Posts Tagged ‘Club Sandwich’
It is so seldom you run into any place, product or service these days that the end result is that the experience exceeds your expectations. Spoiler alert. Niko’s exceeded my expectations on every level.
I was tooling around Northern Illinois and I’ve had some good grub in the town of Marengo before, so I decided to stop and try another joint. Pointers Saloon, on the main drag, called to me with the sign out from which simply said “burgers and beer.”
The decor is “outdoorsy” with a fair amount of dead animals adorning the wall. I don’t mind. The service was very pleasant and attentive, from the initial contact all the way through the meal and to my departure. Very enthusiastic young woman.
The menu is lengthy. Hard to choose, but I started with a Chicago favorite, Saganaki, a greek cheese set on fire at table side, that you can scrape up with pita. Love it.
Finally decided on a club sandwich, I love a good one, and this ended up in my top 3. Quality ingredients. Prepared with care. Nice presentation. Good sides, with home cut fries and a tangy slaw.
Also at the table was a patty melt, on marble rye, which was also pronounced ‘most excellent.”
How can I get so excited about a club sandwich? Two reasons: 1) There are a lot of crappy ones in the world, and 2) that Pointer’s cook would be conscientious and care enough to prepare this one very nicely.
Decor. Food. Good service. Two sandwiches, appetizer and one beer, $42 including tip.
Nikos Pointers Saloon Review, Marengo, IL
Spoiler alert. There is no Johnny. Host at the door said “it’s an old sign.” OK. Johnny’s is part of Dining Out Enterprises, a small collection of diverse cuisine outlets in the NW suburbs of Chicago. Johnny’s is noted for wood-grilled foods, including rotisserie chickens, steaks, and daily specials. Full bar, take-out, and catering is available as well.
I’m making one more swing through the Upper Midwest before the snow flies and I make my hasty retreat to warmer climes for the winter.
I’ve had the privilege, luck of eating in some of the finest restaurants on the planet, but when it’s my money, there’s no finer meal than a good Club House sandwich and a cup of coffee. The (choice of white or wheat) toast was perfect, the turkey thick sliced and oven roasted, the bacon and lettuce crisp. Home cut fries were fried and seasoned to perfection. My dinner mate went with the 8 oz burger, cooked precisely as ordered, with a big beefy taste of a quality grind. Service was great, the amply-sized room can seat a crowd, and the atmosphere is generally subdued. A perfect tryst rendezvous. Off-street parking.
Johnny’s is currently featuring steak and lobster for 19.99 on Monday nights, and I’ve posted their full menu online.
Johnny’s Kitchen and Tap Review
If you’re a new reader, you need to know I use the term “gas station sandwiches” with all do respect. It’s my phrase to describe pre-made packaged sandwiches of all ilks, whether they come from a grocery, gas station, mini mart, or vending machine. I’ve talked about them before.
My recent sampling was a “Turkey Club” from Jewel grocery, which is part of the Albertson’s group, which is now owned by a private equity group. Jewels are found in the Midwestern US.
The ingredients on the turkey club says “turkey breast, crisp bacon, green leaf lettuce, Roma tomatoes accompanied with a creamy mayonnaise.
The ‘marketing slogan’ on the package says “inspired by today’s culinary trends, our sandwiches are made with premium meats and cheeses, unique spreads, farm fresh produce, and artisan baked breads. Out superior ingredients and innovative packaging, made from recycled bottles, guarantee a delicious taste in every bite.”
That’s a mouthful.
I can’t really take exception to any of that except maybe “premium meats”, as the turkey was pressed, chopped and form slices. I’d prefer fresh oven roasted, of course. Which leads me to this: if you want to have the best club sandwich of your life, visit Huber’s, Portland Oregon’s oldest restaurant, and they specialize in turkey!
How was this? It’s OK. The bread was toasted, and the bacon was crisp. Of course you know a standard club is a three-decker sandwich cut into four quarters, and this packaging contains only there quarters, at at $5 is a little spendy, in my opinion.
Would I purchase one again? Probably, tho I did have my eye on the Cuban sandwich sitting next to this one. Next time.
I have written about this chain once before, started in the 90s near Mt. Shasta, California, and now having spread its wings across six western states. The occasion of me noting it once in the past, was stopping at a location in Madras,Oregon, and getting a very tasty club sandwich to go. The memory still lingers on my taste buds, anytime a restaurant roasts up a fresh turkey for their clubs, I am so there!
But this is not about another Club Sandwich, this iis about waiting for a breakfast meeting in Rohnert Park, California (near Santa Rosa) and having an hour to kill before my meeting. Hmmm, how to waste time? Oh yeah, have breakfast while waiting for a breakfast meeting! I had some laptop catching up to do, anyway, and I guessed maybe Black Bear would have wifi.
Went in, was promptly seated, Black Bear staffs are fairly affable I have found, and the restaurants are sparkling, compared to many ‘fast casual’ outlets. Was about to peruse the menu when a table topper POP caught my eye, “try our Linguica and eggs” for breakfast, sounded good to me, I’m a big fan of the spicy Portuguese sausage, and the photo on the promo piece, printed by the restaurants Linguica supplier, looked especially appealing,. A fat sausage, split and grilled, next to some nicely done eggs.
Lately, I have been wanting a bit more protein and less carbs in the morning, so I inquired of the waitress if the plate came with just one sausage. She replied “Yes, but it’s a very BIG sausage” and gave me a wink.
Hmmmmm. Is it big enough to satisfy my craving? Length and girth looked ample. But how could I add more meat to the platter?
Many restaurants have secret codes. You know, like “In N Out” ‘special’ way of ordering things not on the menu.
I decided to try that here. The waitress asked me if I had decided, and I said “Linguica with eggs, over easy, hash browns, rye toast, and (##$()#@#$#SL) (secret phrase).
After a short wait, my plate came out, and was very aesthetically pleasing, (don’t you love places where the food looks like the menu pictures? I do!), and after she place it in front of me, a moment later she returned with a giant slab of ham! Now this is a breakfast! Black Bear goes with three eggs on each plate (tho they offer “smaller” breakfasts as well, and everything was prepared to my liking and satisfaction.
There is a Black Bear close to my home and I never think about going there. I’ll have to hit it more often.
Ready to know the secret phrase I uttered? You can use it too! “Linguica with eggs, over easy, hash browns, rye toast, and add a side of ham!”
Ok, it’s a dumb joke. But it was a great breakfast.
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Mrs. BDB and I were in quirky moods last nite, we both wanted to go out to dinner, but had decidedly different ideas of what we wanted. We both agreed we did not want to go downtown or change out of the de rigueur Portland plaid outfits. She wanted steak. I didn’t.
We don’t usually hit the chains, but last nite Claim Jumper was tapped, and it was a good decision. She had a fairly inexpensive sirloin, at least compared with going to Ruth’s or Morton’s, and I had a club sandwich. We split a beet and goat cheese salad for an appetizer.
The menu is extensive, covers almost all choices of dining, and while a little more spendy that similar chains, Claim Jumper adds “huge portions” to their “claim to fame”.
I was darned near full after half the salad and a piece of cheese toast.
Mrs. BDB pronounced her steak delicious, and offered me a smidgen. I admit, it was more than I expected, tender, flavorful, cooked as ordered. CJ has a raft of sides to choose from, she elected roasted vegetables, confident, I am sure, I would not be snitching off her plate.
Such was not the case in the obverse, with Mrs. BDB’s beautiful hand absconding with some of my shoestring fries, which were done perfectly.
The club? In the top 3 I have had in Portland, with Huber’s still taking top honors. I love club sandwiches, and can usually polish them off in short order, but I am still working on mine this morning, having been able to only eat one quarter of it last nite.
Mrs. BDB ordered a red velvet cupcake to go, for dessert. No report on that yet. The only other time we have been to Claim Jumper was to get one of their famous pieces of chocolate cake, a monster slice at $10 per, that we worked on at home for days, as I recall. It was akin to the Simpson episode about the sub sandwich, if you recall that.
The place was jammed. No recession there. Their menu is online, and in some places they deliver.
Photo of the exterior is from CJ’s website.
I went to hit some food carts today, and it was too damned cold. I guess my cut-off point, temperature-wise, to dine al fresco atop a garbage can, newspaper stand, or parking meter is about 72 degrees.
Standing on Third and Washington looking at carts, Huber’s caught my eye. I’ve been meaning to stop by here, after all, it is Portland’s oldest restaurant, and that’s a good enough endorsement for me.
Inside, it’s my type of old man’s paradise. Dark, wood paneled walls, terrazzo floors, largely untouched, decor wise, for years. They opened in 1879, moved to their present location in 1910, a saloon first, they used to give away turkey sandwiches and their double x secret recipe cole slaw to drinkers. That was common back in the day, and many bars were especially fond of giving out salty snacks, to get you to drink more.
Prohibition could have crushed them, but a group of civic-minded denizens somehow persuaded the restaurateur to sell the sandwiches he had been giving away, and so he did, eventually adding other roasted meats like ham, steaks, and veal to the menu.
Their specialty is roasted turkey. Which means you can have Thanksgiving dinner every day of the year! Damned nice!
They even have burgers on the menu, including buffalo, but no turkey burgers. (Whot?!) I could have gone for another burger, it had been twelve whole hours.
Few of you know that next to burgers, dogs, and pizza, there are few things that tickle my taste buds like a good club sandwich. And what better place to try one than at a turkey restaurant.
Screech, back up. I have to say that after my ‘bad service’ experience last nite at another place, the service at Huber’s was OVER THE TOP. From the drink guy to the waitress to the maitre’d to the bartender, everyone was smiling, cordial. It was great.
My sandwich was out in short order, and was accompanied by a side of their special slaw. There are very few slaws I like, but this one goes to the top of the list. Creamy and tart at the same time, with the vegetables diced instead of chopped, so that the salad had a very smooth texture and nice tang to it. Sixteen thumbs up!
What makes a good club for me? The traditional recipe, turkey, bacon, lettuce, mayo, triple-decker on white toast. If the toast is a little coarse and thick, all the better. But the lettuce has to be crisp, mayo deliciously creamy, the turkey real, and roasted, the bacon crisp, and if thick, even better.
As one would expect, or at least hope, Huber’s exceed my expectations. This has to be in the top 3 club sandwiches I have had anywhere on the planet.
My waitress, and the guy serving coffee, had the friendliest attitudes and nicest smiles, made for a great experience. I over tipped, with great pleasure.
And who can’t love the decor, and the bar? It’s my new man cave, downtown PDX version for sure.
Footnote: Huber’s “Signature Drink” is Spanish coffee. They are the largest user of Kahlua in the State, and one of the largest users in the country. The drink is prepared table-side “with great flair,” according to their puff piece.
Sorry about the pic. Not sure what went on with the color. Too lazy to tweek it!
Hubers Portland Review