As seen here, international sub sandwich chain Subway is attempting to trademark the term “footlong” in relation to sandwiches.  The company issued a cease and desist letter to a Florida restaurant who was marketing their hot dogs as footlongs.  I don’t really know how they expect people to market 12-inch sandwiches, if not as being a foot long.  Luckily for the restaurant, Subway claimed their letter was a mistake, because hot dogs are not sandwiches.  (For those unfamiliar with copyright law, a word or phrase trademarked in one market can still be used legally in another noncompetitive market.)

We’ve had this discussion before, and the general consensus was that hot dogs should not be considered sandwiches.  However, I do think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that hot dogs are not close enough to sandwiches to be considered a competitor.  Overall, I think this whole plan is ludicrous.  “Footlong” is a descriptor, denoting a sandwich which is twelve inches in length.  Are they going to try to copyright “sub” or “fresh” next?

I thought this entry could use a picture, and here we are.

While we’re talking about what is and isn’t a sandwich, I wanted to mention that this makes 50 posts on Sandwichtalk, which was the minimum I set for myself before I opened the blog up to gyros, wrap sandwiches, burritos, etc.  I’d like some of you guys’ imput on this.  I still plan on reviewing a ton more sandwiches (Potbelly’s, Penn Station Subs, etc.), but these other pseudosandwiches would be mixed in as well.  Please comment to let me know.  Thanks!!

P.S.  The one year anniversary of Sandwichtalk is June 12th.  Mark your calendars.

Red Robin is a higher-end restaurant/bar chain, known for their gourmet burgers and endless fries.  It’s a popular birthday dinner spot, as evidenced by at least three birthday song renditions the last time I was there.  While Red Robin always has a number of interesting limited-time offers, I decided to review one of their standard menu options, the Guacamole Bacon Burger.

Not pictured: a TON of steak fries.

The Guacamole Bacon Burger is an interesting if increasingly common recipe, consisting of guacamole, bacon, swiss cheese, and the standard veggies.  One thing worth mentioning is that this burger, like most of them at Red Robin, is huge.  The sheer amount of food this sandwich provides is a plus on its own.  While it may not be the most inventive burger, it’s very well executed, with several strips of bacon and plenty of guacamole.  As I mentioned, it also comes with endless steak fries.  However, the burger itself is quite filling, so it’s a bit unnecessary.  Overall, a worthwhile meal.

The one downside of Red Robin is that it’s a bit on the costly side.  A burger with fries and a drink will almost invariably be upwards of ten dollars.  I’d still recommend the restaurant in general and the Guacamole Bacon Burger specifically, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Plus, this is their mascot. You can't go wrong with a guy in a bird costume.

At long last, a review of the Double Down!!  For those of you who missed the flurry of sandwich-related news reporting over the past few weeks, the Double Down is a “sandwich” offered by KFC which consists of two chicken breasts stacked on top of one another, with cheese, bacon, and Colonel sauce sandwiched in-between.  I posted a short entry on it when I first heard the news, but have been too busy to try it and post a proper review.  Until now.

To begin this review, I need to explain one of the basic principles of food advertising.  When you order the sandwich/ice cream/coffee, it’s not going to look the way it does on TV or in the magazines.  Most of the time, that stuff isn’t even really food, and if it is, it’s been carefully constructed and sprayed with stuff to make it look shiny and appetizing.  This isn’t a big deal, and I’m not saying that anyone should boycott restaurants due to their advertising. 

However,  the Double Down’s TV spots and other ad material deviate from the truth in two key ways.  One, the idea that both chicken breasts will be identical, bun-shaped, and generally easy to pick up and eat is false.  The Double Down is made by an employee grabbing two pieces at random.  There’s no guarantee it won’t be an awkward, unwieldy handful of meat.  The other problem: you know that little paper sleeve everyone has in the ads?  The one that allows you to hold it in your hand indefinitely and eat it like a sandwich?  While they may exist somewhere, the KFC I visited served my Double Down in a box.  Let me tell you, fingertip-burning occurred.  I honestly have no idea how one is expected to eat a Grilled DD.

I am KFC's Double Down. I am a monument to all your sins.

Now, for the eating!!  Honestly, it’s not too hard to imagine what the Double Down tastes like.  KFC’s fried chicken recipe has always been pretty good, and the cheese and sauce, while forgettable, don’t really harm the sandwich at all.  The major problem is the fact that you’re eating a sandwich made out of chicken breasts.  It’s just too much chicken.  Chicken, unlike ground beef, really doesn’t complement itself very well.  It also doesn’t work as a meal.  Fun fact of science: carbohydrates (like bread) fill you up.  That’s why a sandwich is such a satisfying meal to begin with.  Without the bread, the DD leaves you feeling sick, but not full.

Not only is the Double Down not very good, it’s also quite expensive.  The Double Down Combo (which includes the DD, a small side, and a drink) is $7.50.  While I’m sure you can order it a la carte for a little bit cheaper, it also wouldn’t be a good idea to order without a drink, as well as something to break up the monotony of meat.  Not that I’d expect anyone to purchase the DD regularly, for health and becoming-a-social-pariah reasons, but it’s too expensive to purchase on a lark.

Overall, the Double Down is a refuge-in-audacity based marketing gimmick, which attempts to sully the good name of sandwich.  I would encourage readers not to waste their money on it.  After all, KFC has much better sandwiches available for much more reasonable prices.