In a combination of self-promotion and minimization of bias, I’d like to announce that I am now gainfully employed by Jersey Giant Sub Shop. I’ve given them high marks, both here and in the Western Herald, and I’m proud to be part of the team bringing the best sub sandwiches out there to Kalamazoo. This means that I won’t be reviewing Jersey Giant subs anytime soon to avoid a conflict of interest, but I can guarantee they’re still some of the best on the market. If you’re not convinced, swing by the Jersey Giant location on Westnedge across from Meijer and I’ll make you one myself.

These dudes are on the menu. The left one is the tuna sub and the right is the Jersey Devil, which includes every meat we have (about 7). I don’t know if they have names, but I’m gonna refer to them as Billy and Todd respectively from now on.

Today’s post is a little different.  In addition to blogging about sandwiches, I also write for the Western Herald, Western Michigan University’s student newspaper.  I generally cover crime/public safety and breaking news over there.  As part of our restaurant guide, I wrote up a list of the best sandwiches in Kalamazoo in a number of categories, including wraps, vegetarian options, and subs.  For those of you in Kalamazoo, this will be your bible.  For those of you elsewhere, enjoy a glimpse into the local sandwich landscape.  A couple of them will be familiar to long time fans, but there’s plenty of new material.

Super Satisfying Sandwiches

And I suppose now is a good a time as any to plug my other projects, so I will!!  I also write for a local music publication called Kalamazoo Local Music, which provides a great guide to the local music and concert scene.  And if you like Sandwichtalk but wish I blogged about movies and TV shows and cartoons instead, fear not!!  I run another blog called Gentlemen, Behold!!  that covers different pop culture topics.  If you like Sandwichtalk, I’ll go out on a limb and say you’ll probably enjoy GB.

I’ve been a little bit busy with all these different projects, but I hope to keep updating both blogs regularly.  Check back frequently for the latest updates!!

 

Red Robin is running a really cool contest over on a new website, The People’s Burger.  It’s a variation on the sandwich creator program offered on Burger King’s website, albeit with Red Robin signature ingredients.  The key difference, and the part that makes this so cool, is that after creating your burger, you name and post it for people to vote on.  The winner, selected through a combination of votes and a professional judges’ panel, will receive an iPad, a party where their burger will be served, and free Red Robin for a year.  Emphasis is placed on creativity and use of name and description to explain the concept of the burger.

FOR GREAT JUSTICE

I for one am super excited about this contest.  The sheer number of options is great, as well as the naming and description sections.  I’ve thrown my hat into the ring with the “A Cut Above” Burger, which I encourage everyone to vote for.  At the same time, you guys should all check out the site, and if you make your own, be sure to post the link in the comments section.  If a great new burger is born from this contest, we all win.

But just so you know, mine would taste REALLY good.

EDIT: Some details on the site:

  • You don’t need to register or enter any personal info to vote, so don’t worry about that.
  • You can vote once a day per IP address for as many different burgers as you please, but you can’t vote for any specific burger more than once per day.
  • That Ron Swanson burger in the lead is hilarious.  I am totally cool with that winning.

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!!

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!!

I generally try to avoid reviewing too many sandwiches for any particular restaurant in a row, since I want to cover as wide an array of sandwiches as possible.  However, I was hanging out with some friends last week and we decided to eat at Chili’s.  My friend Matt (East) and I chose the $20 Dinner for Two special, which includes 2 entrées and an appetizer to split for the pittance of $20.  The options for the entrée are somewhat limited, and the Classic Bacon Burger was the only available sandwich.  I don’t often go for simpler burgers like that, but I didn’t have much choice in the matter.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!

The Classic Bacon Burger includes a patty and bacon (of course), as well as cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and mayo.  It’s a fairly standard recipe, without much of a hook to get you interested.  But there’s a reason this is such a common menu item.  It works.  This burger was delicious.  The patty was juicy and cooked to perfection, the bacon was crisp but not brittle, the onion added flavor without being overpowering.  Though I try to avoid it, I often find my attention diverted to sauces or buzzwords used to sell new sandwiches.  There’s nothing wrong with a classic every now and then.
 
I’d definitely recommend the Classic Bacon Burger.  As part of the deal, it’s cheap but still satisfying.  As for the appetizer, we shared the Texas Cheese Fries.  They were good, but a half order isn’t much food when split between two people.  Also, since I know they’d bug me about it if I didn’t mention it, Brian and Adam were there too.
 
In other news, I added a search box and some WordPress meta stuff to the sidebar.  Now you can search for keywords instead of just clicking tags, and if you happen to be a WordPress user you can log in to leave comments etc.  I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank  Southwest Michigan Dining for the link, and to welcome any new readers to Sandwichtalk.  I try to update on average about once a week, with sandwich-related news and reviews.
 
Well, that’s pretty much it.  I hope everyone’s holidays were wonderful, and I’ll see you all in the new year!!

I’m thinking about branching out a bit in my reviews, and I wanna know what you, my faithful readers, would be interested in reading about.  Here’s the options:

Breakfast.  In addition to breakfast options at places like McDonald’s, Subway, or Burger King, I could also hit coffee shops like Tim Horton’s or Starbucks.

Mexican.  Mexican-themed franchises, like Chipotle or Qdoba (and yes, Taco Bell).  I would be reviewing tacos, burritos, and other sandwich-like meals (so, no nachos or anything).

Local Fare.  Local (Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and other places I visit) restaurants and specialties.  Ideas include Blimpy Burger and Zingerman’s, and I’d obviously be open to suggestions.

These reviews would be interspersed between the usual posts regarding burgers, subs, news and what have you.  Please vote in the poll, and leave any questions, comments, or concerns in the comment section.  Thanks!!!