Lent is upon us, and to my heathen mind, that means one thing: Shamrock Shake season at McDonald’s. What’s better, these annual few trips to McDonald’s bring relief from the lower-quality fish sandwiches I generally muddle through the rest of the year (snark). My earliest memories of the fish sandwich came with the Filet-O-Fish, and, in many ways, it’s still the gold standard. I’m not being entirely sarcastic either; who’s to say that, in the right context, a Filet-O-Fish washed down with a green mint shake isn’t the equal of a Grouper Reuben with a Florida Avenue Ale? Continue reading
There are few better places to be a hungry sandwich lover right now than Washington, D.C. The trickle-down from the city’s burgeoning fine dining scene has brought with it a demand for better, fresher ingredients and more daring combinations of texture and flavor. Thanks to the district’s international diversity, a stunning range of ethnic variations are within easy reach. Although the relics of our less evolved age persist — downtown, for example, remains peppered with characterless chain shops — sandwich lovers in our nation’s capital are increasingly spoiled for choice. Continue reading
First things first: There is nothing inherently lowbrow or gimmicky about snack chips on a sandwich. Peanut butter and honey with Ruffles was a staple of my childhood diet, and BBQ chips are a critical component of renowned sandwich innovator Tyler Kord’s brilliant Zucchini Parmesan at No. 7 Sub in New York. Crisps, as our friends across the pond call them, are a quick, smart way to add all-important textural contrast; if anything, they’re underused.
Yet in the minor hubbub that followed Subway’s rollout of its Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt, the well-known corn chips seemed to be singled out for mockery, their mere presence pointed to as an indicator of the sandwich’s absurdity. Yes, in fairness, they are probably its most noteworthy ingredient, and undoubtedly its most aggressively-promoted. Still, in the long history of Subway’s limited-time-only specials, the Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt is far from extraordinarily preposterous. Immediately, I knew I had to have it. Continue reading
“All we are is dust in the wind, dude.” – Bill S. Preston, Esq.
One of the major themes of this blog is the enduring nature of the medium to which it is dedicated. While Sandwich Jack’s recent post What is a Sandwich? demonstrated that there is room for debate over the exact taxonomy of a sandwich, the entire exercise was an attempt to apply a timeless standard that would be as recognizable to an 18th century English nobleman as it would to a hoverboarding, vest-wearing, time-traveling 21st-century high schooler. Such a definition is a tribute to the form and its endless adaptability.
In another sense, though, a sandwich is an inherently fleeting thing. No matter how standardized the McDonalds, Subways, and Burger Kings of the world may become, or how exacting the French Laundrys, an indelible feature of the culinary arts is that each production is unique, unrepeatable, and subjectively experienced by the diner. No Big Mac is exactly the same as another, just as no two rillettes of poullarde can be identical. I have groused innumerable times at the variability of my Chipotle burrito. Continue reading
Dateline: Beyoglu, Istanbul—The call to prayer warbled from a nearby mosque as I walked down the southern part of Istiklal Caddesi toward the Bosporus. Istiklal is a long footpath stretching from Taksim Square down to the water, effectively separating the “stylish” and “European” Beyoglu shopping district from the iconic ancient city where the Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque dominate the skyline. Footpath is a generous name for a collection of roughly hewn and worn-down cobblestones winding down a precarious hill with pedestrians, stray dogs, bold seagulls, and irritated taxi drivers paid enough to make the attempt. Continue reading