The Sandwich Chronicles: Bite of Boston

WEEK SIX:  THE LOBSTER ROLL

Lent has begun, and though I am not exactly a “practicing Catholic,” I do still feel compelled by the guilt of Jesus Christ to participate.  This year I’ve given up buying coffee…for the most part.  I mean, I basically just want to be more conscious about when I choose to do so, and not automatically buy it every day.  And yeah, sure, I got one today, but I felt like treating myself, and vanilla iced coffee sounded like a great way to start my morning, and okay GOD, I’M SORRY!  I repent and will do ten Hail Marys!

Along with the giving up of something, we’re also, for whatever reason*, supposed to cut out meat on Fridays.  As this past Friday was the first of the Lenten season I chose to start the forty days off right and avoid any crushing remorse by getting myself a nice meat-free sandwich.  I found a place called Bite of Boston just minutes away from my work and thought it fitting: being Bostonian, they have a 99% chance of being Irish Catholic (at least that’s what The Departed has led me to believe), and I would be in like company.

Though I’ve never been to Boston, I can imagine they are a very proud city.  At least that’s the vibe I got from the decor.

I'm guessing they like sports up there?
So I guess they like sports up there?

The walls were covered in Boston memorabilia, most of it sports-related.  Any other time this would cause me to cower and run from a place, but here, I remained calm.  While waiting for my food and wondering why I was so serene in such a seemingly horrifying environment, I had a revelation.  It’s not the sportiness that I hate in places similarly decorated, but the twenty or so flat-screen tvs, each playing a different game, creating a sweaty whirlwind of chaos and causing me to shout across the table about how funny the last episode of Broad City was LIKE I’M THE WEIRD ONE FOR WANTING TO HAVE A CONVERSATION OVER DINNER.  But in Bite of Boston?  There isn’t a single tv.  I could scroll through Buzzfeed in peace, with just the casual chatter of overweight old men fluttering around me.  Not that I was waiting for long–the food was out in just about five minutes.  And speaking of the food…

isjdflsjd
Mmm, cholesterol.

Ladies and gentlemen, the lobster roll, served alongside a bowl of clam chowder.  Now, candidly speaking, the only other lobster I’ve ever had was either in a bisque or a taco.  That being said, I wasn’t sure if this was a traditional take on the lobster roll or if it is to the sandwich what McDonald’s is to the hamburger–bearing a resemblance, but only vaguely.  I did a little research and found that their roll is indeed made with Maine lobster, flown out from the East coast twice a week.  A for authenticity, F for their carbon footprint.   Though I was incredibly underwhelmed by the size of the sandwich (served on a buttered and grilled hot dog bun and coming in just under 6 inches), I have to say, the taste was pretty great.  Again, thanks to the internet, I learned that many lobster rolls have much more mayonnaise and chopped celery–this one was very lightly dressed with both.  Less fillers = more seafood = a happy Gina.  And though it initially looked small, the buttery roll and rich flavor of the lobster meat really ended up being quite filling.  Though I would have liked more lemon, either in the dressing or on the side; I’m partial to acid (no, not that kind), and it would have helped break up all that heaviness.

As for the clam chowder, it was perfect, and cheap as far as they go; I got the 8 oz bowl for just $3.50.  Though it was amazingly rich, creamy, and hearty, Damon makes a pretty mean chowder as well.  However, he does use bacon in his soup for a little extra flavor–it looks like I’ll be sticking with Bite of Boston’s until Easter’s over.

THE CASTING OF FINAL JUDGEMENT

Price: A bit steep–the small lobster roll is $12, and the large is $15; then again, the price of lobster is always steep.

Menu:  They have a handful of hot and cold sandwiches, though nothing that really jumped out at me; they also have some other seafood goodies, that obviously jumped out at me (fried clams, anyone?)

Ambiance:  Boston, with a touch of Boston.

Sides:  The standards–coleslaw, mac n’ cheese, potato salad, and Boston baked beans, because of course.

Second Trip Worthy?  Only if I ever get the craving for a lobster roll.  Though when that craving strikes, I’d rather try something badass like a whole goddamn lobster, killed/cooked with my own two hands.

Overall rating: 6.5 out of 10 sandwiches!

*because the Pope owns Long John Silvers.

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The Sandwich Chronicles: BFD

WEEK FIVE:  BIG FRONT DOOR

After the past few weeks of exploring uncharted territory, I felt the need to eat something comfortable and familiar.  Big Front Door is one of the places already in my rotation and is, in my humble opinion, the perfect sandwich shop.  The reasons are as follows:

1.  They have a bunch of fun, interesting ingredients (roast beef, broccoli rabe sandwich?  Smoked potato and whipped avocado?  How did the world never think of that?)

2.  Their name automatically brings to mind my second favorite Roald Dahl book, The BFG, and infuses the place with a magical air.

and

3. It has a very San Diego feel to it–clean, open, sunny, and with a lot of little crafty touches.

One of the oh so San Diego things about it is their institution of a seasonal sandwich.  It rotates from time to time and uses ingredients that are, well, in season (go figure).  I got one last Winter and came with hopes that it was still their seasonal sandwich this year.  I was lucky.

Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on the Season’s Past.

She's so gorgeous.
She melts my heart.

It consists of blackened chicken, brie, roasted brussel sprouts, honey-dijon mustard, garlic aioli, and is served on ciabatta bread.  The sandwich may seem a little pricey at $10.50, but let me assure you, it is worth every red cent.  Here are a sample of the notes I wrote during my tasting:

“Lots of craft sodas.”

“God I love it here.”

“Sandwich takes a long time to make.  10 minutes?”

“It’s hot though, makes sense.”

“So good.”

OMG sososososo fucking good.”

That basically sums it up.  Everything is so perfectly balanced–the salty, peppery chicken is mellowed out by the creamy, gooey brie, is brightened and sweetened by the honey-dijon.  The earthiness of the brussel sprouts (which are cooked perfectly, by the way) add a good rustic element.  It’s pretty filling so I had half there and saved the other half for later which, honestly, is just as good cold.  Since it’s more of a meal than most sandwiches, it actually benefits from the flavors sitting and mingling together over a little bit of time, and the ciabatta is hearty so it holds up well to a little moisture and doesn’t get all soggy.

BFD also has some great sides to choose from.  I usually stick to the chipotle potato salad because how could I not, but they have a red quinoa salad, regular potato salad, macaroni, thai cucumber salad, and a handful of others that all look amazing.  I got a small size and can’t remember exactly how big it was but it only cost $1.50 and serves about two people.  As I hinted earlier, they also have a great selection of craft sodas.  I’m trying to cut out my soda intake, but mostly Coke and Dr. Pepper.  I keep seeing people post videos about how Coke will eat through metal or how it does something horrifying when boiled.  I don’t ever watch these mostly because they always have captions like “She thought Coke was okay.  Then she boiled it.  You’ll never guess what happens next!” and I think all videos promoted in such a style should be wiped off the face of the earth; also, I really like Coke and sometimes (ahem, when hungover), I just need it.  That being said, I do understand how horrible it probably is for my delicate innards and have being trying to make the switch to things less destructive.  This is why I really like craft soda–I choose which one to get based on the amount of normal ingredients they have.  The one I settled on this week is Black Cherry from the Boylan Bottling Company and it had only one ingredient that sounded a little confusing.  Compared to the all of them in Coke, it seemed like a safer option.

So much variety.
Okay, I’ll just have one of each.

But wait.  What’s that on the top shelf?  Is it–?  Could it be?

Dang, Gina!
Dang, Gina!

Dang! soda strikes again!  I expect this won’t be the last I see of it.

THIS ONE WAS REALLY FUNNY, I HOPE YOU READ THE WHOLE THING:

Price: The sandwiches are all around $10, but their ingredients are a little fancy so that is to be expected.  I spent $15 for my sandwich, soda, and side.

Menu:  A great variety of hot, cold, and vegetarian options.  Also have some intriguing salads (duck cranberry is on my To Eat list).

Ambiance:  Very open, bright, and with a little dab of hipster.

Sides:  Great variety with healthy, house-made options.  In addition to their sodas, they have some great brewed iced teas.

Second Trip Worthy?  100th trip worthy.

Overall rating: 10 out of 10 sandwiches!

January Birchbox

So you know how January went by extra slow, kinda like how time stretched and elongated in the black hole in Interstellar, or while watching the movie Interstellar?  Well it seems as though that long yawn of a month was a once in a lifetime thing, because February is back to moving at hyper speed.  I obviously could not keep up with this chaos and am sad to say I have already received two new Birchboxes and have yet to review either one!  I really am the worst.  However, I figure all of you out there are just as frazzled as I am by how time and nature must play with man so, and will give me a pass and continue to love me and laugh at my cutting wit and share my hilarity with your friends and coworkers and launch me into celebrity blogdom.

So here we go.  January Birchbox!

Pretty in pink.
Pretty in pink.

Isn’t their packaging just too much?  That confetti-patterned box, the hot pink tissue, the color-coordinated products? Mm, if I were just a hair more superficial that alone would compel me to give it a good review.  But I’m not.  SO LET’S TEAR THIS BABY APART.

Whish?  More like Psssssh.
Whish? More like Psssssh.

1.  Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream:  Here is a list of things that could be used as shaving cream that cost less than this full-sized product:

  • Skintimate Shaving Cream
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • Paul Mitchell conditioner
  • L’Occitane Shea Butter
  • Raw Honey infused with Lavender
  • Truffle Oil
  • Bottled tears of an albino tiger

Basically anything that is liquid and can safely be rubbed onto human skin would be a better buy.  Yes it smells good (my sample was grapefruit acai), and yes it is moisturizing, but is it worth $20?  And no, I didn’t mistype.  Ladies and–well, probably just more ladies–a full-sized Whish Shaving Cream costs $20 for a 5 oz container.  In no world should that exist.  If you are dying for an expensive shaving product that smells like grapefruit, here’s an idea: buy the Burt’s Bees Deep Conditioner.  It too is 5 oz, will be highly moisturizing, and, at $8 a bottle, will nicely serve as an overpriced shaving cream.  Problem solved.

Cleopatra, comin' atcha.
Cleopatra, comin’ atcha.

2. Tocca Crema Da Mano in Cleopatra:  For those of you uncultured swine out there who do not speak Italian, this is a fancy little hand cream.  I recognized this brand from Anthropologie; I tend to ogle over their lotions and drawer knobs since they’re the only things I can afford, so I know their stock pretty well.  This lotion is ethereal in scent.  It smells like a summer day on the Amalfi Coast–light, bright, sunny, and buoyant.  It is a blend of grapefruit and cucumber which really adds to this fantasy I’m creating–I can see it now, me sipping a greyhound, nibbling at a salad of cucumber, tomato, and basil while Paolo, my Italian fling turned husband turned secret heir to the Ferrari fortune is enraptured by my grace, charm, and wit…

As a lotion, it is only sufficient.  It feels a little too sticky when applying and doesn’t hold much moisture.  I liked it more for the rich girl, jetsetting fantasies it provided me with than for actual practical use, but that might be reason enough to purchase a full-size.

Sorry this picture is so boring.
Sorry this picture is so boring.

3.  Harvey Prince Perfume–Sincerely:  I’ve never really been a perfume girl.  Most of the time they just end up giving me a headache, and the ones I do like are usually intended for octogenarians; I act old enough as it is, I don’t need that added layer.  However, during my aforementioned explorations in the bath and body displays at Anthropologie, I did end up finding a scent that was the right balance between cranky-indie-bookworm and bunko-playing-cat-lady.  It is called Wish by Lollia and is described by its maker as “Warm Vanilla Bean and Rice Flower delicately frosted with sugared pastille. Jasmine Leaves sweetened with Sugar Cane. Comforting Ylang Ylang and the sheerest of Amber Woods complete the scene, creating the most luxurious of fragrant escapes,” and is described by me as sweet with a hint of floral (sometimes less is more, Lollia).  I really loved that combo and think of that scent as “me,” but it does feel a little heavy in the spring and summer when I really just want something with a little less weight.  That is why I was ever so happy to receive this perfume sample.  Harvey Prince’s Sincerely is like the cinnamon gum-chewing, tv-watching, loud-laughing cousin of Wish.  The scent profile is a little different–consisting of Indian tuberose, Turkish cyclamen, and Spanish mandarin–and errs on the side of spiciness.  However, it does have the same sugary, flowery vibe.  The reviews for this product on Birchbox are mixed–some say it seems a bit “mature” for their tastes–which means I should probably file it away with my cat sweaters and elastic-waisted pants until I hit 65.  So I will not buy the full-sized product, but I think I’ll just enjoy this sample while it lasts.

ajnfksjdf
Who needs the Naked palette?  JK!  I do!

4.  Coastal Scents Revealed Palette: Girls love all things naked.  And they like the eyeshadow palette too (thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week).  For real though, even girls who don’t really understand makeup love the Naked 2 palette.  It has the perfect spread of neutral colors and a few slightly fun, night-on-the-town shadows that I and the other previously mentioned ladies will most likely never touch (Really?  Silver?  Do they think that goes with any living human’s skin tone?)  The only thing the Naked 2 is missing are some matte tones.  That’s where this sample comes in.  According to the online reviews I’ve seen, the Coastal Scents Revealed palette is the poor girl’s Naked, but is even more comprehensive.  Not only are there a handful of matte shadows, but it has incredibly accurate dupes for both the Naked 1 and 2 palettes!  What’s even better?  It only costs $20.  The same price as that goddamn Whish shaving cream (unbelievable.  Just completely out of control).  Obviously I was very eager to try this out and see if the quality was even half as good as Urban Decay’s.  Conclusion: it was.  And maybe more than half as good.  Like, 65%.  Which is really saying something.  Here’s a super not awkward picture of me wearing the shades.

Hey guys!  It's really weird to take pictures of your own eyes.  Just thought you should know.
Hey guys!  Just taking a totally normal zoomed-in selfie.  

And here’s an even more average, not weird or uncomfortable at all, close-up picture, so you can get a better idea of the colors on skin:

Forgive me, I know not what I do.
Forgive me, I know not what I do.

I used the beigy tan color (top right in the sample) and it was a perfect tone for my skin, adding just a little darkness and slight mystery.  I err on the dark side (according to the Pottermore’s expertly calibrated Sorting Hat, I am a Slytherin after all; it only makes sense) and loved the depth of this color.  I applied the darkest shade (bottom right) to the outer corner of my eyelid and admittedly used a color from the Naked 2 for the crease.  All in all, it was a really great look for the day time and could easily be vamped up for the night, if you happen to be one of those people who leaves the house after sundown.  I’ve been reaching for this little sample just about every morning so I think I may splurge and buy the actual product when this runs out.

The most generic bottle of hairspray in existence.
The most generic bottle of hairspray with the most generic name in existence.  

5.  Number 4 Non-Aerosol Hairspray:  I’m going to be frank with you: I have no way of giving this product an accurate review.  My hair has only held a curl once in my entire life and that was only because a gay man did it with a straightener.  That beautiful mane of curls stayed for approximately 48 hours before I was forced to shower them away, water mingling with the tears I shed for the beauty I would never get back…

That being said, I did spritz this on my hair when it was french braided and pinned at the nape of my neck.  From what I could tell, the spray held up well in the heat (I was out all day in the scorching San Diego Winter sun), and didn’t harden and make my hair helmet-like.  And that’s probably as good of a hairspray review you will ever receive from me.

Alright my lovelies, I still have one more Birchbox to cast judgement upon and another one soon on its heels.  This is not the last you will hear from me!

January Jonseing

The past few years have flown by a little too quickly for my liking.  That’s why one of my resolutions this year is to try and slow down time.  As some of our best scientists have still not figured out a way to actually do this (can we stop trying to cure cancer or discover more planets for A MINUTE and get on this please?), I will have to do it in the only way I know how: enjoying life’s little moments and embracing mindfulness.  Taking advantage of a day or afternoon off.  Eating a lot.  Seriously though when I eat enough, my heart slows down, each minute drags on…I’m onto something here.  Regardless, I think the past month has gone by much slower than the prior Januarys, and in order to ensure I remember all of these joyful moments created in years to come, I would like to document them here.

Things I Ate But Probably Shouldn’t Have:

How could you say no to that open-face?
How could you say no to that open-face?

1.  Influx’s Breakfast Croissant:  Melissa and I were having a panic day pretty early into the new year.  We decided the best way to cure this one was to grab breakfast to-go, pick up a bottle (or two) of champagne, and watch Two-Night Stand in her apartment with the blinds drawn.  I believe their croissants are made in house and are smothered with basil, tomato, and melted brie cheese.  Top it with the generous portion of Dijon mustard provided?  It is a perfect pick-me up.  Or maybe that was the champagne.  Either way, panic was eradicated.

Cheeses-take 2
Cheeses-take 2

 

2.  Damon’s Cheesesteak:  Damon loves food maybe a little more than I do which, I know, sounds impossible.  After reading my hilarious and insightful cheesesteak blog (what?  You missed it?  Read it here! https://lazygirltrying.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/the-sandwich-chronicles-gaglione-brothers/), he was determined to make one to surpass the Gaglione Brothers’ and restore my faith in the power of the cheesesteak.  I wasn’t going to argue.  We got freshly baked bread, provolone cheese, thinly sliced rib eye, mushrooms, and onions.  The end result was heavenly.  The meat was perfectly seasoned, the mushrooms added a nice heartiness…and it all cost about as much as the one from Gaglione Brothers did.  Home-cooking wins again!

So much meat...so little time.
The carnage.

3.  Fogo de Chao:  Since Damon and I didn’t get each other “experience gifts” this Christmas (something we can do together, i.e. kayak whale watching), we decided to treat ourselves to a nice evening out.  For us, that means stuffing our faces full of Brazilian meats until we either throw up or get gout (I’m pretty sure I left with the latter).  This was our second time at Fogo de Chao, and while I ate slightly less this time around, I still got my money’s worth.  Not only do they have eight or so delicious varieties of meats that they pile on your plate non-stop, they also have a gorgeous salad bar, complete with cheeses, deli meats, and fancy vegetables.  This year, I really relied on the artichoke hearts and fried plantains to break up the flavors of the meat and help me eat myself to a state Liz Lemon surely would be proud of.  Leaving the restaurant, stomach protruding, hobbling down the street in an ungainly gait, stuffed to the brim with animal flesh and blood, I imagined that’s how King Henry VIII felt every day.  (Sigh)…what a life.

How I am not from the South?
How I am not from the South?
No, seriously.
No, seriously.
I don't belong in California.
I don’t belong in California.

4.  Felix’s BBQ with Soul:  My sister Katy works in a…troubled neighborhood, but sometimes those places hold little treasures.  Located on the Four Corners of Death (yep, that’s a real thing), aka Imperial and Euclid just a few blocks from Katy’s school, Felix’s BBQ with Soul is one of those gems. It is exactly what it sounds like–a soul food restaurant, and an authentic one at that, which is incredibly hard to come by in San Diego.  The owner is from the South and you can taste it in his food.  We lucked out and went on a Sunday during their brunch.  Not only were traditional breakfast foods available (eggs, breakfast potatoes, etc), but traditional southern fair as well.  What I had is as follows:  biscuits and sausage gravy, shrimp and grits, red beans and rice, collard greens, endless riblets, half of Katy’s endless fried catfish, mac n’ cheese, bacon, candied yams, and more collard greens.  It was only $22 for the brunch, it came with a drink and dessert, and allowed me to try virtually everything on the menu.  I do need to come back for their fried green tomatoes, gumbo, and a po’ boy for my sandwich exploration, but that will be for another time.  Honestly, I kind of like that it’s in the most deadly location of San Diego; if not, it would be impossible to get a seat in there.

Things That I Bought That I Didn’t Have the Money For:

You gotta treat-yo'self.
You gotta treat-yo’self.

1.  Urban Decay Anti-Aging Primer and Physicians Formula Bronze Booster:  My sister got me the Naked 2 Palette for my birthday,
and it came with a sample of their eyeshadow primers.  I never used a primer before that point, had always been skeptical of the necessity of one, but after using it for the first time, I knew there was no going back.  There were four samples with the palette and only this month did they finally run out.  I had a hard time choosing between Eden (one formulated particularly with matte shadows in mind), and the Anti-Aging one, but my fear of looking old and haggish got the better of me yet again, and I went with the latter.  While at Ulta, I decided to pick up the Physicians Formula bronzer  as I’d heard good things about, but had never tried.  I had to buy a brush to apply it with since the one that comes in the package is thin and janky, but otherwise I’m very pleased.

My new clothes, or a lesbian couple that has just been Raptured.
My new clothes, or a lesbian couple that has just been Raptured.

2.  Forever 21 “Haul:”  I have been in desperate need of new work clothes since, oh, I first became employed back in 12th grade.  The problem is, I hate business casual, do not feel like myself in it, and would rather put my money into clothes I actually want to wear and don’t totally kill my vibe.  That’s why I currently love Forever 21.  I found these black pants that are work-appropriate, but still feel like me.  And get this–they’re only $8.  RIGHT?!  And those cardigans?  $9!  The camisoles?  LITERALLY $2.  I’m sure you can sense my elation.  I grabbed a couple of each, a nail polish (because I’m me), a cute little cloth headband, adorable seashell socks, and a striped-cotton top for just under $60.  All of these are work appropriate, but also Gina’s-life-appropriate and that’s what matters most.  Thank God for sweatshop prices, amiright?

For the ladies in the place with style and grace.
For the ladies in the place with style and grace.

3.  Biggie Smalls Sweatshirt:  Janine and her husband were flooded out of their apartment on the first of the year, and very quickly found a new place.  In order to celebrate this good fortune (and celebrate Corey’s birthday, I guess), they threw a 90’s-themed party.  I went to Forever 21 in search of something velvet or crop-toppy, and left with this.  Comfy, oversized, unique…something Mr. Smalls would have worn himself.  It went over incredibly well at the party and adds a touch of style to my nightly Netflix binges.

Alright, that is it, my little ones.  I ate, I bought, I conquered.  Hopefully February will have as much in store.

The Sandwich Chronicles: Classic Rock Sandwich Shoppe

WEEK FOUR:

I entered Classic Rock Sandwich Shoppe with some low expectations.  Back when I was a North Parker, I used to pass this place on a weekly basis.  It’s in a strange location–on a dead block of North Park Way next to Lucky’s, a breakfast joint/front for a drug cartel.  While Lucky’s is only open three hours a day but constantly has its lights on and door ajar with the metal screen door bolted to better obscure whatever funny business is occurring within, Classic Rock Sandwich Shoppe is open all day, but remains dark and lifeless.  Lo and behold, it is still in business and had some pretty solid Yelps, so I decided to give it a go.  Honestly, with a goal of 52 sandwich shops by the end of the year, I have lowered any possible standard I may have had: if the place sells something edible in between two pieces of bread, I will eat there (let’s be real though, that isn’t too far from my everyday requirements).

When I entered the shop, it was empty as predicted, save the music of Led Zeppelin and a middle-aged man and woman, both employees.  They both greeted me with genuine smiles and the woman swiftly grabbed a binder and asked if I had been there before.  I responded that it was my first time, but that I had looked at their menu online.

“Did you see the one with pictures, or without them?” she asked.

“With the pictures?  I guess?”

“Okay,” she said, opening the binder.  “There are two menus online–one with pictures and one without.  The one you saw doesn’t have all of the sandwiches.  We have fifty to choose from,” she says casually, turning page after page, “turkey, beef, ham, veggie, spicy ones,” she looks up, with a warm smile, head slightly tilted, “and we have 15 more coming soon.”

Alright.  So they have variety.

I wanted a spicy one since that seemed to be their thang, and was grateful that she warned me of their heat scale–the first one listed is a one, the last one listed is a 10-20, depending on the sandwich artist.  Just kidding, only Subway is douchy enough to call a deli worker a sandwich artist.  For real though, they get that hot, not that I should be surprised considering it contains spicy chicken, habanero mayonnaise, and habanero/jalapeno/cayenne cheddar cheese.  Yeah.  That exists.  I went with the Sultry Stevie, which still packs a punch, but a less abusive one, like an angry girl done wrong as opposed to a drunk Marine in PB.  When she asked what bread I wanted, I asked for the roll.

“Yeeeeaah, that’s one that I wouldn’t recommend with this sandwich.”

“Oh?”  I was slightly taken aback.

“It’s a little too much bread.  The sandwich is better on these,” she pointed to the first few breads listed.

I was thankful for her input.  It’s not every day someone will tell you in what ways their sandwich isn’t good.

Seeing as how I was the only customer, Middle-Aged Man began my order as soon as I decided on it, and rather than just stand there awkwardly sneaking pictures of their shop (though I did that too), I had a little time to chat with the woman, Cheryl, who turned out to be the owner.  She asked me what made me try the place and when I mentioned my noble sandwich quest, she told me she really didn’t like sandwiches for most of her life.  I didn’t realize that was a thing.  She said she had just gotten to a point where she was sick of roast beef and ham (again, I didn’t really understand what she was saying here), and didn’t think there were many other exciting options available.  That’s why she made her shop, complete with a bunch of vegetarian and white meat sandwiches for those in the world who felt as she did.  Simply put, she wants something for everyone and wants every customer to leave happy.  Her bright smile, passion, and genuine interest were enough to do that for me.  Oh, and look at all them posters.

hahaa
Fun fact: that plate on the counter has those orange-colored peanut butter sandwich crackers from the 90’s on sale for a $1.

Yes, I did take these while pretending to watch a video on my phone.  Yes, I fake-smiled and laughed to appear convincing.

jfjf
Cheryl pointed Stevie out to me.  I felt obligated to take a picture.  Secretly.

And yes, I am the most awkward girl in America.  Now, on to my Stevie.

So sultry.
So sultry.

This bad boy (or more appropriately, little lady) is comprised of rotisserie chicken, avocado, provolone cheese, pineapple-habanero sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion, sprouts, and habanero mayonnaise.  I got the sandwich to go and in the fifteen minutes it took to get from the shop to my home, the bread had already become a little mushy. I blame the sauce, which could have benefited from being thicker and not so runny.  Despite this, the flavors were pretty good.  The chicken was nicely seasoned with a bit of a cajun vibe, and the habanero mayonnaise had a nice bite.  The first few bites were pretty solid.  A little hot, but manageable.  It was with the fourth that I began regretting my decision to drink a cream soda rather than a milk.  I’ve never really had a sandwich that clears my sinuses and makes me wish I were genetically better predisposed to tolerating heat.  That made me like it though.  It was a little fun, a bit more adventurous than your typical deli sandwich.  While eating it however, I kept thinking of slight tweaks that would improve the sandwich.  Maybe nix the pineapple habanero sauce and make a pineapple habanero mayo?  Add a slice of pineapple even.  I would have liked another few (seven to ten) slices of chicken to bulk up the sandwich and make it good on any bread choice, rather than just the plain wheat.  And maybe throw some arugula in there for a peppery touch?  Overall, it was good, but there is a better sandwich within this Stevie.   I think what we see here is too strong a focus on the quantity and, in turn, the quality suffers.  The menu is a little confusing honestly, with their long, obscure names for toppings (it’s technically called the “spicy wouldn’t you love to love her pineapple habanero” sauce) and there are just too many sandwiches that are too similar.  If not for Cheryl to walk me through the menu, I may have been a little too overwhelmed to choose.

I REALLY HOPE YOU READ EVERYTHING I JUST WROTE AND DIDN’T SKIP IT ALL:

Price: $9.25 for a sandwich the size of which I can easily make at home.  Definitely needs more meat to warrant this price.

Menu:  Massive, with 65 unique sandwiches and the ability to create your own.

Ambiance:  Very warm and hospitable.  You can tell these people care.  A bit vacant inside though–enjoy a nice chat with Cheryl, then take your sandwich to go.

Sides:  I didn’t see any chips, though there were individually wrapped cookies and cracker packs randomly on a plate for sale.

Second Trip Worthy?  There are 64 more sandwiches to try and they offer a club card that gives you your 10th sandwich for free.  So obviously.

Overall rating: 6 out of 10 sandwiches!