Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #49 - Mickey's Tavern aka not Mickies Dairy Bar

Sandwich: World's Greatest Sandwich
Location: Mickey's Tavern
Date: December 29, 2015
Cost: $8.50 comes with slaw and chips

I feel like the transition of Mickey's from just a bar with food to a bar known for really good food started happening about 5 years ago. I think they had a few good reviews and then all manner of hungry people started showing up, including a trio of freshly tattooed ladies from Green Bay who thought some of the regulars were "drug addicts" and a guy who thought my friend and I were homosexuals because we were drinking screwdrivers instead of beer. Do gay people prefer screwdrivers? I never did figure that out. It's only fair to mention that all of these people were perfectly pleasant and not causing any trouble, they were just misguided and/or paranoid. This has nothing to do with sandwiches but is perhaps more interesting than me trying to find another word to describe a cooked egg.

Anyway, Mickey's Worlds Greatest Sandwich has been on the list from the beginning. I'd had it several times prior to this year and don't really think of it as a breakfast sandwich because I never ate it in the morning and it's available all day (I think). Still, it conforms to my definition of a breakfast sandwich which is simply a sandwich with a chicken egg on it.
It's really a BLT in disguise.

I like where this is headed.

That fortress of fries will not protect you.
The Sandwich - World's Greatest Sandwich. That sandwich comes with a side of braggadocio, and cole slaw. No options offered here, except for the sides. People go nuts over the sexy fries but I just wanted regular fries. The sandwich is really a BLT with bonus cheese and egg and who would argue with that concept? The toasted sourdough is great for this sandwich, it holds everything together and is always a welcome selection. The egg was cooked to my liking and there was plenty of romaine on here - enough to make me think I was eating healthy. Maybe I was. The tomato was what you expect for December. The bacon was just a touch crispier than I like it and there was definitely too much mayo for my tastes, but it wasn't a sloppy mess. It's worth noting that the vinegar based slaw at Mickey's is fantastic, it has a slightly spicy edge to it.

The Result - 4.28 screwdrivers out of 5 screwdrivers. It's a damn good sandwich. This one was particularly hard to rate, not because of the sandwich but because it's December 29 and it has become clear that I'm not going to review 52 sandwiches before the end of the calendar year*. To be honest, I was kind of forcing the issue with this one. Just a bit. Having said that, it was still a pleasure to eat this sandwich.

*I've decided that The Year Of The Breakfast Sandwich is kind of like the Chinese New Year, it doesn't necessarily conform to our regular calendar. YOTBS was not officially declared until January 7 of 2015. I'm going to need those extra days.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #48 - Graze aka Serendipitous Sausage

Sandwich: Chef Tory's Breakfast Sandwich
Location: Graze
Date: December 27, 2015
Cost: $12 comes with mixed greens or hand-cut fries

Graze has been on the list from the start but each time I was going out it wasn't the right choice for that day. It was only a matter of time.

If you saw my previous review you know I was lamenting not ordering a salami breakfast sandwich when I had the chance. I hadn't intentionally planned it, but when I saw that Graze offers a sandwich with summer sausage it was easy to make the choice between the Chef Tory and Loaded Sandwich options. I was looking for some variation in my cured meats.
Many great options and the sandwich eater has a choice. 

Toasty muffin! Egg and cheese wings!

Yolk time.
The Sandwich - Chef Tory's Breakfast Sandwich. Sandwiches on English muffins always seem small but it really is perfect for a breakfast sandwich - they are dense enough to keep everything together and yet somehow still seem kind of light. Also, they get a nice toasty crunch. You can see this one was toasted well and I was excited for the summer sausage. It was a great change from bacon or breakfast sausage and it didn't disappoint. The chicken egg was perfect for my tastes and when paired with the squishy avocado the sandwich didn't need any other sauce or condiment. The cheese wasn't quite fully melted but American cheese almost doesn't need to be. The only real improvement on this sandwich would be the tomato - it was just a sad winter tomato. That's what happens in Wisconsin in December. The greens were fresh with a dusting of parmesan cheese and light vinaigrette.

The Result - 4.67 Surprise Sausages out of 5 Surprise Sausages. That tomato would be much better in August, of course, and $12 seems a bit high for a small breakfast sandwich, even one this good. Note that their online menu lists it at $9, which is probably just a mistake. Or maybe it's market price avocado? It doesn't matter, this is a great morning sandwich and can really spin you in the right direction for the rest of your day.

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #47 - Bagels Forever aka Last Minute Shopping and Research

Sandwich: Egg, Cheese and Bacon on a Bagel
Location: Bagels Forever
Date: December 24, 2015
Cost: $2.23

I wasn't even thinking about a breakfast sandwich. It was Christmas Eve day and I had a few last minute things to pick up and errands to run and while I was doing that I realized I hadn't eaten much and was feeling peckish. About 60 seconds after that realization I saw Bagels Forever and remembered I had them on my sandwich list. It was meant to be, it was a Sandwich of Destiny*. I am rarely in the area of Bagels Forever so I whipped a shitty and got down to business.

They were hanging a sign on the door as I approached that said the deli was closing in 20 minutes. Just in time. I ordered a bacon, egg and cheese out of habit, and choose a 7 grain bagel. I guess I thought that would be a healthier option. As they prepared the bagel I saw the meat case stocked with Boar's Head products. Dammit. I probably should have gotten the egg, cheese and salami on an onion bagel. Haste makes taste waste.
I like that melty cheese. I also like that foil wrapping paper. It makes me feel like I'm at a sporting event.

The Sandwich - Egg, Cheese and Bacon on a 7 Grain Bagel. I already expressed my buyers remorse above. I think the "closing soon" sign and general Holiday angst led to my quick and possibly ill-considered sandwich order. So be it. The choice of bagel is really your only option, whatever kind of bagels they have is what you can get your sandwich on. That's a bit overwhelming. I considered an egg bagel but that seems redundant. The chicken egg is a perfect little patty. Most of those grab & go type sandwiches have the egg cooked the same way, which is, not runny. Imagine the mess you would make on your tie, or desk, or both. The cheese was nicely melted and the bacon was crisp. The bagel could have been toasted better, it was a bit chewy. A bagel is a hearty delivery system and holds up well to messy cheese and condiments and such. This one could have used something like that, it was a shade on the dry side.

The Result - 3.62 Stocking Stuffers out of 5 Stocking Stuffers. I'll tell you this - the price is right on the Bagel Forever breakfast bagel. It's a perfectly suitable quick sandwich if you're in the area or your commute takes you down University Avenue. Overall I found it to be unremarkable but I think I've gotten snobbish and my standards are high. What can one expect for $2.23? My memory is that the sandwich board listed them at $2.25 but the web site says $2.23. Also, I may not have gotten their best effort. It was the afternoon of Christmas Eve and they probably wanted to get on with their holiday plans. I can't fault them for that. Anyway, if I ever get the chance for another sandwich there I'm getting the salami on an onion bagel and maybe throwing some mustard on there. Just a taste

*I knew a kid in high school who thought Judas Priest had an album called "Sandwich of Destiny". It's really "Sad Wings of Destiny". Sandwich of Destiny is more applicable to my life at this point, but I'll always have a soft spot for "Victim of Changes" and "The Ripper", although I prefer the live versions. 

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #46 - Le Petite Croissant aka The Clock Is Ticking

Sandwich: Croissant Sandwich
Location: Le Petite Croissant
Date: December 12, 2015
Cost: $9

Le Petite Croissant is a tiny little spot tucked among some shops at the top of Midvale Boulevard. It's just a tee shot from the beltline but the thousands of cars whizzing past probably don't even know that it's there. It's in the same strip mall as an acupuncturist and a tae kwon do...dojo. Is a tae kwon do place called a dojo? That's awkward to say - tae kwan do dojo. Whatever. I'm only giving myself 30 minutes to write this review so the clock is ticking. It's ticking both literally (I have to write this review and go to work) and meta-literally (that's not a thing) (It's almost the end of 2015, The Year Of The Breakfast Sandwich, and I still have six more reviews to do or my contract gets voided and I have to start eating pancakes exclusively. Gross.)

Anyway, probably not a lot of people know that Le Petite Croissant is there. Or maybe they do - I was the only person in the place on an early Saturday morning but several folks came in for baked goods to go, so I'm guessing the pastries are tasty.
It doesn't list it but the sandwich comes with greens.

I was sitting by the window and had some nice natural light and probably could have taken a better photo.

That's the heart and soul of the sandwich.
The Sandwich - Croissant Sandwich. No options, no choices. Egg, bacon, cheddar cheese on a croissant. It's a solid sandwich. The croissant was nice and flaky, the bacon cooked well and the egg done as expected, which is to say, not goopy. The cheese could have been a little more melty for this reporter. It's also a fairly hearty sandwich. The crab shaped croissant plays tricks on your eyes, but it's got a little heft to it. I like mixed greens with a breakfast sandwich and these had a light coating of slightly sweet vinaigrette.

I'm running out of time here. I ran out of words to describe cooked eggs about 4 months ago. By the way, this shit takes a long time to write, at least for me. You read real food reviews and you think those people are just lounging around eating free scallops, and I suppose they are, but there is actual work involved. It's better than digging ditches, for sure, but it's not all champagne and caviar, probably.

The Result - 3.84 Clocks our of 5 Clocks. Le Petite Croissant serves up a solid, no frills breakfast sandwich. Depending on your expectations and desires this sandwich has what it takes to get you through your morning, or your acupuncture appointment. Is acupuncture one of those things that you have to wait 30 minutes after eating before you can do it? I wouldn't eat this before a rigorous game of tae kwon do, I can tell you that.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #45 - Gooseberry On The Square aka Man, I'm Getting Down To The Wire

Sandwich: Breakfast Sandwich
Location: Gooseberry On The Square
Date: December 10, 2015
Cost: $6.50

Gooseberry opened in the U.S. Bank Building earlier this year. I was going to go there right when they opened but I looked it up on a Saturday morning and they are not open on weekends. Given that they are located on the square, within a large bank/office complex, it makes sense that they are only open on weekdays. I can't remember what occupied the space prior to them, I believe Sunprint was in that location at some point but I feel like there was another tenant as well. (I'm not going to do any research on it. I'm running out of time to hit 52 sandwiches in 2015 and one of my big obstacles is finding the time to write these reviews. I ate this sandwich 9 days ago and I'm finally sitting down to write this so I'm just going to keep it simple from here on out. There isn't going to be much research in these late reviews and there probably won't be very many mildly interesting links.)

I has some business to conduct on a recent weekday morning so I made it a point to stop by Gooseberry. It's a large space with a cafeteria kind of a feel but it was quiet at 8:45 on a Thursday morning. The sandwich guy said this was typical after the early morning rush.

No surprises here

Marble rye!

The white collar workers trusty AM sidekick.
The Sandwich - Breakfast Sandwich on rye. The bread is really the only option you have to choose on this sandwich, but they offer rye, which is nice. It turns out it's a marbled rye and that's a fun surprise on Thursday morning. This isn't a fancy sandwich and I don't have a lot to say about it except that it was prepared very well - the eggs were a bit fluffy, the cheese melted perfectly and the bacon crisped as it should be. The marble rye was decent but perhaps could have used a little more butter and toasting. It held up on my trip from the Capitol Square to the far east side, so you know the construction was solid.

The Result - 3.92 White Collars out of 5 White Collars. A very fine sandwich, indeed! It's not really a destination sandwich but it was tasty and filling. I felt like it was a little bigger than your average breakfast sandwich and makes for an adequate breakfast if you work in the area. The perfect fuel to get you through those TPS Reports. In that regard it's exactly fulfilling it's role in downtown Madison. The price is right and this one was ready in a just a few minutes.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #44 - Rolling Pin Bake Shop aka Earl, Earl, Earl

Sandwich: The Duke of Earl (Sandwich that is)
Location: The Rolling Pin Bake Shop
Date: November 28, 2015
Cost: $7

I'd never heard of The Rolling Pin Bake Shop but I found myself spending time in Fitchburg and I kept driving past when they were closed. After a little internet research to confirm that they offer a breakfast sandwich I finally caught them open on a Saturday morning.

I guess I don't get to Fitchburg very often as it appears the Bake Shop has been there for at least eight years.

Once again I didn't take a picture of the menu so I stole the description from their web site:

"Duke of Earl (Sandwich that is)"

Two eggs, cheese, tomatoes, onion, mushrooms with your choice of ham, bacon or sausage. Served on our authentic Challah roll, Russian white, Whole wheat, Rye or a herb and cheese biscuit - $6.75

Getting a little cheeky with the sandwich name - I like it! (I think the cost was $7 and they haven't updated the web site to reflect that yet.)

Apparently the Earls of Sandwich had no real connection to Sandwich, England but the town still has a pretty cool coat of arms and motto -"Post tot naufragia portum", which means "After so many shipwrecks a haven". That phrase could be loosely applied to my feelings after eating several fast food breakfast sandwiches before swearing off them for some time. I don't think this Earl or this Earl have any connection to Sandwich, England either but I'll bet Earl Campbell enjoys a nice sandwich.

Look at that light rye bread! That's some real nice stuff.
The Duke spillith over.
The Sandwich - The Duke of Earl with bacon and cheddar on rye bread. Although they offer just one breakfast sandwich you have your choice of cheese, meat and bread so there are some options. I like cheddar with egg and bacon and it's always a good day when you can get a sandwich on rye bread. In this case it was a light rye bread that I assume was baked on site. It was buttery, lightly toasted and did its job of keeping everything together. The mushrooms, onions and tomatoes seem a little odd for a sandwich, its almost like an omelette on bread, but the combo works and makes this a unique offering. The bacon was nicely crisped, the cheddar was melty and the egg was cooked to a fluffy patty. With the addition of the vegetables and the egg cooked past runny it could have used a little extra cheese or maybe some aioli. It wasn't dry but an additional layer of creamy flavor wouldn't have hurt it.

The Result - 4.32 Earls out of 5 Earls. The sandwich and the bakery itself were a pleasant surprise. I didn't even know the place existed and they came through with a damn fine sandwich. It's a different offering than most breakfast sandwiches but isn't trying to be too fancy or clever. I also got a Cowgirl Cookie which was fantastic. I will definitely stop next time I'm in the area so I can try other baked goods or maybe one of their lunch sandwiches. 

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Breakfast Sandwich #43 - Oliver's Public House aka The Runner Up

Sandwich: Classic with lamb sausage & Swiss cheese.
Location: Oliver's Public House
Date: November 21, 2015
Cost: $16 w/ petite salad

Oliver's Public House is in the new building right by Lombardino's. I've found myself saying that every time I mention Oliver's since nobody I know seems to know where it is. That's followed by them saying "Ohhhhh yeah, how was it?" These are reasonable questions. If they don't know where it is it stands to reason that they haven't been there to try it.

This visit met two of criteria that I'm trying to adhere to these days: #A - not eating crummy fast food sandwiches. #B - reviewing places not on the east side. These are easy points to meet as I've reviewed most of the fast food places (I can hear Denny's rustling out there in the darkness) AND many of the east side joints. Denny's isn't really fast food but you know what I mean.

My near west side readership is about to spike!

Even with that (not very) helpful finger I didn't realize the lamb breakfast sausage added $5 to the sandwich.

This is the best photo of an egg I have ever taken.

That's the lamb sausage, right there. 
The Sandwich - The Classic, with lamb sausage and Swiss cheese. Comes with egg sunny side up. I was just about to order the bacon and then I realized I had to get the lamb sausage. I asked the friendly bartender about it and he said it is "the bomb" so I knew that was the right choice. He recommended the Swiss cheese on it as well, which makes sense. I chose the petite greens and breakfast potatoes as sides. I think the potatoes were an add-on, not part of the normal order. Also worth noting is that I ordered a bloody mary, which I've only done on a couple of these reviews. Apparently there had been a recent bloody mary competition in which Oliver's came in 2nd place. This was clearly upsetting to the bartender, as well it should be. Later when another bartender came over he also mentioned the 2nd place finish when he saw me drinking the bloody. It must have been fresh on their minds. I'm hoping they win next year so they don't have to call in Oliver's Army to stage a bloody (mary) coup. Bloody mary might be the drink most open to interpretation and subjective opinion so I'll just say that it was fantastic and came with a big chunk of Landj√§ger sausage in it.

The Result - 4.315 Silver Medals out of 5 Silver Medals. The lamb sausage really was a tasty and unique offering and I appreciated the runny egg. Perhaps the most eye-opening aspect of this sandwich quest is how many places do not offer choices on how the egg is cooked. Runny eggs are more uncommon than you think and you should be thankful whenever they are offered. The bun was soft but kept everything orderly and the Swiss cheese was a good pairing for the lamb sausage. The garlic aioli was lurking in there but I think tzatziki sauce would have been better - almost like a Greek omelette on a bun. OK, so that was a damn good sandwich but, if I read the photo of my menu correctly, it's a $16 sandwich with a side. I didn't look over the check carefully (or, at all, to be honest) so I can't verify that, but I think it's correct. It's a little pricey.

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