This May, Subway has selected their Orchard Chicken Salad sub to be the latest $5 Footlong of the month.  The timing of this one is interesting, because Arby’s just added a Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad sandwich to their Market Fresh menu.  I thought it would be an interesting, unique idea to review them side by side and see which one is better.  Then I visited Arby’s Facebook page and saw that they had the same idea.

They even made a graphic for it. Sirs, I am outdone!!

 Still, I doubt any of their Facebook fans have the dedication to sandwich quality I’ve demonstrated, so hopefully this becomes the definitive review of the two.  These sandwiches are a bit outside of the usual fare I cover here on Sandwichtalk (for more on my usual fare, type “bacon” or “BBQ” into the search field on the right and see what comes up).  I’ll admit that the combination of fruit and mayonnaise is kind of a turnoff for me on a conceptual level, but I can get past it.  I’ll be comparing the two in a couple different categories, so let’s get started!

The Arby's Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad Sandwich

First, and most importantly, I’ll begin with taste.  Both salads were made up of pretty similar ingredients, including chicken, apples, and celery, mixed with mayonnaise.  The Arby’s version, which I had in the Whole Wheat Wrap iteration, includes grapes, pecans, and leaf lettuce, which is actually really nice.  It tasted alright, although the celery was cut a bit thick and it threw the texture off.  The Subway recipe, on the other hand, included raisins and cranberries, and I got mine on Italian bread with lettuce, although I removed most of it halfway through.  The celery was cut thinner, which was nice, but the real win here were the cranberries, which added an interesting kick.  The pecans were a nice touch on the Arby’s side, but not enough to win.  Walnuts would’ve been better.

Winner: Subway

Subway Orchard Chicken Salad Sandwich

Next up is nutrition.  I don’t usually cover nutrition info on Sandwichtalk, because my assumption is that you understand that eating at a fast food restaurant is by definition not going to be as good for you as a home cooked meal or eating at a nicer, more upscale venue.  However, given that the main thrust of these sandwiches is as a light, healthy alternative to mainstream fast food, I thought it was worth a look.  According to Subway’s website, the Orchard Chicken Salad contains 370 calories, 8 grams of fat, and 560 mg of sodium.  Compare that to the Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad, which according to Arby’s contains 630 calories, 41 grams of fat, and 1020 mg of sodium as a wrap, and 840 calories, 44 grams of fat, and 1220 mg of sodium on the honey wheat bread.  Neither seems like an ideal choice for a diet, but Subway is the clear victor here.

Winner: Subway

Arby's Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad Wrap (this is the version I had)

 Finally, we have value in terms of price.  This one is a bit more complicated.  Arby’s is offering a free sandwich with purchase of a drink via a coupon on their Facebook page.  If you use this coupon, Arby’s is far and away a better deal, since a drink is only about a dollar and a half.  Without the coupon, the Arby’s sandwich is about $4.79 for the sandwich and $6 for the combo, which includes fries and a drink.  For just the sandwich alone, Subway is a much better deal, being a footlong.  However, if you want a meal, and I would suggest getting one since both sandwiches aren’t hugely filling, Arby’s is probably a better bet, since Subway combos will run up to around $10.

Winner: Arby’s

Given the nutritional facts and all around taste, I have to give the title of Best Fruity Chicken Salad Sandwich Special to Subway.  Both have their pros and cons and neither is quite what I want (hint- cranberries and pecans would be an amazing combination), but I’d eat the Orchard Chicken Salad again much sooner than I’d have the Grilled Chicken and Pecan Salad.  If you disagree, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!!

P.S.  No matter who you side with, be sure to vote on the Arby’s Facebook page.  They’re donating $1 for every vote to the charity No Kid Hungry, so that’s pretty cool.

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.

Sandwich heavyweight Subway has recently launched their newest special, a pastrami sub.  For those of you who, like me, had no idea what exactly pastrami is, here’s a crash course.  Pastrami is a deli meat generally, but not always, made from beef.  It’s brined, seasoned, smoked and steamed, and ends up looking a bit like bacon and tasting a bit like corned beef (both good things).  It’s often served on rye, sometimes with coleslaw in a variant of a Reuben.  However, since Subway didn’t outfit their restaurants with coleslaw, Russian dressing, and rye bread, I decided to fill my Big Hot Pastrami out West Coast-style, with pickles and mustard.

Both Big and Hot!!

I loved this sandwich.  They heaped on the pastrami, which had a nice, distinct flavor and seemed to be pretty high-quality (although since this is my first pastrami experience, I have no idea if it tasted how it’s supposed to).  The pickles and mustard added some kick and offset the peppery taste of the meat nicely, and the provolone cheese I selected was subtle enough to let the rest of the sub work.  I wouldn’t recommend a stronger cheese like cheddar on this, keep it light.

The Big Hot Pastrami was a delicious sub and a nice change of pace from the usual “chicken breast with a new dressing” specials Subway usually puts out.  As a specialty sub, it’s going to cost a bit more, with a 6″ setting me back $5.  I’d still wholeheartedly recommend this sub, pick it up while you can.

EDIT: This post has gotten a number of comments, which of course I’m thrilled about.  I do want to make sure everyone reading understands that this is an independent review.  I am not affiliated with Subway.  This is not an online survey, nor do I have any information on an online survey for patrons who have enjoyed the Big Hot Pastrami.  I hope that clears up any confusion.

Sorry for the impromptu hiatus, between classes and work I haven’t had a whole lot of free time to review sandwiches.  A number of you indicated in the poll that you wanted to see some breakfast reviews, and I’m planning to work in that direction for a little while.  It’s a bit difficult because breakfast is usually only served until about 10:30 or so, and the Subway on campus doesn’t actually offer breakfast sandwiches (although they do offer the Seafood Sensation).  However, I was able to track down a Subway at around 10:00 this morning, so I tried the Double Bacon Egg and Cheese omelette flatbread.

Fun Fact: This is the first Sandwichtalk picture taken on my professional Photojournalism class camera. Woo!!

Being a Subway sandwich, the recipe is variable, but the basic ingredients are bacon, eggs, and cheese (I went with cheddar).  The eggs are of a scrambled patty type composition, which is actually way more tasty than it sounds.  The bacon and cheese were fine as well, and the whole sandwich came together in a very filling way.  You can add any of the regular Subway veggies or sauces, but I wanted to keep it basic the first time around.  The flatbread was a nice morning option, and the breakfast line is also available on an English muffin or regular sub roll.

The sandwich was also inexpensively priced at $3.50.  The cost for the breakfast sandwiches varies, but it’s generally between $2.50 and $4.00.  You can add juice or coffee for a quick breakfast on the go.  I’d definitely recommend trying Subway’s breakfast line, I’ll probably check out the Western omelette or the Steak and Egg sandwich soon.

Again, sorry for the sandwich drought, I’ll try to have another post up this week.  Burger King just introduced a new breakfast line as well, and that breakfast club sandwich has my name on it.

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.

This next review is an interesting one.  Subway offers a sandwich called the Seafood Sensation, consisting of a blend of crab meat and Alaskan Pollack.  Researching the sandwich, however, was no mean feat.  The Seafood Sensation is not listed anywhere on Subway’s official website.  As far as I know, all other sandwiches are on there, including “sub of the week” types.  I was finally able to scrape together some information (including the ingredients) from a couple of international and franchise Subway sites.  On a number of these, the Seafood Sensation is referred to as a “regional or limited offer product.”  Since I don’t frequent Subway all too often, I have no idea if this is a limited time offer, if the location I visited is unique in offering it, or what.

I WANT TO BELIEVE

I hope the Seafood Sensation isn’t a limited time offer, because it’s one of the best subs I’ve ever had from Subway.  I think a lot of why it worked was in what I included.  The promotional picture shows all kinds of veggies.  I would caution against this.  When I was ordering the sandwich, I wanted the seafood blend to speak for itself.  I included lettuce and mayo, but I didn’t add tomatoes, peppers or anything else, and I stand by that decision.  I would also advise against ordering cheese on it, since cheese generally has an even stronger flavor than most veggies.  The sandwich was delicious.  The seafood blend was flavorful, and included a lot of genuine crab meat.  The other ingredients added to the overall taste but didn’t overpower the meat.  The sub was a foot-long, and cost under $5.00.  I don’t know if this is the usual price, or even if this sub is generally available, but if it is in your area, I would highly recommend picking one up.

EDIT:  I’ve gotten conflicting reports/anecdotes on whether or not the seafood blend in the sub contains real crab or not.  My advice is that if you’re allergic to shellfish, don’t risk this sandwich.  Sandwichtalk assumes no responsiblity for allergic reactions caused by the Subway Seafood Sensation.

This was an interesting sandwich for me.  My excitement over a new philly cheesesteak to try was tempered with my previous issues with Subway.  Nevertheless, I hadn’t had a sandwich to review in a while, so I figured it would be a good choice.

Someone may have gotten a little photoshop-happy...

Someone may have gotten a little photoshop-happy...

The main problem with this sandwich is that Subway is rather ill-equipped to make a philly cheesesteak.  Their steak is fine, and they have a couple cheeses to choose from, but they don’t have sauteed onions or mushrooms.  I’m trying to limit my bias as much as possible, but I just find it kind of odd that Subway, a chain which prides itself on variety and options, doesn’t have pretty standard ingredients available.  I ordered mine with mayonnaise, mostly to add a little more flavor.

The cheesesteak tasted alright, it was just somewhat bland and not very authentic.  It also cost upwards of $6 for the sandwich alone, which is a little bit more than I’d like to spend on a disappointing sandwich.  Quiznos has a new Philly Cheesesteak out, which I haven’t tried (rest assured, I will) but it seems like a better bet.  You’re free to disagree though.

After all, Olympic medalist Michael Phelps seems to enjoy Subway quite a bit.