Subway’s November line of sandwiches claims to be “the hottest they’ve ever offered,” and they’re doing it with the help of everyone’s favorite trendy condiment, Sriracha.  For the uninitiated, Sriracha is a Vietnamese hot sauce, made primarily from chili peppers, vinegar, sugar and salt. It’s used both as a general term for the style of sauce, as well as the product name for the brand sold by Huy Fong Foods in the United States (this will be important later). Sriracha’s appeal is split; detractors characterize it as little more than a fancy ketchup or hot sauce, but the faithful apply it to everything from burgers to eggs to macaroni and cheese. I’ve had the sauce once or twice, but I was interested to see how the Subway sandwich handled it. And to be honest, my opinion is less important than the answer to this question: How much, dear reader, do YOU like Sriracha?

I have to give it to them, though, it IS a clever use of a buzzword. Reminds me of the glory days of "chipotle" stuff.

I have to give it to them, though, it IS a clever use of a buzzword. Reminds me of the glory days of “chipotle” stuff.

Hopefully, the answer was “a lot,” because this sandwich is all about it. Remember how I said that Sriracha is both the general type of sauce and the brand that everyone buys? I’m not positive, but it seems like the sauce on the sandwich is the former, rather than the latter. For one thing, it’s a “creamy Sriracha,” with a lighter color and thicker consistency than the usual Huy Fong version. This alone leads me to believe Subway developed it in-house, as well as the fact that it’s really spicy. I had mine with pepper jack cheese, green and banana peppers, tomatoes, and onions, which didn’t help the spice any. I’ve always preferred spicy foods with a primary flavor to those that are just hot for hot’s sake. It’s a reason I’ve never really gotten on board with Buffalo Chicken. While the Huy Fong Sriracha we know and love works well for me, this just doesn’t. It’s too hot, without a clear peppery taste to make the burning worthwhile. If I were to do it again, I’d definitely cut it with ranch or mayonnaise to cool it down a little bit.

The Sriracha Chicken Melt is around $6 for a six inch sub, which is all I could take of it, honestly. I’ve never been a fan of vinegar-based heat, and that’s really the main thing this has going for it. I’d be really interested in a Subway take on a Bahn Mi, or some other Vietnamese-influenced sandwich idea, but this just feels like they’re trading in on a popular name. But hey, if you like hot stuff, or you looooove Sriracha, maybe you should check it out. Just make sure to grab a drink or something too, you’re gonna need it.

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.

Subway has increasingly taken the focus away from their Footlong of the Month offer by selecting subs which are either comparatively standard (this month’s Bacon, Egg and Cheese) or eye-openingly strange (last month’s Jalepeno Tuna Salad).  At the same time, they’ve been pushing themed groups of subs for full price.  This month’s theme is healthy chicken stuff.  They’re promoting the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki (which is always a pretty good bet), and a new BBQ pulled-chicken sandwich.

All that lettuce, who needs it? No one, that's who.

The marketing on a BBQ chicken sandwich as a healthy option seems kind of off to me.  I can appreciate that chicken as a meat is generally healthier than beef or pork, but to me, taking a BBQ pulled meat and loading it up with lettuce and other veggies is counter-intuitive.  I feel like if you’re going to eat healthy, you’re not going to eat a BBQ sandwich.  I’ve had this sub twice, and both times I’ve added onions and a couple of tomatoes, but that’s it.  The BBQ chicken is decent.  Chicken doesn’t separate quite as nicely as pork in a situation like this, but the meat still ended up with a nice flavor and consistency.  I’ve tried it with Pepper Jack and Monterrey Cheddar cheeses, both of which work well, depending on the level of heat you’re looking for.  I love onions with sweet or tangy flavors, although I could take or leave the tomatoes.

All in all, it’s a pretty good Subway sub.  Nothing earthshaking, but worth trying if you like chicken and BBQ sauce (and if you don’t, sorry there’s not quite as much here for you on Sandwichtalk).  The Smokehouse BBQ Chicken sub runs for about $4.50 for a 6-inch and closer to $7 for a footlong.  Try it, but ditch the lettuce.

Subway has been running a scheme this month.  They’ve introduced their “Italian Collection,” a line of subs featuring combinations of pepperoni and marinara sauce.  These subs are a bit more expensive, running in the $6-7 range for a footlong. To make them seem a bit more like a bargain, Subway has decided to nuke their footlong of the month deal by offering the truly inexplicable Jalapeno Tuna Salad sub, which I will not be trying.  Well played, Subway, well played.

Pretty sure jalapenos and tuna salad is that thing that Meat Loaf wouldn't do for love.

The Chicken Pizziola includes chopped chicken breast, pepperoni, marinara sauce, and cheese.  Mozzarella would’ve been great, but since my Subway doesn’t offer it I went with American.  I also added banana peppers, which as I may have mentioned before can turn a good sub into a great one.  Here, they just helped the sub go from mediocre to decent.  I wanted this sandwich to be good.  I love chicken, and I love pepperoni. But they didn’t come together in a way that tasted real at all.  The sub was a little dry, which may have been my fault for not asking they include more marinara.  I think this sub in theory could work well, but it’d require more of a vision behind the counter than Subway can provide (maybe Quiznos?).

The Chicken Pizziola runs for around $7.  It’s not terrible, and if you really like chicken and pepperoni on a sub you could check it out, but the $5 meatball sub is a much better use of the marinara sauce.  I can’t speak for the rest of the Collection, but it seems to me like a great Italian sub was there on the menu all along.

One of my most viewed posts on Sandwichtalk is my review of the Subway Seafood Sensation.  This is due in no small part to the back and forth in the comments on whether or not their seafood salad contains real crab.  (Pro Tip: if you have a shellfish allergy, you probably should check with the staff of the restaurant before trying anything which could potentially contain shellfish.)  So when I heard that competitor (and better, in my opinion) Quiznos was offering a seafood salad, I had to give it a try.  And make no mistake: this blend most certainly contains lobster.

"Dr. Jones. Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away. "

The Lobster & Seafood Salad Sub is pretty simple.  As a default, it comes with the seafood blend and lettuce.  The presence of lobster in the salad does give it a nice authenticity and texture, but the finer shredding of the meat means you get a little bit less for your money than at Subway.  The sub seemed to be missing something, so halfway through I added Quiznos’ horseradish sauce.  It was exactly what the sub needed, I’d highly recommend you do the same.

The regular Lobster & Seafood Salad Sub retails for a bit more than $5, so it’s a little hard to justify over Subway.  However, if you’re in the mood for genuine lobster salad and don’t mind paying for it, this is the sub for you.

Looking back at some of my previous Quiznos reviews, I discovered something odd.  While I’d often extolled the virtues of Quiznos’ various options for sandwiches under $5, I had mainly focused on reviewing the limited time special sandwiches, which generally are more expensive.  In an effort to correct this, I recently had two bullets, the $3 price-point sandwiches (larger torpedoes come in at $4, while small flatbread “sammies” are only $2).  Here’s my thoughts!

Rather violent, for a sandwich shop...

Both the Turkey Pesto (which I’d had before) and the Beef, Bacon & Cheddar were quite good.  The Pesto Turkey was topped with mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and the titular pesto spread.  It had a vaguely Italian flavor without being spicy, which was nice.  I sometimes think about going back and retrying particularly good or bad sandwiches, let me know if you guys would be interested in reading that.  The Beef, Bacon & Cheddar was more plain in comparison, since I only added tomatoes to the named ingredients.  However, when you’re combining bacon and cheddar cheese, it’s hard to go wrong.

Both sandwiches were very tasty, but even together they weren’t quite filling.  The bullets definitely work better as snacks than as a meal, since the two of them together cost $6 and were less filling than a Subway footlong.  However, I still maintain that Quiznos subs are much better in terms of vision of how their sandwiches should taste compared to Subway, and these cheap sandwiches are a great opportunity to see that firsthand.

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!!