IT'S ABOUT TO BE SANDWICH DAY AND NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME! (sandwiches pt 2)
"Rome was destroyed, Greece was destroyed, Persia was destroyed, Spain was destroyed. All great countries are destroyed. Why not yours? How much longer do you really think your own country will last?
Welcome to the last Bad Sandwich Chronicles Beyond Thunderdome before we actually go beyond the thunderdome tomorrow. I am aware that this one should be for paying subscribers only, but it’s a stressful time and I want to inspire a little levity here during these end times. If you like what you read, please consider signing up for the full on VIP experience or hooking your homies up with one. I promise, it’s even better somehow.
So, you all know what tomorrow is, right? That’s correct! Tomorrow is November 3rd! Some call it Super Tuesday and do you know why? Because it’s national sandwich day! And as I am @badsandwich on Twitter and this here blog shares a name with my Twitter handle, AND I am halfway through a sandwich round up and nothing’s gonna stop me now. If you missed part one the whole thing is here (you can only see the full bit if you subscribe).
Anyway, without further ado, here’s the rest of the sandwiches for y’all to fight amongst yourselves about. Leave a comment if you’re so inclined. I like the discourse.
Ham and cheese
At first glance, dumb sandwich. But then you eat it and it’s kinda not that bad. Then it’s kinda good. In that way, it’s like the dude you settle for marrying: you go into it beyond apprehensive and by the time it’s all over you just don’t care anymore. Ham can be good. Cheese can be good. You could make a Serrano ham and lincet le delice du Bourgogne (literally best cheese ever cheesed) sandwich on a fresh baguette and that’s kinda like the BEST sandwich you could have. BUT, there’s also the Oscar Mayer and American cheese on white bread sandwich which is, to put it mildly, kinda the fart in a spacesuit of sandwiches. Not undealwithable, but not super dope either.
My college buddy Chris, who is the guy that did all the original art for my dumb band (including the hourglass with wings thing that has become our de facto logo over the years, if you are familiar with our shit) used to, when we were in the old mess hall on the university grounds, spread butter on his ham and cheese sandwiches, which, not bad! They do this kinda thing in Europe, and as a general rule, euro sandwiches are either terrific or fuuuuuucking disgusting. This diametric is true for all sort of simple comfort foods that we take for granted here. Ever order a pizza in France? Last time (only time) I did, it was covered in tuna and had a goddamn egg cracked in the middle. The mind reels.
But anyway, the ham and cheese is okay. It’s kinda like your experience in college. You get out of it what you put into it and it’s less sexy than you expect it to be even though you have no reason to expect otherwise.
Do you know what this is? It’s a sandwich that was invented in Chicago by ex pat Cubans and touted as a Cuban delicacy. I recently read that it’s not even something you can find in Cuba but here in Chicago, you can get these fuckers here and there. What are they, you ask? They’re like a sub kinda, but instead of bread it’s fried plantains. Are they good? Yes. Yes they are. Are they greasy as shit? Also yes.
You can get a jibarito with almost anything you want on it, but I think the classic is like thin sliced beef and American cheese and some onion, mustard and mayo. The jibarito is a GREAT way to freak out your terrified parents from Iowa after they come to town and make fun of your shitty apartment and ask when you’re gonna get a real job. Highly recommended.
Some sort of turkey slices and lettuce bullshit
This is what divorced dads eat because they are completely bereft of any sense of culinary acumen and what lazy moms fix you for lunch even though you’ve said over and over that this sandwich sucks and it’s dry and lazy and unappetizing. You CAN probably force a good sandwich out of this particular iteration of ingredients, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort. Turkey, which is something I eat regularly (even in lunchmeat form!) is the worst of all cold cuts. If you doubt me, just know that at Subway (the most reprehensible of all the fast food chains), EVERYTHING is turkey, and it all sucks complete piles of ass through a tube. Turkey is dry. Turkey is TERRIBLE in its native form (thanksgiving style, but we’ll get to that later) but it’s actually somehow a step up to have it in cold cut form.
That’s really saying something when you consider how boring turkey cold cuts are. They’re the lunchmeat equivalent of a hand job: no one wants one, it’s dry, it’s FINE, it does the job that could be done so much better by any of its ancillary stylistic compatriots. Everyone just wants it to be done.
Final take: This sandwich is ass. I will probably eat one tomorrow.
Coool! A good sandwich. Reubens are hot versions of a corned beef or pastrami (or combo) but with sauerkraut and thousand island dressing on it. Here’s the unspoken truth about reubens, they’re so fucking greasy that no one has ever eaten one and not run immediately to the bathroom to take an explosive dump. The taste is great, and the legacy is unimpeachable, but mercy, they’re hard to take down.
That said, there’s a reason that they’re so canonized in the world of sandwiching, and that reason is “fuck it. My ancestors invented the flush toilet for a reason and this sandwich is pretty goddamn great.”
Funny aside: the only guy I’ve ever known named Reuben was a black guy, which, unexpected, to put it mildly.
After the first round of this here sandwich round up, I got more than a few people asking me for my take on the Cuban (did you notice I put it next to Reuben bc they rhyme? Very clever list curation if I say so myself). This sandwich is good as shit. Though it’s pressed and not fried (which mitigates the greasiness quite a bit) it shares some qualities with the reuben in that it’s a hot version of a deli sandwich but it’s got some wild combos going on inside.
Let’s google what’s exactly in there, because I feel like there are some unholy alliances therein.
Okay, so according to Wikipedia, the Cuban is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami on Cuban bread.
So that’s a lot better than I thought it was gonna be. I assumed turkey was gonna be on there and there’s something about fowl and anything else mixing that kinda freaks me out. But no! It’s all pork! Great. Fine. I take it all back. Holy Alliance all around.
Usually, not a huge fan of Swiss cheese. It’s okay in a lone slice but it kinda underwhelms me in the “I’m on a sandwich” category, usually just because it’s only included on such wack sandwiches.
The Cuban is an exception. The Cuban rules. This is an almost can’t miss sandwich. It’s never bad. Much like last week when I hyped the bread on the torta, the Cuban bread is kinda unfuckwithable. The cuban is also always cut into a pretty smart triangle type angle and that really ups its cache. Everything works great in this sandwich and, while I almost never think to get it and I also almost never trust one to be, for example, delivered, I have NEVER been disappointed by a Cuban (besides Mark Cuban who didn’t buy into my chocolate cottage cheese endeavor when I was on Shark Tank, but that’s neither here nor there [also, is he actually Cuban? If so, that’s a fucking wild name. That’s like if my name was Brendan America. Anyway…])
So most people find a loaf of haphazard meat slathered in ketchup to be fucked up and offensive and I totally see why. It’s gross! I personally, in this very space, have railed on ketchup for being the grossest of all condiments, but I am ALSO from Missouri and my mom used to absolutely bust out the meatloaves (terrible term) and I would, due to hunger or lack of other opportunities, fuck them up with a vengeance and so the dish is close to my heart (and likely clogging said heart as well).
In Denver, there’s a place down the road from my homie Eric’s house called Zaidy’s, and it has a meatloaf sandwich featuring the following: Loaf, red onion, Russian dressing, provolone, rye, served cold. that shit is worth leaving your life behind for. It’s one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had.
Fun fact: You’ll kinda have to leave your life behind after your family and friends see you order this disgusting ass sandwich and then chugging it like you inevitably will, so in that way, the meatloaf sandwich is like the oracle in the Matrix. It shows you what you needed to see. Or, in this case, it showed your fed up husband and family members what they needed to see. Either way, good riddance. The sandwich is pretty fucking good. Worth it.
One of those sandwiches that’s like “it’s a whole meal in a sandwich”
Fuck this. I didn’t like this when it was called Thanksgiving and I sure as shit thought it sucked when it was called Boston Market. Now I’m dealing with your grandmother’s fridge and scooping stuffing onto a gelatinous slice of cranberry sauce over some dry ass turkey and marshmallow yams? No. No I am not. I don’t need any of these foods alone, nor do I need them forced to mate in captivity between two slices of bread for my abject lack of pleasure.
I guess the nerf version of this is like when a kid puts fries on a burger, but that is just kinda a string theory version of getting all the fountain drinks in the same cup. It’s not a sandwich innovation, it’s a juvenile inevitability that you try this. No one needs to eat a proper thanksgiving meal at all, much less all in one goopy ass mess. This sandwich, to quote not only 3rd Bass, but also an early issue of this newsletter, gets the gas face from me, dawg.
Filet o Fish
Um, so, much like the idea of fowl and other kinds of meats mixing, I got some problems with fish and cheese. I am aware that people love this. One of my best best friends is a vegetarian and all she misses from her meat days is the Filet O Fish (which she refuses to call Filet o Fish and therefore calls Fish Filet) with extra extra tartar sauce (which…ew. wild flex) so I assume this is pretty good. Fried fish is good. McDonalds, despite being bad, is good tasting, and I bet that this tastes good if you’re into this type of shit. I don’t know if I am capable of getting with the Filet o Fish, if for no other reason than because I don’t know if I could eschew my regular order (double cheeseburger or nuggets [spicy exists now? cool!]) for trying something that kinda sounds gross to me.
The Filet O Fish is a very very brown sandwich, for one thing. It seems like it defeats the purpose of eating fish at all, for another. But I ain’t mad at it. It’s just not for me. Weird sandwich. Fish and cheese. Shine on you crazy diamond.
I recently heard that this is a Chicago-centric thing. I don’t know if that’s true, but I will say that the cheese sub is some next level good shit. When I was vegetarian, this was my go to, and I still fuck with this all the time. There’s not a ton to say about it besides cheese is good and so are subs and there ya go. Do you REALLY need the ham in there? It’s a stringy distraction, to be honest. Cut out the half stepping low tier foods and get with the godfathers of sandwiching: cheese, some veggies, some spreads, roll. That’s it. In stark contrast to me, it is a good sandwich.
Jesus. I could NOT care less about this debate. I don’t even care what you put on it. Just do you and shut up, and if that’s not in your wheelhouse, go fuck yourself. I don’t care.
Love you all! Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it! See ya after the never-ending sectarian violence and the concurrent never-ending plague! xoxo
For those who don't know: Road to the Skeleton Coast podcast/ Better Sandwich Patreon is an easy and great way to devote hours of your time listening to Brendan talk about music, his music, and many asides.
My point: I can now read all of these entries in his voice. Like Morgan Freeman. Shit's wild. Highly recommend.
Ham n cheese good. But hot ham n cheese much better.
Definitely second the thoughts re reuben. Russian, thousand islands, who gives a shit as long as it's saucy.
If you're not a fan of dry sandwiches, the Cuban, which in my experience is given a light slathering of mustard, is not the best. The Cuban Steak Sandwich (pan con bistec) however is much better and comes w fried potato
Straws on top.
I never knew how rare a good Italian beef was until I moved out of Chicago. What a shame as it is #1 best sandwich imho. Then a good pulled pork. Then a good chix sand
Although it was a pork sandwich w broccoli rabe that won the big competition of 2012