Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Breakfast Sandwich #72 - A Homemade Jobber aka I Plead The Fifth

Sandwich: Bacon, Kale, Egg & Swiss
Location: Top Secret Laboratory
Date: November 20, 2016
Cost: It would be rude to ask

I haven't reviewed a homemade sandwich since February 2015 and that was one of only a handful of homemade reviews, all of which took place in January and February of that year.

Sandwiches #2, #3, #4 and #10 were all the result of work in the lab.

It's already been determined that nobody gives a rat's ass about my homemade sandwiches but I do count them towards the overall tally (which was 52 but is now 100, for some reason) so they need to be recorded. The folks in the Consumables Division at the Smithsonian were very clear about this.

Lack of public interest aside, these homemade sandwich reviews are valuable for two reasons. #A, you can see the framework with which I judge other sandwiches. #B, you can mock my culinary skills, which if inspected closely might lead you to believe that I was taught to cook by a chef with two left hands.

The reason that this sandwich came to be was because I went shopping for Thanksgiving and while putting the chicken eggs away I realized I had everything needed for an experiment. Serendipitous! It occurred to me that I hadn't been in the lab for some time and so I set to work on my fifth sandwich.
You have to admit that this looks pretty good.

We have a little yolk action here.
The Sandwich - Brownberry 12 Grain Bread, StoneRidge Pit Smoked Bacon, Deppeler's Aged Whole Milk Swiss (the link shows a partially skimmed milk version), Kale, Egg. I baked the bacon in the oven and used some of the grease to cook the kale. I think I used too much, the kale was a little greasy. The egg was just a tiny bit overcooked but had some runny yolk. The cheese wasn't as melty as I would have liked it but this Swiss is so tasty it almost didn't matter. It was slightly gooey so not a complete failure. The bread was toasted perfectly (with lots of butter) and the bacon was crisp. The StoneRidge bacon was good for this sandwich, slightly smokey, not too slaty, and thick cut so it brings some heft. This was a mostly impressive sandwich and made me wonder why I've only made 5 sandwiches over the course of 72.

The Result - 4.3 Homemade Sandwiches out of 5 Homemade Sandwiches. The devil is in the details. The flavor was there on this one but I was just a little off on the cheese, egg and kale. It was still a fantastic sandwich and I might have rated it higher if it had been served to me in a local establishment. That's assuming it didn't come with a $14 price tag and a side of foraged quinoa with fluffed artichoke foam and seaweed vapor. As it was it came with a side of messy kitchen and a touch of pride.

WARNING - If I can get my hands on a turkey egg there may be some work done in the lab that involves Thanksgiving leftovers made into a post-Thanks breakfast sandwich. I'm not sure I'll be able to find one, and I don't intend to work very hard at it, but it strikes me as a lab worthy endeavor. I could use chicken egg but it wouldn't be as much fun. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Breakfast Sandwich #71 - Panera Bread aka I Think I'm Done With Chain Restaurants

Sandwich: Sausage, Egg & Cheese
Location: Panera Bread
Date: November 19, 2016
Cost: $4.29

I had never considered what the word "panera" meant until now, but it turns out it's a Spanish word for "bread basket", and it's a lot more fun to say it with a Spanish accent.

Pronunciation aside, I've been meaning to get to Panera for well over a year. I wasn't specifically avoiding it but didn't have anything motivating me to go there.

Saturday morning I was running errands with a hungry belly and when I saw a Panera I knew the time had come. I actually had already passed it when I put the thought together and had to turn around and go back. That turned out to be more effort than it was worth.

Kind of sad looking.

Sadder yet.

The saddest.
The Sandwich - Sausage, Egg & Cheese. They have a handful of different sandwiches they offer but they don't offer different types of cheeses and breads when you're ordering. Perhaps they will change it up if you ask. I wanted something other than bacon and this one sounded like a decent choice. As soon as I took a good look at it I had a problem - all the contents were shifted to one side. It screamed of a hastily prepared sandwich with which love was but an afterthought, if not completely absent altogether. I didn't like how it made me feel, emotionally. Now, I did order this sandwich "to go", so it's possible there was some jostling after I left, but I don't think so. Everything was squished together rather tightly and it doesn't seem possible that a short car ride shifted the innards of this sandwich that much. As is the case with all mass produced chain restaurant breakfast sandwiches, the chicken egg was not runny. This could have used more cheese despite the description of a "thick slice of Vermont cheddar". The sausage patty was adequate, not overly salty or grisly, and the bread was OK. It had a nice crunch to it.

The Result - 3.5 Generic Chain Sandwiches out of 5 Generic Chain Sandwiches. The biggest problem with this sandwich was that it came across as just some stuff they threw together and put in a bag. You remember when you were a kid and it was your birthday and that one relative gave you a toy that you could just tell they picked up at the drug store on the way to your party? That was this sandwich. I got about halfway through the first part of the sandwich and there was nothing left except the bread. The rest wasn't bad, but it wasn't particularly good either, and overall it just had a meager feel to it. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Breakfast Sandwich #70 - Plaka Taverna aka Everything Is Just Fine

Sandwich: Egg, Bacon & Cheese
Location: Plaka Taverna
Date: November 12, 2016
Cost: $3.75

I reviewed a sandwich from Plaka Taverna last summer at the height of my dedication/obsession with this project. I've mentioned previously that since that stretch I think my ratings have gone up a little. Maybe the ratings at that time were more accurate and maybe I'm not even correct in that assessment as I haven't tried to break it down into a chart or graph that will help me to understand it. I can't be sure but I do know that nobody is concerned with this so I'll just drop it.

Last Saturday I was headed through the downtown area and wanted a quick breakfast. It seemed like a good time to try Plaka again.
I took a single photo. I felt like I really captured the essence of this sandwich in this photo and there was no reason to take another.

The Sandwich - Egg, Bacon & Cheese. I was tempted to try the sausage or the Egg & Gyro on a Pita, but I was in the mood for bacon. The other option is choice of cheese and I went with cheddar, rather than American or Swiss. The bacon was cooked to a nice crisp. The eggs were folded and not runny and the sandwich comes on an English Muffin, which I have noted before is an ideal breakfast sandwich delivery system. This one could have used more toasting on the outside, it was a little too squishy.

The Results - 3.99 Perfectly Fine Sandwiches out of 5 Perfectly Fine Sandwiches. I guess that's the main takeaway here - it was all just fine. Other than the bacon all the components could have been just a little bit better. Eggs + runnier, Cheese + meltier, English Muffin + toastier = Sandwich tastier. The American Fries were excellent and had a nice crunchy outer layer to them, like a sweet hippie kid.

Now that I've gotten to this point I went back and looked at my first review of Plaka, just to compare. I didn't mean to, but I ordered the same sandwich and said almost the exact same things about it, especially regarding the bacon and the muffin. BUT, and it's a big but, I rated that sandwich 3.42 and this one 3.99, which just goes to show that Plaka is more consistent than I am.

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