Saturday, December 26, 2015

Hula Popper!: Bridgeview Tavern, Sleepy Hollow, NY

I haven't written about sandwiches in two years but I just had something that made me think about the good old days when a sandwich could change your outlook on the day.  Now and then, an idea is presented by someone that is simply a stroke of genius, only to alienate the ignorant, and end up like Copernicus or Prometheus.  A pioneer who got scalped.

Not so here.  I had a sandwich that broke through the barriers of incomprehension and at the same time made this old man very happy:

A deconstructed jalepeno popper sandwich.

Hide your kids, hide your wives.  This thing will wreck your home in a whirlwind of flavor.

I spoke to the owner (or someone perhaps close to the owner) and he said that, while it is a not on the regular menu and considered a special, he sells a about a hundred of them a week.  No surprise here.

The goods:

- Brioche bun
- Thinly cut, panko coated, lightly fried chicken breast
- Pickled jalapeno
- Bacon
- Some kind of crazy creamy cheddar cheese (CCCC) sauce.

The owner told that me that he had perfected the art of keeping the cheese sauce from curdling was with the use of sodium phosphate (I think!).  Now I'm not entirely sure if this was the compound (I also had two pints of lager rendering my mind compromised) so don't go around dumping this in your fondue as you might really regret it.  I'm just telling stories about sandwiches, not dispensing advice on chemical compounds!

Anyhow, this thing was so good that I'm naming the Deconstructed Jalepeno Popper sandwich from Bridgeview Tavern the best sandwich of 2015!

In closing, a good sandwich inspires innovation and here's an idea for the future: Japanese Curry Pork Katsu sandwich.  Pork fritter, Japanese Curry, and pickled Daikon on the above brioche roll.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Espresso Sandwich Shop in Sag Harbor to Close

New York Post is reporting the sad news that Espresso Little Italian Market in Sag Harbor -- an official Sultan of Sandwich -- is going to close next month.  The rumor is that Bobby Flay is to take over the space.  I sure hope to hell not!

I'll especially miss that special dressing that goes on those sandwiches.  It is a force of nature.

First Yellow Sub, now Espresso Italian Market?

Support your local sandwich shop!  Otherwise, it will be another Starbucks or Chipotle in no time.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pan Cubano: The Keystone of Good Sandwich Making

Sometimes one has a "Eureka!" moment and this occurred shortly after I went to the Main Bar Sandwich Shop in Sarasota a couple of weeks ago.  I saw a comment somewhere that the bread on the Famous Italian was pan Cubano.  This bread tasted similar to what was used at the Yellow Sub in Fort Collins, and I realized that pan Cubano (and variations of it) was the Golden Fleece of sandwich making.

The bread is light as air with a crispy outside, which is perfect.  How I detest hard and crusty bread that cuts up the roof of my mouth like a butterfly knife!  It's lighter than Italian or French bread and wider/flatter.

I decided to make some this morning using the recipe from these guys, who seemed like legit Miami dudes.  The list of ingredients is small but it is a lot of work.  I deviated from the recipe by using Crisco instead of lard (usually don't have a lot of lard on hand) and used All-Purpose Flour instead of 50% All Purpose/50% Bread Flour (I don't know what bread flour is).  Also, I sifted the flour but not sure if it really did anything.

Luckily, it turned out pretty good.  As I write this, my wife is bringing home some salami, ham, and provolone.  I'm going to make a pepper/pickle relish, slice up some tomatoes and onions, make a garlic-infused oil and put this baby to the test.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Main Bar Sandwich Shop, Sarasota, FL, USA

One on my favorite sandwich shops of all time, The Yellow Sub in Fort Collins, now exists only in my memory but I just had a sandwich that made me shake my head in disbelief.  It tasted almost the same as Frank's old sandwiches: same bread, chopped pickle/pepper relish and thinly sliced onion.

This joint was started by retired circus performers in 1958 and resembles your average narrow diner on the inside with old pictures of Ringling stars.  But make no mistake - you won't find any home fries here.  This is sandwich country and the Famous Italian is the best sandwich I've had in months.  I got a double and washed it down with two refills of Mr. Pibb.  I also ate my kid's roast beef sandwich and that was some excellent quality RB.  Someone has got to be the glutton.  I glanced behind the counter and noticed the cold cuts and relish piled high.  Looks like everyone gets relish and onion with your Italian, like it or not.  Which is good because you'd be fool to make any alterations to this sandwich.

It's only been an hour but I'm ready for another one.  I'm going back tomorrow.

Sultan of Sandwich, no question.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Big Ass Sandwiches Delivers A Birthday Bomb

My brother's birthday is imminent so we thought an appropriate gift would be a sandwich.  Of course, right?

The trouble was that I live in NYC and Jon lives in Portland, OR.  Thanks to some inside information, I learned that Big Ass Sandwiches might be up to the challenge.

The result: a two pound custom Jrbobbles special delivered on time and by bicycle, no less.

Can't wait to try one of those myself.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Introducing the Sultan of Sandwich Official Seal

The Sultan Of Sandwich at Rest
We've seen a lot of great sandwich joints over the years, each deserving of the coveted 'Sultan of Sandwich' designation.

Going forward, each will be marked with the seal below, our own Enter Sand(wich) Man spiritual advisor, the Sultan himself, Sam the Sham-wich Man.

Sultan of Sandwich

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hoagie Haven, Princeton, NJ, USA

Sultan of Sandwich
Sandwich Man is back!  Haven't had any good sandwiches to note lately.  Until now.

My friend MK, who is involved in some work at the Institute for Advanced Studies, invited me down to Princeton, NJ to catch up and bum around.  I've always liked Princeton  -- a town that MK described as the "Walled Garden in the Garden State".  If you have a little extra cash lying around, be sure to send your kid to college there.  As for me, to do this I would have needed to start saving for my kids' college fund when I was myself 3 years old.

Despite the fact that we had eaten a couple of 6-egg omelettes only a couple of hours earlier, a trip to Hoagie Haven was not to be denied.  This venerable institution is as cherished by the surrounding community as the university itself, and it was in fact my boss, upon learning about my trip to Princeton and totally unprompted, strongly urged me to visit this hallowed space.  

"Truthfully, the biggest disappointment in my life is knowing that my 
time in Princeton will not overlap that of Hoagie Haven's."
Faculty housing at the IAS was about 2 miles away but we decided to hoof it to better whet the appetite for what promised to be a Sultan's delight.  After a walk past Einstein's house and a moderate walk down Nassau St., the unassuming store front was in view.  And no line!  Dozens of options were available, and I decided to throw caution to the wind and get the most unorthodox item on the menu: a Buffalo Chicken Cheese Steak hoagie.  MK, after I told him that New Jersey was the eggplant capitol of the world, was tempted to get eggplant parmesan but instead got a Fried Flounder hoagie.  In the spirit of the University and the IAS, both choices were made in the spirit of inquiry and experimentation.

These sandwiches are long, more than a foot for sure and a couple of pounds each.  It's not often that I'm intimidated by a big sandwich, but in this case I felt very sure that I was in over my head.  The BCCS sandwich had hot peppers, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickle, blue cheese dressing and hot sauce.  The FF had tartar sauce among some other standard fixings.

Wasting no time, we sat on the bench directly outside and went to work.  I must say the the bread is the best I've had on any sandwich.  Everything worked together.  I realized a little too late that there was in fact White American on the sandwich, to its detriment (I much rather prefer Provolone on a steak) but everything else was good enough to mask this fact.  You gotta say yes to another excess, so I finished the sandwich, to both MK's and my amazement.  In competitive eating parlance, I'm happy to say that there were no reversals or other unpleasantries.

MK seemed happy with his fish sandwich but wisely stopped at the halfway mark.  Later I learned that the full Wolf Moon inspired him to finish it off later.  The 2 mile walk back to the Institute Housing helped let it all settle down, despite a brief stop at the brewpub.  

No question: Hoagie Haven is a Sultan of Sandwich.