Saturday, March 18, 2017

Guest Review - Ugly Apple Cafe aka A Former Colleague Ate A Sandwich

At the beginning of 2016 one of the goals I set is to have more guest reviewers. I've done little to foment this idea but still like the concept of other voices and taste buds offering their opinions. 

My initial concept of the guest review was to have sandwich eaters join me in breakfast excursions so we could volley witty and insightful comments about bacon and such and then distill them into cohesive reviews on this page. 

That isn't what happened here. 

This review arrived unsolicited and is for a food cart that I had not heard of. The author is a friend and former colleague so while I did not join him on this sandwich mission, I do have some knowledge of his tastes and expectations. 

It would seem that my occasional remarks about guest reviews do not fall on deaf ears (eyeballs?).

Colin said he wrote this as a way to dip his toes into the exciting and mystical world of a food blogger but I think he really just wanted to escape the drudgery of the day to day office life. 

The use of the word "ugly" as a way of branding your merchandise or services always seems like a dubious ploy, at best. Certainly there are exceptions to this premise. For every Coyote Ugly Saloon or Bumping Uglies, there is an Ugly Kid Joe [Did you know they are still an active band? - Ed.] or Ugly Christmas Sweater, which is an entire industry that caters to the twee concept that "ugly" sweaters are hilarious and ironic. They are neither. 

This raises an interesting point, though: Who is it that determines what constitutes ugly? It was Shakespeare who said "Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye, Not utter'd by base sale of chapmen's tongues" which seems like a fancy way of saying one man's trash is another man's treasure. On the whole, however, I think we can all agree that consumers tend to avoid products or services which evoke unpleasantness. One such place you, dear reader, need not avoid entirely, despite the name, is the Ugly Apple Cafe, though you might want to sample something other than the breakfast sandwich.

Curiously, the Ugly Apple Cafe is neither ugly nor a cafe.  In fact, the Ugly Apple Cafe is a peripatetic cart which serves aesthetically pleasing food. 

The Ugly Apple Food Cart (if I may) aims "To serve a fast and fresh breakfast to Madison, work with local farmers, minimize waste by using their overstock produce, and help Madison's less fortunate get fed." So, instead of one man's trash being another man's treasure, it would appear that one man's overstock produce is another man's breakfast. Here is what is on offer:

Photo stolen from someplace.

You can add (overstocked) meat to your (overstocked) sandwich served on an (overstocked) biscuit for a mere $1.25, which beats the hell out of buying an Ugly Kid Joe cd.  My sandwich looked like this upon arrival back to my office:

Hello. I am a sandwich.

The reviewer did their homework and provided the proper cross section shot. 

The Sandwich -- Chicken egg, sausage, and cheese on a biscuit. I do not share the opinion of the proprietor of this sando-zine that all eggs must be runny to be enjoyed; instead, I think fluffy and fixed-in-place are just lovely. [Ahem. - Ed.] Such was the case with this chicken egg which was bouncy and flavorful and buoyed on the biscuit (for a time, anyway). The cheese (of unknown variety) was melty but offered little in the way of flavor. So, too, with the sausage which did not have anything to recommend it.  Usually you like some sort of pepper or sage or general porkiness in your sausage, but none was on offer with this little puck. I can overlook flavorless cheese or even unremarkable sausage if what holds it together is stupendous but unfortunately this was yet another missed beat. The biscuit was doughy, not flaky, and disintegrated a few bites into each hemisphere. 

The Result -- 1.75 dregs out of 5 dregs. I appreciate the effort that went into buying castoff ingredients and recycling them into a re-purposed breakfast, but this sandwich needed more. Adding some salty cheese and increasing the butter in the biscuit making process would go a long way in improving this sandwich. Otherwise, one man's trash is just that.
Editors notes. I'd really like to try this sandwich as a way to gauge that rating. On my own scale a 1.75 is reserved for the truly awful, which this doesn't quite sound like.

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