Archive for the ‘Sandwiches’ Category

Sonoran DogWe’ve tried a Sonoran Hot Dog or two in the Phoenix area before but after seeing all the tv shows on El Geuro Canelo, I made it part of my mission to check it out while down in Tucson.
What I like about this place is that they have a small menu that focuses on a handful of items that they do well.  Carne asada burritos/tacos/tortas/caramelos, Sonoran Hot Dogs, and some Mexican-style beverages (aguas frescas, horchatas, cane-sugar Coke bottled in Mexico, that sort of thing).
I stuck with the Sonoran Hot Dogs and got a few to go for myself, including their Sammy, a Sonoran Hot Dog but with 2 bacon-wrapped hot dogs instead of just one.  Without diving in too much on what’s in a Sonoran Hot Dog, just keep in mind that it’s loaded… kind of like a Chicago-style dog.  Bolillo roll instead of a hot dog bun, hot dog wrapped in bacon, then filled with a ton of condiments including beans, mayo, mustard, tomato, and green salsa.
What makes El Guero Canelo great is their condiment/salsa bar.  Cebollas (grilled green onions), grilled jalapenos, red salsa, green salsa, pico de gallo (solid), avocado crema, radish, and limes.
The verdict – this place is solid.  Cheap dogs (a little more than $2 each, a little more than $3 for the sammy) and a quality condiment/salsa bar.  If they were open 24 hours a day, they’d make a killing with the drunk food crowd on weekends.
What am I trying next at this place?  Their carne asada burrito.  I saw someone take it back to their table and it looked like a nerf football.  You think Chipotle makes big burritos… that’s childs play.  I can put two of them down as a snack.  The burrito from El Guero Canelo looked significantly larger than what you get at Filiberto’s as well.
Until next time, do yourself a favor if you’re in the Tucson area to grab a dog from this place.  Especially if you need it to soak up some of that booze in your belly.

Chicken Club.jpgLast week I finally got my work visa which means that I am allowed to start working at the job I got all the way back in August. This is a huge thing for me and I am excited and am looking forward to getting back to work. To start off my time at my new work I attended their Christmas lunch on Tuesday and have now set off on a two week vacation to Australia. Not a bad way to start a new job, with some very understanding bosses.

Anyway back to the food. On Tuesday we went to lunch in Scottsdale (near the new office) at a place called Cask 63. There were only 5 of us in attendance but we had a great time. J. and I as always looked at the menu on the weekend before trying to decide what I should eat when I got there. I had planned on having the Redbirds Farm Grilled Chicken Club. I do like a good club sandwich and being new I didn’t want to go the most expensive thing on the menu or the largest, most decadent thing.

No surprises, I ordered the club… even though there were lots of other delicious things on the menu.

This club was tomato, lettuce, Nueske’s bacon, Chipotle aioli on a brioche bun. Now I didn’t know what Nueske’s bacon was so I had to Google it. Apparently they are famous for being the original apple wood smoked bacon… You learn something every day.

It was a huge sandwich with a massive side of crisp parmesan fries. It was quite delicious. I must admit I probably enjoyed the fries more than the sandwich. The bacon and aioli were really yummy but the chicken was a little plain and dry… it wasn’t bad, just not the best club sandwich I have ever eaten…

The fries however were a different story. Beautifully crispy, they were covered in parmesan, yet weren’t too rich or cheesy to devour. I do like a good fry and they did a great job at this place. There were so many of them, I couldn’t even finish them.

Overall it was a fun and yummy lunch… I would go back just for the fries. What a great way to start off my Christmas vacation… not to mention my new career! Merry Christmas to me!

P.S. I am on vacation so won’t be posting as much until I get back to the US in January.

Sunday last weekend we had so many leftovers from the dinner the night before I figured we would just eat a plate of that for dinner. After cooking a big dinner Saturday the last thing I wanted to do Sunday was cook. So J. and I cam up with this amazingly delicious sandwich. Gravy soaked pork with cheese and giardiniera on toasted bread. And so begins my Ode to the Pig Part III.

I grabbed the left over roast pork out of the fridge, along with the left over gravy. I sliced thin strips of the pork and put them in a small saucepan, covering with the gravy. I then just let this warm slowly. I also heated up some of the roasted veggies we had to use as a side to our sandwich.

J. in the meantime cut four thick slices of semolina bread and started toasting them under the broiler. He flipped them over and topped each side with some grated sharp cheddar cheese before putting them back under the broiler to melt.

Now it was time to assemble. On one side of the toasted bread and cheese we heaped large amounts of the gravy soaked sliced pork. On top of this we added heaped spoons of giardiniera. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it is a spicy pickled vegetable mix with carrots, pickles, peppers. So tangy and spicy it is fabulous on sandwiches. Lastly we just put the second piece of toasted bread and cheese.

These sandwiches were piled high but with some difficulty I managed to cut them in half. We sat down and bit into them and we were in porky, spicy, heaven!!! Amazing how great such a simple dish can taste and with no cooking at all. Cold pork turned into such a delicious dinner… the giardiniera add just the right amount of tanginess and spice. It was the perfect sandwich.

The pig did it again!

Last time we were in Vegas we thought we would try out a new  breakfast place. This place is a long way off the strip (which we like) and had great reviews for their hearty breakfasts. Rise & Shine, a Steak & Egg Place is only open for breakfast and lunch and we drove out there in time for brunch – who gets up early in Vegas!

I usually don’t comment about the service or the ambience of a restaurant because I really don’t mind as long as the food is great. I will sit on the floor and be yelled at if the food is absolutely outstanding. However in the case of Rise & Shine I feel as though I need to acknowledge the exceptionally friendly service and the very warm, comfortable atmosphere. We were greeted so warmly when we walked in I knew we were in for a good brunch.

We spent a really long time umming and ahhing over what each of us was going to get. I think there were just too many good choices and really large portions that we struggled. This is a rare occurence for us, we usually are quick to order or have planned our orders ahead. In the end I ordered New York Steak, Spinach & Benidict-Bagel and J. ordered the Southern Style Chicken Fried Steak. When these came out… oh my goodness was it a lot of food!

My plate of food was amazing. An open buttered bagel topped with 2 poached eggs, fresh baby spinach and hollandaise sauce. On the side was the largest pile of hashbrown potatoes I have ever seen! All of this for just $12.95!!

It was truly delicious. The steak was perfectly medium rare, incredibly juicy and great seasoning. The rich hollandaise and eggs were broken up by the fresh spinach. The potatoes were crispy and had great seasoning. This was an amazing breakfast, unfortunately I couldn’t finish it all because it was so big.

J’s buttermilk battered Chicken Fried Steak came with a side of country sausage gravy. I had never tasted that before and it was sooo delicious. The chicken fried steak was topped with over easy eggs and he also got a fresh biscuit on the side. He was really pleased and ate it all up! I tasted all of it and it was great! Such crispy batter and rich gravy. Not to mention the perfectly cooked eggs for just $12.50.

This will be a place we return to next Vegas visit. We really loved this place and it is certainly worth the trek out from the strip (if you have a car). I think it would be perfect for a hangover cure as well… lots of food, coffee and great people. Who could ask for more!

I spent last Friday in the kitchen. I was craving chocolate but none of my recipes for cakes or cookies were inspiring me. I had a craving for something that I couldn’t put my finger on so I thought, stuff it, I’ll wing it! I didn’t refer to any other recipes I just kind of decided to make it up as I went along… and from this was born my Chocolate Cookie & Peanut Butter Sandwich! Ok, so I might need to work on the name.

First up was the cookie. I wanted a rich chocolate cookie that was thin and crispy so it wouldn’t go mushy once the peanut butter filling was added. Be warned this recipe makes a lot of cookies, about 50 individual cookies before you join them into sandwiches.

In a large bowl I put 250 grams of softened unsalted butter and 2 cups of sugar. I created a giant mess but managed to beat this until it was light and fluffy. I then added 2 large eggs, beating them in one a time until they were completely combined. Next I added 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence. And that part was done.

In another bowl I sifted 2 cups of self-raising flour, a pinch of salt and 1/2 a cup of dutch cocoa. I then slowly added the sifted dry ingredients into the egg and sugar mixture. I kept beating as I went making sure each bit of flour was beaten in before adding more.

When all of this had been combined I spooned teaspoons of the mixture onto greased cookie sheets, placing them far apart because these were going to spread and flatten out. Then they went into a preheated 350F degree oven for 9 minutes. Well first they went in for 8 and they were too soft and then 10 and they started to burn so I settled on 9 minutes.

While these were cooking I started on the “sandwich” filling for these. I didn’t just want to slather peanut butter between each cookie so I had to make a peanut butter frosting.

In a bowl I combined 100 grams of butter, 2 cups of icing sugar (confectioners sugar) and 1 cup of peanut butter. As I was mixing this together I added about 2 tablespoons of water to help bring it together to a consistency I was happy with.

By the way, this frosting was really yummy – it kind of tasted like the filling from Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

Once my cookies had cooled from the oven it was time to sandwich them together. First off I made sure they were matched up around the same sizes. I put 1 heaped tablespoon of filling onto a cookie and roughly smoothed it out. Then I just pressed the second cookie down onto it making sure the filling didn’t overflow too much from the cookies. That was it! Taste test time!

I was so happy with these. I couldn’t believe they turned out so well and tasted so good. The real test was when J. got home from work and had one. He loved them, he told a mate the next day “they were sooo good”… that’s always a ringing endorsement. I think these will definitely be refined a little but I am onto something good. Now I just need a name – Anyone have a suggestion?

On lazy nights, when neither of us want to cook and we just want to grab something quick, we have so many choices it is dizzying. Close to us we have Wendy’s, Burger King, Carl’s Junior, McDonald’s and In & Out Burger. This is just the fast food burger places without even touching on the others like Filiberto’s or KFC. As much as I may crave and want these choices I prefer to make a healthier, fresher choice and more significantly a cheaper choice, Lee’s Sandwiches.

Lee’s is a Vietnamese restaurant/bakery/cafe/take out place just around the corner from us. They do a huge menu of sandwiches and baguettes as well as croissants. It is a great place to pick up some crusty baguettes for home made garlic bread or just for dipping in soup. However J. and I have taken a liking to their banh mi (Vietnamese rolls).

There are 18 different kinds of banh mi on their menu and we are working our way through them. Though it is alittle difficult for us to stray from any of the pork options. The pork is just too good to pass up.

My favorite and the one I keep going back to is the #6. This is their BBQ pork roll which is so refreshing and delicious. Thin strips of BBQ pork , carrot, cucumber, onion, topped with chillies and cilantro. All of this goes on their freshly bake baguettes. They bake them right there, you can sit and watch the baguettes go around. They have the perfect crusty outside and soft fluffy inside and are the best vessel for the deliciously fresh vegetables and pork.

J. recently tried the #18 which is pork and cured pork. Of course he chose a pork on pork sandwich! He was really happy with it and said it was just as good as all the others we had tried. The meat filling changes in each sandwich but you still get the carrot, cucumber, onion, chillies and cilantro no matter what. That freshness is what makes them so good.

Of course we still have a few more to try but so far we haven’t had a bad one. Even the night we went and they had run out of baguettes and we had the croissants instead, we couldn’t complain.

The thing that amazes me about this place is that it is so cheap. Banh mi for the two of us costs a little more than $6.00 and that is a meal for us! You just have to love that. Lee’s is a chain and there are locations in California, Texas, Nevada, Oklahoma and of course Arizona.

I am so happy they are literally just around the corner.. it definitely helps me make a healthier fast food choice. Not  that I will stay away from other options completely but it is great to have a fast, fresh and completely yummy choice too! All for a bargain price of $6!!!