vanilla.

Definitely a great way to end a trip to Ohio, and definitely a great way to begin the transition to Autumn food and drinks.

So now with the Fall officially beginning this weekend, what sandwiches are you looking forward to having the most to get you in the mood for the season?

Until next week...

Beef Brisket Sandwich
**** 1/2 Stars
Melrose Grille
294 Pearl Road
Brunswick, OH 44212

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It's Reuben Time

Greetings, Readers!

After my successful first day in Cleveland, which I wrote about in last week's entry, I was still up for seeing more of what this city could offer me in terms of delicious sandwiches.

But the question becomes, how do you really even attempt to beat one of the best pulled pork sandwiches you've ever eaten?

You take on a Reuben.

But the trip to get this Reuben was not exactly easy. I was taken on a tour of the backroads of a rural area outside of Cleveland and I'm not going to lie here, Readers, but this shop may be one of the hardest places to find.


Having arrived at Columbia Beverages & Deli though, I was pleasantly surprised by their deli counter and the sandwiches offered, even though I may never have given any of the other sandwiches a second look as soon as I noticed the option of a Reuben.

This sandwich is stacked high with corned beef that honestly just melts in your mouth. It's full of spiced and briny flavor that just beats up your taste buds with every bite and there's just so much of it that it took me a little bit to decide how I should even take the first bite.

The Thousand Island dressing and melted Swiss cheese add a great smooth flavor to the sandwich that are more mellowed compared to the flavor of the corned beef. There's a good amount of both ingredients ont his sandwich, but not too much as to overpower the flavor of the meat.

Topped off with a dose of crunchy sauerkraut and lightly grilled rye bread, this sandwich was excellent. The bread was also thickly cut which helped the sandwich hold up with so much internal deliciousness.

I wish more sandwiches had this kind of thickly cut bread.

Overall, this sandwich was excellent. A great Reuben, filled with so much that holds together until the end and despite filling you, leaves you wanting more.

If I had to go on my own, I probably would have gotten lost, but it would have been worth it to find a sandwich like this.

That's 2 for 2 Cleveland...what will you have next week?

Reuben Sandwich
**** 1/2
Columbia Beverages & Deli
25011 Royalton Road
Columbia Station, OH
(Corner of Rt 252 and Rt 82)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Great Lakes, Great Sandwiches

Greetings, Dear Readers!

This past holiday weekend I headed to Cleveland for a wedding on this beautiful holiday weekend, and I was able to make some time to be able to sample some of the delicious sandwiches there.

It's been awhile since I've been to Cleveland (visiting Melt in 2010) and I had a list of a few places that I'd want to visit, most notable of which was Great Lakes Brewing Co.

Having increased my knowledge and love of homebrewing since Charlene gave me my first brewing kit two and a half years ago, I have always wanted to go on brewery tours to see how the bigger companies do it.

So prior to eating and drinking at Great Lakes Brewing, we were walked through the process, sampled their beers and smelled the scent of their Christmas Ale (which I'm told is amazing) as it cooked.

After learning their process, we sat down to dinner at the brewpub across the street. I quickly settled on the Pulled Pork Sandwich because the BBQ sauce in the sandwich was made with their Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, which easily turned out to be a favorite of mine.

The porter has a chocolate, coffee and smoky flavor that when cooked down into a BBQ sauce adds a little sweet and smoke flavor to the sauce.

Cooking the pulled pork in that BBQ sauce made the pork tender and juice as it fell apart in your mouth with a sweet and tangy flavor.

Topped off with a mound of cool and sweet cole slaw, which added a needed textural crunch, this may be one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I've ever had.

Great Lakes Brewing Co. will definitely be a place that I will be visiting in the future on my next trip to Cleveland.

Now if only I can get their beer sent out to Los Angeles...namely that mystical Christmas Ale.

Besides my trip to the Brewery I also was able to tour The Federal Reserve, and catch an Indians game at Progressive Field (Jacobs Field for those die-hards) which was enjoyable. Although Cleveland lost 12-7 against Oakland, it was great to see a game in another city. As a baseball fan, it's also a lot less stressful to watch a game between two teams you're not particular a fan of (though I did buy some Indians merchandise).

I had a sausage sandwich but was actually too hungry at that point and forgot to take a photo of it.

Ah, well.

These two stops were just the first day of my trip to Cleveland, so be sure to come back next week for the second of three stops in the 216.

Until next week...

Pulled Pork Sandwich
***** Stars
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
2516 Market Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

There's No Place Like 'Home'

Greetings, Readers!

Summer is just grinding along here in Los Angeles with the temperatures again hitting triple digits this weekend, I wanted to continue our summer discussion here on Burgers before the unofficial end to summer with Labor Day.

On a Friday night, we headed to Home, a quiet restaurant in Los Feliz made to look, well, home-y with a house-like exterior and a warm atmosphere lit by candles and accent lights at night. This is an excellent place to have a quiet dinner with one person or a small collection of friends, and was a place I hadn't visited in over two years.

Not planning to actually review a sandwich at this place, I quickly changed my mind when I saw that they had a Hawaiian burger on the menu. It had been quite awhile since I had one of those, and was curious to try it even though my original intention was some breakfast food.

The Hawaiian burger is made up a of a thick and juicy beef patty, topped with a thick slice of grilled pineapple, roasted green ortega chili peppers, pepper jack cheese and Home's special sauce.

The mixture of the slice of pineapple and the spicy green peppers and pepper jack cheese are the perfect combination. In each bite your taste buds surge between sweet and spicy. A perfect contrast and combination.

The burger patty was thick and juicy and, despite the flavor blast of the other ingredients, still shines through.

Really, the only downside here was the bun. By the end of the burger it had fallen apart because of the other ingredients. Don't get me wrong, this was very delicious, but by the end, you may be opting to use a fork instead.

I think I'd have to consider my suummer of exploring summer foods has been a fairly large success. There have been some real winners (here and here) that I hope you will get a chance to try out, or at the very least find a comparable option in your neighborhood.

This weekend I am off to Cleveland for a wedding, but have no fear, I will still have time to delve into the sandwiches while there. So stay tuned for next week's blog entry all you 216-ers.

P.S. - Thank you for all of your votes for LA Weekly's Best of Web competition. I did not get nominated, but your support is greatly appreciated. I will try to get even better by next year's nominations so that hopefully I have a shot to be nominated. Thanks again!

Hawaiian Burger
**** Stars
1760 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Surprising Finds

Greetings, Dear Readers!

You know, I'm not going to lie here, but even when you've been sandwiching as long as I have, every once in a while, even I get surprised by a sandwich find.

Take this past weekend for example, while shopping at the mall with Charlene, we stopped at the newly revamped food court at the Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks. Having looked around at all of the new options (the only real noticeable franchise left was Subway), we stopped at a new local chain I had never heard of before: Stone Oven.

Looking through their tempting sandwich menu, I was surprised how delicious all of the sandwiches had sounded, but the thought never occurred to me to actually write a review about a new local chain restaurant in a mall food court.

I ended up ordering the spicy chicken sandwich which had pulled spicy chicken breast in a red BBQ sauce, melted provolone cheese, chipotle mayo, black bean and corn salsa with avocado between slices of freshly baked foccacia bread.

Now as with any fast food place, whether or not the bread dough was actually made in house is up for debate, but if anything I watched it bake right in the stone oven in the middle of the store. So they aren't kidding when they say the bread is "freshly baked".

Now here's the thing, and this point was surprising: while Stone Oven may be a chain/franchise, it still crafted a well made sandwich. Well enough that I would write a blog about it.

The chicken was tender, a bit spicy and tangy. The chipotle mayo added another spicy kick while the avocado and black bean and corn salsa cooled the sandwich down a bit.

Oh, and the mustard and black pepper potato salad was excellent. 

And so while I will never recommend a chain restaurant over a mom-and-pop shop, I will say that even I can be surprised that a chain can still create some decent sandwiches. Regardless, I am looking forward to get back to finding some excellent non-chain local finds next week.

How about you, Readers? Was there ever a time you found a sandwich you liked that you didn't think you would?

Until next week...

Spicy Chicken Sandwich
*** Stars
Stone Oven
Various Locations

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

That's A Spicy Meat-A-Ball

Greetings, Readers!

You know, sometimes in life we are thrown curveballs. We've all faced an experience in which we've ended up with something we haven't expected.

This week provided one of those experiences for me.

I had been researching places for my sandwiching this week (and have been given excellent suggestions from reader Matty) when I came across a place called the Grilled Cheese and Cupcake Company.

Yes. I said it. That's the name.

So of course I had to check this out as that combination seems to be about as nonsensical as the numerous Chinese Food and Donuts shops I see in Los Angeles.

Arriving at the shop, which I then realized used to be only a cupcake shop for a number of years, I found it locked up earlier than the store hours stated.

Then I noticed the piles of mail just inside the front door and realized that maybe this place had been closed for slightly longer than an early day would account for.

Feeling a bit dejected about missing out on this new adventure in eating, I resigned myself to grab a slice of pizza at Danielle's Wood Fired Pizza next door. My day brightened up a bit when I saw that they also served a meatball hero.

Danielle's is a cute little mom-and-pop shop in this small shopping center where the wood fired oven (you actually see the logs burning to cook your food) is visible from your seat.

The wait seemed a bit long for the sandwich, but that's because it's made completely from scratch when you order. No re-heated meatballs topped with cheese at this place. This is one of the reasons that the sandwich was so delicious.

The meatballs were cooked through without a single scorched mark on the outside, and retained their juicy and slightly spiced centers without a single dry spot. The marinara sauce was liberally applied without drowning the sandwich and the mozzerella cheese was thick while not being a choking hazard.

Although the bread could have been a little less toasted, as it became a little too dry, this was definitely one of the best meatball subs I've had in quite a while.

So, lesson learned here that sometimes we aren't meant to go to the place we plan for, but in the end we may just end up with something even better than we hoped for.

Have you had a similar experience where you ended up going to a different eatery than expected and had a better/worse experience than expected? Sandwiches or not.

Until next week, Readers!

Meatballs Hot Hero
**** Stars
Danielle's Wood Fired Pizza
Valley Village, CA 91607
4822 Laurel Canyon Blvd. (In the shopping center with Starbucks)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Art of Sandwiching

Greetings, Dear Readers!

This week I took a break from the summer burger hunt and decided to enjoy a warm Sunday afternoon at the LA County Museum of Art.

As if the sandwiches are stalking me, I was greeted with a line of food trucks in front of the museum, each one beckoning me with their delicious works of sandwich art.

After pacing the line for a few moments, I settled upon the Cali Banh Mi Truck (@CaliBanhMi).

Banh Mi is a type of sandwich that I have missed for quite some time now, as my last one was from the time I ran into the Nom Nom Truck in Studio City.

The Banh Mi is such a simple sandwich, sliced pork, cilantro, pickled carrots, cucumbers and jalapenos, but it's flavor is incredible. The pork on this particular version was very tender with a smooth, smoky flavor. The accompanying vegetables all threw in their competing flavors. In one bite you'd get sensations of smoky, hot, sweet, and tangy. It was a full of flavor experience with every bite.

The baguette was delicious, golden, and even was allowed to have its sweet, bready flavor join the flavor parade with all of the other ingredients.

My only complaint, and it's a small one, was that the cilantro stalks were a bit hard to chew occasionally. A minor annoyance, and not something that should turn you away from this truck if you happen to see it around Los Angeles.

Overall, this Banh Mi definitely is sitting pretty near the top as one of the best I've ever tried. There are still many more Banh Mi shops in LA to sample, but I have a feeling that this one will continually place near the top of the pack.

As a side note this week, please head over to LA Weekly's Best of Web poll and vote for The Danger Sandwich in spaces #20 and #21. You don't have to fill in any other categories if you don't want to, but I'd appreciate you taking the time to fill in those two quick entries.

Until next week, Readers!

Cali Banh Mi Truck
**** Stars
Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Federal-ly Mandated Burgers

Greetings, Readers!

I hope that in the last week you've put my burger recipe to use, or at least pondered what your own special concoction would be.

This week, I continued my summer burger run by visiting a bar/restaurant in my own neighborhood: The Federal.

Now I've visited The Federal a few times before, but only for drinks. This swank throwback-style bar on Lankershim in the NoHo arts district has become quite the hotspot since it opened.

From looking at the burger menu (and beer menu as well) it's obvious the Federal has a great selection for you to choose from. I settled on the Greco burger as I have yet to have a lamb burger for the blog.

This thick lamb patty came topped with a heathy dose of feta cheese, a handful of parsley, sliced tomato, olives and covered with tzatziki sauce.

The lamp patty was delicious. Cooked through nicely, but still thick, juicy and flavorful. The pungent feta cheese and tzatziki sauce added their contrasting flavors or pungent cheese and cucumber yogurt to the mix. In such a heavy sandwich, the refreshing cucumber tzatziki was an excellent, yet expected, addition.

Despite this burger being absolutely delicious, there were two problems that held this burger back from greatness.

The first problem was the parsley. Now the idea of adding parsley to the sandwich, I totally agree with. But in this sandwich, the stalks of the parsley were just too thick. So thick in fact that it usually took more than one bite, or gnawing, to get through them, not allowing for quick and clean bites of the burger.

The second problem was the bun: it did not hold together. I made it about two-thirds of the way through the sandwich before the bun was just in tatters. Part of it came from the fact that the sandwich is fairly large, but also that the tzatziki sauce had caused it to break down after a few bites.

Both of these problems should not deter you from trying the Greco burger, but they both had their part in holding back this burger from getting closer to five stars.

Until next week, Readers...

The Greco Burger
*** 1/2 Stars
The Federal Bar
5303 Lankershim Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 91601

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Let's Talk About Burgers

Greetings, Readers!

This week I figured I would do something a little different here on the blog. Something I've never done before really.

So, let's talk about burgers, shall we?

I have reviewed a lot of burgers here at The Danger Sandwich, and with it being the summer I've talked about them a lot too.

But I've never written about how I actually prefer to make my own on the grill.

I like to start by getting about a pound to a pound and a half of either ground sirloin or ground chuck. These two meats have some definite differences though.

I've been on more of a health kick lately, so I've been reaching for ground sirloin more as the fat content is a lot less. The problem with this can be a less flavorful, less juicy burger compared to the chuck, but does this in no way imply that you will have a tasteless slab of meat. Sirloin is delicious, and so is chuck. It becomes a personal preference, so test both out and decide which you like more.

I'll toss the ground beef into a mixing bowl and grab some seasoning: Kosher Sea Salt (the grains are much bigger than table salt), black pepper, garlic and a dry rub mix like Grill Mates Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning (totally not being paid to say that).

When the spices are fully mixed into the meat, I'll grab a canister of grated Parmesan cheese and about about a quarter to a half cup of that to meat and ground it in.

Now another option I've done with cheese in the past is making a central pocket of melted cheese. While building your patties, you can make a depression in the center, fill it with your favorite type of cheese (feta for me though it doesn't really melt) and then cover it up with more meat, making for a delicious center. The other option with I also enjoy is using your favorite cheese and mixing it in along with the Parmesan so you have cheese mixed in throughout the burger. Either way has turned out to be excellent, again it's up to you.

Lastly, something I've only done very recently employs my favorite meat of all time: Bacon.

This is something to do for those of you who are looking for a true meat bonanza. Take strips of thick cut bacon and wrap your burger patties in it.

Yes. Do it.

Just make sure that you spray down your grill or pan with a bit more non-stick spray so that the bacon doesn't stick and peel off of your burger. The bacon will help keep some of the fat of the burger from escaping, while also blending its own juices into the burger. It's really an amazing, and decadent addition.

Cook until medium-rare to medium. I prefer a little bit of pink on the inside, but you want to make sure that bacon is a little crisp so it adds some texture to the patty, especially if you've made patties nearly 1/2 pound in size.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is how I make my favorite home made burger patties.  

If you try this out, let me know what you think.

But also, how do you make your favorite custom made burger patties.

And you vegetarians/vegans, do you make your own burgers too? If so, how?

Until next week, Readers...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

San Diego Sandwich-Con 2012

Greetings and welcome back for another week of delicious sandwich profiling, Dear Readers.

This past week, I made a trip down to San Diego for something that I have been putting off far too long: Comic Con.

My group of comic book aficionados only had tickets for Saturday and Sunday, so having arrived on Friday evening, what could we end up doing?

For those that have not been to SD before, the Gaslamp Quarter, right next to the Convention Center where Comic Con was, is a great section of town for drinks and food, and that is where we found The Field.

This place was packed on a Friday night during one of the busiest nights of the year for the city, but it didn't take long for our drinks and food to come to us. The only thing that happened faster was my selection of a sandwich from the menu: a corned beef sandwich on rye.

Set between two slices of lightly buttered, and lighted toasted rye, this corned beef sandwich was one of the best ones I've had in a long time. It absolutely lived up to the standard that a true Irish pub should have for this kind of meal.

The corned beef was very thinly sliced, very warm, and piled very high between the slices of crisp bread. Lightly grilled onions blended in between the layers of meat along with melted Swiss cheese that permeated the sandwich a smear of dijon mustard.

Wow. Absolutely delicious. The flavors blended together to give a smoky and spiced sandwich that mellowed with every bite. The meat was tender and juicy, and overall well cooked.

An excellent way to start a fun weekend at Comic Con. For those of you who have yet to attend the event, it is an absolutely incredible time. Comics, artists, video games, movies, cosplayers, and fans all crammed into an area the size of two square miles can be a bit overwhelming, but if you have an interest in any of the things I mentioned above, it's a must see event for you.

I for one know I will be back next year...and I will have this sandwich again to kick off my weekend.

Until next week, Readers...

Corned Beef Sandwich
**** 1/2 Stars
The Field Irish Pub & Restaurant
544 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hot Dog Days of Summer

Greetings, Readers!

My, how fast a week does go by, and also this summer for that matter. Here we are, post-4th of July and we still have so many more sandwiches to go through before the end of summer.

A few weeks ago, I was able to visit the Let's Be Frank Hot Dog and Sausage truck here in Los Angeles. It's one I had frankly (get it?) not heard of before, but was very interested in trying since my mind is in summer sandwich mode.

One of the first things seen on the menu of Let's Be Frank is their statement of commitment to using meat from sustainable farms and that the meat they use contains no nitrates, nitrites, or hormones. So if you've ever been wary about what's going into the sausages and hot dogs you pick up at a ballpark or for your summer barbecue, consider these ones to be significantly safer for you.

All of the options at Let's Be Frank are delicious, but I decided to go with the "Hot" Dog this time. This option is made with spicy heritage pork italian-style sausage. I also decided to add on the spicy devil's sauce and grilled onions on a toasted bun. 

The hot dog itself has a little bit of pop to it, more like an actual sausage. The spices inside of it kicked up the heat a little bit, but the main source of heat came from the appropriately titled devil's sauce. It's something I didn't notice on my first bite, but by the time I had finished my sandwich, there was at least a two alarm fire going on in my mouth. 

Despite the heat, the spicy-ness had good flavor which is one of my requirements in adding heat to any dish: it has to have flavor. Heat for heat's sake is a waste, and an exercise in masochism. 

Let's enjoy our food, not treat it like a death sentence. 

The pork hot dog tasted excellent, and actually was one of the best pork sausages/hotdogs i have had in a very long time, and it's nothing like the store bought "pork" types. 

The onions were still crisp after being grilled and and the grilled bun added a bit of smoky flavor to the entire sandwich. Overall, this may be one of the best hot dogs I've had in a long time.

Sorry, Dodger Stadium. 

Well that's it for this week, readers. How was your 4th of July? Did you grill all day, or just enjoy the fruits of your friend's/family's labors?

Until next week...

Let's Be Frank
Trucks servicing both Los Angeles and San Francisco
Follow at: @letsbefrank

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy 4th of July Readers!

Hopefully you will be enjoying numerous barbecued items today in celebration of this fine country's independence!

Continuing in the theme of burgers for this sumptuous summer season, I hit up The Corner Door with Charlene and her family in Culver City (a neighborhood I have no written about at all yet).

This dark little pub on a corner of Washington Blvd. is a great spot for good eats and great craft beers. The taps include a lot of excellent beers including one of my favorites, Green Flash IPA.

The menu may seem kind of small, but its selection of entrees and starters are all to die for. You'd think with only a few options in each course it would be easy to make a decision on what to get, but you would definitely be surprised how many times you will second guess your decision.

Going with the summer theme here at The Danger Sandwich of burgers, I decided on the TCD Burger:  a burger stacked high with a grilled patty, aged cheddar cheese, pickle aioli, roasted tomatoes and arugula on top of a grilled bun.

The patty was slightly charred on the outside, but this flavor, combined with light pink and savory inside of the meat was a powerful flavor combination. The aged cheddar and roasted tomatoes brought out more smoky flavor in the sandwich when combined with the charred outside of the burger patty.

The pickle aioli added some tangy contrast to the smoky flavors and the fresh arugula added some crispy crunch. Overall, the flavors here worked very well together in creating a delicious craft-styled burger.

It was delicious, and definitely worthy of adding to the summer burger canon.

So, Dear Readers, what will you eat on this wonderful Independence Day? What are your favorite BBQ eats?

Until next week...

TCD Burger
**** Stars
The Corner Door
12477 W. Washington Blvd,
Culver City, CA 90066

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

America, The Delicious

 Greetings, Readers!

Let it be known to all, that I am a huge fun of the summer: sun, fun, and American-style food on a hot barbecue grill.

Well here we are, closing in on the biggest summer holiday so it seems only fitting that I should tackle American-style pub food in honor of it.

I have passed Tinhorn Flats in Burbank an innumerable amount of times over my tenure here in Los Angeles, but prior to this past week had never felt the urge to stop in and have a drink or meal. Going on a recommendation, I stopped by this past week after hearing how great their burgers are.

The menu at Tinhorn Flats looks delicious all around, offering a wide variety of American style favorites, but being here for a burger, I settled upon the Bacon Blue Burger.

Bacon is delicious. You all know that. It's usually a deal closer for me and this situation was no different.

A thick beef patty topped with two thick-cut sliced of bacon, a healthy handful of blue cheese, onions, lettuce, and tomatoes topped on a sesame seed bun, this burger was delicious.

The beef patty was thick, juicy and just a little bit greasy, adding some great flavor to the beef. The bacon even overpowered the flavorful beef by adding its own distinct flavor with the blue cheese contributing its contrasting pungent and dry flavor.

The vegetables on this sandwich not only provide a good crunch (the bacon wasn't really crispy as it was so thick), but they are also effective in offsetting the strong flavors provided by the bacon and blue cheese.

The bun was a fairly standard sesame seed bun. Not too much in the way of flavor, but definitely up to task of holding together until the end.

Overall, a very delicious and stand-out burger.

The only negative thing about my experience at Tinhorn Flats was sitting outside on the back patio. The atmosphere was fun at first. A bit secluded and with one of the Heat/Thunder games on TV, but that quickly changed when I realized that people were allowed to smoke there.

By the time I left, there was a very noticeable smoke haze. If second hand smoke isn't your thing, definitely avoid coming here, or at the very least, avoid sitting outside.

So, as July 4th is only one week away, what are you planning on eating/cooking for this year's Independence day parties?

Until next week, Readers!

Bacon Blue Burger
**** 1/2 stars
Tinhorn Flats
2623 W. Magnolia Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91505

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Home Again, Pt. 2

Greetings, Readers!

I was wondering this week, what is your favorite local place for eating? Sandwiches or not, I imagined all of my dear Readers showing me their favorite restaurants and imagining it would take years to visit them all.

Three Monkeys Cafe has become a bit of a favorite place away from home (although it's technically home since I am from Philadelphia).

Visiting this place three times in a long weekend probably could solidify that statement.

On the Sunday that I was heading back to Los Angeles, I sat down at the cafe and perused the specials menu. Today something definitely caught my eye: The Caribbean Pork Sandwich.

The sandwich consisted of a slap of roasted pork topped with a healthy dose of sweet mango salsa. The pork and mango pair incredibly well, and this sandwich is no exception. My only problem with it was that the pork wasn't as tender as I would have liked. It wasn't exactly tough, but a longer roasting/marinating time could have made the pork a more standout component.

The roll was a lightly toasted sesame seed roll that didn't add too much to the mix, but wasn't bad either. I definitely preferred the Blackened Tuna Steak sandwich from their regular menu, which is also much more frequently available. If you make your way to Three Monkeys sometime, I can highly recommend that sandwich instead.

Despite this sandwich not living up to the promise of their other offerings, It is very easy to see that the standards that Three Monkeys' menu lives up to a very high, and delicious standard. It is absolutely worth the visit the next time you are in the Philadelphia area.

Until next week, Dear Readers...

Caribbean Pork Sandwich
*** 1/2 Stars
Three Monkeys Cafe
9645 James Street
Philadelphia, PA 19114

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Home Again

Greetings Readers!

I recently headed back east to Philadelphia for my brother's wedding this past weekend, and what a whirlwind tour it was.

When I usually head back home, I tend to have ideas of places to visit, like a massive list of places, but I never really get to many of them because of time constraints.

One day, I'll spend two weeks back home eating sandwiches. Followed by three months in cardiac arrest.

So to keep it simple on a great, but thoroughly busy weekend, I met with my brother and his friend Nick for lunch at Northeast Philly hotspot Three Monkeys.

I haven't been to this place in years, and when I was there, I don't think they had an outside eating area nor a decent sized food menu. But much has changed over the years.

Enjoying the slightly humid June afternoon, I ordered the Blackened Tuna Steak sandwich, a good change of pace from the copious amounts of red meat I've been eating lately for the blog.

Topped with a spicy remoulade, lettuce and tomato on a lightly toasted Le Bus roll, this sandwich delivers.

The tuna steak was thick and juicy, full of flavor but not too 'fishy'. The spicy remoulade added a nice spicy cream flavor to the sandwich while the lettuce added a crispness to the sandwich. Though the name 'blackened' seems a little misleading, as you can see in the photo. When I hear that term used in a sandwich I usually think some sort of Caribbean influenced cooking that chars the outside. Sadly, not the case in this sandwich.

While it didn't disappoint in flavor, I was disappointed that it was not the flavor I was expecting.

Regardless, finish this plate off with old bay shoestring fries and you have an excellent choice for lunch.

If you live in the Philadelphia area and you haven't been to Three Monkeys, you should definitely make your way there. Even if you're not interested in food, their beer selection is pretty decent to enjoy on a hot and humid summer afternoon.

Until next week, Readers...

Blackened Tuna Steak sandwich
**** Stars
Three Monkeys Cafe
9645 James Street
Philadelphia, PA 19114

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's Been A Long Time...For Some Short Rib

Welcome back, Dear Readers!

After having survived freefall on my 30th birthday, I was reminded that I still had so many sandwiches to taste yet in life, and what better time to take on one I had been postponing for quite some time.

Having relatives visiting me for my birthday, I decided to take them to a swank little eatery known as Joan's on Third in West Hollywood.

Taking a seat at one of the sidewalk tables, I anxiously awaited my Short Rib sandwich. Now Joan's has an amazing selection of sandwiches, and from what I hear, most are amazing. So if you are interested in trying this place out, but not dying for a short rib sandwich, you have plenty of excellent options.

Pulled short rib, melted jack cheese, arugula and sweet red onions stack up between two slices of grilled country bread. The short rib had definitely been cooked down the right amount of time. It just about fell apart when I bit into it, without being too mushy or ending up too dry.

Since the rib meat was pulled, the melted jack cheese permeated the whole sandwich from bread slice to bread slice.

The country bread was lightly buttered, lightly grilled, and highly delicious, adding a bit of crunch to the otherwise softer insiders of the sandwich.


I'm still not sure why I delayed so long in eating this sandwich as it was definitely highly enjoyable, delicious, and worth a second trip. The sandwich is very similar to the sandwich i reviewed at 8 oz. Burger Bar back in December 2010, but I feel like Joan's version of the sandwich slightly edges out that one.

Like I mentioned before, Joan's has an incredible deep menu listing that can satisfy almost any customer, so if you're in the area you should absolutely check it out. But if you're looking for what most people (including myself now) consider the pinnacle of their sandwich mastery, you'd do well to try the Short Rib Sandwich.

In other sandwiching news, I will be heading back to Philadelphia for my brother's wedding this weekend will hopefully get at least one sandwich in for you east coasters to read about.  Congrats to Evan and Liz on their big day in advance.

So, Philly, what's the sandwich that is a must have?

Until next week, Readers...

Short Rib Sandwich
Joan's on Third
8350 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Great Burbank Deli Hunt - Part 5

Greetings, Readers!

I am sad to announce some very bad news to you: this is the last entry in our Burbank adventure.

Did you think I was going to say I was ending the blog? Because that's insane. I may be on a new diet and exercise routine, but that does not mean I will give up my love of sandwiches, nor my love of reporting it.

The real problem with writing about Burbank is that there are just too many places to review, so I will have to tackle this area again in the near future.

On our last stop in Burbank, my traveling partner Bryan mentioned that the Burbank Deli & Carryout was known to have the best liverwurst sandwich in town. Now, I have never had liverwurst, nor had I even thought about it as a possibility for consumption, but I was up for the experience.

If i was going to try it, why not at the deli with the sign that says "best wurst in town"?

Sadly though (or luckily enough?) the deli hadn't served liverwurst in a few years, but had kept the sign because it had become such a staple of the shop. Speaking with the sandwich artist we were recommended two different sandwiches: The Pastrami and the Assorted Meats.

Having already tried numerous pastrami sandwiches, we decided to tackle the Assorted Meats Sandwich.

Stacked with ham, bologna, salami, roast beef, lettuce, jalapenos, peperoncini, provolone cheese, tomatoes, salt, pepper and mayo on a long Italian roll, this sandwich delivers with flavor and is filling.

Each of the meats lends their own distinctive flavor without really tripping over each other. The ham and bologna flavors blend well together with the salami and roast beef sticking out from the crowd with their own distinctive flavors. The peperoncinis and jalapenos add a spicy kick while the lettuce gives this meaty sandwich a little bit of crunch.

Oh, and the roll held up throughout the entire ordeal. Quite the feat for how much is contained inside.

So this ends this journey through Burbank to discover some of the best delis in town. Besides finding numerous delicious sandwiches to eat, I think I gained an insight into what makes Burbank a great town.

Not only did we find great neighborhood delis, but we met the people who owned them, who worked in them, and who added to the great culinary experience of Burbank.

Meeting the people was just as enjoyable as eating the sandwiches that made them popular.

So use this adventure as a reason to get out and learn about some of your neighborhood eats and learn more about your neighborhood/town/city. You'll be glad you did.

Until next week, Readers...

Assorted Meats Sandwich
**** Stars
Burbank Deli & Carryout
1414 W. Alameda Ave.
Burbank, CA 91506

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Great Burbank Deli Hunt - Part 4

Greetings, dearest Readers!

I hope that the Sandwich Gods have treated you this past week to deliciousness as I further retell my tale of trekking through the city of Burbank.

The one thing I've been noticing while writing these blog posts is that Burbank, for being a small suburban town, is packed to the gills with great places to eat. It's a shame that more people do not have reasons to drive up to Burbank on the regular, as there are so many culinary gems in this town, it's hard to count them all.

Another shop that @818NewGuy visited was Tony's Market, but this wasn't a pre-planned trip.

A few of the shops that we had tried to visit on this day were closed, and instead of giving up and going home, I did a random search through Yelp and this place popped up.

Good thing I did, because compared to the other shops we visited, this was out of the way, and a place we wouldn't have come across casually.

Dom Manente was behind the counter when we arrived and was very talkative not only to us, but all of his regulars who came through the door on our visit. It's always great to have a rapport with the people at your favorite shop, and Dom was just further proof of that.

He took the time to suggest some sandwiches, gave a little history on the shop and just talked about our journey with us. In the end though, we ended up ordering the pastrami compared to the many other sandwiches that he offered up as top choices.

Heading to a local park, we sat down and sampled this sandwich from Tony's Market. Hands down, this is one of the best pastrami sandwiches out there. Biting into it, the only way to describe the meat in this packed sandwich is buttery.

The meat had been cooked and marinated for so long that the fat had mostly melted away, lending its buttery flavor to the rest of the meat, and did not leave it even remotely dry.

Tender and lending its usual marinated spice flavor to the rest of the sandwich, it is hard to remember even tasting anything else. Sure there was mustard, sure there were pickles, and absolutely there was a roll that stayed together until the end, but my mind was solely concentrating on the delicious pastrami.

It is worth the trip to North Burbank for this sandwich alone. If you're a fan of the cured meat, then I highly suggest you take a little drive to this part of the valley just to meet Dom and try one of his best sandwiches.

And so ends another week of touring Burbank's sandwich offerings. One more to go in this series, but if you're in the area, don't just limit yourself to these shops I've mentioned. Always explore on your own as well.

In other non-sandwich related news, I will be skydiving tomorrow for my 30th birthday. If it were at all possible, I'd jump with a sandwich for the blog's new logo. Sadly i think any bread would be annihilated by falling at 120 mph.

Until next week, Readers...

Pastrami Sandwich
**** Stars
Tony's Market
2813 N. Glenoaks Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91504

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Great Burbank Deli Hunt - Part 3

 Welcome back, Dear Readers, for our third week of trekking through the city of Burbank, CA.

For this stop, Bryan (@818newguy) and I headed over to Moore's Delicatessen in downtown Burbank. This deli is a hot spot during lunch hour for people who work at Cartoon Network, which is just around the corner.

If you get to stop in here one time, definitely make sure you take a peek at the back dining room, as cartoonists from CN mark up the wall with sketches from the shows that they work on.

Talking to Ollie at the counter of Moore's we inquired about what their best sandwich was. It didn't take her long to suggest the City Hall, a customer favorite.

The City Hall is essentially a Reuben, although in this case, you have your option on which meat you would like to include. Your choices range from the typical corned beef to pastrami, turkey, ham, or roast beef. For this time around we went with straight up pastrami.

It had been a little while since my last pastrami sandwich, and I have to admit that I was itching to get some.

Generously added to the sandwich with cole slaw, Russian dressing, Swiss cheese and grilled rye bread (make sure you ask for it to be grilled), the City Hall is a real winner in Burbank.

This pastrami had some excellent flavor. All of the usual spices were in play, but without being overpowering. Pastrami really does have a fine line between perfect and sadly over/under flavored.

The other positive about the meat was its tenderness. Even some of the best pastrami tends to have a problem when its cools down (if you've cooked it) in that the fat re-congeals or becomes tough, making the meat somewhat inedible. This was not a problem here. If anything, the meat may have been a little dry, but overall was very well prepared for this sandwich.

The Swiss cheese and Russian dressing blended together in a creamy melange of smooth, smoky flavor which matched the pastrami well. The cole slaw added a sweet crispy crunch to the sandwich that contrasted well with its savory interiors.

And the grilled rye? Well that held together until the end with excellent rye flavor, brought out by the light toasting.

Let's face it, I have a true bias when it comes to pastrami, and in that sense I tend to judge those types of sandwiches on a tougher scale. Despite that, I have to highly recommend this sandwich. While the pastrami could be a little less dry, overall it is a can't miss sandwich in downtown Burbank.

I have to say that before this sandwich journey with Bryan even began, I knew of some great sandwich shops in Burbank, but I have to admit that I never thought there would be so many! So far, we've either hit all of the best places in town, or every sandwich shop should be on par with a five star restaurant.

It seems like the city of Burbank does not disappoint.

Until next week, dear Readers!

City Hall Sandwich
**** Stars
Moore's Delicatessen
271 East Orange Grove Ave.
Burbank, CA