Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy National Sandwich Day!

Who knew such a day actually existed? I didn't until late this afternoon. Which is why we went out for sandwiches rather than trying to throw together something suitably ornate for the occasion. Be'wiched filled in perfectly. They have fancy sandwiches and a double punch on your punch card special just for Sandwich Day.
Beth had the turkey burger special with mushrooms, bacon and cheddar. I got the smoked turkey. It has a big pile of delicious smoked turkey with bacon, goat cheese, medjool date spread and zippy dressed salad greens. It's such a yummy sweet and salty and sour combo. They do that very well at Be'wiched. They do everything well there! I got a cup of cream of celery root and apple soup and it was decadent and tasty enough to serve as dessert.
Happy Sandwich Day everyone!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The best sandwich in downtown St. Paul?

That's what some people say!
This is a mozzarella, tomato, basil and prosciutto panini from Maison Darras. It was featured as one of the 17 best sandwiches in the Twin Cities by Minnesota Monthly. I love the panini. And I hadn't been on a walk through the skyways in ages. And who am I to argue with Minnesota Monthly?
The verdict? It's a lovely sandwich. It's not over stuffed. The fillings balance each other out perfectly. The bread is reminiscent of the paninis you can get on the sidewalks of Paris. Which is a good thing, of course. I'll be back.
And yes, I need to check out some more of these 17 best sandwiches!

Again with the baseball!

I can't get away from Target Field. At leat not until I've tried all of the sandwiches. We got the chance to sit in the Legends Club section the other night. It's a teeny step up from our usual third deck seats. There are padded seats and people to serve you drinks while you sit in them. There's an enclosed, air conditioned concession area with fancier food than you can get elsewhere. Like these Italian beauties. At the Frankie V's stands throughout the stadium you can get pizza and calzones. At the Legends Club Frankie V's, you can get meatball sandwiches and paninis, too. And you know I'm a sucker for a meatball sandwich.
The meatballs were made with a mix of Italian sausage and beef and were fennel-ly and delicious. The sauce was bright and fresh. And they melt the cheese on top in the pizza oven!
The panini had salami and peppers and a creamy, cheesy sauce. It was quite tasty. The sauce did a good job of holding it together--it's making me think of things to put on a panini...bechamel, anyone?
The view wasn't bad either. Now, if we could only get to a game when the Twins win!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It was fate

Beth and I went to the Twins game last night because we couldn't think of a better way to spend a 90+ high humidity evening than sitting outside surrounded by hot people. Plus, we already had the tickets.
I had been thinking of getting the Turkey to Go sandwich all day and that's exactly where I headed as soon as we got to the stadium. We passed Tony O's Cuban Sandwich on the way and I was reminded that I really should try one of those...
Moments later, armed with my turkey sandwich, Beth and I headed for the blissfully air conditioned elevators to the upper deck. The elevator opened, and Tony Oliva himself walks out! He said, "I've been waiting for you, ladies." Then he walked away. We got on the elevator, and laughed about the whole episode with the elevator operator. I told him I almost got a Cuban tonight and he highly recommended it. So I got one for dessert. Well, half was my dessert and the other half was Beth's dinner.
The verdict? The pork and ham are tasty and there's just enough cheese. The pickle is good, too. But there's no mustard on it! They should warn you about that, before you get all the way back to your seat, passing countless condiment counters brimming with yellow mustard along to way. Without the mustard, it's a pretty tasty sandwich, but no match for my favorite Turkey to Go. With the mustard, who knows? It could be the best sandwich at Target Field.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Food Truck Food Court, revisited

The weekly food truck food court in downtown St. Paul is pretty awesome. I've been back a couple times and everything has been delicious! This is a bison burger from Chef Shack. It had guacamole, bacon ketchup, and pepper jack on it. I added some pickles from their well stocked condiment bar, too. The patty was perfectly cooked to medium rare, which was a lovely surprise. I got their Arnie Palmer as well. It's made from jasmine tea and isn't too sweet.
On another trip, I revisited Gastrotruck and got a black bean slider and a BBQ chicken slider with onion marmalade. Super yum! I look forward to trying more of their sliders!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

California wrap-up

On my last full day in California, Junior took me to Point Richmond to see a county park and a model train set-up. After that excitement, we were feeling a little peckish. Luckily, Point Richmond has a nice historic downtown with lots of food options. We were drawn to a rugby bar, the Up & Under. It wasn't just a bar with rugby jerseys. It was a true rugby pub with a rugby themed menu. Of course I had to check out the sandwich named after the position I played.
How did they know this is one of my faves? The other position's sandwiches were just as appropriate. The Lock? An Italian sausage grinder. (Beth approves) The Wing? A portabello mushroom sandwich (Tee hee).
The sandwich was lovely. The sauce was not too sweet and the bun was soft enough to hold all the juicy goodness in. The avocado was an especially nice touch.
I also had a chance to get back to Bun Mee for another delicious creation. This one is the Sloppy Bun: red curry ground beef with a fried egg, Thai basil, cilantro, onions and jalapenos. Holy moly! The server slipped me extra napkins before I even started to eat! It was a great banh mit. I'm only sorry I couldn't try more of their fancy sandwiches. I will have to try and make some at home until I can make it back!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Berkeley Sandwich Night!

I'm finishing out my trip to the Bay Area by visiting some old friends, including Sandwich Night originator Angie!
It's Memorial Day weekend, so we had to grill out, of course. Angie simmered bratwurst in beer, with mushrooms and onions. Once the brats were cooked, she reduced the remaining beer, mushroom and onion mixture into a thick yummy gravy. For the sandwiches, we toasted garlic naan, spread mushroom brie on it, then layered on tomatoes, pickles, the mushroom mixture, the brats and greens. Junior made potato salad with green beans to go with the meal.As a bonus, we had perfect weather and Jen made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The banh mit is the sandwich of the teens

You know it!
I'm in San Francisco for work this week and I just happened to wander past Bun Mee at supper time. They serve super fancy banh mit. I had to stop, of course. I got the "smoky eggplant" which had roasted eggplant and red curry aioli on it. It was so delicious. The eggplant and curry were a good savory contrast to the slightly sweet pickled onion, cucumber and daikon. They also put really thick cilantro stalks in there and they were fantastic.
I'm still here tomorrow so I might need to return to try another sandwich!For dessert, I ordered this sweet little sandwich cookie-chocolate cookies with coconut filling. So pretty!

Fun with no-knead bread

In a fit of frugality this spring I decided to start baking my own bread. I have been curious to try the various no-knead methods out there. I admit I’m a little late to the party. I mean, no-knead bread is so 2009, isn’t it?
No-knead bread is exactly that. You stir up your ingredients in a big bowl, let the dough rise for a while at room temperature, then store it in the fridge. The gluten develops while the big gloopy mess sits in the cold. The yeast breeds slowly, too, so you don’t get that sweet yeasty taste some homemade breads have. When you feel like fresh bread, you pull off a hunk, shape it quickly and let it rise for a bit. Then you bake it in a hot oven with steam.
It’s been a fun experiment. Other than making sure you have enough time to let the dough rise before baking, there is really no planning involved. The initial recipe makes enough dough for several loaves and it keeps for about 10 days.
That’s fine, you say, but how does it work for sandwiches?
I’ve had my hits and misses. My first attempt at a whole wheat loaf came out about 3 inches tall. Beth and I had to endure some ridicule from our coworkers while eating stubby turkey sandwiches for lunch that week.
I have yet to find the best recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread. One was too sour, the other too heavy. The too heavy whole wheat sandwich loaf was a nice match for my favorite peanut butter and pepper jelly sandwich, though. Even sliced thinly, the bread stood up to the jelly without getting soggy.
I have a feeling I’ll be playing around with no-knead bread for some time to come!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Now there’s a reality show for Sandwich Night!

I’m sort of ambivalent about Blondie, although I read it every day. My lackluster devotion does pay off occasionally. Check out this recent strip.
Nice work, Dagwood!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Food Truck Food Court=Best Thing Ever

The food truck frenzy has kicked it up a notch in downtown St. Paul. This summer, the city is setting aside half a block of metered parking for food trucks on Wednesdays. How awesome is that? Luckily, the weekly Food Truck Food Court is located a block away from my work. Could it get any better?
Of course it could. Many of these fancy trucks feature yummy sounding sandwiches. I had to pick one, so I chose Gastrotruck's Surly Coffee Bender brasied beef short rib sliders. Say that three times fast! The short ribs with delectable--very tender. I didn't pick up the taste of the beer very much but they were beefy and slightly sweet. It was served with blue cheese and what I think were sauteed ramps. The buns were soft and slightly sweet. And perfect. I'll be checking them out again since they had lots of other sliders on the menu.
The other trucks had some promising looking sandwiches, too. Grilled cheese with pulled pork and caramelized onions? Don't mind if I do!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Turkey To Go!

Beth and I bought into a season ticket package for the Minnesota Twins this year. Beth's the baseball fan. I'm the easily distracted viewer who goes for the spectacle and the food. Yes, the food. Target Field has done a great job featuring local specialties and vendors. Last year I enjoyed Kramarczuk's Polish Sausages and Angie's Kettle Corn. This year is even better because Turkey To Go has a stand!

I first discovered Turkey To Go's excellent turkey sandwiches at the State Fair last year. I have been walking right past their stand for years. Silly me.

The Turkey To Go at Target Field did not disappoint. The turkey is nice and juicy and perfectly salty. It tastes like the best Thanksgiving turkey you've ever had. The bun is slightly sweet and perfect for soaking up all that goodness. They are right behind home plate--don't miss it!

I'm looking forward to sampling some of the other sandwich options offered on my next visit. The Murray's Steak Sandwich Beth ate looked awfully tasty...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Too distracted to blog

Have you seen the current issue of Saveur? Have you? Well, if you have, you will know why I've been too busy to update the blog. Those pages need to be carefully examined. More later--when I try out some of the recipes!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's catching on...

My friend Molly hosted a Sandwich Night last week and she's never even been to Sandwich Night at my house! I'm a trendsetter!
Molly and her husband Ralph were inspired by Ralph's south Jersey roots and chose to make a Philly Cheese Steak. That's a sandwich we haven't attempted yet, so I was excited to try their version. They did some pre-testing (what a concept!) to get the components just right. They considered a couple bread options, including the French rolls used for banh mit, before settling on Mexican bolillo rolls. One day old bolillo rolls, to be exact.
Bolillo rolls are soft, yet strong enough to stand up to wet ingredients. They are just slightly sweet, like a good white bread should be. They are lovely for Cubans, too.
With the bread squared away, the rest was easy. Thinly sliced ribeye, sauteed green peppers and onions, provolone, and Cheez Whiz. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about Cheez Whiz. I know it's the right way to do it, but it still seems wrong to put Cheeze Whiz on a sandwich with such great ingredients.
I decided to do a side by side comparison. I made my sandwich with provolone and Beth made hers with the Cheez Whiz and we shared them.The provolone was tasty. I layered it under the rest of the ingredients so it would melt. This was a fine sandwich.

Beth layered the Cheez Whiz over, under, and around the other ingredients for a deliciously messy cheesy explosion. This was an amazing sandwich! I'm a convert! Bring on the Whiz!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

There's a truck made of grilled cheese???

I knew I had to find the Grilled Cheese Truck when I was in Los Angeles last week. It's mobile fancy grilled cheese kitchen! They go everywhere. You can follow them on Twitter. They make a sandwich with macaroni and cheese AND pulled pork in it. How could I pass that up?
I couldn't, of course. They even made it easy for me, parking a mere 10 minutes from my parents' house on a day when we had no lunch plans. Can you see my excitement?

I had carefully studied their menu online and was wavering between getting the cheesy mac and rib or the brie melt. Then I found out about their special of the day: the fried chicken melt. What's that? It takes the classic L.A. meal of fried chicken and waffles and improves it with lots of melty sharp Cheddar. Oh my goodness! We got there soon after they opened shop and had to stand in line for almost 45 minutes just to order. We had another 20 minutes to wait for our order to be ready. Yes, the sandwiches were worth the wait.
We were feeding a small crowd back home so we were able to get a variety of sandwiches. That's the brie melt in back. It has brie, fig paste and almonds on black peppercorn potato bread. In front, we have the delectable fried chicken melt. It comes with maple syrup for dipping. We also got the cheesy mac and rib and the smores melt. (I didn't get a picture of them before they were devoured, unfortunately.) They were all great, but the fried chicken melt was the standout. The sweetness of the waffle mixed well with the slightly spicy cutlet and gooey cheese. The maple syrup tied all of the flavors together perfectly. why didn't I think of making sandwiches out of waffles?
Thanks, Grilled Cheese Truck!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

One for the secret menu

In-n-Out, like many fast food joints, has a "secret menu." You can order extra patties, no patties, or extra condiments. But how about this one?This is what you do when your 4 year old orders a hamburger and only eats the meat. What to do with the bun and all the fixings? Add fries, of course. You only need to call it a shamewich if you eat the whole thing after you have finished your own Double Double. You should also only let it be recorded for posterity if your sister promises to hide your identity.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In which I attempt to take my own life with cheese filled burgers...

Oh lordy. I had a Jucy Lucy twofer over the weekend that damn near killed me.
On Friday night Beth and I scored tickets to the Current's 6th Birthday Party at First Avenue. We wanted to go out to eat beforehand and it was early enough that Matt's sounded like a great idea. At 6:00, we got the last available table. Nice! Of course, they were up to their usual high standards. My Jucy Lucy had an unfortunate blow-out on the grill but it had been expertly patched. We headed off to the concert with our bellies full of beefy cheesy goodness. Then we stood and watched awesome local bands for 6 hours. You have to stand at First Ave, since they only have about a dozen chairs and 6 of them were reserved for the Mayor and his posse. We got home around 2:00 and crashed.
Until...the phone rang at 9:00 AM. It was Beth's brother Ted. He wanted to know what time we were going to the Blue Door Pub? I completely forgot we talked about doing that. Ted saw it on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and wanted to check it out. We decided to get there when they opened in order to get a table. Which meant I found myself facing down another cheese filled burger less than 24 hours after the last. Eeek!
In such a predicament, I went whole hog, of course. I ordered the Cowboy Blucy--cheddar and bacon stuffed patty topped with more cheddar, barbecue sauce and onion rings. Then, Ted ordered the Spam bites as an appetizer. They consist of chopped up Spam and pickles rolled into a ball of cream cheese somewhere between the size of a golf ball and a billiard ball, battered and deep fried. They are served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce that sort of cuts through the insanity of it all. They were good, but we could only eat one each. And the burger was awesome. The Merriam Park Blucy is still my favorite, but the Cowboy Blucy makes for some stiff competition. There's something about the combination of really good cheddar, zippy barbecue sauce and beef that is irresistable.
Well, not completely irresistable. Try as I might, I could not finish the whole thing. Maybe I should have skipped the beer...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Happy Accident

Everett's was out of bulk Italian sausage when Beth went to buy ingredients for lasagna. Not to worry, they sell the same sausage as links in the freezer! And there were enough to save a couple for sandwiches, of course.
I simmered the sausages in tomato sauce, then laid them on soft French bread and melted aged Provolone on top. Finally, I added some muffuletta olive salad on top because we were out of giardiniera. Yum yum yum!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Well, hello there!

The New Year sneaked up on me! It must be all the snow. I'm looking forward to a new year of sharing sandwiches with you. But I'm in a reflective mood, so let's look back at the highlights of 2010.
My resolution to blog everyday ended on January 6. ( I know, lame.) But trying to blog more often got me to try some new things and take a look at my stats. I learned that my most popular posts involve recipes, so I'll be including more of those this year.
We finally made the Philly roast pork sandwich and it was fantastic. We seriously considered quitting our jobs for a moment and making those full time from a food truck.
I finally discovered the secret sandwiches at the Minnesota State Fair. The turkey sandwich from Turkey to Go is my new must eat at the Fair
But the most important sandwich discovery of 2010 for me was the St. Paul Cheese Shop. They make such fantastic sandwiches! I'm filling up my punch card. Pretty soon I'll earn a free sandwich and I'm hoping they'll have a short rib special on the menu. Their short rib, marscapone, and pickled scallion special was one of the best sandwiches I ate in 2010. Mmmm....