Subway has recently announced a new initiative to offer avocado as an option for all sandwiches for a limited time.  They mention a couple of sandwiches they feel it goes particularly well with, but I was in the mood for bacon and eggs, so I threw it on the Bacon, Egg and Cheese on Flatbread.

They actually scoop and spread it with an ice cream scoop. I can't decide if this is awesome or disgusting.

In addition to the bacon and eggs, I added some Monterey Cheddar cheese.  The thing to remember about the avocado is that it isn’t guacamole.  It’s thicker, without the spices and other ingredients.  I thought it might be a lot to take, so I added some ranch dressing to cut it.  That ended up being a good choice.  I’m a big avocado fan, but it can be kind of thick and overpowering.  Ideally, I’d like about a 6″ sub’s worth of avocado spread over a footlong, but I doubt they offer that.  All in all, the avocado was an interesting addition, but I can’t see myself adding it again, at least not to this sandwich.

Adding avocado costs an extra 50 cents on a 6″ sub, and an extra $1 on footlongs.  You definitely get your money’s worth, but unless it’s a sandwich that will probably benefit from a big injection of avocado (say, the Chipotle Chicken and Cheese) you may not want to risk it.

See, I told you I’d be back!!  Arby’s latest new menu item is their ‘Shroom and Swiss, a more classic roast beef sandwich.  Their “Good Mood Food” brand blends elements of their normal and more upscale “Marketplace” lines, but this one is definitely in the former category.

'Shroom & Swiss Sandwich: not hallucinogenic.

The most interesting thing about the ‘Shroom and Swiss is that Arby’s has released basically the same sandwich before, as the Steakhouse Sub.  There are slight differences, including the titular mushrooms and the style of bun, but from what I can tell, the Swiss cheese, onion straws, and spread are all identical.  I liked the Steakhouse Sub a little bit more, mainly because of the shape of the roll, but the mushrooms do add a little bit to the flavor.

A ‘Shroom & Swiss combo runs for about $6.  It’s not as good as the Steakhouse Sub, so go with that if they happen to have it at your local Arby’s.  If not, it’s still a good sandwich, leagues beyond their recent Angus Three Cheese and Bacon.  I just don’t have much to say about it because I’ve said pretty much all of it before.

Good news, everyone!!  I’m launching my new blog, Gentlemen, Behold!! today!  A few quick Q & As:

Why “Gentlemen, Behold!!”?

It’s actually a reference to Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which I took and ran with.

What are does Gentlemen, Behold!! cover?

GB! will discuss TV series, movies, books, comics, and any other arts and entertainment topics which come up.  A lot of them have a decidedly “geek” bent, but all kinds of things will be covered.

What does this mean for Sandwichtalk?

Not much.  Sandwichtalk will continue to update as regularly as my schedule and wallet allow, and I don’t foresee any conflict between my blogs.  I do plan on updating GB! roughly three times a week, with a weekly column or two, but that won’t take away from Sandwichtalk.

What’s the website for Gentlemen, Behold!!?

So glad you asked!!  It’s http://gentlemenbehold.wordpress.com.  You can also get there from the links page here on Sandwichtalk.  There’s a couple posts up already, and there’s more to come this week!!

SONIC is a sometimes elusive drive-in fast food chain.  I say this because for years, there wasn’t a location in the state of Michigan, so the only time I could try one was on vacation in Biloxi, Mississippi.  They’ve since expanded and are a bit easier to find.  SONIC (as stylized on their website) is a bit of a novelty restaurant, in that you order from your car and are served there by wait staff on roller skates.  They serve a variety of burgers and hot dogs with tater tots as a side option in addition to french fries, as well as ice cream.  I decided to review one of their new Loaded Burgers, the Ring Leader.

When a franchise called Sonic releases a burger named Ring Leader, the 90s video game jokes write themselves.

 The Ring Leader is named for the inclusion an onion ring in addition to the usual burger, bacon, cheese, veggies (lettuce, tomato, more onion) and mayo.  It’s an interesting idea, but there’s not really a lot there.  I would’ve liked a more interesting sauce or something else to differentiate it from an average deluxe burger.  The onion ring is pretty forgettable and the burger doesn’t taste very oniony while you eat.  Afterwards, however, is a different story.  The burger leaves an onion taste for hours, unless you wash it down with something potent.

The Ring Leader runs for about $5-6 as a combo, which isn’t terrible.  However, there are a lot of better, cheaper options available at SONIC.  I would definitely recommend going for the experience, but get something else.  The Ring Leader does have a hilarious TV spot though, which I’ve linked to below for your enjoyment.

Another month, another Subway featured $5 footlong.  I’ve been impressed with the variety of the specials, everything from breakfast subs to meat-heavy meals to lighter fare.  This month’s sub is the Chipotle Chicken and Cheese, which as the name suggests is a chicken sub with Subway’s Chipotle Southwest sauce.  They’re not new ingredients, but it’s a new combination, and the idea of combining flavors is really what I’ll be discussing.

DAMN, that is a good picture of a sandwich!!!

The Chipotle Chicken & Cheese is usually shown with green peppers and red onions on their flatbread, which gives it a kind of “Mexican fajita” air.  I got mine with pepper jack cheese to go along with that theme.  The chicken and chipotle sauce combo was very good, and I could see what they were trying for with this sandwich.  However, the red onions were pretty strong, and they overpowered a lot of the other elements.  Pepper jack cheese was also a little strong for the sandwich. 

The Chipotle Chicken and Cheese is a good idea for a sandwich, but it needs some personal tweaking.  I’d recommend going easy on the red onions, if not eliminating them all together, and trying other options, like banana peppers or cheddar cheese.  It’s a good $5 footlong, maybe even as good as the Meatball Pepperoni, but you need to think outside of the suggested ingredients to really make it great.

This marks Sandwichtalk’s 100th post, so I wanted to review something special.  Zingerman’s is a collection of Ann Arbor-based restaurants and food retailers.  It began in 1982 with Zingerman’s Delicatessen and has since expanded and evolved into a brand which includes a bakery, creamery, coffeehouse, and catering.  Zingerman’s also created the charity Food Gatherers, a local hunger relief group I volunteered with a couple of times during high school.  It’s a very well-known name within the Ann Arbor community, and probably one of the most famous, well-regarded restaurants in town.

Zingerman's Deli. The building on the right is Zingerman's Next Door, a coffee shop with more seating.

To get a more complete Zingerman’s experience, I tried two sandwiches.  The first was a new sandwich, the TNT Cowboy Reuben.  It’s a BBQ pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and provolone on a sandwich roll.  I’d hesitate to call it a reuben, but it was delicious nonetheless.  Coleslaw is always a nice break from the usual tomato and lettuce route, and the combination of slaw and the pulled pork gave it an interesting, enjoyable texture.  The provolone wasn’t as noticeable, but it didn’t hurt the sandwich at all.

Now that I think about it, there was nothing much "TNT" about it either. Hmmm.....

My other sandwich was the B.L.T., which I was a little less impressed with.  It was a perfectly fine B.L.T. on their Jewish Rye, and all the ingredients were high quality, but I don’t know if it was worth the price, which I’ll get to in a sec.

Again, I'd recommend it if you want a B.L.T., but you can make a B.L.T. at home pretty easily too.

Both sandwiches were good and deserve high marks, but I do have to mention one other fact about Zingerman’s.  It is insanely expensive.  The TNT Cowboy Reuben cost $10.99, and the B.L.T. cost $9.50.  $9.50 for a B.L.T.!!!  And I ordered the smaller sizes, the larger ones run for a couple of dollars more.  AND that’s just the sandwich and a pickle, no sides or drinks or special requests on the sandwiches (which will add 75 cents bare minimum, normally upwards of a dollar or two if you want special bread or something).  These are pretty typical prices for the menu.  You can get hot dogs for a dollar or two less, and the most expensive sandwich I saw was a smoked fish bagel which cost $20, but most sandwiches are $10 or a little bit more.  I’m hesitant to say that any sandwich is worth ten dollars, and I’m a guy whose hobby is writing a blog about sandwiches.  A lot of the cost is because almost all of Zingerman’s ingredients are either manufactured by them using super high quality items or imported directly from the source, as well as the whole “paying for the experience” concept (and I will admit that their corner location in Ann Arbor’s Kerrytown neighborhood is pretty cool).  At the end of the day, though $10 for a sandwich is $10 for a sandwich, no matter how you sell it.

I’d still definitely recommend Zingerman’s.  The sandwiches I had were good, and with their dozens of menu items, I’m assuming they have a lot of other great sandwiches as well.  I won’t be going back anytime soon, not with my budget, but it’s a great option for a place to celebrate, a fancy lunch date, or a place to take out-of-towners.

P.S.  Thank you to everyone who’s supported Sandwichtalk so far!!  Be sure to let me know any questions, comments, or requests you guys have in the comments section, and here’s to the next hundred posts!!