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Posts Tagged ‘sandwiches’

Oasis Diner Review, Plainfield, IN

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Oasis Diner Review Plainfield

Mountain View Diner Manufacturing company was established in New Jersey in the 30s and operated to the late 50s. They built and shipped diners around the country, including this particular unit, which was shipped by rail to Plainfield in 1954.

It operated pretty much continuously since that time, except for a few years hiatus, a move and renovation. In all its splendor today, it dishes up great home made grub for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as selling baked goods.

I went for their signature dish, a pork tenderloin sandwich. While I cannot tell you the origin of the sandwich, I do know they are unique (mostly) to Iowa and Indiana, and consist of a pounded out boneless piece of pork, usually breaded and fried. It is served on a bun, most often with lettuce, tomato, and mayo.  Maybe a pickle chip or speak.

I was a bit apprehensive about going out of my way to hit the Oasis, but after my meal, I realized I would drive hundreds of miles just to have the tenderloin again. It was absolutely perfect.  The breading has a nice crunch, while the pork remains juicy and nicely seasoned. Hand cut fries were my side choice, and the house baked bun was fresh and substantial enough to hold the sandwich, even if one can’t get it in their mouth!

There are quite a few Mountain View diners still in operation around the US, including five in Indiana.

I’ve driven quite a few of the major US original highways, like Route 66, and US 61, back and forth, top to bottom, but haven’t spent much time on US 40, one of the original coast to coast roads, which is nicknamed “The National Road.”

Just by spending 20 miles on it the other day, I can tell I’ve missed a great trip that I will have to do in the future, lots of old time Americana and architecture on 40.  As well as the Oasis Diner.

The Oasis Diner lunch/dinner menu.

Oasis Diner Review Plainfield

“There’s a bun under there!”

Oasis Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oasis Diner Review

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Nationwide – Arbys Reuben Sandwich Review

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I clearly remember my first visit to an Arby’s, it was in the area of Minneapolis surrounding the U of M, and at that time, they had a glass enclosed “oven” in the middle of the dining room where the ‘roasts’ were cooking (at least that’s what I remember).

Arby’s was founded in Boardman, Ohio, in 1964 by Forrest and Leroy Raffel, owners of a restaurant equipment business who saw  a market opportunity for a fast food franchise based on a food other than hamburgers. They chose the name “Arby’s”, based on R. B., the initials of Raffel Brothers. (That’s funny, I  always thought it stood for “Roast Beef”).

The Raffel brothers opened the first new restaurant on July 23, 1964. They initially served only roast beef sandwiches, potato chips, and soft drinks.

Today, Arby’s is one of the  largest fast food franchises (in the US), with over 3,000 outlets, and a smattering of shops overseas as well.  The majority was purchased by a private equity group in 2011, with less than 20% being held by the folks at Wendys, who had owned it in toto, since 2008.

There haven’t been that many innovations at Arby’s over the years;  one exception was the addition of the “Fresh Market” sandwiches which seem to be popular, and I have maintained since they were introduced, that Arby’s onion rings are the best in the fast food, and maybe fast casual arena.   They are a bit spendy, tho.

We went to Arby’s as a cheap and quick solution to needing our St. Patrick’s Day corned beef fix, as they were offering a bogo on their Reubens, no coupon needed.  The Arby’s Reuben is a good value at the bogo price (around $3 each), but I don’t know if I would be inclined to pay more.  I’m not the type of fast-food consumer that goes for premium menu items.

Arby’s Reuben is corned beef, swiss, kraut, and thousand island dressing on toasted marble rye.  Note “toasted” and not grilled, as most Reubens are prepared.   I doubt many consumers would object.  They also offer the Rachel, a “Midwest”  version of the Reuben which substitutes turkey for the corned beef, .(most places a “Rachel” substitutes pastrami for the corned beef, and slaw for the kraut)  If you are really bold, you can get a half and half at Arby’s.  Turkey and corned beef?  Not for me, but you might like it!  Extra hungry? Ask for the double stack, which doubles the meat portion at an additional cost.

How was it?   Good for what it was, especially when you compare it to a $27 sandwich at a Manhattan deli!   I do admit it was a lot better grilled, as I took half home and did that later.

The bogo was an LTO for St. Patrick’s Day, but the Reuben is on the Arby’s menu for the foreseeable future.

Find your nearest Arby’s here.

Arby's Reuben Sandwich

Arby's on Urbanspoon

 

Arbys Reuben Sandwich Review

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Lobster Sliders Review

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Lobster Slider ReviewI was so “kitchen bored” today, thought I would try out the “Lobster Sliders” I grabbed at dollar store a couple weeks ago.

Made by the “Pride and Joy” brand, part of Indian Ridge Shrimp Company out of Cauvin, LA, the (total weight) 3.5 ounce patties are made from lobster meat, bread crumbs, egg, spices, and a zillion other ingredients you can’t pronounce.

You can pan fry them (I did) or bake them, and the instructions cautions that they ‘burn’ easily, and I found that out.

They taste ‘vaguely’ like lobster, but more like a fast food fishwich without a crunchy coating. Worth a dollar? Sure. Worth buying again? Not for me.

Buns are not included. I dressed it with Cajun seasoning, mayo and diced dills.

Lobster Slider Review

Frozen, out of box

Lobster Slider Review

5 Min/Side, Fry Pan

 

 

Lobster Sliders Review

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Buddig Corned Beef Review

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Carl Buddig Corned Beef ReviewI call these kind of lunch meats “pressed, chopped, and formed,” but on the package, I notice it says “cooked, chopped, and pressed.”  My bad.  My mom was on a kick with these kind of ‘meats’ for supplying our brown bag lunches during our coming up years.  Although my siblings and I were relatively healthy and active, our mother had given up the fight years before, and so our school lunches became extensions of whatever diet she was on.

One year, it was sandwiches on toast that was sliced horizontally, so the sammie used one slice of bread, not two.  Another year, it was yogurt, and to this day, I can’t look at the stuff.  Lots of pb and j, of course, bologna and lunch meats like those from  Carl Buddig.  The product always amused me, as if they weren’t different ‘colors,’  you might think they are all the same product.  Taste the same, to me, anyway.

The scariest thing of all?  The price has hardly changed in fifty years.   These were 2 / $1 at the WalMart.

Buddig has been around since the late 1800s in  distant suburb of Chicago; picture of the modern factory is below.  It’s still being run by descendants of the founder.

There’s a couple ways you could use these products, diced as an ingredient, though don’t look for it to impart all that much flavor, or as a base for your kid’s sandwiches, piling on the vegetables to give it substance, crunch, and balanced nutrition.

As for me, it’s always my preference to make my own lunch meats at home, using full cuts of muscle, prep, cook and run through the slicer.  Short of that, I enjoy a quality expensive corned beef, like the ones made by the Carnegie Deli in NY, or Chicago’s Vienna Beef brand.

But props to Carl Buddig for their “Old Wisconsin” line; their natural casing hot dogs and polish sausages are some of my very favorites.

Carl Buddig Corned Beef Review

 

Buddig Corned Beef Review

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Fricks Ham Review

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Frick Ham ReviewRan into a product I hadn’t seen before, a boneless half  ham from Frick’s Meat, a purveyor from Washington, MO (about 40 miles west of St. Louis, halfway between I-70 on the north, and I-44 on the south.  Frick’s has been around for nearly a century and a quarter, and manufacturers processed pork products, including hams, bacon, and sausages.

Family owned and operated for four generations, the products are widely distributed.   The ham is fully cooked in the wrapper, but has a 10-15% shrinkage when pan-fried.

This is a product I really enjoyed, other than the price, but I have that objection to all meat  these days.

My favorite hams are the naturally cured ones for a long period of time from Virginia, especially the biscuit-sized pieces, which aren’t available in the stores near me, but I order by mail a couple times a year.

The hams are processed at Frick’s factory in Washington, MO at 360 M. E. Frick Drive.  The factory is pictured below.

Frick Ham Review

Frick Ham Review

Frick Meat Factory, Washington, MO

Frick Ham Review

Frick Meat Factory, Washington, MO

Fricks Ham Review

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Vienna Beef Corned Beef and Pastrami

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Vienna Beef Pastrami ReviewIf you’re even an occasional reader of this site, you know two things for sure –  I have a diminishing interest in purchasing most ‘deli meats’ because of real or perceived notion they aren’t ‘real.’  By that I am generally referring to two things –  ‘roasts’ that are formed from meat and other ingredients into a shape that is easy for uniform slicing and appearance, and also the growing trend to enhance weight and flavor with injections of brine solutions, which I personally feel just ruins the texture of real meat muscle.

The second thing you would be aware of as a regular visitor here is that I am fond of the products made by Chicago’s premier hot dog manufacturer, Vienna Beef.  They make  great hot dogs, sausages, and a compliment of condiments.  So I thought I would try out their deli corned beef and pastrami.

In the deli counter, the roasts appeared to be whole muscle briskets.  The price currently exceeds $14 per pound.  Examining the ingredients, there does not appear to be any fillers or brine, and it looks like  a whole roast, when sliced, as the slices are not uniform in appearance, as far as both shape and fat content.  I inquired of Vienna about the composition and ingredients of these two deli products, but they did not reply.

I’m gonna guess, and hope, that they are whole muscle cuts.  My only reservation is the price, but all meats are stupid priced these days.  If you’re making an overstuffed sandwich, with 8 ounces of meat, it breaks down like this:  a pound each of pastrami and corned beef, roughly $31.  One half pound of cheese, $6.00.  Rye bread.  $3.  Sauerkraut $0.00, as I make it myself.   So $40 /  4 sandwiches?  $10 a pop.  Wow.

Course go to any large city deli, and the same serving will cost between $17 – $27.  Wow even more.  BTW?  You see the ‘iridescent’ quality in the top slice of meat below?  Over the past 20 years, I must have asked dozens of people what causes that, and never received a satisfactory answer.  Do you know?

Look for Vienna Beef products in your favorite grocery deli counter;  we have some great corned beef  whole brisket or slices from Omaha, and pastrami from the Bay Area’s favorite meat company, Saag, in our little store; for something a little different, try Montreal Smoked Meat.   Appreciate your reading and business.

 

Vienna Corned Beef Review

Pastrami (top) and Corned Beef Slices

 

Vienna Beef Review

Corned Beef & Pastrami Combo Reuben

 

 

 

 

 

Vienna Beef Corned Beef and Pastrami

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Vienna Beef Italian Beef Kit

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Vienna Beef Italian BeefI’ve written a ton about Chicago’s iconic specialty, the Italian Beef sandwich.  I’ve looked at different brands to prepare at home, as well as a number of restaurant offerings.  Check all those posts out here.  Today we tried Vienna Beef’s home version of the preparation, beef and gravy frozen in a tub.  Spoiler.  Any of these brands will disappoint you if you don’t COMPLETELY thaw prior to heating, and when heating GENTLE rules.  Boil any frozen Italian Beef and you’ll hate it, I promise.  Packaging says you can thaw in the microwave, but I personally would not.  I thaw in frig and the in pan.  24 hours +.  The beef in the au jus appears to be whole muscle meat, not pressed, chopped and formed.  I did inquire of Vienna as to the composition of the beef, but they did not reply.

The product is available in different weights, with just meat and gravy in a tub in your grocer’s freezer section, or as “sandwich kits” which include authentic Chicago rolls and the pickled vegetable relish known as giardiniera.  Several manufacturers of Italian beef in this style, also sell a “French dip” style.  Same stuff, I imagine, without Italian seasonings.

Nestle a hot Italian sausage within your beef, and you have a “Combo.”  I prefer Klement’s from Milwaukee.  I have no ‘beef’ with Vienna’s Italian Beef product.  I love all their products. They tie at #1 on my preference list with one other brand.  Vienna’s beef is mild but very flavorful.  Some other brands are spicier, like Mike Ditka’s (which I believe is also made at the Vienna factory, but with a different recipe).

Have some Italian Beef shipped to your house, just heat, eat, and enjoy.   You’ll be happier if your store leftovers – separate (beef and gravy). We can also hook you up with some great Klement’s Italian sausage.

http://www.viennabeef.com/vienna-beef-giardiniera

Klement’s Sausage

 

http://www.viennabeef.com/vienna-beef-giardiniera

Frozen Italian Beef

 

http://www.viennabeef.com/vienna-beef-giardiniera

Thawed, Ready to Heat

 

Vienna Beef Italian Beef

Assembled Sandwich, Prior to Dipping!

 

 

Vienna Beef Italian Beef Kit

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New Orleans – St. Charles Tavern Review

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For as crazy as New Orleans can get, as long as I lived there, it was never a late night dining town.  Having exhausted all your energy in the Quarter, and not in the mood for an overpriced slice of pizza, one was left with few choices for satisfying cuisine.  I love diners, and my favorite at the time was called the Hummingbird, had been there forever, closed to make room for a project that never happened.

One around the clock outpost is the St. Charles Tavern, just up St. Charles Avenue from the Central Business District, not a terribly long cab ride from the Quarter.

The St. Charles serves cajun and creole specialties along with American diner food anytime of day or night you’re in the mood.  I used to frequent it quite often on my late night prowls of the Big Easy.

Stopped in during the daylight this trip, and grabbed half a muffaletta, which was excellent.  Guess they were closed for awhile, a little remodeling, maybe new owners.  Looking at their website, I see they feature Charmaine Neville Wednesday nights (she’s a Neville sister) and if you’ve never seen here on your trips to the Crescent City, you should try and take in a show.

St. Charles Tavern Menu (pdf)

 St Charles Tavern Review

 

 

 

 
St. Charles Tavern on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

st charles tavern reviews

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Couple of Duluth Disappointments

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Kawika and the Minnesota posse hit a couple of places in Duluth recently, and were disappointed across the board.

The local Marcus theater has five buck night, and apparently they try and make up for the reduced admission with a giant price on a hot dog combo – $8.75 for a dog and soda.  The good news should have been that the franks are high-quality beef weenies from Chicago’s Eisenberg, the bad news (beside the price) was the dogs had been on a roller/heater for so long as to be nearly inedible. Food outlets that use dog rollers should toss product from time to time. Common sense.

Duluthians were so excited about the opening of their first Panera bread store, that they lined up the night before the grand opening. The posse went for sandwiches.

It’s funny, Panera does make so many great breads, and do a lot of good in their communities.  But they fall down on the ingredients used in their sandwiches, it’s been my opinion, and the posse came away feeling the same way.

Marcus Theater Hot Dog

Marcus Theater Hot Dog

 

Marcus Theater Hot Dog

Marcus Theater Hot Dog

 

Panera Tuna Sandwich

Panera Tuna Sandwich

 

Panera Duluth Review

Duluth Lobby

Panera reviews

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New Orleans – Liuzzas Review

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Luizzas Review

Liuzzas Original Location

Too often, visitors to the Big Easy miss out on many of the best places to dine in the Crescent City.

I guess you could probably say this about most travel destinations; in the Crescent City, visitors tend to get “stuck” in the French Quarter or nearby Garden District and miss out on the neighborhood dining experience.

Not that there is anything wrong with what is available in either of those two locales, it’s just that New Orleans has so much more to offer when you get out and about.

Not far from the Quarter, Liuzza’s has been operating and serving local favorites since 1947.  In a city where some eateries have been open for way over a century, one that is only approaching 70 might not seem like such a big deal, but in most US cities other than New Orleans, a seventy year old restaurant is a big deal.

Liuzza’s menu is straightforward New Orleans, a combination of Creole and Cajun cuisines, with a little Italian mixed in. Luizza’s has a second location, “Liuzzas By the Track”, which is not far from Burgerdogboy daughter’s domicile, and near the fairgrounds/racetrack where the annual fete of JazzFest takes place (starts in two weeks!)  The “Jazz” part of the name is kind of misleading, as every year during the two week extravaganza, you’ll also have the opportunity to hear the biggest stars in the history of rock, as well.

Anyway, the spawn and I hit Liuzza’s for a quick lunch, and as always, it was superb. She went with the soup of the day, which was Turtle, and excellent, and I opted for a fried shrimp po-boy, which was absolutely perfect at every level.  We hastily decided to split an order of fries, and that was over ordering, as it turned out. For the uninitiated, a “Po Boy” is a New Orleans creation, crunchy French bread (only the local brands will suffice), stuffed with your choice of protein, fried or broiled, usually seafood like shrimp, oysters, catfish – but there are also ham, and roast beef variations. Your server will ask if you want it “dressed” or you can volunteer this information – it means with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mayo. Take it all, some or none. The height of decadence would be a po boy that includes your choice of meat, with french fries piled in there, too, and the entire sandwich is dipped in batter and deep fried. Believe it. It does happen!

If you’re planning on hitting New Orleans, it’s worth a quick cab ride to either location to have some great grub, and dine with the locals, who can be pretty entertaining all on their own!  Open Monday through Saturday from 11A – 7P.

Luizza's Review

Fried shrimp poboy

Liuzza's by the Track on Urbanspoon
Liuzzas Review

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