Monday, 13 February 2012

Day 50 - Meat Liquor's Cheeseburger

Wow, what a way to finish my 50 days of Sandwich. Meat Liqour, like Lucky Chip, gained a healthy reputation in the Meatwagon, serving burgers to people committed enough to wait in the cold by a burger van. They have now got a fixed location just off Oxford Street, so now you can wait in the cold to get in to a restaurant. And there is a wait, because you can't book. Nonetheless it is worth the wait because the burgers are divine.

The burger was so densely packed with flavoursome meat (you could tell it had only been seasoned at the last minute on the outside so as to keep the juices in) that when you bit into it it didn't ooze with grease, but with the juices from the meat itself. The toppings of cheese, gherkins, tomato ketchup and mustard only enhanced the flavour of the meat, and the gherkin and lettuce added a nice bite. The bread was also very well made, not too sweet as some burger buns can be, but sweet enough. Simply delicious. If you live in London, or if you're ever visiting, you have to go here.

Description: Medium rare burger, cheese, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, gherkin
Location: Meat Liquor, central London
Accompaniments: Wine, fried pickles, chili cheese fries, chicken wings, coffee
Companion: Friends
Rating: 10/10

Day 49 - Bacon Sandwich

You can't really go wrong with a bacon sandwich. Even the cheapest bacon tastes good. But you can't really do much more with a bacon sandwich either. Therefore this sandwich gets a respectable, but not great score.

Description: Bacon sandwich with ketchup
Location: Home, London
Accompaniments: Tea
Companion: None
Rating: 6/10

Day 48 - Steak Burrito

Okay, it's not a sandwich, but it's not as if I'm sticking to the rules any more. Also, I love burritos, I did not, however, love this burrito. It's ingredients were pleasant, and it tasted okay, but it did not have the punch that most of the best burrito's pack. There were no citrus, spicy undertones from coriander, lime and chili. There was no earthy creaminess from refried beans. It just tasted like steak and rice in a tortilla. And the steak, although it was cooked well, was terribly under-seasoned. The worst thing was that the thing was covered in a (very mild!) sauce and cheese, like a giant enchilada, which meant I couldn't pick it up. Poor show.

Description: Steak, rice, beans, cheese and burrito
Location: El Paso, Shoreditch
Accompaniments: Modelo especial, nachos (?)
Companion: Many
Rating: 5/10

Day 47 - Brie and Caramalised Onion Panini

I got this rather uninspired choice at Starbucks. Not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised at the simplicity. It's really just a glorified cheese and onion sandwich, which is a combination which has been around forever, and a combination that works well. This one was a bit more jazzed up: Creamy rich brie with powerful, sweet onion warmed in a toasted ciabatta, which in itself was very pleasant, being slightly salty, slightly sweet. Nice.

Description: Brie and Caramalised Onion Panini
Location: Starbucks
Accompaniments: Coffee, crisps
Companion: None
Rating: 7/10

Day 46 - The "Kelly Lebrock"

Gourmet burger vans are gaining a serious following in London. And the popularity of some burger vans in particular has forced them indoors in order to cater for a wider audience. That is the case with Lucky Chip, which has taken up residency in the Selbright Arms off the Hackney Road. The burgers are all named after celebrities and (I suppose) are meant to embody their personalities. I, mainly because I fancied the pants off her in Weird Science, got the Kelly Lebrock. It consisted of a medium rare burger, with caramelised red onion, bacon and Philadelphia all encased in a semi-sweet bun. It was excellent. The meat was wonderfully juicy and flavoursome. The bacon added smokiness whilst the onions were crunchy and sweet. Even the cream cheese went really well, acting as a medium for all the other flavours to combine in. My only criticism, and the only reason this does not receive a 10, is that all of the other fairly powerful flavours detracted slightly from the star of the show; the meat.

Description: Medium rare burger, caramalised onions, bacon, Philadelphia,
Location: Lucky Chip, Hackney
Accompaniments: Beer
Companion: Friend
Rating: 9/10

Day 45 - Salt Beef Sandwich

Salt beef sandwiches are usually a speciality in Jewish neighbourhoods. I had one in a local Finchley restaurant called Chix Chox. The sandwich was huge. There was twice the amount of beef for the bread that was provided, not to mention the chips, gherkins and salad. I removed some of the beef and then assembled the rest of the sandwich myself, adding layers of beef, mustard and gherkins to the white bread. The beef was wonderfully tender and (surprisingly!) salty, the gherkins added a nice acidity and sweetness, as well as a good crunch, and the mustard lit the whole thing up with a bit of heat. All in all it was a great sandwich ... that is until I hit the salt wall. A smaller portion would have been better, and would have earned a better mark.

Description: Salt beef, gherkin and mustard sandwich
Location: Chix Chox, Finchley
Accompaniments: Chips, salad, lots of water
Companion: None
Rating: 7/10

Day 44 - Mexican Chicken Sandwich

Greggs has become a British institution. It is about the only shop that has done well during the recession. Probably because it's affordable and tasty. My memories of Greggs are from University when I would indulge in a "Meal Deal" on a daily basis. I decided to do the same on Day 44. I went for the limited edition Mexican Chicken. Spicy chicken, peppery cheddar, semi-sweet mayonnaise, jalapenos and lettuce combined to make a rather tasty sandwich. The quality of the bread (which was a crunchy baguette) was surprisingly pleasant and lifted the sandwich from above average to good.

Description: Spiced chicken, Mexican cheddar, jalapenos, lettuce, mayonaise baguette
Location: Greggs
Accompaniments: Coke Zero, Ready Salted Walkers crisps
Companion: None
Rating: 7/10

Day 43 - Tuna Melt

A tuna melt is tuna with cheese melted over it. Sounds hard to mess up doesn't it? Well, Coffee Republic messed mine up. The cheese remained almost 80% unmelted and the tuna was cold and dry. A tuna melt done well should burst with flavour. Unfortunately, the best thing about this sandwich was the end.

Description: Tuna and cheese melt
Location: Coffee Republic
Accompaniments: Coffee
Companion: None
Rating: 2/10

Friday, 3 February 2012

Day 42 - Homemade Fish Finger Sandwich

Crispy hot white fish, heavily buttered fluffy white bread and a squirt of ketchup isn't a classic sandwich combination for no reason. Especially if you get good quality fish fingers, so the fish is moist and flaky inside, whilst remaining crunchy on the outside. The ketchup adds sweetness, saltiness, and tanginess to this sandwich, all of which offset and cut through the more stodgy elements. Great stuff.

Description: Fish finger sandwich with tomato ketchup
Location: Home
Accompaniments: Coke Zero
Companion: None
Rating: 8/10

Day 41 - Homemade Crisp Sandwich

In my opinion, you haven't lived until you have put crisps in your sandwich. Most people do this when they are children and then grow out of it. I still do it as an adult. In this case I was making a simple cheese sandwich. Therefore I decided I would liven the whole thing up with a dash of hot sauce and a handful of salt and vinegar McCoys (the ultimate sandwich crisp). And it tasted like school packed lunches. As in this case, there is something evocative about certain flavour combinations that set your mind back to a particular pleasant memory, or an era, in a way that alters your perception of whether what you're eating is actually good. So whether I actually liked this sandwich, or liked the way this sandwich made me feel, is up for interpretation.

Description: Edam cheese sandwich with Maggi hot sauce and salt and vinegar McCoys
Location: Home
Accompaniments: More salt and vinegar McCoys
Companion: None
Rating: 7/10

Day 40 - Homemade Tandoori Chicken Sandwich

I think this sandwich is the best sandwich I have ever made for myself. And, as you may have cleverly deduced, I have made a lot of sandwiches in my life. I started off by baking a chicken thigh fillets marinated (for a day) in a yoghurt and spice mix. Once cooked, and slightly charred, I cut a couple of fillets into strips, put them between two slices of buttered (not margarine) seeded wholemeal bread, added some date and lime pickle and finished off with a handful of rocket and cress. The result was wonderfully aromatic, spicy and succulent chicken with hints of sweetness from the pickle and pepperiness from the rocket. The textured bread and leaves added a nice bite to the sandwich as well. If I hadn't made this myself, I would have given it a 10, but for some reason I find it difficult to award my own creation a 10.

Description: Homemade tandoori chicken sandwich with date and lime pickle and rocket and cress
Location: Home
Accompaniments: None
Companion: Friends
Rating: 9/10

Day 39 - Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki

Yes yes I know, I did previously give Subway a slating, but I did have a sandwich I'd never had before. I thought I'd give it another chance with a tried and tested favourite (not of mine, but of Subway's clientèle in general): the chicken teriyaki. And it was a reasonable effort. The chicken was a little on the dry side, and it tasted nothing like chicken teriyaki, but it had a pleasant flavour nonetheless. The salad this time, with the sweet onion dressing, had more vibrancy and flavour. Unfortunately the bread was pretty dull. Overall, okay.

Description: Chicken teriyaki with sweet onion dressing
Location: Subway, Northampton
Accompaniments: None
Companion: None
Rating: 6/10