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!!


Potbelly Sandwich Works is a medium-sized sandwich chain which serves toasted sandwiches, salads, soups, and desserts.  Think of it like a smaller Subway, but with more personality.They offer a number of different sandwiches, with a pleasant but not overwhelming level off customization.  I decided to go with one of their “skinny” sandwiches (about 1/3 less bread), the mushroom melt.

The webcomic collection doesn't come with the meal, unfortunately.

The mushroom melt comes with mushrooms and provolone, swiss, and american cheeses.  It was simple, but pretty tasty.  Potbelly offers a number of toppings, including lettuce, tomato, onions, etc. as well as mustard, mayo, and other sauces.  If I were to order it again I might add onions or hot peppers to give it more variety, but as it stood the sandwich was quite satisfying.  It also wasn’t too expensive.  Most sandwiches are between $4.00-$5.50, and even with the drink my meal was under six dollars.  I’d definitely recommend Potbelly for your next sandwich lunch.  It may not have to variety of Subway or Quiznos, but it more than makes up for it with its charming atmosphere.

On the heels of their last travesty, the grilled cheese burger thing, Friendly’s has released their latest creation, the Mac and Cheese Quesadilla.

You know, people really need to stop making jokes about this stuff, it's only giving them ideas.

The quesadilla is a kids menu entrée option, and can be served as shown or with that addition of bacon or a hot dog.  Now, I’m all for interesting combinations.  I’ve had a number of quesadillas with unconventional ingredients, including stuff like barbeque pulled pork and steak sauce, but this is just kind of gross.  In the same way the Double Down had too few carbs, this looks to have far too many.  Even with the addition of the pickles, ketchup, or optional meat (mexican classics all), I can’t imagine it being a very satisfying meal.  If there’s a Friendly’s in your area, feel free to try it, but at your own risk.

When I started Sandwichtalk, I had a couple different kinds of entries in mind.  Obviously, I would be reviewing sandwiches from restaurants and fast food chains.  I also planned on sharing various links, videos, and other sandwich-related content that I came across.  The third type of entry I envisioned is the Sandwich Dossier.  The Sandwich Dossier is kind of like a report on different kinds of sandwiches.  It’s not unlike a review, but rather than a specific sandwich offered by a specific restaurant, I’ll be discussing a general type of sandwich.  I hope to broaden everyone’s knowledge of the world of sandwiches, and hopefully include some recipes as well.  I think this will make a lot more sense once I shut up and actually write the damn thing, so here goes.

This was the first image I could find, Im not partial to any particular brand.

This was the first image I could find, I'm not partial to any particular brand.

Peanut Butter is an extremely important resource when creating sandwiches.  It goes well with many other ingredients, providing sweetness or salt depending on the context.  Let’s begin with the Fluffernutter.  A Fluffernutter is a sandwich with peanut butter and marshmallow creme.  It is delicious, and especially popular in New England, going as far as to have been nominated as the official state sandwich of Massachusetts.  I would definitely recommend the Fluffernutter as a more dessert-type sandwich, but it also works as a midday snack.

The next noteworthy peanut butter sandwich is the Elvis.  Named for Elvis Presley, the Elvis is prepared in a couple different ways.  The constants are the inclusion of peanut butter, and pan-frying the sandwich.  The Elvis also generally includes bananas and/or bacon.  I personally have only ever had fried peanut butter and banana, so that’s what I’ll be discussing here.  Although the Elvis may sound strange, it is quite tasty.  The fact that it’s fried makes it seem much more like some kind of pastry than a conventional sandwich.  I would recommend this sandwich for breakfast.  It has a hardiness which would be a good way to begin one’s day.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.  PB & J is, as the name states, peanut butter and some kind of fruit spread, like a jelly or jam.  The beauty of this sandwich is that while it’s simple, there are myriad variations you can put on the different elements, such as using crunchy vs. creamy peanut butter, or using different jellies, jams, or preserves.  The PB & J is a classic standby, tasty, portable, and appropriate for any meal.

Sorry for the lack of updates, technology has not been my friend of late.  Anyway, it’s time for a review.  Today’s sandwich comes not from a restaurant, but from a bookstore.  Barnes & Noble is a large, international bookselling company.  As a reader, writer, and general lover of the English language and printed word, they are very near and dear to my heart.  Like many larger bookstores, the Barnes & Noble I frequent has a small cafe inside the store.  The cafe serves a variety of baked goods, cheesecakes, and a couple of sandwiches, as well as some Starbucks coffee products.  (Important Note: Although the cafe serves Starbucks coffee, it is NOT a Starbucks location.  The sandwich I am going to describe, as well as most of the other offerings, aren’t necessarily available at your corner Starbucks.)  The sandwich I sampled is called the Tomato Caprese.

Friday Night's Dinner, in all its glory.

Friday Night's Dinner, in all its glory.

The sandwich consisted of Mozzarella and Provolonecheese, roasted tomatoes, and a basil pesto spread on a foccacia  roll, grilled in a sandwich press.  I’m told “Caprese” refers to a type of Italian salad made up of the same general ingredients, but I’ve never had it myself.  The sandwich was decent.  The ingredients complemented one another well, and it had a strong, distinctive taste, which is pleasantly surprising in a vegetarian sandwich.  The major problem with the sandwich was the temperature.  The tomatoes may have been roasted, but they had also been refrigerated since then, and were a little too cold.  The sandwich hadn’t been evenly heated, and the cheeses weren’t consistently melted.  I don’t know whether this is a problem with the sandwich press, or whether my barista could have grilled it a touch longer.  (Incidentally, my barista was polite and attentive.  No complaints there.)  Either way, the temperature of the sandwich was its major flaw, in my opinion.

The sandwich came with a bag of lightly salted Kettle Cooked potato chips, which were a nice little side.  The meal (sandwich + chips) totaled to $6.50.  This is about the average price of the Cafe’s sandwiches, which are usually meats and cheeses grilled in the sandwich press.  It’s a little bit above my normal price range, especially since I had to buy a drink separately (as you can see in the picture, I went with a Lime Orange Mango Jones Soda, which was another $1.95).  If you’re in Barnes & Noble and need to eat a meal, these sandwiches are tasty, but the price is a little steep for my tastes.