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