All posts by hereminence

Chili Burger

So, this sandwich is a legitimate gutbomb.  I’m not going to mince words here, folks.  I’ll give it to you straight.  This sandwich is going to make you feel like you want to die…but in a good way!

We decided (wisely, I think) to outsource this sandwich to the professionals at George’s – a neighborhood dive in the truest sense of the word.  Although we are dedicated to the craft of making the world’s finest sandwiches, the necessary work to make this sucker at home is daunting, and likely a bit expensive.

A chili burger is an actual hamburger patty smothered in chili con carne.  It delivers beef directly into your gaping maw via two mechanisms (burger and chili, if you aren’t paying attention).  This sandwich is an exercise in excess.  Now, burgers, on their own, or chili, on its own, are not overwhelming.  But the thought of making both burgers and chili met with a decidedly lazy ‘meh’ and to the dive bar merrily we went!

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We sipped on our beers, listened to jukebox Top 40 hits (not necessarily this year’s hits but hits nonetheless), and took it all in.  Finally, we were served these monstrosities.  There had been some debate as to whether we should share one, but we decided that we must each have our own…for science.  I hate so much to admit this, but that decision may have been a mistake.  I hate even more to admit this…but look how much precious sandwich I left behind on that plate!

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I am so ashamed.

If you are considering purchasing your own chili burger at George’s, here are some lessons learned.

  1. This sandwich is the opposite of Ham Fraud ™, wherein the sandwich maker creates an illusion of more sandwich through deceit and trickery.  To the contrary! This sandwich wants you to have the most of everything! You’ll note first that it is open faced, but then the top bun is cut in half and placed at either end of the burger patty, thus creating the greatest possible surface area for the chili.  This sandwich wants you to get your $7.25 worth.
  2. This sandwich is only $7.25 and could easily supply you with three meals.
  3. You do not need the large tater tots, you jackass.
  4. You also do not need the potato salad. Mainly because it is not very good.
  5. You will have the option of cheese and onions on top and I strongly urge you, in no uncertain terms, to exercise that option.

Do You Immediately Want Another Of This Sandwich?

Guhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

*farts*

That would have to be a no for me this time, friends. I have to admit I enjoyed this less than I thought I would, seeing how much I love both burgers and chili.  The first several bites were satisfying, but in very short order it just became too much.  But, do I think there is something inherently worthwhile about going to a dive bar and ordering a Legitimate Gutbomb ™ just for the hell of it?  Yes, emphatically I do.  So take that for what it’s worth and eat accordingly.  Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

 

Cheese

YES. YES! YES? YES. It is grilled cheese day, my friends.  Who among us does not love grilled cheese? Those melty, melty, magical, magic melts… Think about the first time you ever had one. I bet YOU CAN’T, because if you are like me, you grew up eating grilled cheeses for lunch and dinner when your loving parent either 1) did not have the time to make you a proper meal with actual vegetables, or 2) badly wanted an excuse to eat their own grilled cheese.

(Although, I did once teach a group of English students about grilled cheeses when I was studying abroad during college and ate a grilled cheese and ham sandwich every. single. night. (because metabolism).  They loved them but insisted upon calling them “cheese grills” no matter how persistently they were corrected. An English cheese sandwich, for the record, is bread, butter, cheese, and pickles and they are also delicious.)

Join us as we prepare the ultimate comfort-sandwich.

Preparation:

We have heard from some new readers that it would be helpful to post recipes.  Although this is excellent feedback and we will start doing so, it is interesting indeed that we will start this with the grilled cheese: a sandwich that most people know how to make straight out of the womb.  But I will share with you my proven grilled cheese method.

Proven Grilled Cheese Method:

Makes 2 Sandwiches – for you and a friend, or just for you if you’re extra hungry

Four slices good quality bread – we used Como bread from Grand Central Bakery

4-5 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

Whipped butter

Optional (but not really…)

Tomato soup

Use high quality bread and high quality cheese.  Grate the cheese for extra meltability.

Butter the outer sides of the bread liberally.

Assemble the sandwiches by placing roughly half the cheese on each (approximately an handful’s worth [ed. note: 2oz should suffice]).

Heat a skillet on high, cast iron works superbly, and put a sandwich butter-side down on the heated skillet.

Hover over it with drool streaming down your face.

After you think the bread has toasted to your liking, flip the sandwich and press down on it with the spatula.  This probably accomplishes nothing but it makes it seem like it’s cooking faster.

Put on a plate and serve with tomato soup (or ketchup, or both).

*

Impressions

Perfect. Duh.

Do you immediately want another of this sandwich?

Yes, for taste reasons. But it is important to note that with the soup this is a complete meal. There are so many variations as well.  Any kind of cheese, any kind of bread.  Add a slice of ham or a slice of tomato.  One of my personal favorites is a grilled cheese and avocado! The limitless possibilities, economy, and of course, the deliciousness of the cheese sandwich make it an undeniable classic.

Cemita

Hola, sandwich lovers…we are back! And we have triumphantly entered the C-section (ew) of our most excellent mission.  Man, I thought we were going to be in the Bs forever.  Oh do we have some epic sandwiches coming up, we are SO excited.  But first, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge a major misstep on the part of this here sandwich blog.  Yes, November 3 was National Sandwich Day and neither of us noticed or commemorated this illustrious holiday (though we probably ate a sandwich considering it was a day that ended in Y).  We promise we will never make such a careless error again.

Anyway, today’s sandwich is the Cemita:

The Cemita is a traditional sandwich from Puebla, Mexico and it takes its name from the kind of roll used.  We did not find traditional cemita rolls, but used torta rolls and topped them with sesame seeds to recreate it.  The sandwich assemblage is quite simple, just a meat, queso blanco, avocado, onion, and salsa roja.  

We picked up most of the ingredients at a local shop/taqueria, Don Pancho, and the proprietor was so kind as to run next door to the restaurant and give us a pound of delicious, tender carnitas.  The only real work we did was to heat up the carnitas and swish them around the pan with some fresh oregano, onion, and some of the salsa roja, and then toast the bread with the sesame seeds on top.

This sandwich was very, very good.  It was hearty without feeling overwhelming. The flavors were bright.  The cheese, though mild, added depth to the sandwich and counterbalanced the heat of the fiery salsa roja.  Speaking of salsa roja, these sandwiches improved exponentially once we decided to dump the stuff on.  Don Pancho makes the salsa roja fresh with only natural ingredients (ed. note: seriously – roasted adobo peppers, vinegar, salt, water, garlic, I think that’s it. fresh daily or close to it.) and it’s like $3 for a generously sized tub (pro-tip).

In all, this was very tasty, a complete meal, and very easy to put together, though we lightly toasted some sesame seeds & cooked up a bunch of fresh oregano in the carnitas, which added some really nice, bright texture to the density of the pork. Totally not necessary, and some cilantro would of course be a gorgeous addition.  Unlike some of our more laborious sandwiches, I can easily see myself making this again and again because it is so convenient for a work-night dinner.  And isn’t convenience really what the sandwich is ultimately all about?

Do you immediately want another of this sandwich?

Yep. Heartily regretting not making enough to bring for lunch the day after.

Broodjie Kroket

Oh my, are you ready for your second meat slurry sandwich in as many weeks?!???!!! OHHHH YEAAAAHHHHHHHHHH.  

The Broodjie Kroket is a Dutch sandwich, traditionally served as street food.  And I will tell you, this is a sandwich that should be eaten (and made) while drunk.  Because you have to overcome all of your instincts NOT to eat this sandwich, but, oh friends, it will be worth it.  

I am just kidding about making this sandwich drunk because it had approximately ONE BILLION steps, the most critical of which involves a deep fryer.  Ok, let’s get into it:

First, purchase your ingredients. Some nice soft rolls, roast beef, spicy mustard, mushrooms and onions, soy sauce, thyme, and stuff to make bechamel.  I followed this recipe. I will tell you now (SPOILERS) that our krokets looked absolutely nothing like the picture in this recipe and this woman must be some kind of wizard.  

Second, blend all of your ingredients in a food processor, save the rolls and mustard.  This includes the bechamel that you have lovingly stirred on the stove.  Note: in retrospect, I think I used too much bechamel sauce.  The recipe is in UK standard measurements and I would just urge you to be judicious in your bechamel use.  This will create a meat slurry.  Pop that bad boy in the fridge for several hours.

You would think that the fridge chilling would solidify your meat slurry, but in our case, it sure did not! Friends, I am going to be crude here for a second: these meat slurry “logs” that you form straight up look like doo-doo.  

Take your meat slurry logs, which are not easy to pick up and will definitely make you gag, dip them in flour (flour covered turd logs), then in egg, which in our case was, uh, unnecessary, then in bread crumbs. 

Then, deep fry for 5 minutes.  I believe it is also possible to fry on a stovetop if you are not like me and have not purchased a countertop deep fryer on Craigslist.  A deep fryer hides a multitude of sins.  Those sins are virtually unrecognizable when put in a nice soft roll and slathered with mustard.  They were actually pretty dang tasty.  

A couple of tweaks: the Vicomtesse had the brilliant idea to carve out some of the bread, a trick we learned from our Bauru days.  It helped.  The Vicomtesse also added some pickles to her sandwich number 2 (haha, get it?!), which she contends brought to sandwich to epic levels of deliciousness.  

So, final question: Do you immediately want another of this sandwich?

Vicomtesse: I did want another, so I made another one, con pickles. The pickles changed it from a pretty good sandwich, to an incredible one.  Though not strictly traditional, I stand behind my decision. 

Her Eminence: While the sandwich exceeded my admittedly very low expectations, I was so traumatized by the process of making them, that I did not immediately want another one.  I feel, however, with the lessons learned from this first go-round, that I would perhaps try to make it again.  Even if only to conquer the turd beasts and show them who is truly the master.  

British Rail/Bruschetta

We have another two-fer today.  You’d think this would be to make up for all the neglect in the last few months (we thought we could finish the Bs by the end of last year and now it is May), however, today we do a strategic two-fer as one of these sandwiches is delicious and one of these sandwiches is terrible.  Try to guess which one is which!

We start today with the “British Rail,” which I put in quotes on purpose.  A British Rail sandwich is tied to a particular place and a particular era.  A British Rail sandwich is a crummy sandwich you could get on the nationalized railroad of Great Britain.  It is a national joke. I strongly encourage you to check out the Wikipedia page for the British Rail, as it is hilarious and informative, but I offer you now this brief yet telling snippet: “Historian Keith Lovegrove wrote that it was ‘a sandwich of contradictions; it could be cold and soggy, or stale and hard, and the corners of the isosceles triangle-shaped bread would often curl up like the pages of a well-thumbed paperback'” ISN’T THAT JUST DELIGHTFUL?!

Listen, I know we here are dedicated to the task of eating and rating the world’s most notable sandwiches.  And, of course, if allowed to decide between a “grass-fed slow braised beef with coddled onions and massaged greens and artisanal cheese on double-artisanal bread” and a 7-11 “sadness sandwich” as defined by our Vicomtesse, we all know we’re going for the fancier sandwich.  But there are so many times in life when the fancy sandwich, or even the “good” sandwich is not available to us.  But you know what? Whether by virtue of desperation, boredom, drunkeness, or other circumstance, those “bad” sandwiches become good. You know they do.  You know that 6 hours into your 12 hour Amtrak trip (that was supposed to be 8 hours), you love that crummy train sandwich, because that sandwich is the only thing breaking the monotony and melancholy of solo travel.  And you relish every bite of that cold, hardened bread, “turkey” lush with sodium, three packets of condiment that you glom on to the wizened lettuce and tasteless, but somehow still substantial, cheese.  And in that moment, that sandwich is your everything. That sandwich saves your life.

No? Just me? Well, okay then. So onto the sandwich.

Not being in Great Britain, and not being on a train, we were at a bit of a loss as to how to effectively recreate the sad travel sandwich experience.  My partner in this adventure was to handle the Bruschetta that we shall be discussing later, so it was my task to make a shitty sandwich.  I LITERALLY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DO THIS.  I went to the non-fancy supermarket, just to look for some standard bread and cheese, but then, then I stumbled upon these:

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Look at how that ham sweats.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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Oh these will do quite nicely.

Friends, these sandwiches were terrible.  Just terrible.  This is not an example of when the situation transforms a bad sandwich into a good sandwich. The bread stuck persistently to the roof of your mouth and the lettuce was sad and old.  The ham was just salt and the cheese tasted like nothing. The vicomtesse couldn’t even finish hers. But I did. For Science.

The bruschetta was, of course, much better. The V and I are fortunate enough to live in an area of the US where we have access to abundant, delicious produce, and as we all know, a bruschetta is only as good as the tomatoes.

I will confess that I am not especially a fan of tomatoes (something about the texture and the seeds) but I do like bruschtta. The vicomtesse’s hubby specializes in bruschetta so we let him direct the process. He heated the chopped tomatoes, which has never been my method but was delicious. We spooned the cooled heated (what?) tomatoes over some nice crostini that we heated in the oven for a bit, after brushing with olive oil and garlic, and added some fresh mozzerella because fresh mozzerella never, ever makes anything worse.

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In summary:

British Rail = bad, notoriously bad. Nobody wants more of this.

Bruschetta = good, very good. A tasty treat that is easy as pie to make.

Breakfast Sandwich/Breakfast Roll

Today, all of our friends, all friends, is a two-fer.  Today we did both the Breakfast Sandwich (and how!) and the Breakfast Roll. As these are remarkably similar ‘wiches (you heard it here first, y’all), we opted to combine the two into one utter delight.

The breakfast roll is a convenience food in the UK, a gentle sausage, cheddar and egg sandwich on a soft roll, though we used an english muffin because we are but the American-est of rubes. We threw together (ok, poured over the sandwiches, separately) ketchup and some Lea & Perrins worcestershire to sub for the HP sauce. Ok, ok, ok, I know we’re getting off track here, authenticity-wise, but YOU AIN’T PAYIN

ok I’ll try to bring it down, sorry I keep getting so combative

MOVING ON, the reason that we are only middlingly authentic is because, again, we literally combined the two sandwiches into one. So we fried up some sausage (hooray!) and a few over-mediums, and shredded some of the world’s yummiest (and most accessible!) sharp cheddar, the Tillamook vintage blah-blah cheddar on top. Wow, dudes. DUDES. instead of a dang ol’ pleeb slice of cheese, shred it.

I swear to god, somehow it makes it 9824579375987.9 times tastier. We may have covered this before.

Impressions:
The Vicomtesse of the Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato: Quite pleased! Not the finest of all sandwiches, I wanted the sausage patty to be a little more intensely meaty-spicy (ew, why am I always so gross) but the eggy-cheesy-english-muffin-y portion was fabulous, and as always, the worcestershire & ketchup combo is the tops. For, in the most traditional of Ameritravesties (that probably doesn’t work), the combining of the two sandwiches made one that, for me, was just a little better than ok!

Her Eminence of the Italian Deli Sandwich:
It seems like Her Most Emanant of Eminences liked it, and NOW IN HER OWN WORDS:
Delicious. Breakfast + sandwich = magic. I liked the sautéed mushrooms very much and I was pleasantly reminded of how delicious ketchup is on breakfast foods. Two thumbs up!

thank you one and all

see you next time

Bocadillo

Today we cover the stalwart Bocadillo, native to beautiful España (Spain) and is one of the most versatile sandwiches in our repertoire.  The Bocadillo is traditionally made with many different fillings, including Jamón (which is Spanish for “more delicious Ham” (as if such a thing is possible (it is))), omelet, squid, pork, and the list goes on and on.  However, what Bocadillos traditionally do not have are condiments.  Instead, you rub the bread with a cut tomato or drizzle it with olive oil, or both.  The lack of drippy and perishable condiments makes the Bocadillo the ideal travel sandwich.  Just stuff one in your bag and go!

Sandwiches! Is there anything they can’t do?!

Predictions:

We both thought these would be pretty delicious.  We decided to make two kinds, a squid bocadillo and a jamón and manchego bocadillo.  I was into the squid idea as there is literally no seafood on Earth that I will not enthusiastically consume.  I was also into the jamón and manchego idea because DUH.

Preparation:

So, let’s talk squid for a second, y’all.  It is a leeettle beeeet gross to work with but it is very easy to make.

Simply chop it up:

Then sautee the squid in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  It cooks up very quickly.

The jamon/manchego is pretty self explanatory.  We used a mixture of prosciutto and legit jamon (FROM SPAIN and consequently VERY EXPENSIVE). (Ed. note: : ( )

To prep the bread, cut a tomato in half and rub it all over the bread.  Then drizzle on some olive oil (the higher quality the better).

Impressions:

These were…ahhh…underwhelming.  I think this may be the biggest disparity between our expectations and our actual thoughts about the sandwich.  It was NOT, however, the worst sandwich so far… that honor goes, of course, to the Baked Bean.

Here’s where we think we went wrong.

First, too much bread!  Hollow that sucker out before you get your tomato/olive oil on. (Ed. note: like we did with the Bauru.)  I think I may have also made a poor bread choice when shopping for this sandwich by getting a bigger (hence less crispy) baguette instead of two smaller ones.

Second, squid, though delicious, is not the best sandwich filling.  A bit too slimy.

Third, CONDIMENTS! I know that condiments are not traditional, but man would this sandwich have benefitted from some aioli.  But, as I object very strongly to inserting my cultural expectations into another culture’s traditional sandwich preparation, I think a lot of the need for condiments would be mitigated by less bread.  Or maybe a more ripe tomato?

However, there was one thing we did very, very right:

This wine is the absolute jam.

Do we immediately want to eat another of these sandwiches?

Nah, but perhaps with modification they could be outstanding.