Friday, February 27, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #12 - Sonic aka I Like My Salt With A Side Of Sodium

Sandwich: Breakfast Toaster with Bacon
Location: Sonic
Date: February 25, 2015
Cost: $2.99

Sonic is another place that wasn't on the list but I was in the general vicinity and thought I would take a look. Sure enough, their menu contains the Breakfast Toaster.

I've eaten at America's Drive-In a couple of times and wasn't very impressed, so my expectations were low. I do like their Limeade drink.

I can't think of anything else to say about Sonic. It's a fast food chain based out of Oklahoma.

Drive-Thru Menu

Not very eye catching

The sandwich, post stabbing

The Sandwich - I went with the Breakfast Toaster with Bacon. I could have gotten sausage, or the exact same thing on a bagel or a croissant. What's the difference? And why would anybody get a bagel from Sonic? I asked for a knife so I could cut it in half for a photo, but Sonic doesn't have knives (too many work place incidents?) so I took a fork. I thought I might be able to cut the sandwich by using the side of the fork but it was kind of tough, yet doughy. Also, I was doing this on the front seat of my truck so conditions were not ideal. I resorted to stabbing it with the fork in a diagonal pattern across the top. Stabby, stab, stabber. Later I would wish that I had stabbed myself rather than eat this sandwich. I had to stab the bacon a few extra times but I got it, as you can see from the photo.

The result - 1,560 mg of sodium out of 5,000 mg of sodium. That's how much salt is in one of these if you check the handy Sonic nutrition PDF. That's essentially all it tastes like, salt. The bread is thin and squishy, yet chewy in an unpleasant way. The eggs were just a texture and kind of crumbly in the mouth. I like my eggs a little runny, which is never going to happen at a fast food joint (probably for the better) but I reserve the right to complain about them anyway. I don't think these places even have actual eggs in the kitchen, do they? I have no idea. I know its easy to rip apart a fast food sandwich but this thing deserved it. 

If you read the first post of this blog you know that the idea is to see if a sandwich has enough power to affect your day. Several hours after eating this I came down with some type of debilitating flu bug that gave me chills and made my entire body feel like I'd been hit by a truck. I'm not a Doctor, but I'm blaming this sandwich. I hope Sonic doesn't sue me. I really like the Limeade drink.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #11 - Cooper's Tavern aka These Hooligans Aren't Very Hooligany

Sandwich: Chorizo Sandwich
Location: The Coopers Tavern
Date: February 21, 2015
Cost: $9.95, served with mixed greens or chips

Whatever plans I have for this mission continue to change on a regular basis. The Coopers Tavern wasn't even on the list (now at 45 places including those already reviewed) but plans for later in the day involved being downtown, so Capitol area venues were in play. Coopers was suggested and they do indeed have a breakfast sandwich on the brunch menu, so, decision made.

I expected a nearly empty restaurant at 9:15 am on a non-Farmers' Market Saturday. What I didn't know was that they show soccer football on the weekends, so the bar area was already full. I suspect they open earlier than the 9 am time listed as the crowd looked rather settled and already invested in the game. No matter, there were plenty of tables including some within view of the game, not that it mattered to me. I'll watch some World Cup but other than that my attention wanders. This crowd was politely docile although they did sing the teams fight song, or whatever it is, after a goal or maybe it was the end of the game. I'll give them this, they weren't watching the NFL Combine, which has to be the most absurd sporting related event ever televised. Its about three notches below Puppy Bowl.

Enough about that. You get it. If you're looking for a place to watch soccer on the weekends I'm thinking this is it.

Terrible photo of the menu

Wait a minute, things are really looking good.

Blimey! GOOOOAAAAL, etc. 

The Sandwich - There is only one option on the menu and there are no variations listed so I didn't have to think about it. I appreciated that on this day. The menu doesn't list it but when you order they offer the choice of greens or chips, which I assumed were pub chips. It didn't matter, I wanted the greens so I didn't ask questions. I have to admit, I was leery of this one. Chorizo can go a few directions that I don't like - too cinnamony (spellcheck isn't going to like that word), too salty or too linky (in the case of Spanish chorizo). All the menu says is "house made" so I didn't have anything else to go on. My concerns started to alleviate as soon as the sandwich arrived. It looked fantastic with ample cheddar and caramelized onions spilling out from under the ciabatta bun. Slicing this in half for the money shot was tricky but as the knife cut through and egg starting running out, a feeling of relaxation spilled over me. I had a powerful sense that this sandwich was made with thoughtful care and perhaps even love. It turns out, I was right to feel that way. The chorizo was none of the things that I feared it would be. The onions, cheddar, chorizo and egg made a great team. The ciabatta roll was a solid choice for this squishy mass of flavor. It played a valiant role (pun!) in holding everything together. Ultimately this was somewhat like a chorizo breakfast taco in sandwich form. Kinda, but not really. Oh, the greens were really good, lightly dressed with a little tangy bite to them. I've already talked about appreciating greens with breakfast. I tried the breakfast potatoes from another plate and was unimpressed, but, they're just potatoes. I have no expectations of them.

The result - 4.27 soccer balls out of 5 soccer balls. I suppose this really depends on how much you like chorizo, and how you like your chorizo. It worked for me, and I gave it extra points for originality. I probably docked it those extra points for price. Is $9.95 a little pricey? Maybe I'm just cheap. The point system I have here is already out of wack and I should probably not apologize for it. Also, it isn't really a system. Here is all you need to know: do you like soccer, breakfast sandwiches, chorizo and a good beer selection? You're all set at Coopers.

Follow on Twitter @BunBreakfast

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #10 aka I'm Sorry But I Had A Lot Of Food In The House

Sandwich: Another Homemade Jobby
Location: Home, Where The Heart Is
Date: February 15, 2015
Cost: You Can't Put A Price On Things Like This

I already know that nobody gives a rats ass about my homemade breakfast sandwiches but my refrigerator was stocked with all manner of prime ingredients and I could not in good conscious go out to a restaurant. If you've made it this far now would be a good time to stop reading this post. There is probably something else on the internet that is more engaging to read about although surely it isn't the NBA All-Star Game. 321 total points scored. Thats probably more points than every goal ever scored in soccer games since the dawn of time.

The point is that in The Year of the Breakfast Sandwich, homemade breakfast sandwiches count towards the total. If you're reading this from China you already know that Thursday marks the beginning of The Year of the Goat. I don't know if that trumps The Year of the Breakfast Sandwich over there but I know I'd eat a breakfast sandwich made from barbecued or curried goat. Maybe that isn't how they celebrate - by eating the animal that represents the year. That could be difficult in the Year of the Tiger.

Ingredients: Egg (chicken), Usinger's bacon, red pepper, onion, avocado, baby spinach, colby cheese, Brownberry 12 Grain Bread.
Hey sandwich! Put your hat on, this isn't an open-faced kind of a party!

"I'm ready for my cross section."

Result: 4.33 leftovers out of 5 leftovers. I'm rating this against my previous homemade efforts here. That was a damn fine sandwich. I think the egg was probably over easy, it was good and runny. There were a lot of ingredients here and the bacon was crispy so the runny egg helped keep everything moist from getting too dry. What else is there to say? Plenty of flavor and gooey texture. This is the kind of sandwich that can set a positive tone for your day and THAT'S what this research is all about. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #9 - Vending Machine aka The Dark Underbelly Of Research

Sandwich: B7, All American Breakfast
Location: Vending machine at work/Neptune Sandwiches
Date: February 6, 2015
Cost: $2.25, comes with a side order of shame and questionable life choices.

There have been some fairly bizarre and outrageous things done in the name of research and though some of it may not be justifiable, my breakfast sandwich research must be fearless in its sifting and winnowing. These documents will not be classified.

It is with that attitude that I approached my latest subject.

There is a refrigerated vending machine in the break room at my place of employment. It is referred to as "The Wheel of Death" because at one time it actually was one of the rotating machines that dispensed all manner of questionable food items. That machine has been replaced but the name stuck. I never buy anything from it and rarely pay it any attention so when a coworker pointed out that it contained a breakfast sandwich I knew I had to put it on the list.

The sandwich comes from Neptune Sandwiches in Milwaukee which appears to be a vending business without a store front. That's probably for the better. Too bad its not this place in Oklahoma City, which at least has a bad ass looking roof.
B7 in its natural habitat

All American!

After 60 seconds in the microwave


The sandwich - You can see that it was a pork sausage patty, egg, hash brown and cheese on an English Muffin. No chance for variation here. If given the choice I might have ordered it with guar gum instead of xantham gum. Some people enjoy a little locust bean gum in their food but I've always been a guar or xantham gum kind of a guy. Whatever emulsifies your boat, I always (never) say.

The result: 1 classified document out of 5 classified documents. This was not a good sandwich. The texture was somewhere between spongy and rubbery, and not in a good way. The only flavor was salt with a hint of utility grade pork. I ate half of it and gave the other half to coworker Kyle, who split it into three parts. He couldn't give them away. Six people turned down a taste of the All American breakfast sandwich. Cowards, all of them. I suppose its worth noting that two vegetarians turned down a taste as well. There will be no sifting or winnowing for truth with these people.

Eating this sandwich made me feel like a dirty whore, and not in a good way.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #8 - 4 & 20 Bakery & Cafe aka Waiter, There's A Banjo In My Bisquit

Sandwich: Breakfast Sandwich No. 2
Location: 4 & 20 Bakery & Cafe
Date: February 4, 2015
Cost: $5.25, served with fruit.

Normally I have some kind of plan to go out for a sandwich and that generally happens on the weekend. When I found myself with some spare time on a Wednesday morning I knew I had to take the opportunity to have a bonus sandwich. Carpe diem or seize the sandwich or whatever.

It's a good sign when you walk into a place and they're listening to bluegrass, and it happened to be a song I really like. Bonus breakfast sandwich with a side of breakfast banjo - that's a great way to spice up a February morning.

4 & 20 Bakery & Cafe is a little spot tucked behind East High and its very close to my house so it was one of the first places on "the list". Also, they make some tasty scones. They're pushing the limit on use of ampersands but it would be petty to hold that against them.
Options for the people! Check out that Cuban sandwich, I'm coming back for that one of these days.

Simple, yet elegant

The sandwich - I went with No. 2 with the Hooks cheddar & bacon (Warning: ampersand usage is reaching critical levels). I like all the options they give you but I wanted to keep this somewhat basic for reasons of comparison. The Hooks cheddar is a noticeable step up from your regular cheese offerings and it had a nice sharpness with the bacon. The egg was eggy, which is to say, I don't know, its a cooked egg. I would have taken it over medium if given the choice but I don't think the biscuit was designed to deal with that so maybe its for the better. I don't think there is a decent biscuit on the planet that will hold up to a messy sandwich. You'd need a fork for that kind of thing. I'm getting off track here. The biscuit was just a little crumbly but held it together with this grouping of ingredients and now that I think about it, I feel like not too many breakfast sandwiches are served on a biscuit. Maybe further research will prove me wrong.

The result: 4.5 breakfast banjos out of 5 breakfast banjos. This is a damn good sandwich and offered at what I think is a reasonable price. The side of fruit is simple and not an excuse to jack the price up a few dollars (I'm looking at you, breakfast potatoes). The orange was good and a proper seasonal choice. I know, you're thinking "its just an orange" but remember, sometimes a place will give you a few pieces of under ripe honeydew and you chew on one that tastes like a somewhat squishy ice cube with freezer burn and then you leave the rest on the plate. Looking at my price comparisons I may have rated Short Stack a little high (somebody called me out on that and is probably correct). My rating system isn't anchored on some type of official scale so the grades may swerve around a bit.