I’ve reviewed Kalamazoo hotspot University Roadhouse once before, when I was disappointed by their Dare Ya Burger.  I was told soon after that by two separate people that the real Roadhouse sandwich I should try is the California Reuben.  About a week ago, I went out for dinner and decided to give the California Reuben a shot.

ROADHOUSE!! *roundhouse kick to face*

Before we get started, I should probably explain exactly what makes a California Reuben different from any run of the mill reuben.  It includes turkey, swiss cheese, coleslaw, and thousand island dressing on sourdough bread.  This kind of turkey-coleslaw variant is sometimes known as a “Rachel” in diner lingo, as opposed to a regular Reuben, which has corned beef and sauerkraut.  Anywho, it’s great.  The taste is different from a reuben, but close enough that fans of the sandwich will probably enjoy it.  The coleslaw is an interesting, flavorful alternative to lettuce, and thousand island dressing provides a nice counterpoint to the turkey.  All in all, it’s a tasty sandwich that’s both traditional in setup and unique in execution.

The California Reuben is available as both an half and full sandwich order, and comes with fries.  It runs for arround $5-8, depending on the size.  It’s a great sandwich, and if you’re ever in Kalamazoo, I’d highly recommend picking one up.

Hot Pockets. You may have heard of them. A pastry-style crust wrapped around a usually meat and cheese based filling.  It’s designed to be heated up in the microwave in a cardboard sleeve to maximize crispness.  Is it a sandwich?  Strictly speaking, no.  But Hot Pockets make up a pretty large part of the frozen meal section of most grocery stores, and they’re sandwichlike enough for me to count them. 

First up is the Barbecue Beef Hot Pocket.  Before we go any farther, I’d like to direct your attention to this little detail of the packaging:

“Barbecue Sauce with Beef in a Crust.”  As though the beef was just an afterthought, when people complained a big BBQ sauce Pop-Tart was too runny.  Advertising missteps aside, the Barbecue Beef Hot Pocket is actually pretty good.  The beef isn’t the highest quality, but it’s a bit thicker than lunch meat so it has some texture to it.  The barbecue sauce itself is actually really good, sweet while still maintaining a bit of spice.  All in all, it tastes like a barbecue pulled pork sandwich, which isn’t bad at all.

Panini?

The second Hot Pocket I tried was the Steak and Cheddar Panini.  You may remember it from the TV ads which reminded you that “you know it’s a Panini because of the marks on it!!”  (This is not how a Panini works.)  The Steak and Cheddar Panini isn’t too bad.  The crust is flakier and better tasting than the average Hot Pocket, and the shape of it is more similar to a sandwich.  The steak and cheese are fine, nothing too noteworthy but definitely worth eating.  The one issue with the Panini line is that they’re about twice as big as normal Hot Pockets, but you only get one per box, as opposed to the normal two.  That, combined with the triangular, sandwich-like shape, means that these Hot Pockets are designed as meals, rather than the quick, on-the-go option they’re known for.

Hot Pockets are a quick and easy sandwichesque option.  They’re pretty good, and they go for a couple of dollars at most grocery stores.  While they’re not nearly as high quality as most restaurant sandwiches, they’re perfect for the busy sandwich aficionado.

The Pita Pit is a chain which serves, you guessed it, pitas. (The Wikipedia entry for it refers to it as a “quick service franchise”, which I think is the best euphemism for fast food I’ve heard in a while.) It works similarly to Subway, in that you buy the pita based on the meats, and then add cheeses, veggies, sauces, etc.  I have some of the same kind of issues with Pita Pit that I do with Subway, namely that you kind of have to have a vision when you walk in, but luckily I had a pretty good plan for their Chicken Souvlaki.

This is Pita Pete, The Pita Pit's mascot. I doubt he's a Chicken Souvlaki pita but hey, who knows?

The core of the Chicken Souvlaki is, unsurprisingly, the chicken.  It’s seasoned and grilled, and it tastes fantastic.  To round out the pita while keeping the Greek theme, I added spinach, onions, feta cheese, and some tzatziki sauce.  It was great.  I had thought about adding cucumbers as well, which I don’t think would’ve hurt, but it was already getting pretty crowded.  I’d definitely recommend my variation of this sandwich.  Pita Pit also has a plethora of veggies and sauces.  Their cheese section is still a little lacking, but I like the inclusion of feta and parmesan to differentiate from Subway. 

The one downside of Pita Pit is the price.  It’s a little bit expensive, running around $5 and up for most of the pitas alone.  The do have a number of great options, but it’s not a place I visit every day.  Still, it’s worth checking out every now and then, if for nothing else besides the Chicken Souvlaki.  Which is also just a fun word to say.  Souvlaki.

Sandwich giant Subway is adding a new sub each month to their fabled $5 Footlong line.  The new sub is available for $5 for a month, and then changed out for a different option, ensuring I’ll have work to do for a while.  The first offering is the Meatball Pepperoni, a variation on Subway’s popular Meatball Marinara.

A guy walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm. He says,"I'd like a beer, and one for the road."

The Meatball Pepperoni is a pretty good sandwich, as Subway sandwiches go.  I’ve always found the cheese options at Subway to be a little lacking, which is strange given how much effort they put into giving you choices elsewhere.  For a meatball sub, I’d go with a mozzarella, or maybe a parmesan, but neither of these cheeses are offered.  I settled on Monterey cheddar, since it’s not too strong and it’s shredded.  The pepperoni was decent, but not hugely noticeable.  There’s not a lot to set this apart from the regular Meatball Marinara sub, which is also a $5 Footlong.  However, if pepperoni is really your thing, then I guess I’d recommend it.  Personally, I’d much rather have a limited time Meatball sub with something like mozzarella cheese or mushrooms.