Friday, November 29, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #148 - Berry Pike Cafe aka Something, Something in Evanston

Sandwich: Rhonda On The Fly
Location: Berry Pike Cafe
Date: November 17, 2019
Cost: $7

What are you going to do if you're in Chicago and you need a quick breakfast sandwich but the best place is closed on Sunday and you really should get on the road?

You just might grab a coffee and drive to Evanston while you ponder your situation, eventually landing on a place called Berry Pike Cafe that has a sandwich named the "Marcellus Wallace" (even if you know you aren't going to order that sandwich).


Enticing options.

As far as crappy photos go, this one is much less crappy.

 
That cup of coffee in the background was pretty damn tasty. I didn't take a crosssection shot cause I didn't want to cut it in half cause there was no yolk to see.
The Sandwich - Rhonda On The Fly. I wanted sausage and the pepper jack cheese sounded like a good option. Normally it's served on a plain bagel but I swapped that for an Everything bagel. I was pretty excited about this. Even though I knew it wouldn't be served with a runny yolk I was still a bit disappointed when presented with the visual evidence. I added some hot sauce, I guess I was really, really ready for a trip to flavor country this morning. That didn't happen. Somehow this sandwich just didn't have the verve I was looking for. It had all the components but they just didn't add up. The sausage didn't pack enough taste-power to cut through the other flavors and even the pepper jack cheese and hot sauce didn't flex enough. Maybe my taste buds were all whacked out this day cause it almost doesn't make sense. The cheese was nice and melty though. The bagel could have been toasted more. This all sounds rather negative and it probably shouldn't as the sandwich was, "fine". I think my expectations were a bit high as I was prepared for a tasty treat and it didn't hit me how I wanted it to. Also, I was on a mini-vacation and everything is better on vacation, right? 

The Result - 3.33 That's The Way It Goes out of 5 That's The Way It Goes. There isn't much more to say that hasn't already been covered. The sandwich was OK but my expectations were above that. Perhaps it's due to my last trip to Chicago which resulted in the only 5.00 rated breakfast sandwich thus far. The coffee was really good and this little succulent plant in the window was simply adorable.



Instagram
Twitter
Facebook page






Friday, November 15, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #147 - Dunkin' Donuts aka Beyond Reviews and Puppet Shows

Sandwich: Beyond Sausage Sandwich
Location: Dunkin' Donuts
Date: November 15, 2019
Cost: $3.99

Earlier in the week I was thinking that if I was any kind of cutting edge breakfast sandwich reporter I would be writing about this new fake meat sandwich that Dunkin Donuts now offers. It has the entire fast-food press pool vibrating with excitement. Sandwich based reporters from all corners of the country have been lighting up our Slack app with their musings. I had wished I was joining in but the Dunkin Donuts in my city are not near me and it would be silly to drive all around the town just to eat a Dunkin Donuts sandwich. The last time I had one it didn't go so well.

But I was intrigued. And then I realized my Friday commitments would take me within striking distance of a Dunkin' Donuts.

Before I get into the sandwich I need to touch on a few points.

Through our work in the lab and in the field, we have proven that it's possible to make an excellent breakfast sandwich without killing some animals. (What about the chicken egg? Huh? Blah-blah-fucking-blah...NO!) The secret to a great vegetarian breakfast sandwich is avocado. We know this. Is fake meat really necessary? I doubt it, but I had to find out firsthand. My point is that I wanted to try the "Beyond Meat" sandwich even though my gut tells me that fake meat is a scam put out by "Big Vegetable". That's right - it's a conspiracy. Wake up, people.

More importantly, I have to question why Snoop Dogg was chosen to help launch the Beyond Meat sandwich line. My initial thought when I heard that was "you gotta be higher than fuck to eat one of these sandwiches" cause that's what we associate Snoop Dogg with. Well, that and narrating animal videos. I guess he's a vegetarian now though and Dunkin is clearly all-in on trying to reach that crucial but elusive Gen Zinneal™ breakfast consumer. They're a fickle demographic.

This is it, the lone photo. I went to the drive-thru and took this after turning the car around so the sun would come in the window for better lighting.
The Sandwich - Beyond Sausage Sandwich. The only choice is American or White Cheddar cheese. I went with the American to make it more like a classic breakfast sandwich. Let's get right to the fake meat part - the patty size is ample. It looks good. It didn't have as much smell as I thought it would, usually these things immediately fill the car with their scent. The first taste that hits is black pepper, overwhelmingly so. I expected more fennel and salt but not so much. The flavor dissipates quickly after the bite, it doesn't linger on the tongue long. I'm not sure if we can blame that on the lack of a dead animal or something else. The consistency is a bit smoother than actual sausage and all these factors give it away as an imposter. If you were served this and nobody told you what it was but they kept looking at you funny while you ate it you'd think maybe they had snuck in some turkey sausage or tempe or soyage. You'd know they were up to something. Everything else is pretty standard fast-food breakfast sandwich quality - melty cheese, decently toasted English Muffin, puck egg with no runny yolk because once upon a time somebody ate an undercooked egg and thought they got sick. All the normal things you expect when somebody hands you a sandwich through a little window and directly into your car. By the way, here's a free idea for a place with a drive-thru window - put up some cute little curtains and have the employees do a little puppet show while consumers wait for their food. Get rid of that faceless speaker - people can order directly from the puppet(s). Bingo. Please send me my check for $1,000,000.00. Thank you.

The Result - 3.25 Ethically Treated Puppets out of 5 Ethically Treated Puppets. This sandwich was leaps and bounds better than sandwich #21 from Dunkin which contained actual bacon. That counts for something. Overall, the sandwich was fine. For $4 and given the circumstances, it was perfectly acceptable. If you're a vegetarian, tack on a few extra points. Yes, you'd be better off getting a sandwich from an actual restaurant - something with avocado and delicious cheese and a runny yolk. You'd prefer that. We'd all prefer that. If you're stuck in a position of limited options the Beyond Sausage Sandwich will suit you well. Will it last as a nationwide offering? Will enough people order it to keep it on the menu? The product itself probably has a much longer shelf life than meat. These places shake up their menus all the time so I won't be surprised if this falls off in 8 months after Snoop Doog has gone back to eating juicy ribeye steaks.

Instagram
Twitter
Facebook page








Breakfast Sandwich #146 - Lab Report: Deriliction of Duty and Some Organic Stuff

Sandwich: Lab Sandwich - Chicken Egg (puck style), bacon and some organic stuff
Date: November 13, 2019


Just bear with me for a minute on another report from the laboratory. It's entirely possible I'm veering wildly off my mission with yet another lab report but that's the way things are. Nobody feels worse about subjecting you to another lab report than I do but the lab is not for "feelings" or "hugs", it's about science. Obviously.

Imagine my shock when I realized I had a different type of bacon, a new type of English muffin AND some kind of organic macaroni & cheese on hand. I knew I had to fashion a sandwich. Nobody could deny such a thing.

The use of mac n cheese is not new to the lab although previous attempts used leftovers of the homemade variety. This time I had Full Circle Market organic brand. My regular go-to bacon is Usinger's Applewood Smoked but I had switched it up and purchased the Hickory Smoked variety. In the past, I had tried a few varieties of English Muffin with Bay's and Thomas' being the most frequent. Last trip to the store I stumbled across an endcap display for Dave's Killer Bread and ended up purchasing some English Muffins made with "Rockin' Grains" (whatever the fuck that means). Those are also organic and GMO-something-or-other.

The point is that there were several items that had not yet been tested in the lab and that's my excuse for sandwich #146 being yet another lab report rather than a report from the field.

You have to admit that mac 'n cheese spilling out of the sides is rather tantalizing. Honestly, I spent way, way, way too long agonizing over whether to put the egg between the bacon and mac 'n cheese, or the mac 'n cheese in between the bacon and the egg. This is what I considered the entire time the egg cooked. Ultimately I thought the mac 'n cheese probably wouldn't want to stay in place and I might need to mash it into position. I was afraid if the egg was beneath the mac 'n cheese I would prematurely break the yolk when trying to mash the mac into place. That thought made me feel emotionally fragile and so I decided the egg would go on top. You dig?

Clearly putting the egg on top was the right choice because this yolky boi was ready to gush like Sally Fields after winning an Academy Award. I don't know how those two noodles ended up on top but they look good up there.
The Result - This will seem obvious but adding macaroni to a sandwich is quite possibly the definition of overkill. Even creamy macaroni and cheese is a bit much. Don't get me wrong, the sandwich was tasty but probably not worth the extra effort of making the mac 'n cheese, or the extra calories and carbs. How many of you are going to make mac 'n cheese at 7am while drinking coffee, anyway? That's a little peek behind the curtain of the lab. The Rockin' Grains muffin tasted a little too wheaty and grainy but kept this from being even more unhealthy than it already was.

Let's just move on.

Instagram
Twitter
Facebook page

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #145 - Lab Sandwich on National Sandwich Day aka Throwing Our Vegetarian Friends A Bone

Sandwich: Lab Sandwich - Chicken Egg (puck style), Smoked Gouda, Avocado, Red Onion, Leftover Wheat Bun
Date: November 3, 2019

When I saw that National Sandwich Day was falling on a Sunday this year I knew that I would have to skip church and seek salvation in a sandwich. It's the only true path. Your absolution lies between the slices of bread. Accept this or be damned to an eternity of overly-mayonnaised sandwiches. The horror! I wouldn't wish that on most people but let's be honest - some folks don't deserve a good sandwich

My loose plan was to go out to one of my favorite breakfast sandwich joints and really wallow in the beauty of the day. That changed when I realized I had all the makings of a fine breakfast sandwich, sans meat. A lab experiment unfolded before my very eyes. A perfectly ripe avocado, leftover hamburger buns, smoked Gouda cheese, red onion. Never waste a perfectly ripe avocado.

The bun dictated that the egg be cooked puck style. We're going to go behind the scenes in the lab here for a minute while I confess that I broke the yolk of the first egg. I promptly ditched the egg and started over. Most days I would have gone with it but not on a National Holiday. I went outside, lowered my flag to half-staff and started over with a fresh egg. Somewhere a rooster crowed "Taps".

That Gouda didn't melt as Gouda as I would have liked it to but that avocado is in its prime.

That's the oozy yolk we strive for.
The Results - It was missing that salty and fatty flavor that dead animals provide but this was a real treat. Avocado and red onion are great together and a little Cholula Hot Sauce pushes it over the top. The Gouda didn't melt properly but did add a slightly smokey flavor - just not as much as bacon would have. Starting over with a new egg was the right move on this reverent day. 

Instagram
Twitter
Facebook page


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #144 - Return Of The Son Of The Forgotten Sandwich

Sandwich: Lab Sandwich - Bacon, Two Chicken Eggs, Havarti Cheese, Red Onion, Texas Pete's Hot Sauce, Brownberry 12 Grain Bread
Date: October 19, 2019

Oh, another sandwich from the lab? Just throw it on the pile over there. That's what you're thinking and that's OK. In fact, that's what I'm thinking too but I'm staying true to my mission - for if a sandwich is not logged into the internet, did it ever really exist? We don't have time to tackle such questions in the lab. We are all about data. Existential Sandwich questions are tackled down the hall in the Department of Sandwich Philosophy and although our work overlaps and is somewhat entwined it is indeed separate.

I didn't think this sandwich was a bold experiment although a quick glance through my files does not reveal past use of Havarti. Is that possible? It's a nice melty cheese although perhaps a bit mild for a breakfast sandwich. It's fun to say "Havarti" though and especially fun when you add a fake vampire accent. It's probably Dracula's favorite cheese for that reason alone. Texas Pete's Hot Sauce was also a new variable in the lab. I may get a bit Cholulacentric in my hot sauce usage but I know what I like.
That is perfect bacon right there. Crispy but still with some bend to it. (Bacon bend not shown).


That Havarti certainly did melt nicely. 

There was some runny yolk but I didn't cut through it when I sliced. Still, the eggs were a bit overdone. (Texas Pete photobomb).
I may have given away my results above. Havarti melts nicely but it really needed the onion and hot sauce to give the sandwich the flavor push it needed. That's not a bad thing, but it is the main takeaway from this experiment. It's a shame I cooked the eggs just a bit too long - perfect bacon and perfect chicken eggs deserve to be paired together but it was not meant to be on this day. Also, Texas Pete's is a fine hot sauce but I think I prefer the flavor profile of Cholula on my breakfast sandwich.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #143 - Lab Sandwich: The Forgotten Sandwich

Sandwich: Lab Sandwich - Bacon, Two Chicken Eggs, Sartori Black Pepper BellaVitano Cheese, Red Onion, Mild Pepper Rings, Cholula Green Sauce, Brownberry 12 Grain Bread
Date: September 29, 2019

I made and ate this two weeks ago but never officially logged it into the internet. That changes RIGHT NOW even though we know nobody cares about lab sandwiches. This has potential to be the least read post of this endeavor so if you're reading this you are a rare bird, indeed.

There wasn't anything particularly experimental about this sandwich other than it's a combination of ingredients I hadn't yet mashed together. The Sartori cheese was probably the biggest variable of this creation. It's a dense, hard cheese - not the kind you would normally use for a sandwich when you're striving for melty, gooey goodness. You aren't going to get that from a hard cheese. You WILL get a deep and nutty taste and this particular cheese is packed with flavor and is a personal favorite. I like their cheese so much that when I found myself coincidentally passing their cheeserie on my way to Chester's Drive-In, I nearly stopped just to see what they had to offer, but they were closed. That's right, I'm a regular Sartori Cheese Fan Boy and I can't believe they haven't sent me a baseball cap or cooking apron or whatever cheesy swag they have.

I remember the bacon was a bit overcooked but those yolks were really nice and the cheese and red onion and vinegary pepper rings mixed with the hot sauce and made for a real mouth-whollopin' sandwich. 

Facebook page




Monday, September 23, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #142 - Player's Sports Bar aka Friends Old and New

Sandwich: Buzzy with Sausage
Location: Player's Sports Bar & Grill
Date: September 21, 2019
Cost: $7.50, with cheesy hash browns

This sandwich was not planned. My visit to Player's came up at the last minute and since I hadn't eaten I knew I'd be revisiting my old friend. Until I sat down to write this I did not realize that it had been since January 1, 2018, that I'd had a Buzzy. There have been a few patty melts and burgers during that span, and at least one basket of chicken wings, but no breakfast sandwiches. 

I was ready for a Buzzy but I didn't know I was missing an important part of The Buzzy Sandwich Story. A cornerstone to the monument of the Buzzy had not yet been put in place. 

Specifically - I had never ordered it with sausage. I'm as shocked as you are. No, I'm several layers more shocked than you are. 

This seems impossible but when I looked back at my previous visits I realized that Sandwich #109 coincided with the period when the sausage option had been replaced by the burger patty. At some point the burger was wisely switched back to sausage and the options are once again ham, bacon, or sausage. 

Looking further back on the timeline, Breakfast Sandwich #100 was ordered with bacon as was Sandwich #69. Everybody knows the story of Sandwich #1. (No? Spoiler - it had bacon on it.)

I'm shocked but not ashamed. I like bacon and so do you, however, we strive to provide a wide swatch of informative sandwich opinions here and this oversight needed to be corrected. Toot Sweet.

It is very unlikely I'll order the version with ham, research be damned, so this post about sausage is as historic as writing about a breakfast sandwich can be. Gravitas with a side of gravy. 


This photo wasn't taken by a drone, it just looks that way. 

Wait just a daggum minute! Is that TWO sausage patties? Yes, it is. Also note, Hopalicious photo bomb. 
The Sandwich - Buzzy with Sausage. Other than choice of meat there are no other options offered for the Buzzy. I assume they always double up on the sausage patties since they are quite thin but I don't know that for a fact. They do always get that Texas toast just right. The American cheese was perfectly melty and the egg was just slightly runny. Take a good look at that photo and you know what this sandwich was all about - it was a salty, fatty, slightly crunchy, gooey and tasty treat.

The Result - 4.3 Corrected Oversights out of 5 Corrected Oversights. In short, the sausage version gives the bacon version a good run for it's money. It's a win-win situation (not for your arteries), and since both versions are both equally bad for your aortas and ventricles, choose whichever your heart desires. The Buzzy is a classic, simple breakfast sandwich. It does benefit greatly from it's surroundings as I notice when I look back at my previous reviews that all five of the Buzzy's have been consumed on a weekend during football season. The atmosphere at Player's on a football Saturday is a perfect compliment to this sandwich - folks attending the game are getting a quick bite in before heading out to the game and everybody else is settling onto a bar stool to watch it on the teevee. If you're lucky and you choose the right stool you'll make a new friend like I did. His name is Herbie and he likes sports. I wish he had ordered a Buzzy as he would have made a helluva guest reviewer, but it wasn't in the cards on this day.

I came away with a new friend and the realization that my old friend the Buzzy Sandwich had a tasty side to him that I was unaware of.

Instagram
Twitter
Facebook page















Thursday, September 5, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #141 - Gotham Bagels aka Bagel Trifecta

Sandwich: Arthur Avenue
Location: Gotham Bagels
Date: August 30, 2019
Cost: $10.50

I had to hit the Dane County Farmers Market and that meant a breakfast sandwich was on my horizon. After mulling potential new options I realized I didn't want to mess around with amateurs and the choices were narrowed to Ancora or Gotham. Sandwich redux! Gotham won out because that's where I parked my bike. This isn't rocket surgery. I don't know why I didn't consider Casetta Kitchen.

If you're up to speed on all of this you know that Gotham Bagels provided sandwiches #40 and #132 and that both of those sandwiches are in the All Time Top 25. That's a lot of pressure. (I just realized that the phrase "All Time" can't be accurate. If I were to eat 20 sandwiches that rank 4.81 or above, Gotham Bagel will no longer be on the list. It's too late, I'm not renaming it, but I want you to know it's bothering me a little bit. If you're the kind of person who prays please say a prayer that I am served 20 near perfect breakfast sandwiches so we can solidify my hasty foolishness. Thanking you in advance.)


They've revamped the menu since my last visit. How exciting! I was really struggling with choosing an option and was leaning towards the Rocky's Deli (not pictured here) or the O.M.F.G. but switched it up before I made it to the counter. Please note this is only half of the menu

That's a righteous cross-section shot. I wasn't planning on eating this at the park but it was too hot and crowded in the bagel shoppe.

Fear not! The Sandwich Gods are looking after you. 
The Sandwich - Arthur Avenue on an Everything Bagel. I don't know what I was picturing in my head when I ordered it but this is a real chunka-hunka sandwich! It has heft. I love that it was wrapped up all tight and snug so I could bike down to the park without a worry that something would happen to my precious cargo. The rope sausage makes this a little clunky to eat, you just have to be mindful of your bites and aware that your sausage might try to sneak out the back door. We should all be in-the-moment when we eat our sandwiches anyway. (Consider signing up for my workshop - Zen sandwiching.) If my memory serves this sausage isn't quite as spicy as that of sandwich #132, but it still has some kick. The chicken egg isn't runny although the bagel could handle it. The onions and green peppers pair with the sausage expertly and provide some extra texture and viscosity. The mozzarella is proper here as well providing a smooth balance and letting the sausage, onion and pepper do the heavy lifting. Let's be honest, this isn't groundbreaking stuff, people have been pairing those items for a long time, and there's a reason for that. The perfectly toasted everything bagel (the adult version of the donut with "sprinkles") provided the salty and slightly nutty vehicle for it all.

The Result - 4.00 First Impressions Are Important out of 5 First Impressions Are Important. My first thought was to order the Rocky's Deli sandwich and in retrospect that may have been a wiser choice. There was nothing wrong with this sandwich, it was mighty fine, but I felt like I was trying to eat lunch at 9:00 AM instead of breakfast. It's not the sandwiches fault and I still enjoyed it, but something wasn't quite right. This slight misstep may have been the worst thing to happen to me all day and that's something to be thankful for.

Instagram
Twitter
Facebook page

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #140 - Bassett Street Brunch Club aka Doy!

Sandwich: Bagel Breakfast Sandwich w/bacon
Location: Bassett Street Brunch Club
Date: August 10, 2019
Cost: $12.45, with mixed greens or potatoes.

There has been a casual goal of revisiting locations in 2019 to see if they have have spruced up their menus or upped their game, or, just to try a different sandwich. That hasn't been happening much but I have made it back to Kwik Trip, Gotham Bagels and McDonald's. Let's be honest here, Kwik Trip and McDonald's barely count. They're just slinging out grab-n-go sandwiches instead creating something made to order. They could be making their sandwiches with love, it's not impossible, but their modus operandi is efficiency and volume.

I knew I wanted to get back to Bassett Street Brunch Club for a few reasons. #A, I was aware that they had changed the menu and the breakfast sandwich was now different than the one I had waaaaay back at Breakfast Sandwich #5. #B, the Horchata Latte - steamed horchata poured through espresso. People have a specific reactions when I tell them about this drink, they either insist they need it immediately or they are nonplussed at my enthusiasm. #C, due to the location of B.S.B.C, it's really only convenient to visit via bicycle, and early in the day at that. When I'm on a sandwich mission I don't have the patience to stand in line and I'm not going to drive downtown and try to find somewhere to park my car. That's dumb. I was awake early and it was pleasant biking weather and I felt that my mission was clear.

Today was the day for the repeat visit. It was obvious. It was in my daily sandwich horoscope - "Bacon has just entered the house of Virgo and with chicken egg in retrograde there is no better time for runny yolk to make it's presence felt. Remember that when emotions get oozy a simple piece of toasted bread can provide the balance needed to focus on the present." Doy.

I forgot to take a photo of the menu cause I was distracted by the Horchata Latte. Who cares? Here is the description:

Bagel Breakfast Sandwich

I don't know what happened with this photo but it looks like I took it using a drone or something. (I didn't.)

As far as my generally crappy photos go, this one is pretty good. I feel like I really Leibovitzed this one. 
The Sandwich - Bagel Breakfast Sandwich. I added the bacon. Doy. I didn't bike all the way down there to not have bacon. Plus, my sandwich horoscope was pretty clear about bacon. First impression - the bagel was way under toasted if it was toasted at all. It may have just been sitting in a warm room. I admit it rankled me a bit. Second impression -  I wish that egg would have been runny. Third impression - the avocado was perfectly ripe and I've said it before but more breakfast sandwiches should have avocado. The avocado and the pesto aioli teamed up to give this a wonderful creamy texture that played well off the salty bacon. The pesto aioli was understated in a good way and the cheddar wasn't particularly forefront either. But here is how it fell short of it's potential - cook that egg over-medium so the yolk is runny, toast the bagel to a crispy outer layer and let the diner wallow in the slopification of it all. Here's an extra napkin. Of all the bagels the "everything" bagel seems to benefit most from toasting. I think it's the sesame seeds.

The Result - 3.59 Doys out of 5 Doys. It's a tasty sandwich but we don't grade potential here, we grade results. It had room for improvement, especially at the $12.45 price point. That's a bit pricey but avocados are like bitcoins right now, you never know how much they're going to cost. Maybe that's part of it. The mixed greens help, I've stated my love of mixed greens with a sandwich numerous times and these were zippy and tangy and exactly what you think they were. Still, it's just some mixed greens. I'm probably starting to sound like a cheapskate. 

They still have the robot theme going on here and I still don't understand it but I do like it. 

Now that I've completed this review it's safe to check my notes from the previous review. Hmmm, very similar comments on the greens and the robots. I also sound like a cheapskate in that review but it was a different sandwich. I did rank this one higher but I think know my rankings have been increasing in general since 2015. 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #139 - McDonald's (yet again) aka I Am One With The Billions

Sandwich: Sausage McMuffin with Egg
Location: McDonald's South Towne Mall
Date: August 3, 2019
Cost: $3.18 (I think?)

Let's get a couple of things out of the way right off the bat. I've reviewed McDonald's entirely too often - #17#66#83#95 and #97 are the results of my trips through the Golden Arches. Then I tried to create a breakfast sandwich version of the The Big Mac that was somewhat successful and then about 4 months later McDonald's launched their Triple Breakfast Stacks which I swore I would never review. This was partly because it sounds like way too much saturated fat and calories and partly because these overloaded sandwiches usually get all the proportions wrong. If the proportions are off everything gets thrown out of whack. It doesn't work. Have you had a Kit Kat Big Kat? No bueno. It's a gimmick and I don't appreciate it. 

But then I woke up on this Saturday morning with a long day ahead of me and I thought "If not now, when?". Gimmicks be damned! It was decided I would take a plunge into the stacks and see how I emerged on the other side. Hold my feet, I'm going in!

Here's the thing - the Triple Stacks weren't shown the drive-thru menu. I inquired and she said they didn't have them. I was staring at the speaker so I couldn't see her eyes to tell if she was lying to me. (Hold on a minute. How long will it be before the drive-thru ordering system is a video screen with a generically attractive AI "person" taking your order and suggesting you try the new Mcberry McSwirly McSlush? I'll take the under on that. It's probably already happening in Japan. I'm not going to look it up.) My order was changed to the classic Sausage McMuffin with Egg but I was feeling uneasy and perplexed. Were they only offered at some locations? That doesn't make sense, it was a national campaign.

As far as I can tell (with minimal research), the Triple Breakfast Stacks were discontinued without warning or fanfare. We're probably all better off for it but now I regret my choice to avoid it. Dereliction of duty? Perhaps. None of you were going to eat one anyway, or were you? Did you? Please submit your reports. 
I was holding this in my hand in the car so please excuse the extra shitty quality of the photo. 

Now this is a nice photo. This is a throwback to the time we made homemade Big Macs, except I bought the buns from McDonalds. They even toasted them for me and put them in the fun little boxes. 

The Sandwich - Sausage McMuffin with Egg. You know what this is. What can I say about the Sausage McMuffin that you don't already know deep in your heart and hippocampus? Nothing. This was one done right. The cheese was all melty and the egg was the predictable puck and the sausage tasted exactly as expected which was the main reason I ordered this. 

The Result - 4.0 Billions and Billions Served out of 5 Billions and Billions Served. What can I say? I really enjoyed this. It fit perfectly with my morning which McDonalds had nothing to do with but yet they benefited from my great mood. Lucky them. I wasn't even upset that I didn't get to have a Triple Breakfast Stack. In fact, I'm elated. Happy Trails, Triple Breakfast Stack, we hardly knew ya'.

Instagram
Twitter
Facebook page

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #138 - Pasture and Plenty aka The Best Laid Plans

Sandwich: Ed Sammy
Location: Pasture and Plenty
Date: July 27, 2019
Cost: $10

Waking up to a perfect Saturday morning in July is a clear sign from the Sandwich Gods that that one needs to jump on their bicycle and seek a sandwich to sate the soul.  

The plan was to visit Pasture and Plenty, a somewhat newish place on the near west side that I hadn't done much research on but I knew had a vegetarian breakfast sandwich that includes red pepper jam. That sounded like reason enough to pedal over there and it was just far enough away to offset my carbo-footprint. A vegetarian breakfast sandwich? Am I going to start talking about carbohydrates and the waxy built up of cholesterol? What have I become? This is bullshit. 

As I pedaled I started considering my options. I briefly became hung up on getting a horchata latte from Bassett Street Brunch Club so I could try their Bagel Breakfast Sandwich which was not on the menu when I visited for Sandwich #5. The horchata latte was soon pushed from my thoughts by the idea of visiting Bradbury's. It's been too long since I've stopped there and the pull to change my mission was strong. No. Although this year started with the idea of revisiting some of the early sandwich locations there have been new and enticing offerings that I've felt compelled to visit so the redux reviews will have to wait. My thoughts came full circle and I stayed on my path to Pasture and Plenty. 

And then I saw the Daily Goodness board and decided I'd rather have the Ed Sammy than the vegetarian offering that is a regular on the menu.

Bring on the greens. I'll take a side of greens over potatoes just about every time. Also, check out that crusty crown on the sandwich!

Things are about to get sloppy.

The Sandwich - Ed Sammy. Ultimately, my plan to try their regular sandwich failed as I chose the special. As soon as it came out I felt I had made the right choice - it was a beautiful little specimen nestled with a pile of verdant greens I wasn't expecting. The beer cheese roll had a firm and crusty exterior that almost crumbled when I cut it. I was concerned it would be a bit dry but the yolk, corn aioli and heirloom tomato more than made up for that. The bacon was crispy, maybe a hair crispier than I normally like it, but the salty flavor swirled together with the overall savoriness and although the roll tried like heck to contain the sloppiness it couldn't - but I'm not holding that against it. I welcomed the slop, embraced the slop and became one with the slop. We have the napkin technology to deal with this. Also, this is the time of year you want tomato on your sandwich, in fact, I'll go so far as to proclaim that all sandwiches should have fresh tomato on them for the next several weeks.

The Result - 4.25 Savory Slops out of 5 Savory Slops. This was a fantastic sandwich but I think you already figured that out. I suppose I docked it a few points for the bacon and slightly too crusty exterior of the roll. That's nitpicking but that's what we do here and those things really don't detract much from the enjoyment of the sandwich but they have to be mentioned. I haven't taken any time to get into the overall experience but I love the bright and open space that they have here. It's much larger than I thought it would be. The Saturday morning play list was appropriate as well, Avalon and The Passenger set the mood for sandwich consumption - at least they do for this reporter. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #137 - Ancora Coffee aka For Four Fjords

Sandwich: The Number Four
Location: Ancora Coffee, King St.
Date: July 13, 2019
Cost: $8

You might recall that back in May when I was out for Breakfast Sandwich #135 I stopped at Ancora Coffee for a beverage and noted their breakfast sandwich list. That info was tucked away for future reference and accessed on this fine morning when I had time to bike down there before the Art Fair on the Square hordes started mucking up the scene.

On my initial visit in May I was smitten with the Sausage Jalapeño sandwich but an astute reader commented that The Number Four deserved consideration.

I'm here to serve the people and I saw this choice as a win/win situation.

I almost didn't see it as a choice at all - while biking down there I considered ordering both sandwiches. Part of my reasoning was that I was biking and therefore burning calories, admittedly only a fraction of the caloric explosion that two breakfast sandwiches would introduce into my framework. The thought was discarded when I accepted the realization that two breakfast sandwiches would surely cast me into a state of bloated torpor and that sounded yuckier than the joy of eating the two sandwiches.


They have options. There was also a special that involved blueberries but I was too focused on The Number Four.

The sandwich arrives in cross section mode.
The Sandwich - The Number Four. I keep saying "The Number Four" and I'm starting to feel like I'm on Sesame Street. No options are offered when you order but it's worth noting that while this sandwich comes with scrambled chicken egg some of the other sandwiches come with a fried egg. You could probably get a fried egg if that's your thing but more on that later. You might think that the chipotle aioli/cherry chutney/pepperjack cheese trifecta would make this a spicy little number but it does not. It has a touch of heat but the flavors blend well with the cherry chutney taking the helm. The chutney also has nice tamarind note that comes out with each bite. The bacon was crispier than I like it and even though I knew the eggs were going to be scrambled and therefore without a runny yolk that did disappoint me a bit. I think this sandwich could handle a runny yolk but it would be a messy little humdinger. The chutney gives this plenty of moisture and the cheese and aioli help with the viscosity. The English muffin did a valiant job of holding things together but it could only do so much and this was one of those fun sandwiches where chunks of egg squish out the other side when you're biting it. This is a not a complaint, it's a public service announcement.

The Result - 4.44 Number Fours out of 5 Number Fours. The bacon/cherry chutney pairing is what makes this sandwich but you probably already figured that out. It's a fantastic little sandwich but the overly crisped bacon kept it form pushing the stratosphere of the ratings. Bacon crispiness is a personal preference but I like to quibble with these highly ranked sandwiches, otherwise, what's the point? I'm not going to talk about the egg anymore, you know where I stand. I'm also not going to say the number "four" for awhile, or even words that sound like "four", such as "Ford" and "fjord". But I can say this - I am going to get back there for the Sausage Jalapeño one of these days. 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #136 - Not a Lab Sandwich aka Which Came First, The Sandwich Or The Wrap?

Sandwich: Chicken Thigh, Chicken Egg, Buffalo Wing Monterey Jack, Avocado, Red Onion, Multigrain Wrap.
Date: July 4, 2019 

It's likely that most of you are not scientists or sandwichologists. Still, many of you are probably familiar with how laboratory testing works - you have constants and controls and you have variables that you are testing. This can be applied to sandwich construction as we've seen in previous posts.

This sandwich (actually a wrap but we're calling it a sandwich) was nothing but wild variables. It was closer to free jazz outfreakage than my normal lab work.

I thought I had items to make a breakfast sandwich. And I did, kind of. I had eggs and cheese. The lone English muffin was well past it's prime and I had polished off the last of the bacon earlier in the week. The only protein I had was leftover chicken thigh and the only decent bread-like material was a multigrain wrap. There were options for cheese but I already sensed this was going off the rails so I went with the last of the StoneRidge Buffalo Wing Monterey Jack. (Those folks at StoneRidge are doing some fine work and deserve your attention if you aren't familiar.) I scrounged for an avocado and red onion and felt like I had the makings for a decent sandwich. 

There was the question of how to cook the chicken eggs. I came *this* close to making them with a runny yolk just to see what would happen. That would have been foolish. No reasonable person would put an egg with a runny yolk into a wrap, but reasonable people don't have sandwich blogs. What would Ornette Coleman do? I settled for the responsible choice and scrambled the eggs. 

Don't worry, there is a layer of melted cheese under all that goodness. That's Cholula hot sauce.  

Aww man, I used those fancy toothpicks with the colored curly thingys and then I cropped it off cause I got excited about the gooey cheese and avocado.
The Sandwich - I think we've covered that to the extent that it needs covering. 

The Result - The flavors came together really well but it didn't taste like a breakfast sandwich and wasn't actually a sandwich and truth be told it wasn't breakfast either. I sat down to eat this at 12:10 so it was really lunch, which is where wraps belong. A wrap doesn't feel like breakfast. But let's get back to the flavor. I think the reason it didn't taste like a breakfast sandwich was the lack of fat and salt that bacon or sausage provide. So, it was a healthy breakfast sandwich that wasn't a sandwich. This was more like a breakfast burrito than a sandwich. It doesn't even belong here but it's too late now. 



Monday, May 13, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #135 - Caracas Empanadas aka Are You Ready For Indoctrination?

Sandwich: Breakfast Empanada
Location: Caracas Empanadas
Date: May 11, 2019
Cost: $3

A trip to the Capitol Square for the Farmers Market means you will have breakfast options out the wazoo and even if you narrow it down to sandwiches you'll still have some tough choices to make. My initial thought was to hit Gotham Bagels again, but I just went there in March and they are already in the Top 25 from both visits. 

We stopped an Ancora Coffee so I would have a coffee to occupy my attention while shuffling around the square at a pace more suited to an octogenarian. As tempting as the Sausage Jalapeño Egg Sandwich was, I had to keep moving. I tucked that morsel away in case I needed a post-shuffle sandwich. That sandwich sounds worthy of a focused return trip so don't be surprised if it shows up here in the coming weeks.

Just as we prepared to join the masses I saw the Caracas Empanadas cart at the corner of King and Main Streets. Wrap that potential in pastry dough and fry it cause I'm interested!

The Caracas Empanadas cart doesn't have a proper web site but I did snap a photo of the menu board, for once.

There they are, nestled side by each. The sauce on the left is the guasacaca sauce that everyone is going bonkers over if you look up the Yelp reviews. It's also really fun to say guasacaca.  On the right is the pique sauce which I preferred.

At the heart of the matter are chicken eggs. 

The Sandwich - Breakfast Empanada. These are premade and ready to go so there are no options. Organic scrambled eggs, Nueske's bacon and cheese. I didn't know about the cult following the guasacaca sauce has until I started doing research for this review but it's a real thing. I tried both sauces and ended up using more of the pique. It's a habanero sauce listed as a medium heat but it's a bit deceptive. It starts off mild, builds quickly and then trails off. I thought it paired with the eggs perfectly but there is something about chicken eggs and hot sauce that really works for me. It's downright magical but go ahead and get all looney for the guasacaca if that's your scene, man. The eggs are scrambled and fluffy and are the predominant flavor here, other than the fried dough. The bacon and cheese get a bit lost among everything else. I'm not even sure what cheese was in here, it was probably a white cheese?

The Result - 3.8 Sauce Cults out of 5 Sauce Cults. This was wonderfully delicious little pocket of flavor and for $3 it's a damn good deal. It's enough to give you some fuel for the market but leaves for room for additional snacking, which is important. The dough held a bit too much of the fried grease flavor and that kept me from falling in love with. I also would have liked more bacon and cheese but for $3 this is a nice little grab and go sandwich. No, an empanada is not a sandwich. Nobody cares.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Breakfast Sandwich #134 - Faircrest Bakery & Cafe aka These Are Words With A "D" This Time

Sandwich: Croissandwich
Location: Faircrest Bakery & Cafe
Date: April 30, 2019
Cost: $6.99

I don't know how you're supposed to spell croissandwich. Burger King removes the "d" and puts an apostrophe in there which seems a bit highfalutin for a place that serves ultra-crappy breakfast sandwiches and managed to plague a neighborhood with rats due to their shoddy dumpster and refuse handling practices. Gross. I'm not even sure why Burger King is messing around with croissants, they haven't earned that privilege. 

Faircrest Bakery & Cafe (web site down at time of publication - Ed.) is in that cute little strip mall on Mineral Point Road just west of Cuna Mutual. They spell croissandwich with a "d" but I'm still uncomfortable with the word. I just don't care for it but that's my problem and I'm not going to hold it against the sandwich.

On this Tuesday morning I happened to be in the area and stopped in to see if they could serve me a breakfast sandwich. Worst case scenario is I come away with a muffin or a scone. My sandwich senses were right on - they have a breakfast sandwich croissandwich on the menu!


This is a terrible photo even by my standards.

Turkey sausage wrapped in a blanket of chicken egg.
The Sandwich - Croissandwich. It's the only breakfast sandwich on the menu and the only option they offer is bacon or "all natural" turkey sausage. It occurred to me that I'd never had turkey sausage on a breakfast sandwich and that was an opportunity I couldn't pass up even though it felt a little weird. I'm not sure what the "all natural" part is - no nitrates added, maybe? I'm not going to get all FDA on this and do any research so I'll just go with my assumption. From the first bite I did not regret getting the sausage - it was fantastic. I immediately wondered why turkey sausage isn't offered on more breakfast sandwiches. The only cheese choice is cheddar but it worked well with the turkey sausage and there was just enough to give the sandwich a bit of goo factor since they don't serve the egg runny. I've complained about croissants used for sandwiches in the past - they often don't hold up. In this case it worked well and was a nice squishy bread choice. I assume they make the croissants on site, they are a bakery after all. I ordered this to go and while I didn't go far the foil wrapping may have caused the sandwich to steam itself a bit, which did not detract from my enjoyment and may have even enhanced it.

The Result - 4.15 These Are Words With A "D" This Time out of 5 These Are Words With A "D" This Time. This was a very good breakfast sandwich. It was made to order, but only took a couple of minutes, and held up after a short drive. Turkey sausage deserves your consideration when offered and I feel like I should say this even though it's dumb - it tasted just like sausage! Anyway, this is a simple, tasty and filling sandwich. At $6.99 it's a touch on the pricey side but it's a quality sandwich served by a local, independently owned business that is worthy of our support. I've had enough of Panera, thanks, but no thanks. From what I've read about Faircrest Bakery while researching this review I'd like to try some of their baked goods but I'm not sure when I'll be back in the area.