Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #42 - Subway aka Purely Research

Sandwich: Bacon, Egg & Cheese
Location: Subway (East Washington Ave & Hwy 51)
Date: November 13, 2015
Cost: $3.50

Several weeks ago I told myself I was done reviewing fast food or chain restaurant sandwiches. It's a waste of time, money and calories and we're surrounded by delicious options here in Madison, so why bother? That's what I told myself.

But, every morning during my short commute I scan the radio dial and generally end up listening to some sports talk radio. Although my drive is only about 10 minutes, I almost always hear a commercial for Subway breakfast sandwiches. It's like they're taunting me. Daring me. Teasing me. How bad can they be? A better question might be, how good can they be? These are the types of questions that lead to this endeavor, and after all, this isn't about my desires, it's science.

I chose the Subway that I drive past every day even though a coworker once claimed it to be the "worst Subway in Madison". I don't know how she came to that conclusion, but it is the same location where a different coworker was once referred to by another patron as "a little sexy bitch". True story.
Umm, there it is.

Teeming with lost potential.
The Sandwich - I went with the Bacon, Egg & Cheese as it seems like a staple and they didn't have another interesting option that I wanted to try. They have one with steak but Subway steak sounds like a recipe for disappointment, at best. The flat bread you see in the photos is the standard breakfast sandwich option but you can opt for any of their regular breads if you prefer. The next choice is egg whites or yellow. All of this is already cooked, they just put it in the magic box thing to warm it up. After that you have the choice of all their regular vegetable toppings and dressings. I wanted to add something, but didn't want to bury the cornerstone ingredients. I went with pepper rings, a light squirt of chipotle dressing and a dash of black pepper.

The Result - 2.98 regrets out of of 5 regrets. I probably should have trusted my instincts and either skipped this review entirely or at least loaded up the sandwich with red onion and spinach and maybe red peppers. As it was, it was just bland. The flat bread could have used a little more toasting, the bacon was paper thin and didn't seems to bring any flavor to the sandwich. How does that happen? I'm sure it's cooked in a massive kitchen fortress in another state and then loaded on a truck and somewhere along the line the flavor falls off and nobody is the wiser until some poor sucker orders a sandwich. The pepper rings and the bread were the predominant flavors. I have to take responsibility for passing on the other ingredients but we all know a great breakfast sandwich can hold it's own with just the basics. This wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. It just, was.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #41 - Cafe Hollander aka West Side (Sandwich) Story

Sandwich: Pretzel Breakfast Sammy
Location: Cafe Hollander
Date: October 30, 2015
Cost: $10.95, with Hollander potatoes

A few people have pointed out to me that my reviews are focused on the East side which makes sense because that's where I live. West side locations haven't intentionally been neglected but that's how it has shaken out thus far.

I have been spending more time on the West side recently and had heard that Cafe Hollander was open in the Hilldale Mall. A quick perusal of the menu confirmed my suspicion that they would have a breakfast sandwich so I made plans to visit. Coincidentally, right after making my plans I received a note from a friend who had recently had a breakfast sandwich at one of their Milwaukee locations and raved about it. Sometimes the toppings align that way and you just have to roll with it.

Since the place is new I'll mention that the space itself looks great and is huge. It has an upstairs and the ground floor is broken up so everything isn't all in one area. I found it to be a very comfortable room to walk into and they sat me in an area with lots of late morning natural light.

The Pretzel Sandwich caught my eye on the web site and was my reason for making the stop.

You can't tell from the photo but that is an oversize plate.

A river of hollandaise runs through it.
The Sandwich - Pretzel Breakfast Sammy. Did you look at the menu description of this sandwich yet? It sounds crazy, yes? It is crazy. It's fitting that I ordered this the day before Halloween because this sandwich is a MONSTER. When it came out the waiter offered some Cholula Hot Sauce, which I accepted, although I'm not sure it needed anything else added, in fact, it needed less. My first thought was that there was just too much hollandaise for my taste. In addition to the hollandaise there is the herb garlic cheese AND the Muenster. Things got overly sloppy right out of the gate. I put the pretzel roll top on and tried to pick it up for a bite. That just wasn't going to work. There was still a significant amount of hollandaise covered egg hanging out, and when I took a bite the ham started to make a break for it out the other side. Right then I knew I'd just have to eat it with a fork. I had the distinct feeling that this wasn't a health conscious meal. The bacon and Muenster kind of got lost in the sauce and the hollandaise and the ham essentially took over. The pretzel roll never stood a chance.

The Result - 3.65 Rivers of Hollandaise out of 5 Rivers of Hollandaise. I had such high expectations but was put off by the amount of hollandaise and general sloppiness of the sandwich. I'm sure personal preference was a big part of it and your relationship with hollandaise would certainly come into play here. I'm not even sure it needs it, I might have preferred this with just the Muenster and herb garlic cheese. Looking at the menu now the Belt & A sandwich might have been a better choice for me and my arteries. I know I'll go back to try one of the seven (SEVEN!) bloody mary options and the Belt & A may get a later review. I think I just made a bad choice that day and I look forward to going back for a fresh take. I should also mention that the breakfast potatoes were the perfect amount of crispy. 

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