Friday, February 18, 2011

Sandwich #2–Bornk

Continuing the saga that started with Around the Universe in 16 sandwiches, I once again entered the doors of Erbert and Gerbert’s (E&G). As a member of the sandwich society, I get a free sandwich if I try all 16 sandwiches on the menu. My first sandwich was the Boney Billy, turkey breast, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, lettuce, and mayo. It was pretty good and I gave it a 4 out of 5 rating.

Next on the menu was Bornk, tuna salad made with California tuna, celery, onions and incredible sauce (their words, not mine), topped with lettuce, tomato, and sprouts.

Out of all the sandwiches, this is the one I really did not want to order. I am not a big tuna fish fan on the best of days, and I have never ordered one at an eatery before. The only tuna salad I’ve ever had was made in somebody’s home kitchen. But I’m on a mission and I am determined to see it through.

Here it is, note the “guts” which is the affectionate term they used to describe the bread that is scooped out to make room for the sandwich filling. Those guts were the best part of this sandwich. I always nibble on the soft bread first. Once that was done, I tackled one half of the sandwich. I'll try to say both positives and negatives about each one. I liked the fact it didn’t have a strong fishy taste. I prefer mild tasting fish. I enjoy sprouts, as I’ve said before. I also liked that the celery and onions in the tuna salad were chopped very fine. I really detest big hunks of celery and onion in things. That's all the positive I can say.

Unfortunately, negative comments are easy. It was extremely dry. When I make tuna salad at home, I usually use more mayo than the average person. I also didn’t taste anything incredible about the sauce. It tasted like plain old mayo. I ate the whole sandwich, because I never throw away food if I can help it. But it was not a pleasurable experience. I give it barely 1 out of 5 stars. Sorry E&G but I will never order this sandwich again.

If you read my first installment about Boney Billy, you’ll know each sandwich is named after a character in childhood stories, that were told by the franchise owner’s father when he was growing up. Getting these stories is only possible by going to the restaurant and reading the plaques on the walls. I’ve sent emails to the company website suggesting it would be great publicity for them to post the stories online. I’m still waiting for a response, traffic must be slow in cyberspace.

As I was waiting for my sandwich I walked around reading the plaques looking for Bornk. Would you believe he wasn’t there! I walked around the store again just to make sure I didn’t miss it. They called my name and I went to pick up my own Bornk, and, on a whim, ducked into the men’s rest room. Sure enough, there were two additional characters in there. But Bornk wasn't one of them!

A cold feeling of dread washed over me as I left the store. Bornk was almost for sure in the women’s room. How on earth was I supposed to get in there? The last time I checked, I was still a member of the male side of our species. This was all a few weeks ago. I talked over several ideas with my adorable wife and the only one that made sense was that she would go and get a sandwich and check the women’s room when she was there.

So I waited, but the opportunity for her to visit the store never occurred. I really wanted to get this blog done, so this morning I called E&G.

“Thank you for calling Erbert and Gerbert’s, will this be for delivery or carryout?” The friendly voice said on the phone.

“This is going to sound like a very strange question, but I was wondering if the story of Bornk was in the women’s rest room?” I said, very sheepishly.

This really cracked her up. I was happy I could bring a laugh to someone’s day. “Oh yes, we always keep our tuna in the ladies room.” What an odd thing for her to say. But I got a chuckle out of it. “Hang on a second!”

I waited a few seconds and she came back on the line, “Yep, he’s in there, along with Jacob Bluefinger,” (another sandwich character).

“I don’t suppose I could ask…” I was going to ask if she would be so kind as to read and tell me over the phone what the stories were, but she didn’t give me the chance.

“Oh sure, just come on out, get a sandwich and we’ll let you in the ladies room so you can read the stories.”

“Um… Ok, I may stop by this afternoon.” I stammered.

“Great! thank you for calling.” she hung up.

Oh dear, what was I to do? I really wanted to find out about these guys, so this afternoon I drove out to E&G. I ordered my 3rd sandwich, the Comet Morehouse, which I’ll be blogging about next time. Then I asked if someone would let me in the women’s room so I could read the stories. I was directed to the manager who was a pleasant chap who did his best to ensure customer service. He pounded on the door to make sure it was unoccupied. It was, and he let me in. There was Bornk and Bluefinger. I read up on both of them so I wouldn’t have to go through this again when I got the Jacob Bluefinger sandwich. So with much pain and embarrassment, here is the story of Bornk for your reading pleasure.

Erbert and Gerbert do a lot of time traveling. One day they decided to make a trip to prehistoric Spain. They met up with Bornk, a cave man who could only speak guttural sounds with his voice. They named him Bornk because of the BOOORRRRNK sound he made whenever he wacked something with the big club Bornk carried. Erbert and Gerbert spent some time with Bornk and were pleasant enough to him, but they didn’t think much of him because he couldn’t communicate very well.

One day, Bornk led them deep into his cave and smeared some greasy powder from his pouch on the cave wall. He then ignited the powder and it glowed with magnificent colors. It was a picture of the head of a bison and it was a masterpiece. Which goes to show you, that you can never judge a Bornk by it’s cover.

Here is a coloring sheet of Bornk if you want to see what he looks like. Stay tuned for Comet Morehouse, sandwich #3.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Around the Universe In 16 Sandwiches

One of my fellow bloggers, Rodents Of Unusual Size, recently had a post encouraging us to try new things. This really struck a nerve with me. Mostly because I remember my younger days when I thrived on new experiences. They truly were the events that kept life interesting. Even things that went badly, usually helped me with the lessons I learned from them.

I still enjoy new experiences. I love traveling to places I’ve never been, and I make a point to hardly ever order the same item in a restaurant. I also take pleasure in reading a book for the very first time.

Sadly, as I grow older, I'm finding I receive more and more comfort in things that stay the same. I like surprises less and less. Wrenches thrown in to mess up carefully laid plans really get me upset these days. So, when I receive the advice to try something new, I get a little irritated. Partly because new things require me to step out of my comfort zone, and partly because I long for my youth and the excitement a new adventure would bring.

Nevertheless, I do see value in stepping outside the box, even if it is a baby step. I enjoy food, and judging from my increasing waist line, food most definitely enjoys me. I get tired of fast food burgers and enjoy a sub sandwich from time to time. Right now my favorite sandwich place is Erbert and Gerbert’s (E&G's). As I said, I always try to order something I’ve never had before unless I have a particularly strong craving for something. For some reason, fast food places are the exception. I’ve got my favorite item and I don’t usually deviate it. With E&G’s, my favorite sandwich is called the “Flash,” a spicy Italian club made with Capicola ham, Genoa salami, and tomato, with smoked ham, cheese, onion, lettuce, mayo, and oil & vinegar dressing. It is delicious and so good, I’ve never felt the need to try something else.

Recently, the franchise started their own version of a “frequent flyer” club, called the sandwich society. It was too enticing to pass up. You get a free sandwich just for signing up, a free sandwich on your birthday, a free sandwich for every 10 purchased at regular price, and a free sandwich for trying every one of their 16 sandwiches on the menu.

It just so happened I read the ROUS blog about trying new things shortly before going to lunch and finding out about the sandwich society. The challenge of trying every sandwich off the menu was quite intriguing. So I thought I would use this blog to chronicle my experience.

First, a bit of history. The business started 20 years ago in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Kevin Schippers and his wife, Beth created the franchise from the ground up. The weird names for each sandwich come from stories Kevin’s dad told him when he was a child. Each sandwich is named after a character in the stories, and I thought it would be fun to give a review of each sandwich along with the story behind it’s name.

I really hate making decisions and the last thing I wanted was to waste precious lunch time minutes trying to decide which new sandwich to try. Since I have to try all of them, I started at the top of the menu with the Boney Billy, turkey breast accompanied by fresh alfalfa sprouts, ripe red tomato, crisp lettuce, and Hellmann’s mayo.

Erbert and Gerbert (E&G) Herbert are two brothers who are the heroes of the childhood stories, interestingly, no sandwiches are named after them, only the characters E&G come across. Boney Billy is a skeleton the brothers meet after finding themselves trapped in a cave. Boney Billy was making objects fly at them through the air. They eventually became friends and Boney Billy was instrumental in helping them escape Comet Morehouse (another sandwich), the evil villain in the stories. Proving that sometimes, it can be a good thing to have a skeleton in your closet.

Click here for to see what Boney Billy looks like and print out a coloring sheet. The sandwich was quite tasty. I’m trying hard not to compare it to my beloved Flash, which I still prefer, but Boney Billy was very good. You have a choice of white or honey wheat sub-style bread or sliced honey wheat bread. I went with a honey wheat sub because I've always had white before and thought I was being so healthy. It turns out, from the nutritional information, honey wheat has slightly less calories, but a couple more grams of fat. Oh well. To make the sandwich, they scoop out some of the inside to create a pocket in the bread to stuff the fillings. This results in a nice, neat sandwich that is easy to hold and eat. They also wrap the “scoopings” in with the sandwich so it doesn’t go to waste. Some people throw this away anyway, but I enjoy nibbling on the bread, it’s so very soft and sweet.

In my opinion the bread is what sets E&G’s apart from other sandwich shops, it truly tastes freshly baked. The outside is a firm crust and the inside is soft enough to melt in your mouth. The ingredients inside the sandwich also taste fresh and you don’t get the feeling you’re eating something that’s been processed and shrink-wrapped for several months before serving. You will not like this sandwich if you’re not into alfalfa sprouts. I’ve found people either love them or hate them. For my part, I enjoy sprouts very much and usually take a hunk for my salad if I happen to see them in a salad bar. The sprouts went perfectly with the turkey and just the right amount of mayo.

Although not as good as the Flash, it was very tasty rating 4 out of 5 stars. Stay tuned for Bornk, my next sandwich adventure.