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.


Steve at Random said...

To confess, I'm not much of a sandwich connoiseur. However, there are a couple that I like. My favorite place is the Country House deli and my favorite is the Farmer, a sum with hot ham and cheese. I also like the sandwiches at Arby's. This goes back to my college days and Arby's had the cheapest sandwiches in those days. They are still very reasonably priced. My only hesitation at eating at Arby's and Kentucky Fried Chicken is the help. It appears to me that the help is getting pretty scroungy...missing teeth, tattoos, tough looking individuals. Not very appetizing. There's one guy in particular that I can barely look at while ordering at KFC. His shirt is generally has about three buttons undone. Nuff said. Also, I tried the Bony Billy and can't say I liked it.

AZJim said...

Scooping out the bread to make room for the filling is an excellent idea. Would sure make it easier to eat. Well, it is almost lunch time. I just might make a sandwich.