This place sucks.

I pass by Ashkenaz Deli everyday on my walk in to work when I’m in Chicago.  I’m a big fan of Jewish-style/New York-style delis and the daily allure of a big-ass Turkey Sandwich convinced me to leave work early this week so I could hit them up before they closed.  I was immediately concerned when I noticed that they use the same Dietz & Watson bullshit deli meats that they sell at Albertson’s.

I ordered a Turkey Sandwich on Rye and made it extremely clear that I wanted DELI mustard.  I bring the sandwich home and find out that they squirt a bunch of yellow fucking mustard on there.  Thanks.  Sandwich ruined.

After I scraped off the yellow mustard, I notice the lettuce was on its last leg.

Don’t go to this place.  I don’t have another recommendation for a Turkey Sandwich in the Gold Coast neighborhood (Subway is the only other choice), so I would suggest just skipping the meal.

Just to be fair and balanced, maybe they know how to make an incredible Pastrami or Corned Beef sandwich – but I doubt it.

I’m not making excuses, but I can explain my absence

Not much going on here at the Turkey Sandwich Report lately.  In fact, absolutely nothing has been going on here for the last couple months because I have gone to the dark side.

Yes, I have been on a GLUTEN FREE diet.

For obvious reasons, a gluten free diet and Turkey Sandwiches don’t exactly jive with each other.  Some have recommended maintaining the Turkey Sandwich Report with sandwiches that don’t include bread.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to fucking insult my loyal readers with that kind of bullshit.  I’m either going all the way with this thing or I’m gonna hang it up altogether.

Another thing that goes with managing the world’s most popular Turkey Sandwich blog is that people constantly recommend sandwiches.  The last several weeks have been especially difficult because I have been in Chicago most of the time, which means I’me exposed to a completely new world of Turkey Sandwiches.  My friend Amber is also a Turkey Sandwich connoisseur and was talking a big game about this place called “Hannah’s Bretzel” where they put their sandwiches on pretzel bread.

Earlier this week, I had a long day of work and I was weak.  I was extremely hungry, knew I had absolutely no food at the apartment and just happened to be on the same street as Hannah Bretzel.  Amber’s glowing review of their sandwiches kept ringing in my head.

I’m a weak man.  Like a Turkey Sandwich zombie, I walked in and ordered the Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich.  Yea, I could have got that sandwich on gluten free bread.  But I didn’t.  I went whole wheat.       Which didn’t make much sense because if I was going to throw everything out the window, I should have got that pretzel bread.  I’ll chalk that up to not thinking straight.

The sandwich was glorious.  The Turkey was great, the cheese (Brie) was awesome and they gave me the perfect amount of cranberry sauce.  Best of all, they don’t fuck the whole thing up with mayo.

And I’ll be honest.  This sandwich has led to others – which you’ll be hearing about soon.

I’m a Hoochie Koochie, Turkey Sandwich Man

Upon the recommendation of old friend, Mark Phillip, I paid a visit to the Blues City Deli on my last trip to St. Louis.  I’m from the St. Louis area, but I had never heard of this place.  Honestly, he talked it up so big that I thought it would never reach my expectations.

A few things I noticed on my visit:

1) This place has an outstanding selection of chips.  I don’t often talk about chips here on the Turkey Sandwich Report, but a good bad of chips to accompany your Turkey Sandwich is important.  Blues City Deli had Jay’s (Chicago brand, so fuck them), Vitner’s, Durty’s, Kruncher’s, Zapp’s and of course Old Vienna (STL brand).  How could I turn down Pork Steak flavored potato chips?

If you’re not from the STL area, you probably don’t get the whole Pork Steak thing and that’s fine.  You don’t need to.  In fact, we don’t want you to get it.  I’ll just tell you that we like over-cooked, flabby-ass pig steaks that are smothered in BBQ sauce in the Midwest.

2) The Blues City Deli has a bad case of the Blues.  In case you didn’t know, STL has rightfully staked their claim on a fairly solid reputation of producing great blues musicians.  You might have heard of a guy named Chuck Berry or maybe Ike Turner.  I could tell you about dozens of other great Blues legend that have come out of St. Louis, but you’ve probably never heard of them, so I won’t waste our time.  Just trust me that St. Louis knows the Blues.  They didn’t name the Hockey team that just for shits and giggles.

3) The Blues City Deli makes a damn fine sandwich.  I got a straight Turkey Sandwich that they call the “Turkey Supreme”.  It came with Provel cheese and as you probably know, you can only get that shit in St. Louis.  If I go back, I will get The Redbird which has Turkey Capicolla, Provel and sweet red-pepper sauce.  That sounds nice.

Bottom line, if you’re in STL, get yo’ ass down to the Blues City Deli for a Turkey Sandwich and a bag of Pork Steak Chips.

Back by Popular Demand

Hi everybody.  It’s been a while, but I’m back.  I was inspired to get back in the game by this big-ass, triple-decker Turkey Sandwich at Perry’s Deli in Chicago.

I’ve blogged about Perry’s before.  You might remember that they’re not totally clear about their hours of operation.  They also don’t want people talking on their phone while on the premises.  You dare to do that and they’ll sound the alarm.  They mean serious business at Perry’s.

They also mean business when it comes to sandwiches.  I tell no lie when I say that they pile on a handful of Turkey on their Turkey Sandwiches.  Same goes for the bacon – that’s a handful too.  We all know that anything more than a handful, you risk spraining a tongue.

By the way, Perry’s does indeed use REAL TURKEY.

The downside of a gigantic sandwich is that the result can often times be ugly.  This was no different.  You can tell I went to war with this sandwich and I’m not sure who won.  You be the judge.

Tough Love for Manny’s

First off, let me say: I’m a fan of Manny’s Deli in Chicago.  I first visited Manny’s in December of 2008.  I had heard that it was then President-Elect Obama’s favorite deli in Chicago.  I even posted my compliments and a video right here on the Turkey Sandwich Report.

So with that said, it pains me to drop this bomb: The Manny’s Express at Chicago Midway International Airport absolutely blows.  And when I say “blows” I mean that it sucked to the highest degree.  By far, the worst Sandwich experience I’ve had since Snarf’s ripped me off.   I made Manny’s aware of this situation via Twitter a couple nights ago.

Here’s what happened:

I was in Chicago, travelling back to Denver with a co-worker.  It was Dinner time when we got to Midway and had enough time for a quick sandwich.  We were flying Frontier and Potbelly has a shop just inside security but as usual, had a line out the fucking door.  We got in line anyway, gave it minute and then I threw out the idea of walking down the Southwest terminal to try our luck at Manny’s.  My co-worker, who probably trusted me on my Sandwich recommendations because I have a blog a Turkey Sandwiches, politely agreed.

We arrive down at Manny’s and notice there’s an issue.  Two people are pacing back and forth and visibly pissed because they’re waiting for their food.  I asked them what they ordered so I could avoid that choice.  But their choice of food wasn’t the issue.  The issue was the two workers behind the counter who couldn’t give a shit about getting that person’s hot dog out within a reasonable amount of time.  These people ended up asking for their money back.

We step up to order and my co-worker goes for Manny’s specialty: Pastrami.  I hedged my bet and got a slice of pizza that had been sitting under the heat lamp.  At least I could see what I was getting and knew I had a chance of getting it quickly.

Let me also take a minute to acknowledge the customer service, or should I say lack there of.  Let’s get this out of the way: Airport food courts aren’t exactly known for their “service with a smile” – but this was beyond ridiculous.  Much like the hot dogs that it took forever for them to make, they couldn’t give a shit about their empty beverage cooler or their slower-than-a-turtle sandwich preparation pace.

Right from the moment they pulled the Pastrami out for my co-worker’s sandwich, I knew we had a problem.  When Pastrami looks like bacon that has been sitting in a pot of coffer, there’s an issue.  But what they fuck do I know about Pastrami?  Not much, so I kept my mouth shut.  We get back to the gate, he takes about two bites and throws it away.  Total embarrassment on my part.  Here I am a “Sandwich Expert” and I had clearly led this guy astray.

To Manny’s credit, less than 5 minutes after I tweeted my disappointment of my experience, they dropped me direct message to get the lowdown.  So this is my message to the folks at Manny’s:

Your Deli at Midway doesn’t even come close to your Deli in the city.  If you can’t deliver the same experience then either close your shop at the Airport or name it something else so it doesn’t drag the Manny’s name down with it.  And if you can’t improve your food and service, you can expect Potbelly to continue kicking your ass for the foreseeable future.

The Turkey Sandwich Report Lunch at SXSWi

Big news: The Turkey Sandwich Report will be at SXSW Interactive next weekend.  And since everyone else has a party, we will too – but ours will be a lunch.

If you’re going to be in Austin, you should join us.  Here is the link on Plancast: http://plancast.com/p/4ad4 (not linked because WordPress is acting weird)

Sunday, March 13th, Noon

Which Wich – 259 W. 3rd Street (seriously, it’s just a few blocks from the Convention Center)

The Secret Cheese of Stingy St. Louisans

Mannino’s Turkey Sandwich, originally uploaded by nealdstewart.

When I visited St. Louis a couple weeks ago, my good friend, John Darren Allen took me out for a Turkey Sandwich. He chose a little, small-town grocery store in Cottleville called Mannino’s.

Mannino’s is one of those 4 or 5 aisle grocery stores with a butcher shop in back with a hard of hearing old man taking the meat orders. It was a typical Saturday when we went in to order our sandwiches and the place was packed. But big props to Mannino’s: they are a Boar’s Head Deli.

This may look like a simple hoagie-style Turkey Sandwich – but don’t be fooled. It has Provel Cheese on it. “Pro-what?” you might say. It’s Provel Cheese. If you’re from the St. Louis area, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, you probably have no clue. That’s because St. Louisans are stingy people by nature and don’t allow it to be sold outside of the STL metro area.

A little information on Provel: it’s a blend of Provelone, Cheddar and Swiss. It was invented in 1947 and although Wikipedia says that Kraft owns the company that owns the brand, I’ve heard rumors that Imo’s Pizza of St. Louis has their hands in the fact that it is not sold elsewhere. Imo’s uses Provel on their pizza and like I said, those St. Louisans are stingy people.

The sandwich; Wheat hoagie roll, Boar’s Head Maple-glazed Turkey, lettuce, onion, Provel Cheese. Nothing special, but mighty tasty. If you get a chance to smuggle some Provel Cheese out of St. Louis, do it. Just don’t tell anyone you’re doing it. Those St. Louisans will get all weird and shit.

Hat Tip to Tony: Lucky’s is a Solid Turkey Sandwich

 

Lucky's in Wrigleyville

 

My friend Tony is one of the most loyal Turkey Sandwich Report readers.  On a recent visit to Chicago, we agreed to meet up for a night of debauchery that would be started off with a Turkey Sandwich at an undisclosed location of Tony’s choosing.

Tony’s choice was Lucky’s Sandwich Co. in Wrigleyville.  Lucky’s serves up what they call “overstuffed” sandwiches.  The sandwiches aren’t oversuffed just because you get a lot of meat and lots of toppings.  They also load it up with french fries and cole slaw.  Important note: the cole slaw isn’t that nasty mayonaise based shit.  It’s the tasty vinegar based stuff – big difference.

And their sandwiches are $7!!  That’s a nice bargain in Chicago.

I have a deep respect for sandwich shops that push the limits of a traditional sandwich.  The simple truth is that our mainstream culture is one where a Panini is considered exotic.  Lucky’s calls bullshit on the mainstream and for that, I tip my hat to you.

Can a Brotha Get a Turkey Sandwich in Beverly Hills? Aparently Not.

Mrs. Turkey Sandwich went on a little road trip out to California this past week to visit some family and see how THEY do Turkey Sandwiches – specifically in Beverly Hills.  I’ll sum it up for you in two words: they don’t.

Our first stop was this place in the heart of 90210 called Nate & Al Delicatessen. As we drove by, Mrs. Turkey Sandwich said, “Oh that place is really good!  Expensive, but good.” So we stopped, parked and went in.

Nate n Al Delicatessen

I’m not sure what it was about this place, but I just got a bad vibe.  They had all of their blocks of meat out for clear viewing, but it looked gross.  If we stayed, I knew I was going to get a bad sandwich and I was hungry enough to not be in the mood for any kind of sandwich shenanigans.

We left and walked down the street to another place called The Farm of Beverly Hills.

The Farm of Beverly Hills

Again, we stopped by and checked the menu, but all they had was a faux Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich.  Nope, not in the mood. I did a quick search on my iPhone and it came up with a place called Sunset Deli.  I’ve been severely intoxicated and had some good times on the Sunset Strip before, so that sounded perfect.

Sunset Deli closes at 4pm

We hustled over to Sunset, parked the car and power walked down to the Sunset Deli.  It was 4:05 pm and the only way we could get screwed on this one is if they were one of those “lunch only” kind of places that seem to be gaining in popularity.  Well, fuck me with a chainsaw – wouldn’t you know it, they closed at 4 o’clock.  To rub salt in the wound even a little more, they’re a Boar’s Head Deli.  Son of a fucking bitch.

A Turkey Sandwich was not meant to be on this day and we had to eat at some shitty pizza joint that apparently thought it was cool to have the cast of Road Rules, Brody Jenner. Paris Hilton and a bunch of other D list celebs sign their wall with a sharpie.

Where’s the Turkey, Shari?

Earlier this week I was driving from Portland to Seattle and the traffic on I-5 near Olympia was a real bitch.  Instead of sitting there in traffic and getting all pissed off, I decided to pull off the freeway and soothe myself with a Turkey Sandwich.

The first eating spot I came upon was Shari’s.  It looked like actively Shari’s targets old fuckers, and being that I was sick of all the hipsters in Portland, it sounded like a good place to chill out.  I order their best Turkey Sandwich and I was off and running.

But take a look at this Turkey Sandwich.  See any problems?

photo.jpg

You can’t fool me Shari.  You can baffle me with a little extra gravy?  You can impress me with your cranberry sauce.  And you can’t perplex me with those little onion rings on top.  Nope, I immediately noticed that your Turkey Sandwich is lacking TURKEY!  Just look at this sandwich – you can see that they they go pretty light on the Turkey.

Don’t fuck with me Shari.  I know Turkey Sandwiches and I know this one is lacking Turkey.  WHERE’S THE TURKEY!?