Friday, November 19, 2010

Sandwich Round-up: The Catching Up Edition

Well well well.  Look who's back!  Yeah, it's only been what, two-plus months?  Well, that's what extensive travel for work'll do to ya.  Anyhow, I've actually eaten five sandwiches on the list in the interim between this post and the last, and one BONUS sandwich from the same website's list of the best San Francisco sandwiches.  Let's get right to them:

We begin with the Cemita Al Pastor from Tulcingo del Valle.  This was a far trek for me, and the establishment was a tiny Mexican deli  on Tenth Avenue that I was in for all of two minutes, as I had to rush back to the office before my lunch break was over.  The actual sandwich, which consisted of pork, avocado, pineapple, cheese and beans, was really delicious; the avocados in particular were fresh, and what I remember the most was the pineapple, which added a really surprising and delicious sweetness to the sandwich.  I'd love to go back there when I have more time and try more food.  3.8.

This is probably the worst picture of a sandwich I've taken, but the actual sandwich in appearance was totally non-descript.  However, it was anything but that in taste.  Let me back up here.  This is the Fried Whiting Sandwich from the Famous Fish Market in Harlem, which is officially the tiniest restaurant I've ever been in in NYC; you walk down three steps, stand in an extremely cramped space at a counter, order your food, and then when you get your food, you have to somehow get past the gigantic line of people on the stairs, out the door, and around the block.  What you're not getting from the awful picture; there were a TON of whiting pieces (at least eight or nine), there was delicious tartar sauce, and the sandwich itself, while very minimalist (we're talking some bread and some fish; the tartar sauce was optional), was utterly satisfying, with the fish being fried to perfection and the bread actually providing a nice moist counter to the dryness of the fish.  Definitely recommended.  3.9.

This is the Saltimbocca from Keste, a great pizza place in the East Village.  This has prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, and olive oil.  Now this sandwich is pushing what I'd call a sandwich; it's really pizza dough blown up and stuffed with toppings.  I guess you could call it a post-modern sandwich or something, but who cares when it's this good.  This was very simple as you can tell from the description, but every element was scrumptious, and it all blended together beautifully.  There was also virtually no grease; what you're seeing in the picture is actually olive oil.  Highly recommended.  4.0.

Next up we have the Marinated Anchovies sandwich from 'Wichcraft.  Again, not the greatest picture of the sandwich.  This had anchovies, egg, salsa of some kind, and onion, all on toasted white bread.  And guess what?  In a continuing trend from this batch of sandwiches, it was utterly delicious.  The anchovies were very high quality, and the other ingredients, especially the onion, came together wonderfully.  I should note that I decided to try some other sandwiches from 'Wichcraft, including the breakfast sandwich, and none were close to being as good as this one.  Again, highly recommended sandwich.  4.0.

Did I say there was a trend of the sandwiches being delicious in this post?  Well, here's where that trend ends.  This was the Kentucky Hot Brown from Bar Americain, Bobby Flay's restaurant.  I had a bad feeling about this sandwich going in, as it was outrageously priced ($18), which is almost never a good sign, and it was Bobby Flay, who I've always disliked as a chef and TV personality.  Also, as you can tell from this picture, it wasn't really a sandwich; it was bacon, tomato, and turkey on top of some French toast and COVERED in some fancy sauce (the website calls it Mornay sauce).  You had to eat it with a fork, which almost automatically disqualifies it as a sandwich.  Also, it just wasn't very good; the bacon was overcooked, the tomato was nondescript, and the turkey was overpowered by the sauce.  The toast and the sauce were both fine, but not that exciting.  Honestly, this is a rip-off, and not something I can recommend in any way.  2.0.

And now time for my bonus sandwich...

This is the Fried Chicken Sandwich from Bakesale Betty in Oakland, California.  I happened to have some time to kill in Oakland while I was in the Bay Area for work, and thanks to a recommendation from a friend and this being on the best sandwiches of San Francisco list, I had to try it.  And boy, was I not disappointed.  This was phenomenal, and unlike any other fried chicken sandwich I've had.  For one thing, the chicken was cooked PERFECTLY (moist fried chicken is not an easy thing to accomplish).  And as you can see, there was a kind of salad/coleslaw on the sandwich; it was fresh-tasting, vinegary, and very refreshing.  But what struck me about this sandwich was the complete lack of sauce, and even more impressive, I didn't notice it until I was halfway through the sandwich!  This is easily one of the best sandwiches I've ever had, and shoots to the top echelon of the sandwiches on these lists.  If this was in New York, I'd eat it at least once a week.  4.8.

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