Monday, August 06, 2007

Not Coleslaw, But a Subject That Should Wake the Natives...

In case you weren't aware, and I wasn't before Rachel pointed it out, August is National Sandwich Month. And for a guy like me, it's ten times more relevant than other contrived celebrations like National Piano Month or the in-my-face preachiness of the politically-correct Black History Month.

I haven't quite figured out just how I'm going to celebrate my love for sandwiches this month, but I'm off to a good start by posting a photo of the Mother of All Sandwiches, the Monte Cristo. It's an amazing combination of ham, turkey, bread, and cheese, dipped in batter, deep-fried, dusted with powdered sugar and served with rasberry preserves.

I had my first one about 17 years ago at Bennigan's (recommended to my by my buddy who didn't smoke but always carried the Zippo), and once I got over my initial trepidation, I was hooked. I *love* a good Monte Cristo, but damn, you can only have one once a year or so or it'll probably kill you.

Back when I wrote that long 'floating crap game' post I mentioned my other favorite sandwich, roast beef and Brie on a crusty baguette with Dijon mustard. Unfortunately, I haven't had either one of these culinary masterpieces in months. My usual sandwich is just plain old ham and cheese on wheat (I've never liked white bread, even as a kid), although sometimes when I'm feeling saucy, I'll grill it to perfection on my cast-iron skillet that makes the best hot sandwiches in the world. If I'm not having ham and cheese, then it's usually a plain old PB & J (creamy peanut butter, strawberry preserves) with a tall cold glass of milk and some Lays sour cream and onion chips on the side.

When I go out to lunch, I can't pass up a good club sandwich because even though bacon is meat candy, the lettuce and tomato kind of balance it out and make you think you're eating somewhat healthy. And the whole-wheat bread helps, too.

I also love me a good Cuban sandwich on occasion, and even though I've tried a handful of Cuban restaurants around town, the best one I've ever had was at Kahunaville at Treasure Island.

Of course, most of the meals I eat are in the employee dining room at work. For the most part the food is decent, but it lacks a bit of variety--it's the same menu pretty much every week. So when I don't feel like eating tacos, stuffed chicken legs, or fried rice, I'll have the guy behind the counter make me a chicken salad with Swiss on wheat, with mayo. That's a pretty damn good sandwich, especially when coupled with pineapples and cottage cheese.

Sometimes when I get a wild hair, I make my own chicken salad, baking chicken breasts with garlic and real butter, then hand shredding it, and mixing it with Miracle Whip. One thing I hate about chicken and/or tuna salad is that everyone else always feels the need to cut it with chopped celery or pickle relish. I don't do that. I *hate* pickle relish. Hate it hate it hate it. But one of the best chicken salad sandwiches I've ever had got it's crunch from diced apples and chopped cashews, and it was served on a huge buttery croissant. Now *that* was a good chicken salad sandwich.

Of course, as much as I dig regular old traditional sandwiches, sometimes there is nothing better than a nice juicy burger. Grilled. With melted cheese. And bacon. On a real bun--not those cheapy store-brand small buns, but the big sesame-seeded proper hamburger buns. With mustard, ketchup, lettuce, pickles, onions, tomato, and maybe just a hint of A1 sauce.

Damn. Now I'm hungry and it's time to go to work.

Guess what I'm having for dinner tonight...


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